Android Basics: How to sideload OTA updates on your Google Pixel [Video]

Android Basics: How to Sideload OTA Updates on Your Google Pixel

Sideloading Over-the-Air (OTA) updates on your Google Pixel can be a useful skill for those who want to install updates before they’re officially rolled out or if the device isn’t receiving updates through the regular OTA method. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of sideloading OTA updates on your Google Pixel using an Android Recovery Image. Before we begin, it’s essential to note that sideloading updates can carry risks, such as potential instability or even bricking your device if not done correctly. Therefore, we strongly recommend proceeding with caution and only sideloading updates from trusted sources.


  • A Google Pixel device
  • An Android Recovery Image for your Google Pixel (compatible with the current software version)
  • ADB and Fastboot tools installed on your computer
  • USB debugging enabled on your Google Pixel
  • Charge your device to at least 50%

Steps to Sideload OTA Updates on Google Pixel

  1. Transfer the Android Recovery Image file to your Google Pixel.
  2. Boot your Google Pixel into Fastboot mode: Press and hold the Power button + Volume Down button until you see the Fastboot logo.
  3. Connect your Google Pixel to your computer using a USB cable and confirm that it’s detected in your operating system.
  4. Open your terminal or command prompt on the connected computer and navigate to the directory where ADB is installed.
  5. Type “flashing recovery” and press Enter. You’ll see a list of recoveries available on your device.
  6. Type the number corresponding to the Android Recovery Image file you transferred earlier and press Enter. Confirm the installation when prompted.
  7. Once the recovery image is installed, reboot your device into recovery mode by pressing and holding the Power button + Volume Up button. Release the buttons when you see the Google logo.
  8. In the recovery mode, choose “Apply update from ADB” and press the Swipe to Confirm button.
  9. On your computer, open a new terminal or command prompt window, type “adb sideload []” and press Enter (replace [] with the name of your OTA update zip file).
  10. If the installation is successful, you’ll see “Success” and a message that the system is updating. Wait for the update process to complete.
  11. Once the installation is finished, reboot your device into the updated software version.

Important Notes

Be patient during the process, as sideloading can take some time.

Also, make sure to backup your data before attempting the sideload process, as there’s always a risk of something going wrong.

Finally, if you encounter any issues during the sideload process or if your device doesn’t boot after attempting a sideload update, you may need to enter recovery mode and perform a factory reset.

Android Basics: How to sideload OTA updates on your Google Pixel [Video]


Over-The-Air (OTA) updates refer to software upgrades that are delivered wirelessly to your Android device. OTA updates are essential as they bring new features, enhance security, and fix bugs that may affect the performance of your device. In this video tutorial, we will guide you through the process of sideloading OTA updates on your Google Pixel devices when the official update is delayed or unavailable.

What is Sideloading?

Before we dive into the steps, let’s briefly discuss what sideloading means in the context of Android devices. Sideloading refers to the process of installing apps or software updates outside the Google Play Store. It is an advanced technique that requires users to manually download and install the update package (APK) file.

Why Sideload OTA Updates?

Although most users prefer to receive OTA updates through the official channels, there are instances where sideloading becomes necessary. For instance, when an OTA update is delayed or not available in your region, sideloading can be the only solution to get the latest features and security patches on your Google Pixel device. Moreover, sideloading allows you to install custom ROMs or modifications that may not be available on the Play Store.

Benefits of Installing OTA Updates

To emphasize the importance of OTA updates, it’s essential to understand their benefits. Installing OTA updates brings several advantages, including:

  • Enhanced Security Features: OTA updates often include security patches that address vulnerabilities and protect your device from malware and attacks.
  • Bug Fixes: OTA updates come with bug fixes that resolve software issues, improve device performance, and address compatibility problems.
  • New Features: OTA updates introduce new features and functionalities that enhance the user experience and add value to your device.

Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s move on to the steps of sideloading OTA updates on your Google Pixel device.

