How to install Android Q on your smartphone right now

Google has released Android Q beta 3, which you can download right now in order to get an early look at the next version of the Android operating system that’s due to launch later this year, and get to grips with its biggest new features. Better still, you no longer need to own a Pixel phone to get involved.

This short guide has you all you need to know to download the Android Q beta, including smartphone compatibility and sign-up instructions. While there’s no news yet on what Google plans to call Android Q, here are our best (and worst) guesses.

Related: Android Q features

Android Q phones − How to download the Android Q beta

All versions of the Android Q beta have been open to users of the following phones:

The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will become eligible in June.

The easiest way to get the Android Q beta on your Pixel is by visiting this page − 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.

As of May 7, you can also download the Android Q beta on the following non-Google devices:

(**On May 19 it emerged that Google’s parent company Alphabet has suspended any business that “requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing”. 

Existing Huawei devices will continue to receive Android updates, but it appears that future Huawei devices will either use a completely different operating system, or a limited version of Android. Huawei Mate 20 Pro users can still install the Android Q beta, but we’d recommend waiting for more updates on the situation before signing up.)

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 like Sony, Nokia, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Essential get their devices ready for Android Pie faster than in previous years.

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.

“The current release contains significant behavior changes that affect apps in particular. The latest updates around isolated storage may cause issues with apps that access photos, videos, media, or other files stored on your device, such as when browsing or sharing in social media apps.

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.”

How to set up an Android Q beta emulator

You can also try the Android Q beta out using the official Android Emulator. To try it out this way, 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.

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