Updated on Sep 9, 2020: Finally, Google has announced the Android 11 official stable version for its eligible Pixel devices. It also includes the beta version for some of the listed non-Pixel Android devices like OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme, etc. We’ve seen four developer preview builds of Android 11 (DP1, DP2, DP3, DP4) and three public betas (Public Beta 1, 2, 3) so far to finally achieve into this stable release. Google has also uploaded the Android 11 Source Code to AOSP (Android Open Source Project) for the custom developers. Now, the Android 11 R GSI (Generic System Image) for Treble Supported Android device is also available.
The original story follows here:
Google has recently released the Android 11 Beta 2 (Public) after the release of the Android 11 beta 1 in June 2020 and Android 11 Developer Preview builds previously for the Google Pixel lineup devices excluding the first-gen Pixel devices (Pixel/XL). Additionally, Google has also released the Android 11 R GSI (Generic System Image) file for all the Project Treble supported Android devices. Therefore, all the Project Treble compatible device users can now easily download and install the Android 11 GSI.
To be very precise, the latest stable Android 10 version has brought plenty of features and security/privacy improvements for Android users last year. Similarly, the Android 11 offers a bunch of new features and plenty of improvements such as privacy options, improved app permissions, chat bubbles, new Pixel Launcher, waterfall screen support, improved camera features, enhanced biometrics support, 5G & foldable support, double-tap gestures, screen recording toggle in quick shortcut, etc.
Android 11 (aka Android R) is the 11th iteration of Android OS and the successor of the Android 10 Q which was launched in September 2019. You will get more features and improvements in the upcoming Android R updates like battery sharing feature for wireless reverse charging, send images from notifications, mute camera app vibrations, Digital driver’s licenses, scoped storage, and more. So, if you’re interested in installing the latest Android 11 R GSI, check the full-depth guide below.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a GSI (Generic System Image)?
- 2 Advantage of GSI Build
- 3 Android 11 and its Features
- 4 Which Phones Are Supported?
- 5 Official Android 11 GSI Info:
- 6 Download Android 11 GSI Build
- 7 Known Issues of Android 11 GSI:
- 8 Steps to Install Android 11 R GSI (Generic System Image) for Treble Supported Android device
What is a GSI (Generic System Image)?
GSI or Generic System Image is a system image with adjusted configurations for Android devices that can be easily installed on a Project Treble compatible device. It’s considered to be a ‘Pure Android’ implementation with an unmodified AOSP (Android Open Source Project) code. If you don’t know, all the Android 8.0 Oreo or later versions running Android devices are Project Treble supported.
You can grab both the x86 and ARM64 CPU GSIs to flash on any Project Treble compatible Android handsets. Make sure that it’s an early stage of beta update and may contain some of the bugs or stability issues. Now, let’s take a look at the advantages of the GSI builds below.
Advantage of GSI Build
- Offers faster software updates from smartphone OEMs
- Any Android 8.0 Oreo or higher (Project Treble supported) devices are eligible to use Android GSI build
- Non-Pixel devices are also eligible to install the latest Android OS version (Beta and Stable)
Android 11 and its Features
Android 11 (Android R) is the most recent Android OS version released by Google but currently, it’s in the early beta stage and will take a couple of months to arrive as the stable version. As we’ve mentioned above, it’s the 11th iteration of Android OS and brings so many features and other improvements that you won’t find on Android 10. Meanwhile, the 2nd beta build has features stability to the system a lot.
Not only the 2nd beta build finalizes Android 11 SDK, but also NDK APIs, app-facing surfaces, platform behaviors, and restrictions on non-SDK interfaces. So, the developers can now update their apps for the Android 11 API level 30 without any issue. There are some of the changes made in the Android 11 beta that are mentioned below:
With Android 11, you will get some of the improved features or functions which were introduced in Android Q last year. As the Android 11 Public Beta is here, you will get a much-improved user experience than earlier. We’ve listed some of the highlighted and useful features below that can be a game-changer for the majority of the Android users in the coming few months.
