At long last Google’s rolling out the final version of Android 11 to Pixel users. And while you might be tempted to install the software right away, you’ll want to make sure you prepare yourself, and your device, for the move from Android 10 to Android 11.
The Android 11 beta is finally over and Google’s pushed the final Android 11 build to Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, and Pixel 4a users.
If you’ve used the Android 11 beta on a Pixel phone, you already know what to expect. If you haven’t, there’s a lot to get excited about. Android 11 is packed with new features including built-in screen recording, improved notifications, and a variety of under-the-hood improvements.
While some Pixel owners will want to install the Android 11 update as soon as the download appears, others will benefit from taking their time.
Android 11 went through an extensive beta, but problems have slipped through the cracks. It’s difficult to predict what kind of performance you’ll get out of the new software so it’s important to prepare for the download.
In this guide we’ll take you through some steps you might want to take before you install Android 11 on your Pixel 2, Pixel XL 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, or Pixel 4a.
These are the steps we typically take before installing new Android software on our devices and they could help you avoid a headache or two.
Backup Your Files
Before you download Android 11 onto your phone, make sure you all of your important data is backed up. Data loss issues are pretty rare these days, but it’s always important to check before you transition from one operating system to another.
First you’ll want to make sure Auto Backup is turned on for all of your important data. If you aren’t sure how to do this, Google offers in-depth Auto Backup tutorials that will help you.
Dig into those tutorials if you need to, double check all of your files (photos, videos, game saves, etc), and then move forward.
Get Familiar with Android 11
If you’ve skipped any of Google’s monthly updates and/or you haven’t been following Android 11’s path to release, make sure you get familiar with these changes before download it. This way you aren’t caught off guard by the changes.
Google’s rolled out a steady stream of Android 10 updates in 2020. The company’s posted the contents of each update on its Android Security Bulletin. If you haven’t been keeping up, we suggest going over the updates you skipped.
If you’re currently running the latest version of Android 10 we encourage you to get comfortable with Android 11’s changes before you upgrade.
Google’s released a guide that goes over some of Android 11’s biggest changes and it’s worth a look if you didn’t follow the beta or tune into any of the company’s announcements.
Gather Your Login Information
There’s a chance the installation will log you out of some of your important applications and services so you’ll want to have your login information handy.
If Android 11 logs you out of your core apps and services and you don’t know your login information, you might find yourself wasting time tracking down your usernames and passwords. This could lead to unnecessary delays at work, at school, or on a night where you just want to relax.
If aren’t sure you know all your login information or you simply haven’t had to login to Google or any of your other apps or services in awhile, make sure you track down this info before you initiate the Android 11 download and installation.
Dig Into Android 11 Feedback
If you own an older phone like the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL you might want to dig into feedback about Android 11’s performance before you upgrade. New software can cause major problems on older devices.
Digging into feedback from early adopters could alert you to potential benefits and potential problems with your device’s version Android 11. Knowing these things ahead of time will help set proper expectations and help you prepare.
Short term feedback is great, but some of might want to hold out and wait for long term Android 11 feedback from Pixel users around the U.S.
Cleanup Your Pixel’s Storage
The Android 11 update requires a pretty nice chunk of space (it was a 1.58GB on our Pixel 4a) which means some of you might need to delete files to make room.
If you’ve owned your Pixel for a long time you might have a ton of clutter on board. You’ve probably got games you no longer play, movies you no longer watch, photos you no longer look at, and music you no longer listen to.
If you’re running out of free space and want to get Android 11 on board your phone ASAP, make sure you check your internal storage and see how much free space you’ve got.
Even if you have enough room for the download, it might be a good idea to do some cleanup. It could help your Pixel’s overall performance.
Find Fixes for Potential Android 11 Problems
There’s a chance you run into bugs or performance issues after installing Android 11. And that’s why it’s important to be prepared.
We’re already hearing about problems and we expect the list to grow as more people install Google’s software.
