Google has officially launched the first beta of Android 15, kicking off the pre-release testing phase for its next major mobile operating system update. This exciting development comes a month before Google I/O 2024, where we expect to see Google’s next Pixel A-series smartphone and more Android 15-related announcements, amongst other stuff.

If you’re already on the Android 14 beta program or have the Android 15 Developer Preview 2 update, then you can skip this guide. You’ll receive the Android 15 Beta 1 update directly over the air. However, if you’re looking to hop on board the Android 15 beta bandwagon from the stable channel, then follow along.

Here’s a heads-up:

  • This beta program is meant for Pixel devices powered by Google’s Tensor chipset, so Pixel 6 and later models are good to go.
  • If you were on Android 15 Developer Preview 1 or Android 14 QPR3 Beta 1, you can’t directly sideload to Beta 1. A quick update to Preview 2 or QPR3 Beta 2 is required first.

How to get Android 15 Beta 1 up and running on your Pixel

There are three ways you can go about getting Android 15 Beta 1 on your Google Pixel smartphone: opt-in, sideload the OTA, or flash the factory image. Flashing the factory image is only recommended if you don’t mind wiping your smartphone completely and starting for scratch. We’d recommend taking the most simple route by opting in the beta program. However, if you can’t be bothered waiting for an OTA update, then you could consider sideloading the OTA file. That said, let’s start with the recommended method first.

The simpler route: Opt-in through the Android beta program

This is the recommended method for most users. It’s straightforward and doesn’t require any technical know-how. Here’s how:

  1. Head over to the official Android beta website and sign in with your Google account.
  2. Select your eligible Pixel device and opt in to the program.
  3. Within an hour or so, you should see an update notification on your phone. Download and install the update, and you’re on Android 15 Beta 1!

google-pixel-update-screen

For the tech-savvy: Sideloading the OTA file or flashing factory image

We’ll first detail how to sideload the OTA file. This method offers faster access to the beta, but it involves technical steps. Make sure you’re comfortable navigating ADB and Fastboot tools before proceeding. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download the Android 15 Beta 1 OTA file from Google’s full OTA image hosting page, ensuring you get the correct version for your Pixel model.
  2. Boot your Pixel into Recovery mode by pressing and holding the Volume Down and Power button together.
  3. Connect your phone to a computer with ADB tools installed.
  4. Use the ADB command – adb sideload [filename.zip] – to sideload the downloaded OTA file.
  5. Reboot your phone once the installation is complete.

Now, if you want to install Android 15 Beta 1 afresh on your Pixel, then you can flash the factory image. Luckily, Google’s Android Flash Tool makes the whole process very user-friendly, and that’s the method we’d suggest using. As expected, you’ll need an unlocked bootloader and adb drivers installed. Once prepared, simply head to the Android Flash Tool website and follow the on-screen instructions.

Remember:

  • Backup your data before sideloading, just in case.
  • Enable “OEM Unlocking” in your Pixel’s Developer Options for additional safety measures. If something goes wrong and the bootloader is locked, you’ll be stuck in a pickle. So I can’t stress enough to ensure “OEM Unlocking” is enabled.

FAQs

Q: Which Pixel devices can install Android 15 Beta 1?

A: Any Pixel phone released since October 2021 with a Tensor chipset is compatible. This includes Pixel 6 and later models, as well as the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet.

Q: Is it safe to install the Android 15 Beta 1?

A: Since it’s beta software, there’s a chance you might encounter bugs or instability. It’s recommended to avoid installing it on your primary device. Although, I’m running it on my primary smartphone and haven’t run into any major issues, yet. But your mileage may vary!

Q: I opted into the beta program but don’t see the update yet. What should I do?

A: Give it some time. Updates can take a while to roll out to all devices. You can also try manually checking for updates in your phone’s settings. Go to Settings > System > Software updates > System update.

Q: Can I downgrade from Android 15 Beta 1 if I have problems?

A: Downgrading is possible but can be a complex process. It might involve wiping your phone’s data. Make sure to research the steps involved before attempting a downgrade.

Dwayne Cubbins
1157 Posts

My fascination with Android phones began the moment I got my hands on one. Since then, I've been on a journey to decode the ever-evolving tech landscape, fueled by a passion for both the "how" and the "why." Since 2018, I've been crafting content that empowers users and demystifies the tech world. From in-depth how-to guides that unlock your phone's potential to breaking news based on original research, I strive to make tech accessible and engaging.

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