Sideloading Android OTA updates

If you have a Nexus device, it will regularly get updated to the newest Android version. If you don't like to wait for the OTA update to arrive to your device, you can sideload the update if you can get your hands on it.

Note: You should always backup important files on your device before doing an update like this. Use this at your own risk, should anything unexpected happen to your device.

Downloading the OTA update file

Usually, Android sites like Droid life keeps track of new Android version OTA updates, and you can just download the correct file for your device.

Check your current rom build number by going to Settings -> About phone -> Build number.

For example, if your device has the build number: LMY47D, you should download the OTA file labeled: [LMY48B from LMY47D], where LMY48B is the new version.

When you have downloaded the file, you should perform a md5/sha checksum validation on it, to ensure the file is intact.

If you are on a Mac for instance, you can run the check like this: md5 filname.zip or shasum filename.zip

Make sure the hash output matches the hash checksum that should be provided with the OTA update file.

Sideloading the OTA update

This assumes you already have the adb tool on your path. If you don't, you can add it to your path.

  1. Connect your Android device to your computer, and open a new terminal
  2. run adb devices to list connected devices. It should show your device.
  3. adb reboot recovery to reboot the device to recovery mode
    You should now be in recovery mode, and will see android logo (laying on the side), with a red sign on it.
  4. Press the Volume Up and the Power button at the same time.
    (You may have to try a few times.) This will get you to the recovery menu.
  5. Navigate up and down with Volume Up and Volume Down. Highlight the "apply update from ADB" and press Power to select it.
  6. On your computer, run: adb sideload filename.zip. Where filename.zip is the OTA update file that you downloaded.

When it completes, it should say "Install from ADB complete", you can then select "reboot" on the device, and select it with the Power button, to reboot the device.

Android will then go through and upgrade all apps (may take a few minutes).

You should now have the latest Android rom running on your device.

Have you updated your device?

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