Android 13 was finally officially released. But as you know it is officially available for Pixel, owners of other devices cannot use it without a replacement. Fortunately, Google has an alternative called GSI ‘Generic System Images’. And if you want to try Android 13 Beta on a non-Pixel phone, you can install GSI. Here you can download and install Android 13 Beta GSI on any Android phone.
GSI or Generic System Image was introduced a few years ago during the Android 8.1 Phase. And since then it’s been available for every major Android update. Its main purpose is to provide the functionality of testing the latest Android version on any Android phone, even if it is a non-pixel phone. Developers can use it to test apps, functionality, and other development work on a treble-compliant device.
Android GSI is an open-source project that developers can use to create custom ROMs, etc. And on top of that, it offers a stock experience on non-pixel phones. Now let’s move on to the download section.
Download Android 13 Beta GSI
Just like the Android 13 factory image and Android 13 OTA image, Google has also provided Android 13 GSI builds.
Android 13 Beta 1 GSI
How to Install Android 13 GSI
Installing a GSI is different from installing a beta update on Pixel phones. Also there are some criteria that a device needs to achieve to install GSI on it. So let’s now first check these requirements followed by the installation steps.
- Works on Android 9 or newer version
- Install adb and fastboot driver on your PC (Or download Platform Tools)
- Unlock the bootloader of your phone (Different method for each brand)
- Check if your phone support project treble (steps given below)
- Take a full backup of your phone
- Download the correct GSI for your device
- Download vbmeta.img
- Make sure you are installing it at your own risk
- Some OEMs have different processes for installing GSI (It shouldn’t be much different than this one)
Step 1: Enable USB Debugging
If you have unlocked the bootloader, then you already know how to access developer options. So enable USB Debugging from the developer options.
But if you don’t recall the process, go to Settings > About Phone and tap 7 times on Build Number. It depends on the device you have, like for the OnePlus phone tap on the OxygenOS version, for Xiaomi tap on the MIUI version, and so on. Now go back to Settings and search for developer options and then open it. In the developer, options enable USB Debugging which will be somewhere on the top section.
Step 2: Check for Project Treble Support
It is an important criteria that the device on which you want to install GSI must be Treble compliant. Most of the latest devices are project treble, but still, make sure of it by running a given command.
To run the command you need to enable USB Debugging on your phone, which I think you already know from the method mentioned above. So after enabling USB Debugging enter the below command.
adb shell getprop ro.treble.enabled
The response must be True. And if false then your phone is not compatible with Android 13 Beta GSI.
Step 3: Extract Android 13 Beta GSI
Now copy the download GSI or Generic System Image to your computer. The file format will be the zip format, so extract the file. Copy system.img from the extracted folder and paste it to the C:/adb folder (if you have installed ADB and fastboot drivers) or in the platform-tools folder (if you are using platform-tools).
Also, copy the downloaded vbmeta.img file to the same location as system.img.
Step 4: Boot your Android phone into Fastboot Mode
To accomplish this, the USB Debugging must be enabled (skip if you know the shortcut keys to boot your phone into bootloader mode).
Connect your phone to your PC using a USB cable and make sure to authorize it on your device if it asks for debugging permission. It will not ask if you have already given permission before. Now open CMD on your PC and enter the mentioned command.
adb reboot bootloader
Your phone will boot into bootloader/Fastboot mode.
Step 5: Flash GSI to install Android 13 Beta
To flash the GSI first you have to disable Android verified boot to avoid the bootloop issue. Open the CMD/Command window from the C:/adb folder or platform-tools folder where the system.img file is located. You can simply enter cmd in the path location in file explorer to open CMD on any specific location.
- Enter the below command to disable AVB Android verified boot:
fastboot flash vbmeta vbmeta.img
- Now wipe all the data for clean install using the mentioned command (It will remove all the data):
fastboot erase system
- Next, Install the Android 13 Beta GSI on your phone with this command:
fastboot flash system system.img
- Now Wipe the user data partition once the installation is done:
- That’s all, now you can reboot and enjoy Android 13 on your phone.
After reboot, set up the Android 13 and enjoy it on your phone. There is also a DSU Loader method to experience Android 13 GSI without permanently installing it. You can check the DSU method here.
With GSI you can enjoy the Android 13 features before the official launch. It is really helpful if you are a developer to make Android 13 compatible apps. You can also report bugs to Google.
Soon other OEMs will also release the Android 13-based Beta for their phones. Most probably after the Google I/O, so if you have the latest flagship phone from other brands then get ready to try a new Android 13 beta.