You only have a short window to opt out of the Android Beta Program now without data loss
Android 13 was just released to stable, and in the long-ago, that would have meant the end of the Android Beta Program for a few months ahead of the following year’s Developer Previews. But now that Google is testing its Quarterly Platform Releases with the Beta Program, today’s news means two things: 1) Google will start testing Android 13 QPR1 betas for future Feature Drop fun next month in September. 2) You have a narrow window right now to leave the Android Beta program without having to wipe your phone, so be sure to opt out now if you’re tired of beta testing.
Google’s tweaks to the Android Beta Program to accommodate this new Quarterly Platform Release (QPR) testing has made it a little frustrating to keep track of the details, but the short version is that Google now runs two external testing programs under the same Android Beta Program moniker — occasionally simultaneously and sometimes separately. Google ended the QPR-specific beta program back in June following Android 12 QPR3 reaching stable as part of the June Feature Drop update. (QPRs aren’t Feature Drops updates, but Feature Drops updates include QPR changes.)
Now that Android 13 has reached stable (basically constituting QPR0), Google’s gearing up to test the next Android 13 quarterly platform release by bringing that part of the Android Beta Program back. The timing of releases has been thrown off a little by Android 13, but the next QPR could reach stable in time for a December Feature Drop.
Complicating this is the fact that there are a lot of people currently registered in the Android Beta Program to test Android 13. Those currently registered that don’t explicitly unenroll from the beta will be pushed to the revived QPR testing program. So if you don’t have an interest in testing out upcoming Android 13 betas, you’ll want to make sure to head to the Android Beta Program site very soon and opt your phone out.
There’s a very short window open right now where you can do this without wiping your phone. If you forget and somehow end up installing the Android 13 QPR1 Beta 1 when the program expands next month, unregistering from the program will force a wipe, and you’ll probably have to wait three months until A13 QPR1 hits stable for an opportunity to leave without data loss.
If you’re hoping that staying in the QPR betas will deliver Pixel Feature Drop changes early, that’s not guaranteed. While Feature Drop updates are based on QPRs like Android 12.1, many of the Feature Drop changes are actually part of Google’s more proprietary software components and distributed through other mechanisms like apps and Google Play Services. But if you are excited to spot bugs and deliver feedback, enjoy.
The QPR-extended Android 13 beta program will conclude in June 2023 following the release of the June Pixel Feature Drop.