Before you download the Android 11 you’ll want to track down fixes for potential bugs and issues. Our list of fixes for common Pixel Android problems is a great place and it highlights fixes for battery issues, Bluetooth, and more. If you can’t find a fix there, take a look at the Pixel Help Forum.
Google’s next Android 11 update probably won’t roll out until next month so you’ll likely be on your own for awhile. Make sure you’re prepared to tackle any problems that popup.
Check With IT
If you use your Pixel for work, you might want to check in with your IT department (if you have one) before you install Android 11 on your phone.
Enterprise problems are common after major Android releases so there’s a chance Android 11 has a negative impact on the apps and services you use at work.
If you don’t have an IT department, it might be a good idea to check in with co-workers using Android 11 and see how the software is treating them.
We also recommend checking the official forums of the app or service, if they exist, to see how others are faring on Android 11.
Check App Reviews and Install Updates
Before you install Android 11 we recommend checking the Play Store for app updates.
If you don’t have automatic updates turned on, and you’ve fallen behind, make sure you dig into the latest updates before you upgrade.
The latest updates for your apps and services might have support for Android 11 on board. That will help keep them stable on the new operating system.
You might also want to read app reviews from Android 11 users. Their feedback could alert you to potential benefits and/or problems with the latest version of the app.
We should see a steady stream of app updates emerge as we push away from Android 11’s release.
Get Familiar with the Downgrade Process
We recommend getting familiar with the Android downgrade process before you install Android 11 on your phone. This way if something goes wrong, and you can’t find a manual fix for the problem, you can immediately drop back to Android 10.
If the Android 11 update starts causing problems on your Pixel and you can’t find a fix for your issues, you could try moving back to Android 10 in an effort to improve your device’s performance.
There are a bunch of resources out there, but this guide is a good one. Bookmark it if you need to.
Decide How to Download Android 11
It could take a few days for Google’s upgrade to hit your device. If you don’t want to wait, you can manually install the update right now.
If you want to manually install Android 11 this guide (for Android 10, but should work with Android 11) will take you step-by-step through the sideload process.
If you’re not comfortable with those instructions, you should wait for the update to arrive Over-the-Air (OTA) from Google. When the update is ready to download and install, your phone will prompt you to install it. You can also check in your Settings.
The manual installation process can cause problems if you aren’t careful. If you aren’t feeling confident in your abilities, wait for the software to get pushed to your phone.
Wait Because the Galaxy S21 Launch is Close
A report from SamMobile claims the Galaxy S21 series will launch in early January with a release in late January or February.
These reports have been backed by a different report out of Korea. This one claims that Samsung will launch the Galaxy S21 series in January with a release coming later in the month.
Leaker Jon Prosser, who has leaked accurate information about unreleased products in the past, says the Galaxy S21 is slated to launch on January 14th.
Prosser also says pre-orders will start on January 14th followed by a release a few weeks later on January 29th.
A report from Reuters throws its weight behind the early release. The publication says Samsung "may launch its flagship Galaxy S smartphones more than a month earlier than expected in a bid to grab market share from Huawei and fend off competition from Apple."
An unnamed Samsung official says because "the market environment is changing rapidly, it is true that it is not possible to guarantee whether the usual unpacking schedule will continue as it is."
Samsung India has also confirmed the Galaxy S21 launch for January 14th. And in a bit of surprise, the company says it's now taking pre-orders for the unannounced devices.
Everything is pointing to an arrival in January. So if you're interested in a new Galaxy S device, you might want to put your credit card away and wait.
One additional note: It looks like the Galaxy S21 series will debut by itself. Korean media believes Samsung's new flagship foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip 2, will arrive later in Q1.
This is notable because the original Galaxy Z Flip debuted alongside the Galaxy S20 series.
So if you're interested in a new Galaxy flagship, and you want to compare the Galaxy S21 to Samsung's new foldable, you might have to wait even longer.
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