How to downgrade from Android 13 Beta to Android 12 on Google Pixel

Smartphone companies that are on top of their software update game are far and few between. Luckily, Google Pixel users not only get major updates before everyone, they can also test out the upcoming version of Android through a public beta program. It has been some time since Google released Android 13 through the beta channel for eligible Pixel devices and while the update has received generally favorable reviews, we can’t forget the fact that it is still just a beta quality software, not a daily driver like Android 12.

If you have accidentally installed a developer preview/beta build and you have been wondering how to downgrade your Google Pixel back to the stable Android release, then this guide is for you.

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Downgrading your Google Pixel smartphone to stable Android version

While the developer preview and beta builds are usually meant to help app developers find and solve problems with newer Android releases, anyone can flash them on a compatible device. If you have not already and want to check it out, here is how you can install Android 13 on your Google Pixel phone. Nonetheless, one should also learn about the downgrading process from the beta to the stable channel for the sake of usability. We all can deal with some bugs better than others, and if an update brings one of the bugs you can’t deal with, you might look for the option of going back.

Luckily, restoring your Google Pixel device to a stable version of Android is actually quite easy. You can either ask Google to send you a special OTA to perform the transition or manually flash the stable build on your device yourself. The only catch is that reverting back the OS to an older version requires it to be reset to factory settings during the process, which wipes all your data and settings from the device. So make sure to back up your personal data before going to the next step.

  • Downgrading from developer preview/beta channel to the stable version usually requires a full data wipe.
  • You can downgrade your Google Pixel phone with or without using a computer.
  • Reverting back to the beta channel doesn’t need a data wipe.

Method 1: Leave the beta program

This is the direct opposite of enrolling in Google’s Android developer preview/beta initiative. All you need to do is detach the target Pixel device from the beta program. Google will then issue a specially crafted OTA package that will erase the beta build and install the latest stable Android version on your device. Notably, this process doesn’t require an unlocked bootloader.

  1. Head over to the Android Beta Program page.
  2. Click or tap View your eligible devices to see the beta-enrolled Pixel devices.
    Android beta Pixel eligible device
    • In case you can’t find your device, make sure that you are signed into the Google account linked to device(s) you wish to rollback.
  3. Select the Opt-out option for the listed devices you need to remove from the beta program.
  4. The target device will receive a new update within 24 hours. You can also navigate to Settings > System > System update > Check for update on your phone to see if the update is available.
  5. Once the OTA arrives, install it.
  6. That’s it!

As mentioned earlier, the OTA will wipe out all data on the device during the flashing process. Although you don’t need an unlocked bootloader to start with, it is always better to keep the bootloader unlocked when you’re dealing with beta builds.

With the release of Android 12, Google started offering “a window of opportunity” to unenroll from the beta without wiping a beta participant’s device:

When you apply the stable release update for the version you’re beta testing, you can opt out without a data wipe for a limited time until you apply the next beta update.

The server-side switching will only be offered at the completion of a beta cycle. Since this is quite unclear how much time will be given before a new preview/beta build starts up, this is a bit more unreliable than manual enrollment cancellation.

Method 2: Manual downgrade

If you don’t want to wait for Google to issue the rollback update, then you have the option to flash the latest stable Android build yourself. However, you will need a PC/Mac/Chromebook to execute the flashing operation. The target device also needs to bootloader unlocked.

Using Android Flash Tool

Google’s Android Flash Tool (as its name would suggest) is essentially a flasher-in-a-browser-tab. It streamlines the whole process of flashing Pixel devices by wrapping everything into a web app, thanks to the WebUSB API. There is no need to download images, configure CLI platform tools, install drivers, and execute the flashing commands — Android Flash Tool can take care of them all.

  1. Make sure you have a browser on your PC/Mac/Chromebook that is compliant with the WebUSB UPI. Chromium-based browsers, such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, are recommended.
  2. Enable Developer options and USB debugging on the target Android device, if not done already.
  3. Connect your device directly to you one of the USB ports of your PC/Mac/Chromebook.
    • Avoid USB hubs, adapters, or extenders to steer clear of potential errors.
  4. Open in a browser on your computer.
    Android Flash Tool website
  5. Click on the Get Started button. Next, allow the web-based flash tool to communicate with the target device through ADB by accepting the popup that says Grant Android Flash Tool access to its ADB keys in order for it to communicate to connected devices.
    Android Flash Tool ADB access prompt
  6. Click Add new device.
    Android Flash Tool add new device
  7. Select the target Pixel device from the list and click Connect.
    Android Flash Tool Pixel 4a connect
  8. On your Pixel’s screen, select Always allow from this computer and click OK to accept the USB debugging connection.
  9. Select the connected device in your browser.
  10. Select the build that says “Back to Public” from the list. You can then select options, such as wiping the device, relocking the bootloader, or force flashing all partitions.
    Back to public build flashing using Android Flash Tool
  11. Click on Install build to start the process.
    Install build option of Android Flash Tool
  12. After the flashing process completes, disconnect the device from the USB cable.

If everything goes right, then your Pixel device will reboot to the latest stable build of Android. It should now start the device setup process, allowing you to sign up and enjoy the stable Android software.

Using Fastboot

In case you prefer to take full control of the flashing operation, then opt for the Fastboot flashing method.

  1. Download the latest stable Android factory image for your Pixel smartphone. For Android 12/12L, take a look at our download index.
  2. Flash the factory image using Fastboot.
  3. Optionally, relock the bootloader of your Pixel phone:
    1. After restoring the stable Android firmware, reboot the device to the bootloader mode using ADB:
      adb reboot bootloader
    2. Execute the following command to relock the bootloader:
      fastboot flashing lock
    3. On your Pixel phone, scroll to the “lock the bootloader” option using the volume keys, and accept the option using the power button.
    4. The phone will reboot and once again wipes itself.

That’s what you need to know as far as how to downgrade your Google Pixel smartphone from beta/developer preview to the stable Android version. Are you going to opt for a rollback? Let us know your reasons in the comment section below!

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