Google decided to take Android 9 Pie out of the oven a little early, and while there are certain parts that could use a bit more baking, it is out of beta and ready to install on Pixel and Pixel 2 handsets. Well, sort of. Google is not pushing Android 9 Pie out to the masses yet, but has made available the source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
What that means is you can download and install Android 9 Pie on your Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, or Pixel 2 XL by manually sideloading it onto your device. That is a different process than just heading into settings and fetching it as an over-the-air (OTA) update. There is some prep work involved, especially if you have never done this sort of thing before.
Ready to get started? Head here and download the Android 9 Pie build for your specific device and take note of the filename. For the purpose of this guide, we will call it Pie.zip. Once you have done that, follow these steps:
- Download the Android SDK and install it (you just need the adb and fastboot files located in the Platform Tools folder).
- On your Pixel device, go to Settings > About Phone/Tablet and tap on Build number seven times (you should see a dialog box saying you are in developer mode).
- Go back to Settings and tap on Developer options. Make sure both the developer options/OEM unlock and USB debugging are turned on.
- Connect your Pixel device to your PC via USB and tap OK to Allow USB debugging.
- Open up the Command Prompt on your PC.
- Type adb reboot bootloader to boot your Pixel device into bootloader mode.
- When your Pixel boots into bootloader mode, type fastboot flashing unlock.
- Hold the Power button and press Volume Up once to make the recover menu appear.
- Go into Sideload mode by selecting Apply Update from ADB.
- Type adb devices. It should now say “sideload” next to your device in the Command Prompt.
- Type adb sideload Pie.zip (“Pie.zip” will be whatever the name of the Android 9 Pie update you downloaded before following these steps, so change the command accordingly).
- Select Reboot System Now to reboot your device, then disable USB debugging once it is finished updating.
Be sure to back up any important data before embarking on this process. Also be aware that things can wrong when mucking around with developer tools and commands, so put in your research before grabbing a slice of warm pie from Google. If you want to play it safe, just hang tight until Google starts pushing it out as an OTA update later this month, presumably starting August 20.