Google is kicking off the Android 12 Developer Preview today, giving those with a Pixel a very early taste of the upcoming OS update, while setting out the roadmap for when everybody else could look forward to seeing it. It’s a chance to see the new features and APIs coming in the new OS, though for the moment it’s targeted – as the name suggests – at developers wanting to make sure their code works as intended, rather than regular users.
Still, it’s almost certain that some of those users will be jumping onto the free program, eager to get a look at Android 12. As always, the recommendation is that you load the preview onto a non-essential device, since there’s no guarantee of either stability or that everything will actually work.
Developer Previews of Android 12 are expected to run through to April. From May 2020 to around July, Google says, we can expect beta releases with greater stability, though it’s still likely that some glitches will make it through. Android 12 is expected to be stable by around August 2020, with a final release sometime after that.
Of course, that timeline could very well change. Part of what could control that is just how many people actually take part in the preview – and the subsequent beta – and report bugs, incompatibilities, and other issues.
If you want to try out the Android 12 Developer Preview, however, you’ll need to be a Pixel user. Google is offering the update for those with a Pixel 3, 3a, 4, 4a, 4a 5G, or 5, and recommends using the Android Flash Tool to flash an image of Android 12 to that device.
Alternatively, it’s possible to manually install a system image, or indeed to side load Android 12 onto an a Pixel currently running Android 11. You can do that even without unlocking the phone’s bootloader, too, and Google says that it shouldn’t wipe your data either.
Again, for most people, it’s probably wise to hold off for now. Still, Google is dropping some tidbits about why Android 12 could be worthwhile installing later on in the program, including new security features around password complexity and more.