Google has just released Android Q beta 2, which you can download right now in order to get an early look at Google’s next mobile operating system that’s due to launch later this year.
This short guide has you all you need to know to download the Android Q beta, including smartphone compatibility and sign-up instructions.
Related: Android Pie phones
Android Q beta phones
Previously, betas such as these were limited to Google’s own Nexus and Pixel devices, but for Android P, other manufacturers put forward their phones for testing, with the likes of Sony, Nokia, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Essential getting involved last year.
Pixel devices are currently the only ones compatible with this particular Android Q beta, but as the process goes on, more and more devices from third-party manufacturers will likely get in on the action too. This process certainly helped phone makers get their devices ready for Android Pie faster than in previous years.
Android Q beta 2 is available to users of the following phones:
You can also try the Android Q beta out using the official Android Emulator. More on this in the section below.
The inclusion of the original Pixel and Pixel XL devices in the beta is something of a surprise, given they weren’t expected to support Android Q. That’s great news for owners of the very first ‘Made by Google’ handsets.
While there’s no news yet on what Google plans to call Android Q, here are our best (and worst) guesses.
How to download the Android Q beta
If you signed up for Android Q beta 1, you don’t need to do anything. Google says the Android Q beta 2 update will come your way soon. Everyone else, read on.
Even if you had been enrolled in the Android P beta program, you need to sign up again to for access to the Android Q beta program. As mentioned above, all you need is a Pixel smartphone of any generation.
However, before you sign up, we recommend backing up the data on the device you plan to update to Android Q. We’d also think twice about running the Android Q beta on your primary smartphone. You can find Google’s list of known issues here.
As Google explains: “The updates that you’ll receive as a part of this program are pre-release versions, and may contain errors and defects that can affect normal functioning of your device. You will not be able to unenroll and revert back to a lower public release version of Android without first wiping all locally saved data on your device. You may also encounter issues restoring a backup.”
The easiest way to get the Android Q beta on your Pixel is by visiting this page.
Here’s where you’ll be able to see if any of your devices is eligible for the beta. If you’re in luck, you’ll see the option to opt in and accept the Android Beta Program Terms of Service.
Once you’ve completed the enrolment process, you’ll start receiving regular over-the-air updates to the latest Android Q beta builds.
How to set up an Android Q beta emulator
To try out the Android Q beta through an Android emulator, Google says you should do the following:
- In Android Studio, select Tools > SDK Manager
- In the SDK Platforms tab, select Show Package Details
- Below Android Q Beta, select a system image such as Google APIs Intel x86 Atom System Image
- In the SDK Tools tab, select the latest version of Android Emulator, and select OK
- Select Tools > AVD Manager and follow the instructions to create a new Android Virtual Device
- Be sure to select a device definition that does not include Play Store, and select Q for the system image
- When you return to the AVD Manager’s list of virtual devices, double-click your new virtual device to launch it
Read more: Best smartphone
How to opt out of the Android Q beta
If you sign up to the Android Q beta but come to regret your decision, you can leave − but this comes at a price.
“If you opt out when your device is running a beta version of Android, all user data on the device will be wiped,” says Google.
“If you choose to stay enrolled until the end of the program, you will graduate from the program and receive an update to the stable public release of Q. Your device will not be wiped.”
When does Android Q launch?
Google says there will be six beta versions in total, with the main Android Q release planned for Q3 2019 (between July and September).
- Beta 1 (initial release, beta)
- Beta 2 (incremental update, beta)
- Beta 3 (incremental update, beta)
- Beta 4 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing, beta)
- Beta 5 (release candidate for testing)
- Beta 6 (release candidate for final testing)
- Final release to AOSP and ecosystem
Have you signed up to the Android Q beta? What are your early impressions? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.