Take These Steps Before Installing Android 10 on Your Phone

Screenshot: David Murphy ((Google)

Android 10 is here for some people, but possibly not you. If you’re the owner of a Google Pixel (ranging from the OG Pixel to the latest Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL variants), you can download and install the new version of the Android OS right now. For everyone else, you’re in for a bit of a wait.

Before you download and install Android 10—whenever that is—here are a few steps you’ll want to consider:

Back up your stuff

While you should be fine migrating from whatever version of Android you’re on to Android 10, you don’t want to be the exception to the rule—especially if you haven’t recently backed up your device’s important data. Thankfully, this is a pretty easy process:

  1. Pull up Settings
  2. Tap on System
  3. Tap on Backup
  4. Tap the big blue “Back up now” button
Screenshot: David Murphy

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This should cover most of your device’s essentials: app data, call history, contacts, device settings, and text messages. If you want to be thorough, you can also use a third-party app like Slight Backup to create a secondary, supplemental backup. If you’re running root, you can also use Titanium Backup to preserve everything on your device, but that feels a bit overkill for a standard system update.

I’d also recommend firing up Google Photos, assuming you use that app/service, to make sure your device’s images and videos are all synchronized to the cloud. Since it’s free, there’s no reason not to use Google’s service to hold your media, especially if you’re a Pixel owner and the company gives you unlimited storage for your full-resolution images and videos.

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Finally, if you use your device—and only your device, or an Android authentication app—to verify your login information for any important accounts, make sure you have backup codes for these accounts on standby. Should the update go south and you find yourself unable to access your phone, nor your authenticator app, you’ll still be able to get into your accounts from another device and begin the somewhat-arduous process of setting up 2FA elsewhere.

Give your device a quick speed test before installing Android 10

This step is optional, but I always enjoy seeing what a new operating system update does to my device’s performance—and if it hamstrings my device in any way, that’s a good reason to consider a reset, some extra troubleshooting, or possibly a phone call or online chat with the manufacturer (once I’ve checked to make sure my warranty is still active).

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Grab some benchmarking apps like GeekBench 5, AnTuTu, and GFXBench, and give them a run before you upgrade your device to Android 10. Once you’re all ready to go in the new version of the operating system, run it again; the results should be pretty similar. If they’re significantly worse after compared to before, you might have a problem.

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Of course, you can always browse your favorite Android forums to triple-check that other owners of your particular smartphone aren’t encountering any bugs or issues when they leap to Android 10. If so, you might want to hold back on the update until any issues are addressed. That’s especially true for any battery issues other users might encounter. If you’re seeing reports that Android 10 kills your device’s battery life (by something like 25 percent, let’s say), you also might want to wait on that update.

How to install Android 10

Once you’re ready to pull the trigger on Android 10, perform an over-the-air update by:

  1. Pulling up Settings
  2. Tapping on System
  3. Tapping on Advanced
  4. Tapping on System Update
  5. Tapping on the big blue “Check for update” button.

At least, that’s how I did it on my Pixel 3a. Your steps might vary slightly for your specific Android device. Nevertheless, it’s not very complicated to install an OS update, and you should be ready to go after a download, installation, and restart. Say hello to Android 10.

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