Android Nougat is emerging from its beta cocoon today. So how do you get it?
First the good news: if you have a Nexus 6P, 5X, 6, 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, or General Mobile 4G you’ll be first in line for the over-the-air update when it rolls out over the next few weeks.
However, waiting isn’t any fun. Here are a couple of strategies to jump ahead of the line and get going with Nougat right away.
Enroll in the beta program
For the time being, you can still enroll in the Nougat Developer Preview if you have a Nexus device. At some point Google will likely shut this down once the stable build rolls out to everyone, but for the time being you’ll get a relatively stable version of Android 7.0.
To do this, head to g.co/androidbeta and you’ll see a list of your eligible devices linked to your Google account.
Click Enroll Device and you’ll shortly receive an over-the-air update to the Nougat beta (I’ve seen it show up within minutes).
Then, you can take time to enjoy many of the new features in Android 7.0. Given that the latest beta build will be nearly identical to the final version, feel free to dig in and get to know everything that’s there.
You'll receive an over-the-air update to the final Android Nougat release, too.
Install the factory images
If you want a more hands-on approach, or if the beta site disappears, you can download the factory images and install them yourself. Keep in mind this will wipe your phone, so be sure you have everything backed up and are OK with re-downloading the apps that you rely on the most.
At the time of this writing, factory images aren't yet available for Android 7.0 Nougat, but we expect they'll be up in short order.
See our guide for flashing Android Marshmallow if you have no idea how to do this. Nougat is essentially the same.
With this approach you’ll have the latest build and be first in line for when the stable version heads out the door.
Things get trickier for those without a Nexus phone. If you’re looking to upgrade, one option is the forthcoming LG V20, as it will be the first phone sold with Nougat out of the box. From there the picture gets murkier. If you want a new phone and Nougat, you should wait a few weeks until Google announces its next Nexus phones.
For existing devices, you’re going to have to wait. We continually update our list of when your phone will get Android Nougat, so be sure to check back there. The short of it is that if your phone has carrier branding, it’s likely to be late to the party since AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and others have to go through their own testing process.
Unlocked phones tend to score Android updates sooner, though of course that means paying full price for the device. With Nougat now ready to go, you have some options to consider for your next phone or waiting for getting an update.