HowTo :: Update Nexus 5 to Android L (Developer Preview)

First in the ‘HowTo’ series is about the latest Android version that is going to hit the streets soon. Google is expected to publicly release Android’s latest version that is so far referred with different names – Android L or Android 5.0 – by November 1st week. It is another month before users can get their hands on stable release of Android L.

However If you are one of those souls, like me, who cannot wait till November but at the same time find it inconvenient to go through (bit) difficult steps listed on various sites, I am here to provide you all with an easy step-by-step guide that will make your update process smoother.


  1. First thing first – Back up your phone as Android L update will completely wipe your phone.
    • You can use Helium backup app on Play Store (backing up and restoring via google drive is $5 but I think it is worth if you change or update your phone frequently)
    • Other option is installing Simple ADB Backup / Holo Backup on your PC

  1. Download Android L developer preview file for Nexus 5 from below link. Extract the below file in a convenient location e.g. C:\Users\ABC\Android\AndroidLPreview. You will need to extract the contents twice.

  1. Download Android SDK from below link. Extract the files in a convenient location e.g. C:\Users\ABC\Android\AndroidSDK

  1. Place Android L files (Total 6-7 files) from folder ‘C:\Users\ABC\Android\AndroidLPreview’ to platform-tools folders under Android SDK that you created in step 3 above. The location will look something like – C:\Users\ABC\Android\AndroidSDK\sdk\platform-tools. Move all files here.
  2. Unlock bootloader in Nexus 5. Follow below steps:-
    • Turn the phone off. Then boot it into the bootloader/fastboot mode by holding volume down + power.
    • Plug the phone into your PC, then open a command prompt window and type:

cd Desktop/android-sdk-windows/platform-tools

fastboot devices

           To run command prompt in windows, click on START and in ‘Run’ search box type            ‘cmd’

  • This command will list the connected devices. If your phones serial number shows up you can continue to next step.
  • Run command ‘fastboot oem unlock’ in command prompt in windows. Use volume rocker to say ‘Yes’ and then press power button to confirm unlocking process.
  • Once above step is finished, run below command in cmd
    • Fastboot reboot

Now let’s start with the actual process of installing Android L

  1. Enable USB debugging on your phone. Follow below steps to enable it:-
    • Go to settings
    • Navigate to About phone
    • Click on Build number 7 times. It will show a prompt that you’re a developer now.
    • Navigate back to settings main page and you can see Developer options now. Click on it and navigate to center of the page to enable ‘USB Debugging’
  2. Go to location where you saved Android SDK. In this case to location – C:\Users\manshukla\Android\AndroidSDK. Open file – ‘SDK Manager.exe’. install everything that is under –
    • Tools
    • Android L
    • Extras
    • And under Android 4.4W – install SDK Platform, Android Wear (2 entries)
  3. Now hold the Power + Volume Downbuttons simultaneously until you see Android with ‘START’ written above it. This is known as Bootloader Mode.
  4. Connect Nexus 5 to PC using micro USB Cable.
  5. Double-click the flash-all.batfile that is in the platform-tools folder. ‘C:\Users\ABC\Android\AndroidSDK\sdk\platform-tools’

Once the step 5 is complete, device will reboot automatically with Android L welcome screen. REMEMBER it is not a stable release and there are still few bugs; having said that it is quite functional for day to day use and so far I have not faced any major issues.

In another post(s) I will be covering what is new in Android L and what are the differences between iOS8 and Android L / 5.0


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