Google is constantly at work perfecting the latest version of Android, but you might not know that you can help test it out. Before any new version of Android is released, whether it’s a full new major “sweet treat” version or a simple maintenance release (such as the new 7.1.2 update), you can sign up to test it weeks or months before it’s available for public download. All you need is a Google account and the right phone.
And Google makes it easy to sign up, as long as you have one of the newer “pure Android” handsets. Currently, the list is pretty short, but if you own a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, or one of the Pixel phones, you’re all set. (Additionally, you can install the beta on the short-lived Nexus Player set-top box, and the Pixel C tablet.) Those phones should be good for the rest of this year, as Google has vowed that Nexus level devices will “receive major updates for at least two years.” For example, the 2014 Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 only recently dropped off the list, so last year’s Huawei and LG Nexus devices should be good at least through the remainder of 2017.