How to get Android L on your Nexus 5 or 7 right now

Android L

In the Google I/O 2014, Google showcased the latest Android version named “Android L” and made it’s Developer Preview available for download right away. The Android L has many new features and is one of the biggest update ever to Android, the UI is fresh, ART runtime, Material design, project Volta, Extension Pack, better battery management, and many more features under the hood. As it’s a Developer Preview and not the final build, expect some bugs, and if you are not an advanced user, you most probably will want to wait for the final release to get your hands on it.

Now, if you have a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 tab, and want to install Android L just for a test run or use it for everyday use, below are the steps that easily let you do so. Firstly, backup all your data including messages, photos, contacts and pretty much everything that you don’t want to loose. You can use Super Backup for backing up your messages, call logs, calendar, contacts, bookmarks, and apps, or other similar application(s) that fit your needs.Android L on N5 and N7

In this guide, I assume that you have all the drivers necessary installed, if not download the Windows ADB driver from HERE.
If you are using a MAC, you need to prefix “./” before every ADB command.

Installing Android L on your Nexus 5 or Nexus 7

  1. Firstly you need to download the Android L developer preview file from this LINK, or simply by clicking on NEXUS 5 or NEXUS 7 (WiFi)
  2. debugGo to Developer optionsdeveloper on your Nexus device, by default, this option is hidden. To
    enable it, go to Settings > About phone and tap on Build number 7 times. Now head back to Settings and now you will be able to see Developer options in your Settings menu
  3. Go to Developer options and tick the USB Debugging option.
  4. Now you need to have ADB and Fastboot installed, if you have them, head over to the next step and if you don’t, you can do it through this guide on this XDA thread.
  5. Now connect your phone to your PC over USB cable.
  6. Start the device in Fastboot mode by one of the below methods
    1. Assuming you have your device connected to your PC, open ADB (it will open in a command window) and type in the following command

      adb reboot bootloader


      ./adb reboot bootloader
    2. Turn the device off, and turn it back on by pressing and holding the Volume up+Volume down+Power key (Nexus 5); and Volume down+Power (Nexus 7).
  7. Just to test the connection between your PC and your Nexus device, run the following command, if the connection is proper, you will get some response and if not, repeat the above steps again and make sure it’s connected properly.

    fastboot devices


    ./fastboot devices
  8. If you the bootloader locked, unlock it by entering the following command in the ADB and you will get a confirmation prompt on your device. Doing this resets your phone to factory defaults.

    fastboot oem unlock


    ./fastboot oem unlock
  9. Disconnect, power on, and reconnect your phone to your PC and repeat the step 2, i.e. enable USB Debugging.
  10. Now, unzip the Android L file to any easy to find location.
  11. Open a command line for ADB
  12. Assuming you have your phone connected, execute the following command

    adb reboot bootloader


    ./adb reboot bootloader
  13. Open-CMD-HereHold down SHIFT key and right click on the folder where you unzipped the files, and click “Open Command Window Here”.
  14. Now, a new command window should be open, execute the following command to flash all the files to your device.



Flashing Process for Nexus

Now flashing would take a couple of minutes (5 or so, but may take longer) and during this process, your device will look like its stuck on the boot animation, but it’s completely fine and normal. Now when the device boots up, simply log in and voila, you have the Android L running on your Nexus device!
As mentioned above also, keep in mind that all the process will erase all the data on your device and reset it to the factory defaults, so take backup of everything possible.
Also, if anything happens to your device, (like soft brick) though the chances are really low, I am not responsible for it.


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