Android 14 is out. Kind of. Google is known for testing its Android releases prior to formally announcing them at its annual Google IO event in May, and this release is no exception. Though the developer preview came out first, it's the public beta that gets people truly excited, as larger and more obvious changes make their appearance known. It’s also far easier to use and you’ll never have to hear words like 'emulator' or 'GSI' (Generic System Image).
To get Android 14 right now, you’ll need one of a number of the best Pixel phones to get in on the action.
Google’s Android 14 release is available for the Pixel 4a 5G, 5, 5a, 6, 6 Pro, 6a, 7, and 7 Pro. Older phones – including the Pixel 4a – are no longer supported and thus would not be able to download the update.
Quick steps to downloading the Android 14 beta on your Google Pixel
- Check that you have an eligible Pixel phone
- Enroll your phone in the Android 14 beta program on the Android Beta site
- On your enrolled Google Pixel phone, check for updates and download
Android 14 is expected to build on the features Google introduced with Android 12, 12L and 13. This means that we'll be seeing a lot more Material Design, interconnectivity between devices like tablets and smartwatches, and improved support for large screens and foldables. That's all Google's really confirmed anyway. We'll learn more at Google IO 2023 in May.
Tools & requirements
- Your eligible Google Pixel phone
- A few minutes to an hour
Google has made downloading the Android 14 beta especially easy if you’re on a Google Pixel phone. Though other Android phone makers will probably get involved in the future – based on past precedent, you’ll have to hear those dreaded words we mentioned above like GSI before you can get involved.
With Google, it's as easy as opening up a website and clicking a button. Here’s how to get started.
1. Check that you have an eligible Google Pixel phone
You'll need to check that you have an eligible Google Pixel phone before you can jump in. The current crop of phones – as specified by Google – include the Google Pixel 4a 5G, 5, 5a, 6, 6 Pro, 6a, 7 and 7 Pro. Though Google now offers Android security updates for up to five years after release, it still only limits Android OS updates to three years after release.
This means that even if an Android update is due to be released in September of this year and your phone was released in September three years ago, Google will not be updating it. This is what is happening with the Pixel 4a, even though it is technically in the same generation as the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5.
2. Enroll your Google Pixel phone into the Android 14 beta programme
Next, you'll need to enroll your phone into the Android 14 beta program via the website. To do this, you’ll need to open the Android beta site with the same Google account that’s signed into your eligible Google Pixel phone.
Once there, you should see your phone listed under ‘Your Eligible Devices.’ Select it and acknowledge the risks involved to proceed. After this, you will then be instructed to update your phone.
3. Check for updates and download
Once enrolled, check for updates on your Google Pixel phone. This is done by going to Settings > System > System Update. If you’ve enrolled into the Android 14 Beta program, you will now be presented with a screen warning you about bugs and the need to hard reset your Android phone to return to a stable version of Android upon detection of the update.
Once you acknowledge and accept the download, you will be updated to the Android 14 beta, pending a restart. As with all Android updates, it will go much faster on your Pixel if you’re not using it. If you’re patient, waiting for it to download in the background and offering you the option to instal upon completion is preferable.
Why would might not want to update your Pixel to Android 14 just yet
Though beta updates are often fun and filled with fresh, promising new features, it is best to avoid them when they are in their earliest stages. The current beta for the Pixel, for example, doesn’t offer much. You can’t even get betas for other Android phones just yet, only Pixels at the time of writing. To top it all off, we don’t even know what’s going to be in Android 14 just yet. We have an idea or several additions, based on leaks and Google’s brief teaser in its Android 14 beta release blog, but you’d need to wait for Google IO to get the full picture.
In our experience, Google has often stabilized Android beta updates by the third or fourth release. This Android beta program is estimated to move very fast, with Google seeing a final beta release in July. You can track Android 14 ‘s progress on our frequently-updated hub and jump in on the update when you feel the time is right.
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