If you didn’t know about the new Android N update, here’s a chance to get yourself acquainted. Android N is the codename for the new Android Operating System update (OS), and there’s an opportunity to download and try it out before it’s made available for commercial release.
The update has caused problems for a small number of users, so make sure you’re willing to take the plunge before you start the download.
The update is packed with new features, so it’s definitely worth downloading if you’re willing to take the risk. However, the preview is only available on selected Nexus devices. If you have a Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 9, Pixel C or the Nexus Player Android TV box you can download the update, but everybody else will have to wait.
With a Stock Nexus Device
If you have a compatible Nexus device that is running on stock software, you can check the Android Beta Program for a fast way to get the preview on your device.
Go to the Android Beta Program website.
Sign in with your Google account information.
You’ll see a list with your available devices linked to your account at the bottom of the screen.
Click the Enroll button to get started.
You should receive a notification on your device in the next few minutes, which will allow you to start the download.
The file is over 1GB, so be sure to have a good internet connection (and enough free space) before you get started.
Once the download is finished, the N update will be installed on your device.
It’s easy enough if you haven’t messed around with the OS or bootloader. You can check the method below for a way to install the preview with custom software installed.
With Custom Firmware Installed
If you’ve spent a little time customizing your device, it’s going to take slightly longer to get the preview for Android N on your Nexus device.
(This method assumes you have some knowledge about the bootloader, and the SDK terminal.)
Install the Android SDK on your computer.
Enable OEM unlock via the Developer Options menu.
You can access the Developer Options menu by tapping your Build number several times. You’ll find the build number by tapping About Phone.
Reboot your device into the bootloader.
Connect your device to the computer.
Depending on your device, type either of these codes into the SDK terminal:
fastboot oem unlock
fastboot flashing unlock
Download the system image, and unpack it to the SDK platform tools directory found on your computer.
Launch Flash all, and the installation will begin on your Nexus device. It should take roughly ten minutes to complete.
Reboot your device when complete.
It’s a roundabout method, but it works if you’re not running the device on stock.
But what if you want to remove the preview from your device? If it’s just too buggy for you, don’t despair, as there are a few methods you can use to uninstall the preview.
You can revert to Marshmallow from the Android Beta Program page. Click Unenroll device to rollback. You can also flash a factory system image onto your device if you would prefer to do it manually.
You should now be able to download and try the new Android N developer preview on your Nexus device.
It’s great that you can give the new Android OS a try, but be aware that it’s far from the finished article. There will be bugs, but it’ll be worth it to check out the multi-window functionality and the other new features. Let us know what you think if you decide to take the plunge!
If we’ve missed an easy way to get the new Android N beta on your device, or you have questions about one of the methods on this list, let us know in the comments below. You can also contact us via Facebook or Twitter.