How to install Android Pie on Google Pixel smartphone or switch back to Android Oreo

Installing Android 9 Pie In August, Google officially introduced the operating system Android Pie. The first smartphones on it, by tradition, were the devices of Google itself.

There are a few things to be aware of before installing the Android Pie update on Pixel smartphones. They will be discussed below.

Which models will receive Android Pie?

At the time of release, the system was available on the first two generations of Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. Later, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones went on sale immediately at Android Pie. In addition, some third-party devices have been updated, such as the OnePlus 6. As you can see, the Google Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are not on this list. Their support has ended.

What about smartphones from the beta testing program Android? This year, for the first time, Google allowed pre-release versions Android to be shipped to more than just its own Pixel and Nexus devices. It was also possible to install the beta version Android Pie on the following devices:

  • Nokia 7 Plus,
  • OnePlus 6,
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S,
  • Essential PH1,
  • Sony Xperia XZ2,
  • Oppo R15 Pro,
  • Vivo X21.

These devices, as well as smartphones from the Android One program, received an update this year.

For those who already have the beta version Android P. They don't need to do anything. Such devices will receive an update over the air. When the final version of the software appears, you can exit the beta testing program and stay on a stable version of the system.

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Quick jump from Android Oreo to Android Pie

The Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones have already received the update, and users didn't have to do anything themselves. It was enough to see the notification and agree to install the updates.

If you don't want to wait, you can join the Android beta program. You can also manually flash the beta Android P for developers.

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Easy way: Android Beta Program

If you don't want to mess with unlocking the bootloader or the command line, you can get Android Pai as part of the testing program Android Beta.

Android Beta Program

You need to go to the website Android Beta and join the testing program. Google will send the update to your smartphone or tablet over the air. Depending on the time, the device will receive the latest beta version and then the final version or immediately the final version Android Pie.

  1. Open the website Android Beta Program on your smartphone.
  2. Sign in to the Google account associated with this smartphone.
  3. Scroll to the “Which devices qualify for the program?” Section.
  4. Find the device you want and click on the “Join” button.
  5. Follow the directions to get the update over the air.

Note: after your smartphone receives the stable version Android Pie, exiting the beta testing program will not return Android Oreo to it, as was the case with the beta version. You will simply stop receiving future beta updates.

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The hard way: flashing through the bootloader

If you can't wait at all and don't want to wait for an over-the-air update, you can manually flash the installation image or an over-the-air update.

Before starting, it is advisable to make sure that you have experience with the Android SDK and the terminal OS X or Linux or the command line at Windows. If something goes wrong during the installation process, the device may be damaged.

Android Pye

You can download the Android SDK on the Android development site, following the instructions available there for proper installation. You need the adb and fastboot files, which are located in the Platform Tools folder.

Below are the commands as they should be entered in the terminal on platforms Linux or OS X. If you are using Windows – computer, you do not need to enter “./” characters. The rest of the teams are identical.

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How to enable developer settings and USB debugging

  1. Open Settings and scroll down to the About Phone or About Device section.
  2. Seven times click on the build number (version MIUI for phones Xiaomi), after which a dialog box appears with the message that you are now a developer.
  3. Open the main settings window again and you will see a new option called “For Developers”. Go inside.
  4. Make sure developer options and USB debugging are enabled.
  5. Connect your smartphone to your computer and click OK on the dialog box asking for permission to debug via USB. You can also enable permanent access on this computer.

Developer section

USB debugging

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Unlocking the bootloader

Google Pixel smartphones let you unlock the bootloader. This must be done if you want to install the software yourself.

First you need to get into the bootloader. You can manually turn off your smartphone or tablet, after which holding the power button and the volume control down, you will be taken to the bootloader menu. Or, you can enter the following commands into the terminal or command line.

Run the following commands to check that the smartphone is properly connected to the computer. If a character string is returned in response, you can start updating.

./adb devices

Enter the following command to enter the bootloader menu:

./adb reboot bootloader

Certain information is shown at the bottom of the screen, including the lock status of the device. It says “Locked” if you haven't unlocked the device before.

