How to Sideload Android OTA Updates on Your Google Pixel

YouTube video

Note: This article is a transcription of the Youtube video tutorial titled “How to sideload Android OTA updates on your Google Pixel!” by 9to5Google.

Are you eager to update your Google Pixel smartphone to the latest available patch or even the latest operating system? If you’re willing to take matters into your own hands, you can sideload each and every OTA (over-the-air) update on your Google Pixel. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to sideload an OTA on your Google Pixel.

Introduction

If you’re a tech nerd, this tutorial may not be for you. However, for those who are less experienced with manually updating their phones, we will explain the differences between different types of updates and guide you through the process of sideloading an OTA update on your Google Pixel.

Types of Updates

There are two types of updates you can install on your Android phone: regular updates and major releases. Regular updates are incremental and will not reset any of your app or system settings. They simply add new files to your phone. On the other hand, major releases are full updates that may require a factory image if you want to revert to a previous Android version or OTA update.

Methods for Updating your Pixel

Method 1: OTA Notification

The easiest way to update your Google Pixel is to wait for a notification prompting you to download any waiting updates. This method is relatively slow since you have to wait for the updates to become available.

Method 2: Check for Updates

To pull any waiting updates immediately, go to Settings > System > System Update and tap on “Check for updates.” This method is slightly faster than the OTA notification method but may still require some waiting time.

Method 3: Sideloading OTA Updates

The fastest way to get the latest update on your Google Pixel is to sideload an official OTA file. This method requires a PC or laptop. To sideload updates, you will need to use ADB (Android Debug Bridge). Here are the steps to sideload an OTA update on your Google Pixel:

  1. Install the ADB platform tools on your PC by downloading and unzipping them to an easily accessible location, such as your desktop.
  2. Enable developer options on your Google Pixel by going to Settings > About phone > Build number and tapping on it until a message confirms that developer options are enabled.
  3. In developer options, enable USB debugging. You may also want to enable OEM unlocking if you plan to downgrade in the future.
  4. Download the latest OTA update file for your specific Google Pixel device from the official Google developer site. Make sure to choose the correct file for your phone to avoid installation failures.
  5. Boot your Google Pixel into recovery mode by fully powering it down, then holding the power button and volume down button simultaneously until you reach the bootloader page. Select “Recovery mode” using the volume buttons to navigate and the power button to confirm.
  6. In recovery mode, select “Apply update from ADB.”
  7. Connect your Google Pixel to your computer via USB.
  8. Open a command prompt or terminal window and navigate to the directory where you have the ADB tools saved.
  9. Check if your Pixel is recognized by your computer by entering the command adb devices. You should see a serial number or other details confirming the connection.
  10. Sideload the OTA update by entering the command adb sideload [filename], replacing [filename] with the name of the OTA zip file you downloaded. Press Enter to start the sideloading process.
  11. Monitor the progress of the sideload on your computer and phone. It may take some time to complete.
  12. Once the sideload is finished, select “Reboot now” on your Google Pixel to start using the latest OTA update.

Verification

To ensure that the sideloaded OTA update was successful, go to Settings > About phone > Android version and check if it matches the patch you sideloaded.

Conclusion

Sideloading OTA updates on your Google Pixel is a straightforward process that can also be applied to other Android devices. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can update your phone without waiting for the OTA notification. Remember, if you encounter any issues, it may require multiple attempts or a different USB cable or port. Hopefully, this guide has helped you update your phone efficiently. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll do our best to assist you.