How to Install Android P Developer Preview on Pixel Devices

While we previously covered that the Android P Developer Preview Could Be Released in Mid-March, the news was indeed true, and Google has released the Android P Developer Preview For Pixel and Pixel 2 Phones. The new update brings a refreshing design, with features focused towards the developer community. While the company states that the current build is only for developers to upscale their apps to the latest API, interested users can also flash the image on their devices.

Note: I’m installing the Android P Developer Preview 1 on my Pixel 2 XL using a Windows laptop but the process should be similar if not identical for other devices.

Some Things to Know

If you have enrolled your device in the Android Beta program, it’s important to note that beta updates are not supported in the Android O Developer Preview. Also, the process requires you to unlock the bootloader of your device, which will delete all user data.

Flashing the system image will also delete user data, so I’ll recommend you to backup your Android devices. You can check out our detailed article on the different ways to backup an Android device. Also, since this is a very early developer build, you can expect a lot of bugs and issues.

Things You Will Need

  • Android P System Image

First, you will need to download the Android P Developer Preview system image for your device. You can download the images from the official Google website here. Android P Developer Preview is available for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL only.

Pixel Android P Download Links

  • ADB and Fastboot

You will need to have ADB and Fastboot tools on your Windows PC or Mac. You can download ADB and Fastboot here.

  • Android Developer Options

Before you get started with the process, you will have to make sure that “OEM Unlocking” and “USB Debugging” are enabled in Settings->Developer Options.

Unlock Your Device’s Bootloader

To flash the Android P system image, you will need to first unlock your device’s bootloader. To do this, first, connect your Nexus or Pixel to your PC or Mac. Then, head to the path where ADB and Fastboot are installed on your computer. Here, open Command Prompt (press hold Shift and right click to get the option) or Terminal and enter the following commands:

  • To check if the device is connected or not:
adb devices

You will get a prompt on your device asking you to “Allow USB Debugging“. Tap on “Ok”.


  • Next, enter this command to reboot your device into bootloader mode:
adb reboot bootloader

  • Once your device starts up in bootloader mode, enter this command to make sure fastboot recognizes your device:
fastboot devices
  • Then, enter one of the following commands, depending upon your device, to unlock bootloader:
Pixel or Pixel XL: fastboot oem unlock
Pixel 2: fastboot flashing unlock
Pixel 2 XL: fastboot flashing unlock_critical

You should then see a few prompts on your device. Accept it and after a while, your device will be completely wiped and the bootloader will be unlocked.

Flashing Android P Developer Preview Image

Now that you’ve unlocked the bootloader of your device, let’s flash Android P on your Pixel:

  • First, extract the Android P system image you downloaded. Inside the extracted folder, you will find another ZIP file, extract that as well.

  • Once you have extracted all the files, make sure to move them to the ADB and Fastboot folder.
  • Then, make sure your Nexus or Pixel is in the bootloader mode and launch the “flash-all.bat” file. This file should open up Command Prompt, flash all the files and install Android O onto your device.

  • Many people including me have come across errors when executing the batch file. However, there is an alternative way. You can open up Command Prompt here and flash these images one by one via these commands:
fastboot flash bootloader <bootloader file name here>.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot flash radio <radio file name here>.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot flash -w update <image file name here>.zip
fastboot reboot

  • Once the scripts finish, your device will be rebooted and Android P should be installed on your device.

Updating to Android P Developer Preview via ADB Sideload

Many users are reporting unsuccessful installations of the direct flashing of the Android P Developer Preview on their devices. As such, you can sideload the OTA update file of the Android P images via ADB on your device. This method also preserves your data and is personally suggested by us.

Note: Users must be on OPM1.171019.021 (March security patches on 8.1) build for the OTAs to work.

First, download the OTA .ZIP file for your device from the links mentioned below:

Next up, reboot your device to the bootloader menu using the commands mentioned previously. Use the volume down method to browse till “recovery” and then press the power button. Your device will boot to an Android logo with an exclamation mark. To jump past this, press Volume Up and Power at the same time. Now, using the volume buttons, highlight “apply update from ADB” and press the power button.

Now, enter the following command from your PC:

adb sideload <filename of>

That’s it. The update process should begin, and once done, Android P should be installed on your device.

SEE ALSO: Get Android P’s ‘Markup’ Native Screenshot Editor on Any Android Device

Installed Android P Developer Preview on Your Pixel?

Well, that’s how you can install Android P on your Nexus or Pixel smartphone. As I mentioned above, the build is still in a very early development phase, so don’t flash it on your primary device. So, have you installed Android P Developer Preview yet? If you have, do let us know how you like it, in the comments section below.

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