How to upgrade /e/OS to a new major version?


I wanted to upgrade my Google Pixel 5 from /e/OS S, i.e. Android 12, to /e/OS T, i.e. Android 13. But found that there are no instructions on the official device page on how to do this. Neither are there any instructions to be found on the general support pages. This seems weird, to say the least. Do people not upgrade their /e/OS phones, or are people around here just so tech-savvy that an official instruction isn’t considered to be needed…?

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If you are on the stable variant (how to see) you could check the weekly posts in Topics tagged development-updates, section “OS OTA Related information” (currently) for completed OTA upgrades for your device, which then should be offered via the updater in the Settings, if applicable.

In all other cases the upgrade will “just” be a new install, and the instructions for this are given at the device page you already found.

Be safe with a backup of your important stuff in any case.

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Ok, but as far as I know, upgrades between major Android versions are never OTA. So what do you mean by just like a “new install”? The installation instructions state that I need to unlock the bootloader, flash additional partitions, install a custom recovery, format the entire device, and on top of that I already need to have official Android 13 installed. Obviously some of this is not required for an upgrade, but it shouldn’t be a guessing game, the documentation should be crystal clear on things like this. So why is there no official upgrade instruction?

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How so? If you use the vendor stock Android OS for your device, they will be, in all likelihood.
And I just pointed you to where you can see in which cases there are major /e/OS OTA upgrades for specific devices and specific upgrade steps.
So major Android upgrades can be OTA, of course.


You can always read the LineageOS Upgrade page for background, for redfin linked from Info about redfin | LineageOS Wiki. (Be aware that this is written for lineage-20 → lineage-21.)

If you have redfin then Official / stable is available.

You’re right. I didn’t know that was the place to look, I assumed it was like LineageOS. It seems I’m on the dev build, which is probably why I haven’t been offered the OTA update to Android 13 yet. Thought I was on the official build. So my only option is to do the upgrade to the official T version manually somehow, I guess? Once again, an official upgrade instruction would’ve been great here. Seems completely strange to me that there doesn’t seem to be any. It should of course be there as an alternative for situations like this, or for all the devices that don’t get major version upgrades OTA. And the forum should never be the place to look for official instructions.


dev builds are also official, just differently official, “unofficial” is a different build type besides stable or dev.
A renaming is being done right now, though: stable will be “official” and dev will be “community” … Different Build Types … so with this being on an “official” build will be more clear, arguably.

As in your case the upgrade is a new install anyway, you might consider using the opportunity to switch to stable/official. While there’s no guarantee of further OTA upgrades, stable/official is the build to be on to at least have a chance.

I always wanted to be on the stable/official build, must have accidentally downloaded the wrong file when I installed it 1.5 years ago. Anyway, you say a “new install” is the only way in this case. What does that mean? What exactly should I do? Will it wipe all my data?

As the Easy Installer supports your device (see device page), it should be the option to try first. It should tell you exactly how to proceed. The Easy Installer only installs stable/official.


Alternatively you can try to adapt the LineageOS way of upgrading to your /e/OS, but be safe with a backup here, too …

If I am right, there were changes on Android side regarding partitions from R to S, atleast I had to flash the dtbo.img when I updated from R to T. I didn’t lose any data even though I had some hiccups with flashing everything.

As Anotherelk points out do backup and maybe search others on the forum who had a pixel, they mostly have de same upgrade path.

Here is a recent example with Pixal 4a

The Easy Installer only suggests a clean install, wiping everything, no upgrades.

So how do I backup? That’s another thing that lacks documentation. With TWRP you could create a complete backup image of the phone, easy to restore from without losing anything, but that’s not possible with the /e/ recovery image. So how are you supposed to do?

Open Android Backup suited me well doing migration for Pictures, Documents, etc. but it can’t do appdata.

The only thing which was messed up, were my SMS history. Have been getting messages in the wrong chats. Maybe doing that manually is better.

Checkout the solutions posted at Backup Migrate Downgrade · lineageos4microg/docker-lineage-cicd Wiki · GitHub. They won’t backup ‘EVERYTHING’ , but they are the best I’ve found. Also checkout izzy/Adebar: Android DEvice Backup And Report, using Bash and ADB. -, which looks promising but I haven’t had time to test it yet.