Have you installed the Android P Developer Preview and find it too unstable for your liking? Well, good news because you can go back to Oreo. Unfortunately, though, it will require you wiping your device. Here’s how.

Before we get started, we need to make sure that your device is visible to your computer. To do this, you must have the ADB tools on your machine and set up correctly. From there, type the command adb devices in the built-in Terminal (macOS/Linux) or Command Prompt (Windows) app; if you see your device listed, you’re ready to go. If not, make sure your device has ADB debugging turned on in Settings. We have an Android Basics tutorial here that will walk you through getting into the Developer Options if you need help.

We also recommend you download and install the Universal ADB Drivers from ClockWorkMod if you’re on Windows. This just makes it much easier than trying to rely on the drivers already on your computer.

Unlock the bootloader

This step may or may not be required for you. If you manually flashed the Developer Preview onto your device, there’s a good chance that you’ve already unlocked your bootloader and never re-locked it. If this is the case, you can skip to the next section. If you installed Android P via the Beta program, you probably don’t have an unlocked bootloader. You’ll have to follow these steps as it’s required for flashing firmware on a Pixel device.

Bootloader unlocking is a security feature that requires that your device is completely wiped when going from a “locked” state to an “unlocked” state. For this reason, there’s no way to keep your data if your bootloader is locked. As this rollback process is going to wipe your device anyway, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. Just remember that you can do a full backup of your handset if you want to save anything on your phone.

Oreo Developer Options

The first step in unlocking your bootloader is to go to the Settings app, tap on the System option, and head to Developer options (if you don’t see Developer options, go to About phone and tap the Android build number several times). Make sure that OEM unlocking is toggled on.

Next, use the command adb reboot bootloader to go to the device’s bootloader and check if your device is in the locked state. If the bootloader on your Pixel device is locked, make sure your device is at the bootloader screen and use the fastboot oem unlock command. If that didn’t work or you have a Pixel 2 XL, you will need to use the fastboot flashing unlock_critical command.

After this, you’ll see some prompts on your device to confirm that you do indeed want to unlock your bootloader. After you confirm this, your device is going to be completely wiped, and you’ll be ready to move on forward.

Download and prepare the factory image

If you haven’t already, grab the latest Android Oreo build for your device from Google’s factory image page. Once you’ve downloaded the compressed file, extract it.

Inside the extracted compress file there will be a .zip file titled something like “taimen-opm4.171019.021.e1.zip” (Pixel 2 XL), and after you extract that file, you’ll find the bootloader, OS image, vendor image, and a radio image.

Run the script and install Android Oreo

As we did earlier to check unlock status, you need to boot into your bootloader to flash the factory image. Execute the command adb reboot bootloader again to get there. Alternatively, you could start up the device while holding the volume down and power keys simultaneously to boot into the bootloader.

Now point your command line to the file directory with the flash-all script. (Ex: cd /Users/<yourusername>/Downloads/taimen-opm4.171019.021.e). For more help on using the Terminal or Command Prompt, see this cheat sheet.

Once you’ve pointed to the correct directory, run your script.

  • On Unix/Mac, run “./flash-all.sh”
  • On Windows, run “flash-all.bat”

Now you should see the script running on-screen. It can take up to a little over five minutes for the image to install. Once the image is installed, the script will automatically reboot your phone. The first boot usually takes a while so you might have to wait about 10 minutes before assuming you’ve entered a bootloop.

Some users have had issues with the flash-all script not working on some devices. If that’s the case for you, you’re going to need to flash all of the images manually. It’s not a laborious process, though, and only requires a few extra steps. Make sure your device is in the proper bootloader state, and then follow these instructions:

First, flash the bootloader, reboot, next radio, and then reboot the bootloader again:

fastboot flash bootloader <bootloader file name here>.img

fastboot reboot-bootloader

fastboot flash radio <radio file name here>.img

fastboot reboot-bootloader

Flash the image:

fastboot flash -w update <image file name here>.zip

Reboot your device if it doesn’t happen automatically:

fastboot reboot

After the device boots, you should be back on Android Oreo.

Note: After flashing the stable Oreo build, you will once again start receiving OTA updates when they become available.

If you have any questions, make sure to leave them in the comment section below or hit me up on Twitter.

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About the Author

Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at justin@jaduino.com. Tips are always welcome.