Google Pixel/XL: New life for the smartphones, Custom ROM brings Android 11 and free photo storage

Google provides the Pixel smartphones with Android updates for at least three years, so users are always up to date. But even this time will eventually pass and so the first Pixel generation has not been supplied with updates for two years. Now, thanks to LineageOS, you can breathe new life into smartphones and even keep the Google Photos benefits.

With the Pixel smartphones, Google heralded the restart in autumn 2016, which the Nexus smartphones of the time also urgently needed. Although the first generation could not meet all the high expectations, it nevertheless enjoyed great popularity – then as now. Today there is still a big advantage over all other devices that should save many a smartphone from the eternal drawer of old devices: the free unlimited storage space with Google Photos.

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The first generation Pixel smartphones shipped with Android 7.1 Nougat and over the years have been updated to Android 8 Oreo, Android 9 Pie and most recently Android 10. As is well known, we are now at Android 12(L) and Android 13 is about to jump into beta. Anyone who took good care of the first generation Pixel or Pixel XL and still wants to use it today can now bring new life to their smartphones thanks to LineageOS.

Android 11 for the Pixel smartphones

LineageOS 18.1 based on Android 11 was released a few days ago for the two first-generation Pixel smartphones. This makes it the first Lineage version that will be of interest to users of these smartphones. Lineage already existed for the devices before that, but because they were still supplied by Google at the time and many buyers bought the devices for exactly this reason, only a few are likely to have used them.

Thanks to LineageOS 18.1, Pixel users are already a generation ahead and only a generation behind the current version. There will probably also be Android 12 and Android 13 until it’s really over at some point. But then the smartphones would already be eight years old and really ready for the drawer at some point.

Google apps need to be downloaded

If you update the Pixel to LineageOS 18.1, it will behave just like any other smartphone. There are no pre-installed Google services, you have to install them yourself using the various options and packages. This is no longer witchcraft and after installation, everything is as before – only with the current operating system. But just because you’re on Android 11 doesn’t mean you’ll get more updates from Google. No security updates or feature drops either.

As already mentioned, you have one advantage: the free, unlimited storage space with Google Photos will continue to be granted because it is linked to the device and not to the operating system. Yet another reason to take care of the device and cherish it for as long as possible.

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