Google has finally revealed the name of Android P and it is called Pie. The Android 9 Pie is the newest version of Google’s mobile operating system that is being rolled out to Google Pixel and Google Pixel 2 devices. This is the final version of Android P that brings some of the features that were previously demoed as part of Android beta program.
The biggest change with Android 9 Pie is the redesigned user interface that gets rid of three navigation buttons and uses gestures. The gesture interface being released with Android 9 is not really as smooth as the one seen on Apple iPhone X but it shows the direction in which Google is heading, especially when all premium smartphones have started offering edge-to-edge display design. Apart from the redesigned interface, Android 9 Pie also brings a new feature called Digital Wellbeing which will show the number of times you unlock the device and the amount of screen time with individual apps.
Digital Wellbeing is available as beta for Pixel phones and will be available for general public later this fall. Google has tweaked the overall design elements by adding rounded icons and colored interface within settings. Other features include a rotation lock that shows up when you rotate the device even if the auto-rotate icon is disabled. There are a number of such sweet touches within the operating system, which we will delve into at a later stage. For now, if you have a Google Pixel or Pixel 2, then here is how to get the taste of newest Google dessert.
Method 1: Download the OTA update
The easiest way to get Android 9 Pie on a Google Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone is by downloading the OTA update. Last evening, Google announced that it has started rolling out the update for its Pixel smartphones. In order to get the update, Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL users can head to System > System Update > Check for updates. The update is being rolled out in a staged manner and if it is available for your Pixel smartphone then the notification will show up on your device.
The update should download automatically and once it is finished, you will be asked to reboot the device. Since this is a new feature update, the download size will vary from over 1GB to around 1.2GB. If you are running Android P beta then the download size could be as small as under 50MB. When the phone reboots after all the updates, you will be running Android Pie.
Method 2: Flashing Android 9 Pie on your device
If you are not patient enough to wait for over-the-air update then you can always flash your device for newest version of Android. The process of flashing takes more time and will require some effort and attention. The first step in this process is to download proper files that match your device. Google has already posted Android Pie factory images and OTA files for all four Pixel smartphones. Once you have downloaded the necessary files, here is how to flash your device.
In order to flash the device, you will first need to get a compatible device and a USB cable to connect your device to your computer. You will also need to install Android SDK on your computer with ADB and Fastboot command support. Also install a software like 7zip to handle .tgz and .tar files and then unlock the bootloader.
Steps to unlock the bootloader
1. First step is to enable developer options by going to “About Phone” and tapping “Build Number” seven times. Once done, there will be a pop-up message that will read “You are now a developer.”
2. Now, enable USB debugging and OEM unlock on your device in the “Developer options” section.
3. Plug in the compatible Pixel smartphone to your PC with a USB cable.
4. Open the command window on your PC.
5. Boot your Pixel device into bootloader mode using the following command: adb reboot bootloader (if it requests you to authorize this, say yes).
6. When your device boots into bootloader mode, type in this command: fastboot flashing unlock.
7. A confirmation screen will pop up. Press the volume up key to highlight yes and the power button to start the bootloader unlocking process.
8. Once unlocked, your device will reboot into bootloader mode. Now you simply need to type in fastboot reboot to finish the process.
How to install Android P on non-Pixel smartphone
Time to flash Android Pie on your Pixel device
While the process flashing a ROM using proper files sounds straightforward, the success is not always guaranteed. So, it is recommended to be carried out only if you have a strong heart. Here are the instructions:
1. Go to the bootloader menu to test that your device and PC are communicating by typing in fastboot devices — if it comes back with your device’s serial number, you have established communication.
2. Go to the folder where you have downloaded the factory images for your Pixel device. Now, use software like 7zip to extract the .tgz file you downloaded and then again to extract the .tar file you extracted from the .tgz file. This process of unzipping will create a folder with several files in it.
3. Now, copy all these files and paste them in the platform-tools folder in the Android SDK on your computer. This folder can be found in Program Files (x86) folder on Windows.
4. There are two flash-all files. Windows users should double-click the one that has the gear logo and says “Windows Batch File” on the right. If you are using Linux then double-click the flash-all.sh.
5. A box will pop up and you should see the installation taking place. While this is going on, do not unplug your device for any reason.
6. When the installation process is complete, your device will automatically reboot. You can then disconnect your device from your computer and start using Android 9 Pie.