While the Android 11 release date isn’t until later this fall you can try an early developer preview version of Android 11 right now thanks to the beta. Then, more phones from several manufacturers will also be able to test it out sometime in April.
Google’s opened up the Android 11 beta to developers earlier than expected this year, and they’re already on the second release, known as Developer Preview 2. Keep in mind that it’s still only a developer version and the “open public beta” isn’t available quite yet.
Those with a Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are likely tempted to try the Android R beta. It comes with a bunch of exciting new changes including an improved and automatic dark mode, performance enhancements, chat bubbles, improved privacy with tight location access controls and more.
Most of you will probably want to wait for Google to fix some initial beta problems and install it after the 3rd release or 4th release, but others will dive in head-first right now, or in the near future.
If you do decide to install the Android 11 beta, be careful. For one, you have to wipe your phone and erase everything to begin, unless you’re going from the 1st to the second version. Plus, it’s plagued with a variety of little bugs and/or performance issues. Google themselves suggest that only developers install it at this stage, as it isn’t stable for daily use and is pre-release software.
Plus, your mileage may vary and you can’t predict what issues you will or will not encounter, so it’s important to be prepared if you do jump in. And if this is your first time installing a beta, or thinking about it, we recommend waiting for the easier open beta program in April or May.
To help those that do decide to install it today, we’ve put together a quick guide that will walk you through all of the steps we normally take before we install any early software like an Android beta.
Overall this process is fairly quick and painless if you’ve done it before. However, others could spend over an hour getting ready, backing up their device, and being prepared for the process. It might seem silly, or tedious, but taking these steps now will help you avoid problems in the long run.
Backup Your Phone & Data
If there's only one step you do before downloading the Android 11 factory image and jumping into the beta release, it's this one.
Those who choose to manually install Android 11 instead of waiting for the public beta must completely erase their phone and delete everything. This is known as a factory data reset, and it's part of the instructions to install the beta. So, you'll want to backup your phone and all the data, apps, photos, videos and more on your device.
Most of you trying to download early software already know how to backup your data, but if you need assistance, this old guide will get you started. There are several ways to backup whatever is important, and Google's software does a pretty good job of letting you restore most of your apps and data after the Android 11 install, too, so keep that in mind.
Realistically though, Android saves you apps, settings, WiFi logins, passwords and more. So you basically just need to save all your app data, photos, videos, or documents.