In this guide, I will show you how you can install the latest release of Android (version 12) on your Raspberry Pi 4 / 400. Please keep in mind that this method will NOT work on a Pi 3 since this Android build requires at least 2 GB of RAM. Moreover, there are currently no Gapps packages available for Android 12, so the Google Play store does not come preinstalled. Of course, you can always choose to install Aptoide, F-Droid, or any other app market yourself.
As always, all relevant links will be included in this guide, so let’s get started!
For this tutorial, you will need the following:
- Raspberry Pi 4 / Pi 400 (at least 2 GB RAM is required);
- MicroSD Card (8 GB should work but I recommend grabbing at least a 16 GB card of decent quality);
- MicroSD Card adapter (if you’re using a MicroSD card to begin with);
Download and installation process
After you’ve made sure that you got the right equipment, head over to this AndroidFileHost page to download the LineageOS 19.0 build we will install on our Pi 4. Extract the downloaded .zip file to your desktop, making sure that the final file is listed as a .img file.
Next, you can launch balenaEtcher and select the extracted .img file in the flash from file option. Then, grab your MicroSD card and MicroSD card adapter (or USB thumb drive), and insert your desired storage medium into your PC. Select the SD Card or USB drive as the target in balenaEtcher, and you should see something similar to the image below:
If your screen looks like the screenshot above, you’re good to go to click on the Flash! button. Depending on the speed of your SD card or USB drive, this process may take anywhere from 2 minutes to over 30 minutes. Again, as is the case for running the Android OS on your Pi, the faster your SD card, the smoother the experience will be, so just keep that in mind.
Booting into Android 12!
After the flashing process has been completed, you can eject the MicroSD card or USB drive from your PC and insert it into your Pi 4 / Pi 400. Simply connect your Pi to a display (and preferably an ethernet cable) before connecting the USB-C Charger. As is the case with any freshly installed OS, the first boot may take up to 10 minutes, so please be patient and let the Pi do its thing.
Since there are no OpenGapps files available for Android 12 yet, we do not have the Google Play Store installed. However, this also means that after our first boot, we are not greeted by a welcome or setup screen, but rather, we boot straigt into the Android Launcher. Now may be a good time to connect a mouse and keyboard to navigate the OS. Upon boot, the first thing you will see will be something as shown below:
Now it’s up to you want you want to do with the Android OS on the Pi. Since we do have Vulkan support, some lighter to run emulators such as PSP, N64, and GBA work quite well. You can also opt to run some Android games or play around in the browser and/or YouTube (no, there is no YouTube app but you can access the Web version from within the default browser).
You can also head into the settings menu and go to System > Advanced settings to change some Pi specific options. For example, while the Pi operates at its default clock speed of 1500 MHz, you can simply overclock the Pi to 2 GHz (make sure to reboot the Pi after changing these settings for the changes to take effect).
Have fun with your Android powered Pi!