How to sign up for the Android Beta Program

If you like living on the bleeding edge and have a Nexus device, here's how to sign up for Google's beta program.

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Oscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Looking for incentive to sign up for the Android Beta Program even if your Nexus already has Android Nougat 7.0? How does testing upcoming maintenance releases sound?

Google is moving Android to regular maintenance releases, with the first one currently scheduled for this fall, according to the Android Developer Blog. As was the case with Android Nougat, Google will allow developers to test out its latest wares before it's officially released.

Signing up for the Android Beta Program today will ensure your device receives the latest beta software once Google makes it available. Or if you're still waiting for your Nexus device to receive Android Nougat 7.0, signing up will push Nougaty goodness to your device almost immediately.

Once you sign up for the program, your Nexus device will receive future beta Android updates via the normal software update process over-the-air, saving you valuable time and frustration should you have no idea where to begin with flashing images to your beloved Android device.

Signing up for the program is easy, but there's a giant warning you need to be aware of before doing so: The only way to revert back to a stable build of Android is to completely wipe your device, removing any and all personal information from it.

Google stated the Android Nougat beta was stable enough for everyday devices. But it was by no means perfect, and many users have run into bugs and other problems.

All right, with that out of the way, here's how to sign up:

  • You must own a recent Nexus device to take part. The complete list includes the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Pixel C tablet, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player.
  • Visit the Android Beta Program page and sign into the Google account you use on your Nexus.
  • There you'll find a list of eligible devices. Click on Enroll Device next to the device you want to enroll.
  • Accept the terms -- and the stern warning about reverting back to a stable version of Android -- then click Join Beta.
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To leave the beta program, revisit the program page and click Unenroll Device. Another OTA update will be sent to your device, wiping all user data and putting the device on the latest official version of Android.

Editor's note, August 24, 2016: This article was originally published in March but has been updated to reflect new information regarding the Android Beta Program.

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