You can download Android 15 now, but you really shouldn't

Android 15 is live, but we're still a long way from final release

Android 15
(Image credit: Future)
Quick Summary

While Android 15 is available as a developer preview, it's currently unfinished and meant for developers to test, not everyday users.

It's best therefore to wait for the public beta in April or the final release later in 2024 for a stable experience.

Google has announced that Android 15 is available, in the form of the first developer preview. So, while you're probably still checking your updates to see if your device has Android 14 yet, progress is being made on the next version of Android software.

Each year, Google is really open with Android, allowing access to the software really early in its lifecycle. Unlike iOS, which is much more difficult to get access to before it launches, Android will let anyone download and test the new software months before its public release.

Android 15 is going to bring a host of new features to phones, tablets and other devices, and it's clear that giving greater camera control to devices is going to be on the list. At this stage it's not exactly clear what benefits will come through these controls, but there seems to be a focus on low-light enhancement previews and flash strength.

Other areas of advancement focus on security and performance, which is what you'd expect in any new software version. What we don't know yet, is the sort of exciting features that will define next-gen devices: I'd expect these to be announced at Google I/O which will likely take place in May 2024.

Why you shouldn't install Android 15 now

At this point in the development cycle, Android 15 is unfinished software. The Developer Preview is exactly that – it's designed for developers to see how new core functions in Android will work.

Most importantly, it's a chance for developers to test their apps, to make sure that they will work as expected on the new software version and to give developers time to take advantage of new features.

If you choose to install Android 15 on your main device now, you'll find that many parts of your phone simply don't work. So have a little patience and at least wait until the public beta.

To underline this point, Android 15 is currently only available to flash to your device – you have to download and manually install it by connecting to your PC, at which point the device will be wiped, so this is only suitable for a second or spare phone you might have. It's currently only supported on Pixel phones.

The Android Beta program will allow you to easily download Android 15 to a compatible device – and that list will include Pixel devices back to Pixel 6 and probably some other partner devices. The Android 15 Beta is due to start in April 2024, just before Google I/O.

Again, the Android 15 Beta isn't complete software, many of the headline features of Android 15 won't be included, but it usually gives access to some of the new settings and design changes.

You can expect a lot to be said about Android 15 over the coming months until final release - which might not be until October 2024 alongside the Pixel 9.

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.