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

The smartphone companies that are leading their software update game are far between and few. Fortunately, Google Pixel users not only get major updates in front of everyone, but they can also test the upcoming version of Android through a public beta program. It’s been a while since Google released Android 13 through the beta channel for eligible Pixel devices, and while the update received generally positive reviews, we can’t forget the fact that it’s still just a beta-quality software, not an everyday driver like Android 12.

If you accidentally installed a developer preview/beta version and are wondering how to return your Google Pixel to the stable Android version, then this guide is for you.

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Downgrade your Google Pixel smartphone to a stable Android version

While developer previews and beta releases are usually meant to help app developers find and fix issues with newer Android versions, anyone can run them on a compatible device. If you haven’t done so already and want to check it out, here is how to install Android 13 on your Google Pixel phone. However, one should also learn about the downgrade process from beta to stable channel for ease of use. We can all handle some bugs better than others, and if an update brings one of those bugs that you just can’t handle, you might look for the option to go back.

Fortunately, restoring your Google Pixel device to a stable version of Android is very easy. You can either ask Google to send you a special OTA to do the transfer or manually flash the firmware build on your device yourself. The only catch is that returning the operating system to an older version requires resetting it to factory settings during the process, which Erases all your data and settings from the device. So be sure to back up your personal data before moving on to the next step.

  • Downgrading from the developer preview/beta channel to the stable version usually requires clearing the entire data.
  • You can downgrade your Google Pixel phone with or without a computer.
  • Returning to the beta channel does not need to clear the data.

Method 1: Leave the trial program

This is the opposite of enrolling in Google’s Android Developer Preview/Beta initiative. All you have to do is disconnect the target Pixel device from the beta program. Google will then release a specially prepared OTA package that will erase the beta version and install the latest stable version of Android on your device. Notably, this process does not require an unlocked bootloader.

  1. Head over to the Android Beta program page.
  2. Click or tap View your eligible devices To see Pixel devices that are in beta.
    Eligible Android beta Pixel device
    • In case your device is not found, make sure you are signed in to the Google account associated with the device(s) you wish to undo.
  3. select file Withdraw An option for listed devices that need to be removed from the beta program.
  4. The target device will receive a new update within 24 hours. You can also go to Settings > System > system update > Check updates on your phone to see if the update is available.
  5. Once the OTA arrives, install it.
  6. This is it!

As mentioned earlier, OTA will erase all data on the device during the flashing process. Although you don’t need an unlocked bootloader to start with, it’s always a good idea to keep your bootloader open when dealing with beta versions.

With the release of Android 12, Google began offering an “opportunity” to unenroll from the beta without erasing the device of a beta participant:

When you apply a stable release update to the version you are testing in beta, you can cancel the subscription without clearing data for a limited time until you apply the next beta update.

The server-side switch will only be shown when the beta cycle has completed. Since this isn’t entirely clear how much time will be given before a new preview/trial release starts, this is a bit more unreliable than manual unregistering.

Method 2: Manual downgrade

If you don’t want to wait for Google to release a rollback update, you have the option of updating the latest stable version of Android yourself. However, you will need a PC/Mac/Chromebook to perform the flashing process. The target device also needs to unlock the bootloader.

Using Android Flash Tool

Google’s Android Flash Tool (as its name suggests) is basically a flasher-in-a-browser tab. It simplifies the entire process of flashing Pixel devices by encapsulating everything into a web app, thanks to the WebUSB API. There’s no need to download images, configure CLI platform tools, install drivers, and execute flashing commands – the Android Flash Tool can take care of it all.

  1. Make sure you have a browser on your PC/Mac/Chromebook that is compatible with WebUSB UPI. It is recommended to use Chromium-based browsers, such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
  2. Enable Developer options and USB debugging on the target Android device, if it is not already done.
  3. Connect your device directly to one of the USB ports on your PC/Mac/Chromebook.
    • Avoid USB hubs, adapters, or extenders to avoid potential errors.
  4. Open in a browser on your computer.
    Android Flash Tool Website
  5. Click on start button. Next, allow the web-based flash tool to connect to the target device through ADB by accepting the popup that says Give Android Flash Tool access to its own ADB keys in order to connect to connected devices.
    ADB Access Prompt to Android Flash Tool
  6. click Add a new device.
    Android Flash Tool adds a new device
  7. Select the target Pixel device from the list and tap Connection.
    Android Flash Tool Pixel 4a connect
  8. On the Pixel screen, choose Always allow from this computer and click yes To accept the USB debugging connection.
  9. Select the connected device in your browser.
  10. Select the design that says Back to General from the list. You can then select options, such as wiping the device, reconnecting the bootloader, or forcing all partitions to be flashed.
    Go back to general build flashing with Android Flash Tool
  11. Click Build install to start the process.
    Install the option to create Android Flash Tool
  12. After the flashing process is complete, disconnect the device from the USB cable.

If all goes well, your Pixel will reboot to the latest stable version of Android. The device setup process should now begin, allowing you to sign up and enjoy the stable Android software.

Using Fastboot

If you prefer full control over the flashing process, choose 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 factory image using Fastboot.
  3. Optionally, reconnect your Pixel phone’s bootloader:
    1. After restoring the Android firmware, restart the device to bootloader mode using ADB:
      adb reboot bootloader
    2. Run the following command to re-dock the bootloader:
      fastboot flashing lock
    3. On a Pixel phone, scroll to the “Lock bootloader” option using the Volume keys, and accept the option with the Power button.
    4. The phone will restart and wipe itself again.

Here is what you need to know regarding how to downgrade your Google Pixel smartphone from beta/developer preview to stable Android version. Would you choose to back out? Let us know your reasons in the comments section below!

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