As you might know, the Essential Phone is eligible for the Android P Beta program which means that you can start testing the latest Android build on your own smartphone. Now, if you are wondering how to successfully install this firmware on your phone, you are in the right place. During this step by step guide we will be detailing the steps that must be followed in order to set up Android P Beta on the Essential Phone, so do check all the lines from below for further info.
The Android P beta packages for your handset are officially available and can be downloaded without problems from the Essential website – we linked the page below too. From the same website you can afterwards download the files needed if you want to go back to stock or if you want to repair your device, so from this perspective you have nothing to worry about.
Anyway, what we will do now is detailing the update process that can ensure the Android P Beta firmware on your Essential Phone. As already stated, this is going to be an official operation, supported by your OEM and by Google. You won’t be risking in losing access to built-in apps but you will be losing your phone’s warranty – unfortunately, that happens because you first need to unlock the bootloader on your Essential Phone (this is a must as on a locked bootloader you cannot test the early release of Android P).
The beta build of Android P isn’t meant to be used on a daily basis. The firmware is stable but not fully stable, meaning that it’s still under development stage – the devs are waiting for your feedback in order to successfully address all the bugs and issues that are still there. So, resume the guidelines from below only if you are an experienced Android user and only for testing purpose – afterwards, you can just go back to stock Android OS in order to enjoy a smooth Android experience on your Essential Phone (in that respect, a good idea is to make a Nandroid backup on your device before doing anything else – that process will save the current Android software that runs on your phone).
A general backup is optional but highly recommended – it’s unlikely to lose something while installing Android P, but since the risk is still there, the best is to be precautious. So, backup your Essential Phone by choosing to use built-in cloud storage services, by syncing files with your Google Account or by going on Google Play and downloading already tested backup and restore tools. The idea is to save the stuffs that might be required afterwards – such as contacts, call logs, texts, images, videos, audio files, market apps, internet settings, calendar info, saved passwords, IMEI / NVRAM data and so on.
You have to check how much power is there left on your Essential Phone before starting to apply the steps available below. So, verify the battery status and if the power left will be lower than 50% you should first plug in the charger. Do that because otherwise you risk in soft-bricking your Android device – different malfunctions can be caused if your phone will get switched off unexpectedly during the update process.
A computer is going to be needed since you will have to download the Android P Beta firmware there; the update operation will also be initiated from your PC. Now, on this computer you first have to install your Essential Phone drivers and the Android SDK toolkit. For setting up Android SDK you can use: learn how to install Android SDK on Windows or learn how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux.
On your handset you have to enable the USB Debugging feature. This field is located within Developer Options (under Menu – > Settings) – you can enable Developer Options easily, by tapping repeatedly on Built Number (after 7 or 10 repeated taps you should receive the ‘you are a developer’ message).
Note: remember to unlock your Essential Phone bootloader before starting the steps from this tutorial.
How to Install Android P Beta on Essential Phone
- Access the official Essential website page – go here.
- Download the Android P Beta OTA package and save this file on desktop.
- Rename the OTA (if needed) into ‘ota.zip’.
- Select this renamed file and transfer it inside the Android SDK folder.
- From the same place open a command prompt window on your computer – press and hold the Shift keyboard key and while doing so, right-click on any blank space; then select ‘open command prompt window here’.
- Switch on your smartphone and connect it with your computer via USB cable.
- Inside the cmd window type ‘adb devices’ and press Enter.
- Now, your Essential Phone should be recognized and displayed on your PC (under cmd window); if not, reinstall your phone’s drivers on your PC and retry.
- Next, in the same cmd window type ‘adb reboot recovery’ and press Enter; your smartphone should automatically reboot into recovery mode.
- Use the recovery mode menu on your handset; from there choose and select ‘apply update from ADB’.
- At this point, in the cmd window execute this command: ‘adb sideload ota.zip’.
- That should be all; now the Android P Beta firmware should be automatically installed on your Essential Phone.
- When done, close the cmd window, remove the USB cord and reboot your phone one last time.
- If after this last reboot problems occur (for example, if a boot loop happens) return to recovery from where perform a full wipe – choose to make a hard reset and clear app data cache by picking up ‘wipe data factory reset’ followed by ‘wipe cache partition’.
That’s all. The Android P Beta should now run on your Essential Phone so you can start testing the new firmware without problems. Don’t forget to share your experience with the devs and also with us and with other users who might also want to complete the steps explained above – you can do that by using our comments field from below and through the Essential official webpage. Stay close for further update opportunities available for your Essential Phone and also take a look over our ‘how to’ section in order to access other similar Android related tips and tricks.