- Scoped Storage: It offers Storage Access Framework API to which requires user consent for editing and deleting media files. Additionally, users can edit or delete media files in a bulk and the access will be required for even file path access to simplify development.
- Scheduled Dark Mode: You can now schedule the dark mode on your Android device either by setting a custom time or using the sunrise/sunset option according to your timezone.
- Chat Bubbles: Just like the Facebook Messenger chat heads, users will be able to use Android Messages app as a chat bubble which looks cool and convenient too.
- One Time App Permission: In Android 11, you will get one extra option like Only This Time while using the app permission for the location access on any app. While the Android 10 users will only get two options like While using the app or Deny.
- Permissions Auto-Reset: Usually, most of the users may not revoke the access to app permissions after allowing them or after using the app. In Android 11, users can auto-reset app permissions. That means the permissions will ask you to allow in the next time again which protects some of your sensitive data.
- Screen Recording: Previously, most of the Android devices didn’t offer an inbuilt screen recording feature except for some of the custom skins like One UI 2.0 (Android 10). Now, in the Android 11, the user can simply use the screen recording option from the quick shortcut toggle.
- Motion Sense Gesture: Though this feature is for the Pixel 4 series devices, it allows users to pause or play music. Cool, isn’t it?
- Pinned Share Menu: Now, the Android 11 users can easily pin any app in the Share menu interface for quick sharing.
- Conversation Tab in Notifications: The notification bar in Android 11 offers its own messaging/conversation tab for your ease.
- Bluetooth Works in Airplane Mode: In Android 11, users can get connected to the Bluetooth headphones without turning it off while using Airplane mode. A good mode by Google.
- Power Menu Device Control: Android 11 gets an all-new Power Menu Device Control feature that allows users to get easily connected to smart devices. Simply, long-press the power button to bring the new power menu and then start controlling your connected smart devices with one tap like thermostats, smart locks, etc.
- Redesigned Media Controls: This time users can see and control the media with a redesigned look on the notification panel. Additionally, you can check the connected audio device like a smart speaker or headphone and you can also change tracks right from there.
- Google Play System Update: The Project Mainline allows Google to seamlessly push critical security patch updates to all Android 11 running devices without the permission of OEMs for framework components & system applications.
Changes in Android 11 Beta 2:
- App Compatibility: For any operating system, the app compatibility needs to be focused very deeply so that both the app developers and users gets benefitted easily. With that said, developers can now integrate their apps with native Android 11 features like chat bubbles, conversations in notifications, device control, media control, and more via APIs.
- Developer option to debug apps: Now, developers can test out and debug apps that are targeting Android 11. It offers forces enable/disable changes without any need to change the targetSdkVersion of the app for normal testing.
- Update target Android version: Now, the developers can change the targetSdkVersion for their apps. Therefore, all the uploaded apps on Google Play Store and all the upcoming updates to the existing apps on the Play Store will must target Android 11 from August and November 2021 respectively.
Which Phones Are Supported?
Except for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL (first-gen) devices, all the Pixel series smartphones support the Android 11 Beta. While the Project Treble supported devices like Android 8.0 Oreo or later version running non-Pixel Android devices are supported to run Android 11 GSI.
Once the stable version releases, more and more compatible Android device models will be included in the list. Now, if you don’t know whether your Android smartphone or tablet device is Project Treble compatible or not, you can follow the below links to get complete details and steps to check it.
Official Android 11 GSI Info:
- Date: September 8, 2020
- Build: RP1A.200720.009
- Build Type: experimental
- Security patch level: September 2020
- Google Play Services: 20.30.19
Download Android 11 GSI Build
Official GSI Build: [Full Repository]
Unofficial GSI Build from Erfan Abdi: [Full Repository]
- Android 11 R GSI for AB arm64 | Direct downloads
- Android 11 R GSI for A-only arm64 | Direct Downloads (Coming Soon)
Known Issues of Android 11 GSI:
Android 11 GSI binaries have the following GSI-specific known issues:
- Android Beta Feedback App: On some devices, you might see an “Access to this component is restricted, permission is required” error. A fix for this issue will be included in an upcoming release. To work around this issue, use the GSI website to report GSI issues.
