If you’ve heard about Google announcing Android L at this week’s Google I/O conference, you might want to get your hands on it as soon as possible. If you own a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7, you’re in luck. Google has released a Developer Preview edition of Android L for those two devices, and those two devices only. Don’t try to install it on any other phone or tablet, unless you want an excuse to buy a new one, as you will brick your phone or tablet.
As the name Developer Preview suggests, this version is intended for developers, so that they can begin testing their apps on the new version of Android. It is not final code. There will be many bugs and missing features. Still, if you’re curious to test the new ‘Material Design’ interface and the multitude of features added by Google, and own a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7, you can do so.
I have prepared a detailed tutorial about how to install the Android L developer preview on the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7. Understand that this will completely replace the version of Android currently on your device, and completely remove all your data. Make a backup of anything important before you start.
Also understand the risks involved. If this process fails, your phone could end up not working at all. If you’re not comfortable performing the steps below, you might want to wait for an official release.
How to install Android L Developer Preview on Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (It is strongly suggested you start with a fully charged battery):
1. First, download the files linked below:
- Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 System Images. The download links are in the section labeled ‘Install the L Preview System Image’.
- ADB/Fastboot: For Windows | For MAC
- Windows USB Drivers
2. Extract the content of each downloaded file into one single folder on your computer. If you’re not very experienced with using the command line (cmd) then extract everything to a folder called ‘Android’ on your desktop and follow the exact steps below.
3. Open the Command Prompt or a new Terminal and type in cd USERNAME/desktop/android (where username is the name you use to log in to your computer). If you put the files somewhere other than an “Android” folder, CD to that folder.
4. Turn off your Nexus device.
5. Enter bootloader mode:
- Nexus 5: Volume Up + Volume Down + Power
- Nexus 7: Volume Down + Power
6. Connect your device to the computer with the USB cable. In cmd type in ‘ fastboot devices‘ for Windows and ‘./fastboot devices’ for MAC to see if your computer detects your device. If it doesn’t, it usually means the drivers are not properly installed. Install the drivers you downloaded above, and try again.
7. Unlock your device’s bootloader: type in fastboot oem unlock. You will be promoted with a message on your device asking you to accept the unlock.
8. Now you’re ready to flash Android L Developer Preview. For Windows type flash-all.bat and for MAC type in ./flash-all.sh .
9. The process will start now. Be patient as it can take a very long time to load the first time. Do not remove your device from the PC until the process is complete.
Read also: Android L presented in 15 GIFs
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