How to install Android 10 factory and OTA images on Google Pixel devices

Follow these steps if you haven’t received an OTA update for Android 10 on your Pixel phone yet


Android 10 is now available on all the Google Pixel phones right from the original Pixel. The global rollout is underway and Pixel users will be able to update to the latest version right away. Apart from the Pixel phones, the Essential Phone and Redmi K20 Pro also received stable Android 10 updates.

However, if you’re among the unfortunate Pixel users who haven’t received the OTA update yet, you can still install Android 10 manually. We would still recommend you to hold out for an official OTA system update, as it’s the safer option.

How to install Android 10 factory and OTA images on Google Pixel devices

Google Pixel 3A.

Before you proceed, you will need to download the appropriate factory or OTA images for your Pixel device. Head over to Google’s Developer website, scroll down to your device and download the last link of the system images, i.e., the latest version. Now, there are factory images and OTA images. If you wish to install a fresh update of Android 10 that replaces your existing version, then you should go for the factory image. This is the stock version of the update and installing it will erase all your existing data and apps. However, if you want to update your current Android version to the latest one, then go for OTA images. They will retain all your data and upgrade your phone to Android 10. But if your bootloader isn’t unlocked, you will have to unlock it to flash the image, which again means losing all your data.

You will also need the Android Debug Bridge or adb tool to allow your device to communicate with your system. You will also need the fastboot tool to flash the image to your device. Both of them are available in the Android SDK-Platform Tools that can be downloaded for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. This will allow you to install the command-line tools necessary to use fastboot.

Note: If your eyes have already glazed over by this point, just stop reading and wait for the OTA. It should arrive in a few days.

The following steps will require some experience of tinkering with the bootloader and flashing factory images. However, you can simply follow every single step to avoid bricking your Pixel device. Once you have downloaded all the necessary files, you can follow these steps.

How to install adb and fastboot?

Step 1: To set up adb and fastboot, extract the downloaded Android SDK-Platform Tools to a specific folder with a name, for example, ‘%USERPROFILE%\adb-fastboot’

Step 2: In order to use the command-line tool, it has to be added to the environment variable that can be found in the Advanced System Settings section. Head over to Start menu and search for “advanced system settings” and then open “View advanced system settings”.

Step 3: Click on the Advanced tab and open the “Environment variables” window

Step 4: In the “System variables” section, select the “Path” variable and click on the “Edit” button below

Step 5: Click on the “Edit text” and add “;%USERPROFILE%\adb-fastboot\platform-tools” (without the quotes) to the end of the existing path

Step 6: Finally, install the Universal adb driver and then restart. Your Windows system now supports adb and fastboot.

Step 7: You have to set up adb on your phone before proceeding by enabling “Android Debugging” from the “Developer options”

Step 8: To enable “Developer options”, head over to the About section of your phone, tap on “Build number” seven times and now the developer menu should appear in the previous tab

Step 9: Open “Developer options” and look for “Android debugging” or “USB debugging” and enable it

Step 10: Plug your device to the system using a USB data cable and open a command terminal

Step 11: Type “adb devices” and a dialog should appear on your device asking to allow USB debugging. Check “Always allow” and click on “Ok”. Now, adb is installed.

Step 12: To access fastboot on your device, it should support it in the first place. If it does, you will be able to use the tool from the command terminal. It will also be accessible from the power menu after unlocking the bootloader.

Step 13: Now that adb and fastboot are ready on both the devices, you are now ready to unlock your bootloader and install the system images to your Pixel device.

How to install Android 10 factory and OTA images on Pixel devices?

Step 1: Download and unzip the appropriate system image to a folder

Step 2: Connect your Pixel device to your Windows 10 system using a USB data cable

Step 3: To unlock the bootloader on Pixel devices, open the command terminal and run the command “fastboot flashing unlock”

Step 4: If you’re using the Pixel 2 XL, you will require an additional command. Enter the command “fastboot flashing unlock_critical” and a confirmation message will be displayed that your bootloader is unlocked.

Step 5: To flash the system image, open the command terminal and navigate to the directory where you unzipped the system image file

Step 6: Run the “flash-all” script to install the necessary bootloader, baseband firmware and operating system. This step will install the system image and reboot the device.

Step 7: Finally, you need to lock your bootloader for security purposes by running fastboot again with the device connected. Run the command “fastboot flashing lock” and now your bootloader should be locked and safe.

You've successfully installed Android 10 on your Pixel device.

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