Are you on Android 12 and want to go back to Android 11? We understand. Although Android 12 adds new features and changes how the operating system looks and feels, you may still prefer Android 11 out of habit or because you didn’t like the changes. And if you upgraded to Android 12 unofficially, chances are that it has bugs and doesn’t work well, which is why you want to downgrade.
Be that as it may, our duty in such situations is to help you. Therefore, we have prepared a guide to downgrade from Android 12 to Android 11. First of all, we will answer some questions you may have about this procedure, we will go over the things to keep in mind, and at the end, we will tell you step by step how to get back to Android 11. Let’s get started…
Everything you need to know before downgrading from Android 12 to Android 11
Before downgrading, it's important to understand:
- Downgrading will void your device's warranty and erase all data.
- By default, your Google account backs up contacts, photos, settings, etc. Enable backup before downgrading.
- Apps like WhatsApp allow you to create backups to restore data later. Utilize these tools.
- You'll need to unlock the bootloader to flash an older Android image, which not all devices allow.
- Use official factory images from your manufacturer to avoid issues.
Is it possible to go back to Android 11 from Android 12?
Yes, it is possible. If you now have Android 12, but previously had Android 11, then you can go back to the previous version. You just need to flash an older Android image on your phone. Of course, on the way you have to do several things: backup your phone, factory reset it, unlock the bootloader, restore the backup, etc.
And it is crucial to follow each and every step, otherwise, you could lose everything you have on Android or even make your phone unusable. So follow this guide with the utmost care and at your own risk.
Ensure you have:
- Backed up your device data and synced photos.
- Downloaded the Android 11 factory image for your specific model.
- A Windows or Mac computer and USB cable to connect your phone.
- Installed ADB and Fastboot tools on your computer.
- Enabled USB debugging and OEM unlocking on your device.
What to know when downgrading Android?
Step-by-Step Guide to Downgrade
Here we have made a list of things we think you should know about the Android downgrade process. Keep an eye on them because they are important:
- You will lose the warranty of your phone by downgrading it.
- Going back to a previous version of Android will erase all data on your phone. This includes both the Android configuration data and apps, as well as everything you have saved in the internal storage. That is your photos, videos, documents, music, etc. will be deleted.
- By default, your Google account will back up some data: contacts, photos, device settings, SMS, and call history.
- Want to check if Google has already backed up your phone? Go to Settings > Google > Backup. Enable this option and create a backup now.
- Many applications back up your settings automatically. So you don’t have to worry about backing up your data. This only applies to apps that work with cloud services, such as social networking apps.
- There are other apps, such as WhatsApp, that allow you to create a cloud backup specifically for them from their own settings. This way, you can easily restore them with a single click of a button when opening the app after downgrading. If you are interested, check out this article on how to set up WhatsApp backup to avoid losing chats.
- You can only downgrade if your phone manufacturer allows it. And is that to do this you must modify the firmware, unlock the bootloader, manually flash an Android image, and do other things that not all brands of smartphones allow you to do.
- Almost all major Android brands allow this, but Google certainly makes it the easiest.
- However, it is imperative that you have a carrier-unlocked version of the phone. Otherwise, it will be impossible to downgrade it regardless of the brand.
- It is much more difficult to downgrade when there are no standard Android images for your phone. Brands such as Samsung, LG, and Motorola, among others, do not share publicly the Android images needed to revert to an older version of the system.
- If this is your case, you will have to look for the image for your phone on third-party pages (with the risk that implies). Even if you find it, you may also have to change the bootloader and other elements of the system modified by the new version.
- Don’t know where to find the factory image of your Android to downgrade? Here are the repositories we found for the main brands:
Follow these steps carefully:
- Boot your device into fastboot mode using key combinations or ADB commands.
- Unlock the bootloader using the
fastboot unlockcommand. Confirm the prompt on the device.
- Flash the Android 11 firmware using the
flash-allcommand. Do not disconnect mid-process.
- Once complete, reboot the system to boot into Android 11.
- Re-lock the bootloader to continue getting OTA updates using
- Set up Android 11 and restore your data from Google and app backups.
Things to make sure of before switching back to Android 11
Do you already have everything you need to downgrade? Wait a minute. You’ll only be 100% ready if you’ve done all of this:
- Back up your mobile with Google (only application settings, contacts, SMS, general device settings and call history will be saved).
- Activate Google Photos backup to back up your videos and photos. Then you can easily restore them later. No space on Google Photos? In this other article, we show you how to have unlimited space for your photos without Google Photos.
- Have a Windows or Mac computer and a USB cable to connect your phone to it.
- The files saved on your Android storage transfer to your PC or Google Drive.
- Download the Android 11 image for your specific phone model. The guide below is based on the Google Pixel, but the steps are similar for any other Android smartphone.
How to upgrade from Android 12 to Android 11
The moment of truth has arrived. Here are the steps to follow to downgrade from Android 12 to Android 11:
- Enable USB debugging on your device.
