The first Android 15 public beta is out – here’s how to download it

The first public beta for Android 15 is officially here after months of waiting. A Google representative told us several refinements were made as the team took the feedback they received from the two developer previews. Keep in mind this is far from the final version of the system. Most of the rumored features, like the lock screen widgets or Private Space, are not here. The beta focuses primarily on the upcoming UI changes and security updates for Android 15.

Moving forward, apps on the OS will be displayed “edge-to-edge by default”. Edge-to-edge allows apps to cover an entire screen rather than leaving spaces at the top or bottom. Android 15 also introduces end-to-end encryption to the contacts app to help users “securely manage and verify other people’s contact information.” 

App archiving is the only rumored feature making an appearance in the beta. According to the company, it will let you uninstall cached files for an app while letting you keep important user data.

There’s more in the overall package, but those are the main stars. To try out Android 15 yourself, be sure to follow the set of instructions we’ve laid out below. Be aware the beta is only available on a handful of smartphones. 

Quick steps to download the Android 15 Beta

  • Check that you own an eligible Pixel model
  • Enroll your device into the Android 15 Beta Program on the Android Beta website
  • Check for any new updates and download the file

Tools & Requirements

  • An eligible Google Pixel device
  • An internet connection
  • A few minutes of your time

How to install the Android 15 beta on your Pixel device

1. Check that you own an eligible Pixel model

Not every Android phone or tablet can install Android 15 because Google has restricted access to the OS to first-party hardware. Eligible devices include the Pixel 5a, 6, 6 Pro, 6a, 7, 7 Pro, 7a, 8, 8 Pro, and the Pixel Tablet and the Pixel Fold. Older Pixel models cannot receive the update.

It’s unknown if or when other Android manufacturers will offer access to the platform. You’ll probably have to wait for the official launch to get your hands on the beta.

2. Enroll your device into the Android 15 Beta Program

Head on over to Google’s Android Beta website using the account currently signed into your eligible Pixel phone or Tablet. Scroll down to the “Your Eligible Devices” section near the bottom of the page. Select your model, then follow the on-screen directions to obtain the update.

3. Check for any updates and then install.

Launch the Settings app on your Pixel device. Go to the System section, then to System Update. You’ll be met with a warning telling you about the potential bugs you might encounter. Acknowledge the risks and accept the download. Give your phone or Pixel Tablet enough time to install the package. Once done, restart the hardware to finish installing the Android 15 beta.

Since it's in the early stages, Android 15 will be unstable. There’s a good chance you’ll run into some weird glitch or the whole thing will crash. We don’t recommend installing the beta at this time due to possible performance issues. Plus, a lot of the major features, like the aforementioned lock screen widgets, aren't even there. The beta needs more time in the oven.

A stable version of the Android 15 is scheduled to come out later this June ahead of its late summer/early autumn release. If you decide to install the beta anyway, Google asks that you provide feedback so they can continue making improvements. Instructions for delivering that feedback can be found on the Android Developer website

While we have you check out TechRadar's list of the best Pixel phones for 2024 if you're looking to upgrade.

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macOS Sonoma 14.4 will bring new emojis and bug fixes soon – here’s how to try the public beta

A new beta version of macOS Sonoma 14.4 has just been made available for the public, allowing Mac users to get an early look into what the new update may entail in its final form – as well as getting to try out some of the new features and fixes. 

Among the regular refinements and bug fixes we normally see with most small software updates like this, macOS Sonoma 14.4 also offers new emoji characters! The new emojis include a melting face (perfect for a hot day – or a response to bad news on a particularly slow work day), two hands making a little heart, and a moose, amongst others. 

The fixes address some issues reported by testers and developers from the first public beta, which include potential issues with Safari and Messages. I’ve been running on the previous public beta version, and I’ve noticed issues with my messages not syncing between my iPhone 15 and Mac Mini, and since downloading the beta I’ve noticed some improvements with getting notifications and syncing message threads, which is good news for anyone else currently experiencing that issue. 

Want to give it a go yourself? Here’s how

If you’d like to download the public beta of macOS Sonoma 14.4 yourself and give it a go, you can sign up for access straight from your device's settings menu. You can access the public beta by heading over to your System Settings, going to the software update page ‘General’ section of the menu, and clicking on the option labeled ‘Beta updates’. 

Once you do that, a small pop-up will appear to let you decide between enabling developer or public beta updates. We would recommend not selecting the developer option if you’re a regular user planning to try it on your personal Mac or Macbook because beta updates in general can be quite unstable and are not really intended for everyday use – and the developer-targeted version is liable to have even more bugs.

Plus, compared to the public beta versions of updates, developer versions are likely to have features or changes that might never be made available to the public in the long run. Instead, if you enable the public beta of Sonoma 14.4 you can get an early look at features that are more likely to be part of an actual public release. 

Via PC Tablet 

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Google’s AI-boosted search engine enters first public trial – here’s how to try it

Google has opened up access to its Search Labs testing program allowing users to try out the upcoming search engine update with the most notable change being the Search Generative Experience or SGE.

To be clear, Search Labs isn’t technically open to the public as you’ll have to first join a waitlist. If you’ve already signed up, be sure to check your email account for an invitation from Google as they're currently rolling out. Don’t worry if you haven’t entered as there’s still room left in the waitlist on both desktop and mobile.

To join on desktop, you need to first install Google Chrome on your computer. From there, head on over to the Search Labs website, select Join Waitlist, and wait for the invitation to arrive. On mobile devices, launch the Google app. You should see a science beaker-esque icon in the top left corner of the screen. Just like before, select Join Waitlist then wait for the invite. Search Labs is available on both iOS and Android so no one’s being left out. Install the latest app update if you don't see the icon.

Limited-time only

Unless you’re a subscriber to Google One Premium, it may take a while until you get an invite. A recent report from 9To5Google states Premium subscribers are getting “priority access” to Search Labs, although “it won’t be immediate.” “Access spots are limited” at the moment, but more will open up over “the coming weeks. 

But once you get the invite, act fast. SGE and the rest of the Search Labs experiments will be available for a limited time only. It’s unknown for how long, so we asked Google for more information. This story will be updated if we hear back.

There’s been a fair amount of hype surrounding SGE ever since it was first revealed during I/O 2023. The technology essentially enhances Google Search to provide long, detailed responses to queries by taking context into consideration. It could very well completely change how people use the search engine

Word of advice

For the lucky few who get early access to SGE, Google recommends starting off with simple terms so you can get used to how the AI works. Once you get a feel for it, try entering more specific queries. One of the highlighted use cases of SGE is to help people with their shopping. The AI can generate a detailed list of features, reviews, price points, and even link to the product itself.

In addition to Google’s advice, we have some of our own because we’ve used multiple generative AI models from Bing to Brave Summarizer. One thing we’ve learned is generative AIs can hallucinate, meaning they come up with totally false information that bears no resemblance to reality. Don't always believe what you read. And do be mindful of what you enter as generative AIs keep the information you type in. In fact, some major tech corporations, like Samsung, have banned their employees from using ChatGPT after some sensitive information was leaked.

Google I/O 2023 revealed a lot more than just the tech giant’s AI tools. Be sure to check out TechRadar’s coverage of the event as it happened.

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