Prerequisites ()

Check Google Pixel Device and Unlock It

First, it’s essential to confirm that the viewer owns a Google Pixel device and ensures it is unlocked. Unlocked devices allow users to install updates manually.

Enable “Developer Options” and “USB Debugging”

To sideload OTA updates, viewers need to enable Developer Options and USB Debugging. Here’s how:

Enable “Developer Options”

Navigate to “Settings” -> “System” -> “About phone”. Tap the Build number seven times until “You’re now a developer!” message appears. Go back to “Settings” -> “System” -> scroll down and tap “Developer options“.

Enable “USB Debugging”

In “Developer options”, locate the “USB debugging” option and toggle it on.

Download Necessary Tools for Sideloading OTA Updates

There are two requirements: Android SDK Platform-Tools and a suitable OTA file. Here’s how to obtain them:

Download Android SDK Platform-Tools

Visit the link. Follow the installation instructions and extract the downloaded file to a convenient location.

Obtain an OTA File

Visitors should obtain the latest Google Pixel OTA updates from reputable sources, such as the link page or trusted Android communities.

I Instructions for Sideloading OTA Updates (1:00 – 3:45)

Connect the Google Pixel device to the computer using a USB cable:

Connecting the Device: Plug one end of the USB cable into the computer and the other end into the Google Pixel device.

Open a command prompt or terminal window on the computer:

Opening Terminal (Windows): Press “Windows key + R”, type ““cmd”” and hit Enter.
Opening Terminal (Mac/Linux): Use the terminal application.

Navigate to the extracted Android SDK Platform-Tools folder using the command prompt/terminal:

Navigating: Type “cd path\_to\_folder” and hit Enter, where “path\_to\_folder” is the actual folder path.

Reboot the Google Pixel device into bootloader mode:

Rebooting to Bootloader: Press and hold the Power button + Volume Down button until the device boots into fastboot mode, then use the Volume Down button to navigate to “Recovery mode” and press the Power button to select it. Once in recovery mode, tap on “Power off” and then press and hold the Power button + Volume Down button again until the device boots into bootloader mode.

E. Flash the OTA file onto the Google Pixel device using Fastboot:

Flashing: Type “fastboot flash recovery path\_to\_recovery\_file.img” in the command prompt/terminal, where “path\_to\_recovery\_file.img” is the actual file path of the downloaded recovery image file. Once the flashing process is complete, type “fastboot reboot” to reboot the device into the newly flashed recovery mode.

F. Sideload the OTA update using the installed custom recovery image:

Sideloading: After booting into recovery mode, select “Apply update from ADB” or “Install from SD card“, depending on the method used to obtain the OTA file. Follow the instructions provided by the recovery interface to sideload the update onto the device.

G. Reboot the Google Pixel device once the OTA update installation is complete:

Rebooting: Once the OTA update installation is complete, reboot the Google Pixel device.

Android Basics: How to sideload OTA updates on your Google Pixel [Video]

Conclusion (3:45 – 4:00)

Recap of Sideloading OTA Updates on Google Pixel

In this video, we walked you through the process of sideloading over-the-air (OTA) updates on your Google Pixel device. We began by enabling Developer Options and then allowing USB debugging. Next, we downloaded the necessary files for the update and transferred them to your device using a file explorer” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>app. After that, we used a terminal emulator app like Android Terminal Emulator to install the update via fastboot commands. Remember, sideloading updates carries some risks, so only do this if you’re comfortable with the process and understand the potential consequences.

Engage with Our Community

We hope you found this tutorial helpful! If you have any questions or if you’ve had success (or issues) sideloading OTA updates on your Google Pixel, we’d love to hear from you. Share your experiences in the comments section below and help build a valuable resource for our viewers.

Importance of Installing OTA Updates

Let’s not forget that installing official OTA updates is crucial for the security and functionality of your Google Pixel device. Updates bring new features, improvements, and essential bug fixes that keep your device running smoothly. So remember to stay updated!

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