How to install Android 13 on your Pixel phone

Android 13 landed earlier than usual on Google’s Pixel smartphones. The system brings some important new features, in particular through the improvement of certain tools unveiled in Android 12. This is one of the advantages of Pixels, you get the latest version of Android before anyone else. On some Samsung devices, the update to Android 13 might not arrive until next year. So, for those who like new things, the Pixel is to be recommended.

To discover the new features of the system, we invite you to read our dedicated article.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that Android 13 is only available on the following Pixel devices:

  • Pixel 4/XL
  • Pixel 4a
  • Pixel 4a 5G
  • Pixel 5
  • Pixel 5a
  • Pixel 6/Pro
  • Pixel 6a

Also note, the update comes in waves, so not everyone gets it at the same time. There is, however, a way to install it manually for those who can’t wait for the automatic update, but we’ll get to that later.

So how do you install Android 13 on your Pixel device? Follow the leader.

Automatic update

Automatic update (or OTA for “Over The Air”) is the most reliable update protocol. In addition to that, it is much easier to master. The only reason not to go through this channel is if you don’t want to wait before installing the new OS.

Installing Android 13 via OTA is very simple:

1. Open Settings

Open the Settings app from the notification panel (using the gear icon) or the app drawer.

2. Open System Update

Scroll the menu to the bottom and then tap System. Then choose the option System update.

Capture: Corentin Béchade

If you don’t see an update available, tap the button Check for updates.

Capture: Corentin Béchade

If after checking for updates you still do not see the alert for Android 13, you will have to wait until the system is pushed to your device. Or, you can switch to the more difficult option of manual updating.

Manual update

Let’s be clear, it is not recommended to go through this option, because it involves more risk, in particular that of bricking your device.

However, if you want to get started, you will first need to download the OTA file from Google’s servers. Be sure to choose the correct file for your device, then install the adb tool included in the Android SDK.

Once you’ve downloaded the OTA file and installed the SDK, you’re ready to push the update manually. Here’s how.

1. Boot into recovery mode

Restart your phone. As soon as it turns off, press the power button and the volume down button simultaneously until the Bootloader screen appears. Using the volume buttons, scroll down to the option Recovery Mode. Select it by pressing the On/Off button.

2. Locate the ADB option

From recovery mode, navigate to the entry Apply update from ADB.

3. Connect your smartphone to your computer

Connect your Android device to the computer where the Android SDK is installed. Open a command window so you can run the necessary commands.

4. Run the necessary commands

From the folder where the SDK is located, run the command “adb-devices” and, if prompted, accept the permission request that appears on your phone. Be sure to check the box Remember device. You should have no errors at this point and your device will be listed in the command prompt.

Next, issue the sideload command:

adb sideload

If you are on Windows, you must first go to the ADB Tools directory to run the command. On Linux or macOS, do the same thing (by going to the ADB Tools directory), but to run the command on these operating systems, here is the text to enter:

./adb sideload

When prompted, type the name of the downloaded OTA file and press Enter.

5. Restart your device.

Once the installation of the OTA file is complete, you will find yourself in recovery mode. You will then have to press the Power button and select the option Reboot Now. Once the restart is complete, you should be on Android 13. Congratulations, your Pixel smartphone is now running the latest version of Android!

Let’s repeat it all the same, the automatic update method is to be preferred. Manual installation is not only complicated, but also prone to problems.

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