Quick Guide To Installing Lollipop Preview on Your Nexus 5 or 7

October 17, 2014 - Written By John Anon

We have seen a hell of a lot of news today on the newly released Lollipop preview image. Now Google does not refer to this as a ‘final image’, meaning the one you will get over the air. However with the OTA date expected Nov 3rd it is really unlikely the current preview image will be much (if at all) different to what we are seeing today. Maybe a few bugs will be ironed out but otherwise what we are seeing pretty much can be considered what we will get. Now you have heard all our reports on the new features are you now ready to try them out for yourself? Well, if you are then here is a very quick guide to how to install the Lollipop preview on your Nexus 5 or 7. At present these are the only two devices supported so if you are not running a Nexus 5 or 7 then do not try this install. It won’t work and can only cause your headache, heartache and pocket-ache.

The Basics

This quick tutorial will assume you have certain aspects installed (namely ADB and Fastboot) and a bit of prior installing (flashing) knowledge. Being you are a Nexus 5 or 7 owner chance are you do as these phones are prime for this sort of business. If you don’t know about ADB and Fastboot or have them installed then click here to head over to the Google Developers website where you can get the downloads and instructions. If you have used ADB and fastboot (and have them installed) then let’s move on. NOTE: This process will erase all your data. You have been warned. Backup first.

Downloading the Lollipop Image

Ok, firstly the install process is actually no different to any other flashing process you have used with fastboot and as such this should be quite a doddle. To begin with you will need the actual image that will be flashed and you can get that by clicking here. If you are a Nexus 5 user then make sure to download the image entitled “hammerhead”. If you are a Nexus 7 user then make sure you grab the “razor” image. It does matter so get the right one. Once you have downloaded, extract the file to your desktop.


Opening a Command Window

The next step is to open your ADB/fastboot folder and copy the file(s) from the download folder into the ADB one. This will allow the ADB program to recognize and install the files. Following this you need to open a command window. If using Windows 8 you should be able to do this by simply right clicking in the empty space of the ADB folder and clicking on Open command window here. If you are running Windows 7 then this option will not show up when you right click. So instead you will need to first hold the shift key down and while holding it right click and then click on Open command window here. This will open the small black dialogue (command) box and show the correct root folder i.e. C:\android-sdk in the image below.

AH Command Box


ADB Flashing Commands

Make sure your Nexus is connected to the computer using the USB cable. To make sure all is well and you have a secure connection type in to the command window the following prompt

adb devices

This will check what devices are connecting and you should see a device with a long string of numbers pop up. If you don’t then there is a problem with your connection to the ADB service. You will either need to re-download the ADB files or the relevant USB drivers for your device. If your device is fine and the number string is found then simply type in the next command prompt

adb reboot bootloader

At this point the device should boot into the flashboot mode. Once this has happens you simply need to type in the final command prompt


This last command will immediately start the actual flashing process and your work is done. Once the flashing has finished the device will automatically reboot itself and you should see the new Lollipop boot animation. Now it is worth remembering that on this reboot the system is effectively installing a new version of everything and as such will take a bit of time to initially boot. So don’t worry if it seems like it is taking too long. It’s not. The rest as they say is Lollipop. If you do encounter any issues then revert to flashboot mode and try to either reinstall the file or an alternative file (like your original stock image). Providing all went well by now you should be running Android 5.0 Lollipop and lapping up all the sweetness.