The first Android 14 public beta is officially out. What’s new and how to install it

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Android 14 logo with a hand holding an Android device in the background

Android Developers/ZDNET

If you have a Pixel phone and don’t mind buggy software, the first public beta of Android 14 is out. Google announced Android 14 Beta 1 (its official name) on Wednesday, highlighting some of the new features regular users will see after earlier preview builds were meant primarily for developers. 

The installation process only takes a few minutes (I outlined the process at the bottom of this story), after which you’ll have access to new privacy features, a revamped shared sheet, and an improved interface experience overall — such as a smarter back arrow. 

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At a high level, the features highlighted in the Android 14 Beta 1 blog post published today are still developer-focused. But if you look closely, you can pull out some of the user-facing features. For instance, there’s a new share sheet in Android 14 that can feature custom actions from third-party apps. 

There’s also a new back arrow displayed within the app that will make it easier to understand what will happen when you go back. The erratic behavior of the back button has been a long-time complaint of Android users. Hopefully, this new back button implementation will fix that.

Android 14 Beta 1 back button on Settings page

Google

Android 14 users will even have the option to set a per-app language preference. 

As for privacy, Android 14 makes improvements regarding which private data and which apps can access that data through accessibility features. 

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Google’s stayed on course to its self-published release schedule. According to the schedule, there will be a total of three Beta releases over as many months, followed by two stability releases leading into the public release, likely in August. 

I can all but guarantee there are far more new features in Android 14 than what Google highlighted in its blog post, and I can’t wait to dive in myself. 

If you’re so inclined and have a compatible Pixel 4a (5G) or newer, here’s how you can install Android 14 Beta 1 right now. 

How to install Android 14 Beta 1 on your Pixel phone

Installing the beta is easy, but you’ll first need to enroll your device in the official Android Beta program. To do that, visit the Android Beta program website and sign in using the same Google account you use on your Pixel phone. 

Also: 3 things Google needs to fix for Android to catch up to iOS

After signing in, you’ll see a list of eligible devices, with an Opt In button. Follow the prompts and agree to any terms. If you were already enrolled in the Android 13 QPR beta program and your device is eligible, you’ll automatically transition over to the Android 14 Beta 1 program. 

Wait a few minutes, and then check for a software update on your Pixel phone by going to Settings > System > Software update. Your phone should find the Android 14 Beta 1 update. The rest of the installation process is the same as the monthly updates Google releases for the Pixel line. 

As always, it’s a good idea to have your charger nearby and a solid Wi-Fi connection to ensure your phone doesn’t run out of power and you’re not waiting a long time for the download to complete. 

Also: How to use public Wi-Fi safely

Keep in mind that if you install Android 14 on your phone, you can leave the beta program, but you’ll need to factory reset and completely wipe your device to go back to a stable build. 

Google says Android 14 will reach platform stability in June, with a second stable update in July. Either one of those builds should be good enough for most people to take a chance on.



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