Unlocking the bootloader is required to install the stock firmware, not a third-party update download. You need to enter the following commands. Remember that when you unlock your smartphone, a factory reset will be performed, so all your data will be destroyed. If you haven't done a backup yet, you can press the power button, reboot to normal and save all the data you need. After that, return to the bootloader.

Type the following command:

./fastboot flashing unlock

A dialog box will appear asking if you are sure about the unlock. Press the volume control up and then the power button to confirm the unlock.

./fastboot reboot-bootloader

It is recommended that you reboot the bootloader to verify that it is working properly before proceeding to the next step.

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Flashing a stock image or over-the-air updates

The loader is unlocked and you can install the update. To find the installation image, open the Android Factory Images page, find your model, and download the latest version of the image. Then you can unzip the file to the Platform Tools folder that you downloaded earlier. Thanks to this, you do not have to manually type the path to different files when installing the software.

Alternatively, you can simply drag and drop files into the terminal window to copy the path to it. Make sure you are still in the bootloader menu and check that it is definitely unlocked.

Then make sure your computer is communicating with your smartphone or tablet. Your device's serial number should be displayed there. Then you can start the update process.

./fastboot devices

Once you've verified the connection between your phone and your computer, you can start installing the image.

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Installing a complete image

First, you need to flash the updated bootloader using the following command:

./fastboot flash bootloader [bootloader file] .img

You will not see anything on the screen of your device, but a dialog box should appear in the terminal or command line. When the bootloader installation is complete, you need to reboot back to the bootloader menu to check that it works correctly:

./fastboot reboot-bootloader

Next, you need to update the modem if your smartphone or tablet has mobile support.

./fastboot flash radio [radio file] .img
./fastboot reboot-bootloader

Now it's time to put an image of the system itself.

Warning: the following command will erase data on the device:

./fastboot -w update [image file] .zip

After that, the device will reboot and boot normally. Since all data has been deleted, it will take longer to download. You will have to complete the process of setting up the device, as when you first turn it on after purchase.

If you don't want to enter commands manually, there are system image scripts in the archive that will do most of the work yourself. Flash-all files automate bootloader, modem and system image firmware. The problem may be that you first need to make sure the bootloader menu is open and the bootloader is unlocked. If not, the scripts will not work.

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Installing an update over the air

If you've never manually changed parts of your storage or deleted files from your Pixel or Pixel 2, you can flash the update file over the air. This is a little more complicated than the previous section, since you will need to use adb and fastboot. Use a good USB 2.0 or 3.0 cable and the primary connector on your computer. This may be safer than installing a factory image of the system, since everything happens automatically here, and the data on the device is not deleted.

First, check that an over the air update is available to install on your device. If so, complete the installation. If not, download the file for your device from the page Android Full OTA Images and save it to the folder where adb is stored. This file does not need to be unzipped.

In fastboot mode, check if there is a connection between the computer and smartphone, as before. Then you need to go to recovery mode. Hold down the power button and press the volume up button once.

Here you can go to the third-party installation mode, where you can install the update over the air via USB. To enter third-party installation mode, select the Apply update from ADB command.

Next, you need to check that the computer can see the smartphone through the debug bridge in fastboot mode. Enter the command:

adb devices

You should see the serial number of your smartphone and the word sideload in the command prompt window. If so, proceed to the next step. If not, check if ADB is working and make sure you have the latest tools Android for your operating system and the latest drivers if you are using Windows.

If the computer and smartphone are communicating as expected, type the following line:

adb sideload [ota file] .zip

The update will be transferred and installed via the USB cable. Never disconnect the USB cable during this operation, even if you think something is stuck or not working. Wait for a message about the successful completion of the process or an error appears in the computer command window. Sooner or later it will appear.

When the update installation is complete, select the Reboot system now command to reboot to normal operation.

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Return to Android Oreo

If you don't like the new version of the system, or something does not work correctly, you can return to Android Oreo. Follow the steps above with two changes: you no longer need to unlock the bootloader and you need to download the Oreo image Android from Google.

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