How to update Nexus 5 to Android 4.4.1 from Gnu/Linux

Google just released Android 4.4.1 which mostly fixes the issues with the camera. Google has started rolling out updated to Nexus 5 users, but OTA can take their own time. If you are as impatient as I am then you would want to get the update right now. Here is how you can get it. First download this image of Android 4.4.1 for Nexus 5.

Now all you need is to download and install fastboot for your distro. I am on Arch so I grabbed fastboot from AUR.

Once fastboot is installed follow these steps:
1. Enable debugging mode on Nexus 5. First enable developer mode by hitting the build number 7 times. Then under the ‘Developer option’ enable the USB debugging.
2. Connect your device to the PC via USB cable
3. Run this command to boot phone in recovery mode

adb reboot recovery mode

The phone will show a notification asking permission to use USB.

4. Once phone is in recover mode. Quickly hold the power button and then volume up button. The phone will show recovery menu.
5. Select ‘apply update from ADB’ and then use power button to select it.
Once it shows the message to sideload the package, become root on your Linux system and then run this command:

adb sideload /

The terminal should show the progress, if the transfer went well the phone screen will now show progress. Once the update is applied, select ‘reboot’ from recovery menu and then reboot the system.


Congrats, you are now running Android 4.4.1

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

7 thoughts on “How to update Nexus 5 to Android 4.4.1 from Gnu/Linux

  1. Cheers Swapnil! I had trouble getting my device to be recognised, if anyone else has the same problem, try running all commands as super-user by entering ‘su’ in the terminal.

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