While all eyes were on the Android 11 beta yesterday, Google also made a subtle change to the Pixel series’ catalog of past updates, adding links to the Android Flash Tool for every update.
Earlier this year, Google unveiled the Android Flash Tool as an entirely too easy way for Android users to flash the newest AOSP builds onto their Pixel phone. Using the fully web-based tool, you no longer need to install specialized Android developer tools like ADB in order to flash a new build of Android.
For the Android 11 Developer Previews and Beta 1, Google has repurposed the Android Flash Tool to allow Pixel owners to install the pre-release software onto their phone. But if you ever wanted or needed to downgrade — such as to regain access to Google Pay — you’re stuck performing a somewhat convoluted process.
As of last night, the Google Pixel factory images page — in addition to its normal role of providing downloads for the full system files of Pixel phones — has been updated to include Android Flash Tool links for every past update on the Pixel 2 and newer. That means with just a USB cable and a few clicks in your browser, you can revert your Pixel from Android 11 Beta back to Android 10.
Similarly, if for whatever reason, you want to remember what your phone was like at a previous point in time, you can revert devices like the Pixel 2 all the way back to the original build of Oreo that it shipped with in 2017, using the Android Flash Tool. Importantly though, any time you move backwards to an older version of Android, your phone’s data will be wiped. With that in mind, be sure to back up your files regularly and use the Android Flash Tool responsibly.
Or, if you’re not sure which version is the right one for you and your device, Google has also created a handy “back to public” link which automatically directs you to the latest version of Android available for your phone.
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