- Phone Audio: When using the integrated dialer, you might not hear any audio on the phone. This is due to a change in the telephony service installation location in Android 10.
- Power Cycle: Rebooting GSI might fail on some devices. To work around it, reboot the device into recovery mode, erase user data, perform a factory reset, and then reboot the device.
- System Partition Size: GSI + GMS file size (images named gsi_gms_arm64-*) might be bigger than the default dynamic system partition size on your device. To work around this issue, you can delete some non-essential dynamic partitions, such as the product partition, and flash the GSI again. For more information, see the flashing GSIs documentation.
- This GSI file and guide is only applicable for Project Treble supported devices.
- Make sure to check whether your device supports Project Treble or not.
- Maintain at least 50% of battery charge.
- Take a full data backup of the device without Root before doing anything.
- Your respective device bootloader should be unlocked at first.
- The TWRP Custom Recovery should be installed on your handset as well.
- Enable OEM Unlock and USB Debugging on your device.
- Download and Install the Android USB Drivers on your PC/Laptop.
- A PC/Laptop and a USB cable are required. (for Fastboot method)
- Install the ADB & Fastboot tool for Windows/MAC. (for Fastboot method)
- Download and Install TWRP Recovery for Android devices.
- Google Play Services (GApps) for Android 11 GSI.
Steps to Install Android 11 R GSI (Generic System Image) for Treble Supported Android device
After checking the Project Treble compatibility, make sure to follow all the download links and requirements properly. Now, let’s jump into the steps below.
Method 1: Install Android 11 GSI using TWRP Recovery
- Download and copy the downloaded Android 11 GSI file to your phone storage.
- Unzip the file to get the Android R GSI image file.
- Next, reboot your handset into the TWRP Recovery menu.
- Take a full Nandroid backup using TWRP Recovery.
- Delete everything except the internal storage.
- Tap on the ‘Install’ button > Change the file type from ‘zip’ to ‘image’.
- Select flash to the system partition.
- Reboot to system.
- Finally, you can install the GApps package if you want Google apps and services.
- Then restart your handset into the system. It may take some time to boot for the first time. Please be patient.
Method 2: Install Generic System Images (GSI) using Fastboot Mode
- First of all, you will need to perform a factory reset on your phone. [You can also reboot to Recovery mode and perform factory reset]
- Keep in mind that OEM Unlock and USB Debugging is already enabled on your phone.
- We assume that you’ve already installed the ADB & Fastboot tool on your PC.
- Now, transfer the downloaded Android 11 R GSI file to your computer and extract it.
- Simply, connect your Android device to the PC/Laptop by using the USB cable.
- Launch a command prompt on your PC from the GSI folder by typing cmd in the address bar and pressing the Enter button on your keyboard.
- Restart your device into bootloader mode or fastboot mode by typing the following command in the command prompt and press the Enter key.
adb reboot bootloader
- Next, type in the following command and hit the Enter button. It will delete the system on your device.
fastboot erase system
- Use the following command to install the Android 11 GSI file:
fastboot -u flash system <name_of_system.img>
- The installation process will start and will take some time. So, wait for it.
- Once the installation process is done, you will need to enter the following command:
- That’s it, guys. The first boot may take some time after the software upgrade.
We hope that you’ve found this guide pretty useful and you’ve installed the Android R GSI on any of your Project Treble devices by following this guide successfully. If you’ve any queries, let us know in the comments below.
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- OnePlus Android 11 Tracker: What’s New in OxygenOS 11?
- Motorola Android 11 Tracker: Supported List and Features
- Asus Android 11 Update Tracker