How to install the first Android 13 developer preview

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The Google Pixel 6 in Sorta Seafoam color showing the G logo

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Google says Android 13 DP1 will bring several features such as themed icons, a privacy-focused system photos picker, and a new Wi-Fi permission. You can find all the details about Android 13 features at the previous link. But what if you want to actually install this on your phone? Well, you can flash a system image to a compatible phone, and here’s how to do it.

It’s worth stressing that this is indeed the first developer preview never mind a beta version of the software. We wouldn’t recommend using this for your primary phone unless you’re okay with major bugs and other issues.

Editor’s note: The Android 13 DP1 steps above and below are compatible with Google Pixel smartphones from the Pixel 4 and 4a series forward.


Here’s what you need to get started

  • A compatible Pixel 4/4a or later device and a USB cable to connect it to your computer
    • Compatible Pixel phones include the Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, and Pixel 6 Pro.
  • The Android SDK installed on your machine with ADB and Fastboot command successfully working — check the tutorial here

Now for the actual steps.


Download the proper files to install Android 13

Before you get things going, you’ll need to download the appropriate OTA image for your smartphone (here) via your computer. Factory images are available too but generally require the device to be wiped completely, which isn’t the case for OTA images. Furthermore, installing via an OTA image means you’ll automatically get new developer preview versions and betas over-the-air. Our instructions below also reflect the OTA process.


Boot into recovery mode on your phone

Google Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6 chassis side by side

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Once you’ve downloaded the file, you need to reboot your phone into Recovery Mode to apply the OTA image. Then, you’ll be ready to install the Android 13 developer preview.

  1. First, shut off your phone.
  2. Next, hold down Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time.
  3. The bootloader menu will now show up. Use volume buttons to scroll down to Recovery Mode.
  4. Select Recovery Mode by clicking the power button.
  5. You’ll be presented with an Android robot with an exclamation mark on it. Now you’ll press the power button and volume up button for about a second.
  6. Release the volume up button will send you fully into recovery.
  7. Next, use the volume buttons and scroll down to Apply update from ADB. Push the power button to select the option.
  8. Lastly, you’ll see a blank screen telling you how to sideload an OTA.

Prepare your PC to install Android 13

Now that your phone is ready, it’s time to make the magic happen.

  1. Connect your handset to your PC via USB cable. Remember, your PC needs to have ADB tools installed.
  2. On Windows, enter Command Prompt. On Linux or Mac, you’ll want to use Terminal. For Windows users, make sure you navigate to wherever you’re storing the folder.
  3. Next, you must enter adb sideload for Windows or ./adb sideload for Mac/Linux.
  4. Now you’ll want to enter the name of the .zip folder from before and hit enter.
  5. Once completed, your phone will return to Recovery Mode, and you can remove the USB cable.
  6. Go to Reboot Now with the volume keys and press the power button.

That’s it. If everything went okay, you were able to install Android 13 successfully.

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