The latest developer preview for Android 13 is available for download. Here’s what you should know

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You can preview Android 13 on Google Pixel.

Andrzej Hoyle / topwatchbest

Last month, Google announced the release of a preview Android 13 for developers, and the search giant has released its first developer preview update – Android 13 Developer Preview 2. This latest version will introduce several new color themes, improved privacy and security features, focused notifications, lock and home screen updates, and more.

Google plans to release Android 13 previews for much of 2021, with several developer preview releases in winter, beta releases in spring and summer, and a final release in fall. While these pre-release versions of Android 13 are primarily for developers, so they can try out the upcoming features we’re working on, even if you’re not a developer, you can still get this version of Android 13 right now.

As long as you have a compatible phone – which currently means it has to be one of the few Google pixel phones – you can connect your device to your computer and use the Google Android Flash Tool to easily download and install Android 13 Developer Preview.

Note that, as with all pre-releases, the Android 13 developer preview can be unstable at times, so if you still want to install it, it’s best to do so on the backup phone if it’s available, rather than on your primary device. There may be bugs and other issues that break functionality, so don’t try this on a phone you rely on.

If you don’t mind, we can continue. Here’s how to download and install Android 13 Developer Preview on your phone.

Note: If you already have Android 13 Developer Preview 1, just go to Settings > System > System update and update wirelessly. If you don’t have Android 13, follow the steps below.

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Google Pixel 6 Pro is currently one of the few devices that is compatible with Android 13 Developer Preview.

Google

What phones is Android 13 Developer Preview available for?

Google is expected to release Android 13 this fall. During this time, it will be available on a wide variety of Android phones, but for now, you can only install Android 13 Developer Preview on a few compatible Pixel devices:

  • Pixel 4
  • Pixel 4 XL
  • Pixel 4A
  • 4A 5G pixel
  • Pixel 5
  • Pixel 5A with 5G
  • Pixel 6
  • Pixel 6 Pro

If your device is not on this list, you have to wait for later versions of Android 13, whether it’s public beta or public. It is also possible that other phones will gain access to the developer preview or beta release at a later date.

Back up your Android device first

Now that you have a compatible Android device, you need to back up your phone. By default, your Pixel should automatically back up when you connect to Wi-Fi and your phone is idle and charges for 2 hours, but you can always do it manually. Depending on the size of your phone’s backup, you may need the paid version Google One for this method, but if not google drive should be OK.

To back up your Pixel, go to Settings > Google > Create a backup and tap Backup Now. Depending on the last backup and the number of applications and files to back up, this process can take up to several minutes. After the backup is done, you can start the process of downloading and installing Android 13.

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Back up your phone before installing Android 13 Developer Preview.

Nelson Aguilar / topwatchbest

Now you need to enable USB debugging and OEM unlocking

To install Android 13 on your Pixel, you’ll need to connect your phone to your computer via USB, which requires Pixel unlocking and USB debugging enabled. While it’s fairly easy to unlock your phone to enable USB debugging, you’ll need to unlock developer options first.

1. To unlock developer options, go to Settings > About the phone and then touch Build number seven times. Enter your password when prompted and a new Developer Options menu will appear in the System Settings.

2. Now turn on USB debugging. Go to Settings > System > Developer options and turn it on USB debugging. In the displayed notification that briefly describes what USB debugging is for, press okay.

3. While you’re still in developer options, turn it on OEM unlocking. This unlocks the device’s bootloader which loads the operating system. After unlocking, you will be able to select a different operating system to run on, in this case Android 13.

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You need to enable USB debugging and OEM unlocking first before you can connect your phone to the computer to install Android 13.

Nelson Aguilar / topwatchbest

Flash your device with Android Flash Tool in Chrome

There are two ways to flash the Android 13 Developer Preview system image on your Pixel with your computer, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll be using the Android Flash tool which only works on certain web browsers like Chrome. Your computer must have 10 GB of free space for this to work.

If everything is fine, connect your Pixel to your computer via USB, unlock your device and go to Android Flash Tool website in Chrome and follow these steps:

1. Click first Get started at the bottom of the page.

2. Then click Allow ADB access in the pop-up that appears (if there are any ad blockers, disable them).

3. Now click Add new deviceselect your device from the list and press To combine.

4. On Pixel, check the box next to it Always allow from this computer and then touch Allow to give Android Flash access to your phone.

5. Back on the computer, click Developer view 2 under Popular builds.

6. Click here install build then click Confirm.

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Install Android 13 Developer Preview 1 using the Android Flash tool.

Nelson Aguilar / topwatchbest

A popup that appears will warn you that installing Android 13 will factory reset your phone, but that’s not a problem if you’ve backed up your Pixel. If you haven’t already, do it now. Also, make sure you don’t touch your phone or disconnect it from your computer during this process as this may lock your phone (make it unresponsive and unusable). If you get another popup on your PC saying Android 13 build has been approved, please do so to continue the process.

Now do the following:

1. Hit Beginning in a pop-up window that will appear on your computer.

2. Back on Pixel, use the volume keys to select Unlock the bootloader then press the side key to restart the phone.

3. The software download will start, which may take several minutes depending on your internet connection.

4. After the installation process is complete, click Beginning in a pop-up window that will appear on your computer.

5. Back on Pixel, use the volume keys to switch to Lock the bootloader and then press the side key.

6. Finally, press on the computer Ready and the phone will restart as usual.

If everything is successful, Android Flash Tool should say “Installation Complete”. This means that Android 13 Developer Preview has been installed and you can safely disconnect the Pixel from your computer.

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If all goes well, you’ll see the Install complete option is the current state in Android Flash.

Nelson Aguilar / topwatchbest

You can now use Android 13 on your Pixel

When your Pixel restarts, you’ll see a notification saying you’re now using Android 13. Developer Preview. Hit okay then set up your phone just like a brand new phone, which means connected to Wi-Fi, copying apps and data from the latest backup by Google, accepting terms, setting a password and so on.


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