Android: Earlier this year, Google offered app developers (and adventurous fans) an early look at Android P . Now, the company is rolling out an official public beta to the general public. Here’s what you need to know.
In the past, Google’s restricted these early beta tests to its own devices (like the Pixel series), but this year that’s finally changed. You can get Android P on a wide-variety of devices, including the Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, Essential PH‑1, and the upcoming OnePlus 6.
Of course, the beta is also available for Google-branded hardware. If you have the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, or Pixel 2 XL you’re in the clear.
Setting up Android P on your smartphone is pretty easy. Just head to the Beta Program website and make sure you’re signed in to your Google account. Then click on “View your eligible devices” and hit the green Enroll button next to the phone you want to update. Finally, you’ll have to agree to some terms and conditions before you can confirm your decision.
At this point, Google will send a notification to your phone once the file is ready to install, but it could take up to 24 hours for that to happen. In the meantime, you should probably back up your device just in case something goes wrong or you want to switch back to to Android Oreo instead.
Once the update arrives, just tap on the notification and hit Download. From there, Google will walk you through the process. You should be testing out Android P in no time.
Google is introducing a bunch of new features in Android P with a focus on making your phone more efficient so you can spend less time staring at it. For example, App Actions puts quick contextual suggestions all over your phone. So the next time you connect your headphones you may see an App Action to quickly start playing your favorite playlist on Spotify.
There’s also Slices, which brings up quick actions when you search for an app. For example, if you search for Lyft you’ll see see how long it will take to get home and how much it will cost — along with a button to immediately order that ride straight from the search results.
Finally, if you’re trying to spend less time on your phone, check out Google’s new Do Not Disturb mode. Not only does it silence all alerts and notifications, it also hides them from the lock screen. To switch on the new mode, all you have to do is place your phone on the table screen-side down and all those distractions will melt away.