How to install Android Pie 9 on your Pixel

Google has officially unleashed Android 9 Pie with all of its sweet new goodies. For us Android geeks, that means it’s a busy day of frantically hitting the update button or taking things into our own hands. If you’re looking to get Google’s latest sweet treat on your Pixel phone then keep reading as we go through your options.

Downloading the OTA

This is by far the simplest and easiest way to get Android Pie running on your device. If you were already running the Android P beta on your Pixel then you’re almost there. Start by going into System, System Update, and Check for update. That’s it, you’re done, easy peasy.

If you are currently running Oreo on your Pixel device then you’ll have to do one extra step. In this case, head over to the Android beta portal, sign into your Google account, and then opt-in to the beta program. After completing this step you’ll have to update your phone as stated above until you’re on the final version of Android Pie.

Manually flashing the OTA or full system image

Some people like a challenge or maybe you’re just impatient, and we couldn’t blame you. For that reason, you might want to take matters into your own hands and flash the update manually.

Before we get started it is important to note if you aren’t familiar with ADB or comfortable using the command line this could damage your phone. For those of you with previous experience or willing to take the risk, please read on.

ADB and Unlocking

To start off you’re going to need the Android SDK for your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. If you need any help you can follow this tutorial. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the Android SDK, you’ll need to locate the ADB and fastboot files in the platform-tools folder. Next, you’re going to need to enable developer options and unlock your bootloader.

To do this follow these steps.

  1. Open the settings menu and scroll down to About Phone.
  2. Locate the build number and tap on it 7 times until you get the message, You are now a developer!
  3. Back out of this menu and there should now be a new entry in the settings for Developer options.
  4. Enter into Developer options and enable USB debugging.
  5. Plug your device into your computer and accept the prompt when asked to allow USB debugging. You can also choose to allow this from now on to skip this prompt in the future.

Next, we need to unlock your bootloader. You can do this manually on the phone but since we already have the phone connected to the computer let’s do it with an ADB command. First, you’ll need to open the command prompt and navigate to the platform-tools folder. Then you’ll need to open your command prompt in this folder and enter these commands.

Warning this will wipe your device

Remember after you complete this process your device will be fully wiped including all of your files. You must back up anything you want to save before beginning. 

adb devices

This should return a string of characters if your phone is connected and detected. If so, then you can continue with the next commands. If it does not then try unplugging your phone and plugging it back in and repeating the command.

adb reboot bootloader

The phone will reboot and don’t worry that’s what we wanted to happen. Afterward, you’ll be in the bootloader menu and you should see your phone is locked unless it has previously been unlocked. If it says unlocked you’re good to go but if not you’ll need to enter this command to unlock it.

fastboot flashing unlock

Make sure to confirm it by using the volume keys to highlight yes and pressing the power button. Now the bootloader will reboot again and before moving onto the next step you’ll need to enter this command.

fastboot reboot

Flashing the images with flash all

Now that you’ve made it this far you’re almost done. In order to complete the process, you’ll need to download the full Android 9 Pie image for your device or the OTA image. After the download is complete you’ll need something to extract those files, we recommend 7-Zip. You should be all prepared to follow the next and final set of steps to get Android Pie on your device.

  1. Return to your terminal window and enter the command fastboot devices this should return a string of characters like earlier and confirms your phone is connected.
  2. Extract the Android Pie image you downloaded. It should be a .tgz file and will leave you with a .tar file. Now extract the .tar file into the platform-tools folder where ADB and fastboot reside.
  3. The folder should now have several new files including a flash-all.bat for Windows users and flash-all.sh for Linux users. All you have to do now is double click one of these depending on your OS and sit back and wait.
  4. This should take a while so please do not disconnect your phone until it has completed installation. Once your phone reboots you can unplug it from the computer and enjoy.

Flashing the images through ADB

  1. Begin in the bootloader menu of your phone where we unlocked your device. From here you want to enter the command fastboot devices to make sure you are connected. As long as it returns a string of characters you are good to go.
  2. Next, you will flash the bootloader with this command fastboot flash bootloader [name of bootloader file].img
  3. After this process has completed in the terminal window you will need to reboot your bootloader again with fastboot reboot-bootloader
  4. Now time to flash the updated radios with this command fastboot flash radio [radio file name].img
  5. Reboot the bootloader again using fastboot reboot-bootloader
  6. Finally, we can flash the system image fastboot flash -w [image filename].zip

The installation process will take a while and the first time it boots up will take longer than usual. Don’t panic, just let it do its thing and sooner or later you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of all your labor.

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