- In Settings > Developer Options, also enable OEM Unlock.
- Now you need to install ADB and Fastboot on your PC. There are many ways to do it, but we recommend you the official one that consists in downloading the Android SDK Platform Tools ZIP file from these links (just download the one that corresponds to the PC you have):
- Unzip the ZIP file with a tool like 7-Zip and move the “platform-tools” folder to an easily accessible location on your PC.
- The extract also the Android 11 factory image (which must be the specific one for your device, otherwise you will brick it) and move all its contents to the main “platform-tools” folder.
- Now, connect your phone to the PC with its USB cable and make sure it recognizes it. If not, download the USB drivers for your phone and install them on the PC.
- And don’t forget to accept USB debugging when you get the notification on your phone after connecting it to the PC.
- Next, open the Terminal of your PC:
- On Windows, you can do this by opening the “Run” application (search for it from the Windows search engine) and in it type “cmd” (without quotes).
- On Mac, go to Applications > Utilities and double-click Terminal.
- Next, type in the Terminal the command “cd” followed by the path to the “platform-tools” folder. That is to say, if you have the folder on the desktop, the command you will enter is this: cd C:\Users-name-your-name-on-the-platform-tools.
- To verify that you have done everything right so far, enter the following command:
- On Windows: adb devices.
- On Mac: ./adb devices.
- If your phone is connected correctly, its serial number should appear on the screen.
- Is everything OK? Then proceed to enter Fastboot on your mobile like this:
- Press at the same time the Power + Volume Down buttons until the Android error icon appears.
- Press at the same time the Power + Volume Up buttons and release the Volume Up key.
- That’s it! If you fail to enter Fastboot this way, then use these commands to enter: adb reboot bootloader (Windows) | ./adb reboot bootloader (Mac).
- Then, unlock the bootloader with this command:
- On Windows: fastboot flashing unlock.
- On Mac: ./fastboot flashing unlock.
- After entering the above commands, using the volume buttons on your phone select the option to unlock the bootloader and then confirm the action by pressing the power button. This will erase all data on your device and reboot it.
- After rebooting, type this command:
- On Windows: adb reboot bootloader.
- On Mac: ./adb reboot bootloader.
- With the bootloader unlocked and rebooted, you can now install Android 11 on your mobile with the downloaded factory image. How? On Google Pixel you just enter this command:
- On Windows: flash-all.
- On Mac: ./flash-all.sh.
- Do not close the Terminal either during or after installation to avoid problems.
- When the Android 11 installation is finished, you will see a confirmation message. At this point, you can disconnect your phone from the PC.
- Although it is now possible to start the mobile configuration from scratch, the best thing to do now is to lock the bootloader again to continue receiving official Android updates. If you are not interested in receiving updates, you can skip the following steps and start using the phone.
- To lock the bootloader, connect your phone to the PC again and enter this command in the Terminal:
- On Windows: adb reboot bootloader.
- On Mac: ./adb reboot bootloader.
- After it reboots, type this:
- On Windows: fastboot flashing lock.
- On Mac: ./fastboot flashing lock.
- Finally, manually lock the bootloader by choosing the option to do so with the physical buttons of the mobile.
- Now, disconnect and close everything. Restart your mobile, start setting up Android 11, and restore all your data.
- That’s it! We hope you found this guide useful to get back to Android 11. Don’t forget that some steps shown here may change depending on the brand of your phone, so we recommend you check each step at least twice before proceeding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about downgrading from Android 12 to Android 11:
Why would I want to downgrade to Android 11?
You may want to downgrade due to Android 12 issues like bugs, app incompatibility, poor battery life, or simply liking Android 11's interface more. Android 11 is more stable and optimized.
Will I lose all my data when downgrading?
Yes, downgrading will wipe your device and erase all data. Be sure to back up important files and use Google/app backups to restore data later.
Is downgrading possible on all Android devices?
No, only unlocked devices that allow bootloader unlocking and firmware flashing support downgrading. Pixel devices make it easiest. Other brands may restrict downgrading.
Where can I find the Android 11 firmware for my device?
For Pixels, get factory images from Google's site. For other brands, check official manufacturer sites. Avoid using third-party firmware.
Do I need a computer to downgrade?
Yes, you need a Windows or Mac computer and USB cable to connect your phone and execute the ADB/Fastboot commands for downgrading.
Will I stop getting Android updates if I downgrade?
If you re-lock the bootloader after downgrading, you will continue getting OTA updates. Leaving the bootloader unlocked may prevent future updates.
Can downgrading brick my device?
If you use incorrect firmware or improperly flash, you risk bricking your device. Follow all instructions carefully to avoid issues.
How can I restore my data after downgrading?
Use your Google account and app-specific backups you created before downgrading to restore contacts, settings, chats, etc.
Let me know if you have any other downgrade-related questions!
With the correct backups and preparations, you can successfully downgrade to Android 11. Just take care to unlock the bootloader, flash older firmware, re-lock the bootloader, and restore your data. Let us know if you need any help!