Android 9.0 Pie started rolling out to a handful of phones the day Google released the latest version of its mobile operating system. And by a handful, I mean the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 line of devices and the Essential PH-1.
It should also roll out soon to recent phones from Xiaomi, HMD, OnePlus, Oppo, and Vivo that were eligible for the Android P beta program as well as Android One devices.
But if you’ve got an older phone (or a new phone from a company with a less than stellar track record at providing OS updates), you may be out of luck… at least when it comes to official updates. Unofficially though? You may have options.
Once the Android 9 Pie source code was released, custom ROM developers got to work.
Some custom ROMs are designed to give you more control over a device or add features that wouldn’t otherwise be available. So even if you have a phone that’s already received an official update, Android 9-based ROMs might be worth checking out… if you’re cool with unlocking your bootloader and running third-party firmware on your device. It’s not without some security risk.
But another thing custom ROM builders tend to do is make new versions of Android available on old devices that no longer receive official support.
Case in point — just about two weeks after Android 9 Pie was released to the public, developers have created Pie-based ROMs available for a bunch of older phones including:
- Google Nexus 6 – released November, 2014
- Google Nexus 5X – released October, 2015
- OnePlus One (1) (2) – released April, 2014
- OnePlus 2– released July, 2015
- OnePlus X – released October, 2015
- OnePlus 3 and 3T – released June, 2016 / November, 2016
While I haven’t seen any custom ROMs that bring Android Pie to older devices like the Google Nexus 5 (October, 2013), there are projects to make older versions of Android look like Android Pie on those devices with custom themes, fonts, and features. Root is required though.
See any good Android 9 builds for other “outdated” phones? Let us know in the comments.
Update: Xda-developers has put together a longer list of Android 9 Pie ports for older devices from brands including Asus, Honor, Huawei, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, and ZTE.
Android Pie os’ are strictly development right now, & no where near daily driver status. There are no substantive discussions on the XDA threads about Pie on the Nexus 5/hammerhead or Nexus 7/flo threads, although some on Nexus 6/shamu. Decently functioning Android 9.0/Pie roms are a long way off. I see Project Treble & GSI’s as a more promising avenue for older Android devices. Even new devices like the Mi Pad 4, a very good Nexus 7 2013 replacement, have Oreo-based GSIs available, although the Mi Pad 4 requires not insignificant magic foo in the build.prop, & the twrp on boot up (DM-verity issues, etc).
Brad, keep in mind that the source code of all posted roms on XDA are available for review, & the maintainers/devs update their roms with monthly android security patches. You can easily check device trees, gerrits, commits, etc. Also many posters on the XDA threads closely follow the behaviour of the roms. That is why I flash roms by the most popular rom teams, like Resurrection Remix, LineageOS, or Pure Nexus. Thank you.
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