The second developer preview of Android 14 has arrived, offering those who like to live on the edge of technology a first look at Google’s next big mobile operating system. While we would recommend extreme caution in doing so, Google allows anyone – not just developers – to install its developer previews. There are no developer programs that require you to register and no fees; the only requirement is that you have a relatively recent Pixel phone that you’re willing to sacrifice for what will almost certainly be an unstable release riddled with bugs and the ability to completely freeze your phone.
In other words, don’t even think about installing this on your primary phone unless you really enjoy living dangerously. As the name clearly indicates, this developer preview is for developers – people who rightfully need a head start to ensure their apps are ready for the final Android 14 release later this year. Most developers have secondary devices they use to install these early betas, and they’re also willing to factor in the possibility of a bricked phone. If you don’t have a spare handset to install Android 14 on, we strongly recommend waiting a few weeks for Google to release the first public betas of Android 14 in April.
Finally, assume that installing the Android 14 Developer Preview will erase all data on your device. Make sure you have a backup before proceeding. Or better yet, don’t install it on a device that has important data on it. You have been warned.
Check if your phone is compatible with Android 14
Sorry, Samsung, OnePlus or Motorola fans; be it developer previews or public betas, Google only makes pre-release Android versions available for its Pixel phones. In this case, those are the Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro. Unless you have one of these phones to spare, you’ll have to wait for the final release of Android 14 later this year. You can also try out Android 14 with Android Emulator in the latest version of Android Studio, but that’s mainly for testing too by developers, so that won’t be nearly as fun as running it on your phone.
Get your phone ready for Android 14
Once you’ve upgraded your Pixel to Android 14, you’ll be able to receive future developer previews and beta updates over the air. However, the initial Android 14 developer preview must first be installed the old-fashioned way: using a computer and a USB cable. For security reasons, Pixel phones normally don’t allow updates to be installed through the USB port, so you need to prepare your phone first.
Step 1: Open the Institutions app on your Pixel.
Step 2: Scroll down and select About phone.
Step 3: Scroll down to the Build number bottom and tap it seven times. After selecting it a few times, you should see a message saying so You are now x steps away from a developer. This counts down with each tap.
Step 4: Enter your PIN when prompted. You will return to the About screen, where you should see a message that You are now a developer.
Step 5: Select the arrow in the top left corner or swipe right to return to the previous settings menu.
Step 6: Select System.
Step 7: Select Developer options.
Step 8: Find the OEM unlock option and select the switch to enable it.
Step 9: Enter your PIN when prompted.
Step 10: Select in the pop-up window that appears Switch to confirm.
Step 11: Find the USB debugging option and select the switch to enable it.
Step 12: Select in the pop-up window that appears OK to confirm.
Install the Android 14 Developer Preview
Once your Pixel’s bootloader is unlocked and ready to accept USB transfers, you can install the Android 14 Developer Preview. While there are a few methods to do this, the easiest way is to use Google’s Android Flash Tool, which can run right in your Chrome browser.
Step 1: Open the Android Flash Tool by going to flash.android.com in Google Chrome.
Step 2: Select Get started.
Step 3: If you’re using Chrome on Windows, you may also be prompted to download and install an Android USB driver. Select Download android usb driver and follow the instructions or choose Already installed if you’re sure you’ve done this before.
Step 4: Next, a pop-up window should appear asking you to allow access to ADB keys. Select Allow ADB access Get on.
If this popup doesn’t appear, check your Chrome settings to make sure you’re not blocking flash.android.com popups and select the Show dialog box again knob.
Step 5: Once you arrive at the Install building screen, connect your Pixel to your computer with a compatible USB-C cable and select Add new device.
Step 6: Choose your Pixel from the list of devices and select Connect.
Step 7: Authorize the connection on your Pixel by checking it Always allow from this computer option and select Allow.
The Android Flash Tool on your computer should update to show your Pixel as connected.
Step 8: Select the first Developer preview 2 option below Android 14 Preview Releases.
Note the default options: Wipe, Lock, and Force Flash. You can change these by clicking the pencil tool, which should theoretically allow you to install the Android 14 Developer Preview without erasing your device. We don’t recommend counting on that though, and at this early stage it’s much better to install Android 14 from a clean slate anyway.
Step 9: Select Install construction to start installing the Android 14 Developer Preview.
The installation process will take some time, so grab a cup of coffee and give it some time. When it’s done, your Pixel should reboot automatically and display the Android 14 welcome screen.
Again – and we can’t stress this enough – Android 14 Developer Previews are extremely early versions of Google’s operating system that are expected to be highly unstable. While it is very unlikely that they will cause permanent damage to your phone, Google makes no guarantees. At the very least, the Android 14 Developer Previews will probably be a lot harder on your battery, as Google isn’t concerned with things like power efficiency at this stage of development.
Fortunately, installing the Android 14 Developer Preview isn’t a one-way trip. If you decide things aren’t going as well as you’d hoped, you can return to Android 13’s warmer and more secure embrace by following the Android Flash Tool steps above and installing the Back to the public option to factory reset your device to the latest public build.
And if you don’t want to mess with the Developer Preview at all, you can also just wait to see when Android 14 comes to your phone for public beta or final release later this year.