Android 11 is now available in public beta form, giving users the chance to test Google’s upcoming software ahead of the full version’s release in September.
The second build of the software, known as Beta 2, is now available to download. Among the new features included in this version are a new ‘Now playing’ button, simplified media and recent app controls and support for audio in the native screen recorder.
Here’s how to install the beta for yourself, provided you own a compatible device.
Which phones can get Android 11?
As with any developmental build of Android, there are prerequisites for being able to access the beta in the first place. Right now, it’s limited to Google’s own Pixel devices, but more phones from other manufacturers may join the roster soon.
This is the first major Android release that excludes the original Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, while a the mid-range Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have been added into the lineup. The full list of compatible devices is below:
- Pixel 2
- Pixel 2 XL
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 3a
- Pixel 3a XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 4 XL
How to download Android 11
Provided you’ve got a compatible device, next you’ll have to hop on over to Google’s Android Beta signup page.
Once there, make sure you’re signed in with the Google account you want to use for this beta (you can swap accounts using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the page) and then click/tap the ‘view your eligible devices‘ button in the blue banner near the top of the page.
You’ll be pushed down the page where you should then see an image of your compatible devices. Underneath the phone you want to use, click/tap ‘+ Opt in‘.
You’ll be presented with the terms of your access to the public beta, along with a warning about the inherent instability of beta builds and that Google doesn’t accept any responsibility if anything goes wrong.
As well as agreeing to the terms of the beta, which is compulsory to advance, you also have the option to sign up for updates on the programme itself and receive developer-focused updates if they’re of interest.
Check the corresponding tick boxes and finally click/tap ‘Join beta‘ (some people are presented with a ‘could not enrol’ message at this point – one roundabout fix is to tick all three checkboxes and simply unsubscribe to the newsletters afterwards).
If everything goes well, you’ll see a message on-screen saying ‘device enrolled‘ with directions to download the beta release of Android 11.
You’ll either see a new notification on your device prompting you to download the beta or you can check by heading into Settings > System > Advanced > System update.
If nothing appears at first, you simply have to be patient – the beta release should become available to download on your device no more than 24-hours after signing up to the beta programme.
Is this the final version of Android 11?
No, far from it. The second version of Android 11’s Public Beta is now available, but from the final version we’re expecting in September will be much more stable than the build you can download now.
In fact, one of the main reasons Google releases a public beta is for users to road test the software and iron out any issues ahead of the official release.
As such, it’s not recommended that you download it on your primary phone, unless you’re happy to put up with possible issues, including broken functionality.
Want to know what this release brings to the table? Check out our full Android 11 beta hands-on.