How to Flash Android 5.0 Lollipop onto your Nexus 5 – 4 Steps Tutorial

by Chetan Bhawani 15

Android Lollipop Nexus 5

The impatient geek within you wouldn’t want to wait for the new Android 5.0 Lollipop update, and you would force yourself into trying and updating the device manually. There’s nothing wrong in it, mainly for the reason that Google has officially listed the factory images for the users to download and flash them on the devices they are available for.

In the guide below, you will find how to flash the Android 5.0 Lollipop factory image to your Nexus 5.

Beforehand – An Important Tip

Flashing a factory image to your Nexus 5 will delete all the data, so make sure you take a backup of everything

1. Download SDK (Eclipse ADT Bundle) and Factory Image

These are the two things you need, where the SDK is a platform that bridges and gets things done. You can download the Eclipse ADT bundle (that includes the Android SDK) by going to this website. Based on the OS you are running, you will be able to download the SDK (available for Windows, Mac and Linux).

Now, download the Factory Image of the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop, from here.

2. Unzip, Install and Get Ready

You need to first make sure that the Google USB Driver is installed, and that usually is done when you have connected your Nexus 5 to computer. On Windows, run the SDK Manager and you are good to go. Unzip the downloaded SDK bundle. Follow this format: ADT Bundle > SDK > platform-tools > Paste the extracted stock image folder here (remember, I am talking about the factory image that you downloaded in the first step).

ADT Bundle Extract Windows

Make sure that the extracted factory files has a file named “flash all” and that has to be in the same folder where a file called “fastboot” is located.

3. Start Fastboot Mode

Now, you need to get your Nexus 5 into the Fastboot mode, where you can wipe out the current OS running in it, and then push the new OS version into the device. To get the Nexus 5 into Fastboot mode, you need to first power the Nexus 5 off, and then press and hold Volume Down and Power button together, which should take it to a screen where it is an Android robot with the little text showing “Fastboot Mode”.

* Only in a few devices where this isn’t coming, you might need to press both Volume Down, Volume Up and Power button together.

The bootloader should be shown unlocked in it. This is not the carrier unlock but the bootloader unlocked. (Refer to the important questions section in the end to read about unlocking).

4. Flash the Factory Image to the device

While the phone is on Fastboot screen, connect it to the computer with the USB cable.
Now, in the folder where all the files are located in your computer, locate and run the “flash all” file (It is a .bat file in Windows, and it takes care of all the necessary steps from here).

Wait for sometime here, and you will see the screens as shown below, and the process will happen by itself. Sit back and relax while the file is being flashed to the device, and it takes no more than a few minutes for the entire process to happen.

Android Lollipop Flash All Status

You will now be welcomed by the new Lollipop screen on the Nexus 5 after the reboot completes. You will have to be patient for the first time, because it can take even 10-15 minutes for the first boot to happen.

Important Questions

1. What if the status shows as “locked” in the Fastboot screen?

It is the bootloader unlocked and in most cases, the status will be shown unlocked already. If not, you will have to run a file called “fastboot oem unlock” which is located in the same folder. Once you run that, a new screen messages would be shown with warning written:

Unlock Bootloader? If you unlock the bootloader, you will be able to install custom operating system software on this phone.

Using the Volume Up/Down buttons, navigate and choose Yes. It will then wipe the data and unlock the bootloader.

2. While doing the oem unlock, it is stuck at <Waiting for Device> message

The problem here is that the USB driver is not installed on your computer. To do that, there are two ways – 1. Download the Google Android drivers, or 2. Go to Device Manager (Windows + x), locate Nexus 5 with the yellow mark beside it. Double click on it and then click on “Update Driver”. In the next window, select “Browse my computer for driver software” and here, you will need to point to the SDK directory. Also, check that the “include subfolders” option is ticked. There you go, the drivers get installed and then the bootloader unlock happens without any waiting message.

Chetan Bhawani

Chetan Bhawani is a dentist, a tech blogger and a passionate writer in the field of technology. He keeps himself connected to the web for the entire day, of course except when he's dozed off! Add +Chetan Bhawani on Google Plus for more!

  • Suraj Racharla

    How frequently does it work?

  • Joshua Akinsola

    Great tutorial for nexus holders, strange that it seems easier to flash factory images with other devices. But this works nonetheless and hopefully has a high success rate. Even if it doesn’t, people should be safe if they have a backup image

    • The same factory images page has the files for every previous OS version the Nexus device had. So no worries if this didn’t work.

      • Joshua Akinsola

        Thats good that there is a fallback if it doesnt work. If the steps are followed correctly here is no reason why it shouldn’t, unless a previous flash changed many settings of the phone. And isnt their also the fear of not being able to boot the phone after and recover the previous images?

  • Amrish

    This doesn’t work. Pls help my phone got dead

    • At what step did you stop? In which step were you. Need to know more to help you in fixing this.

  • Shanky Yadav Jungly

    This help me for my friend … I am still on bar phone

  • Suraj Racharla

    This is a great step by step process for Nexus and owners and they are very lucky right now.This process looks promising but a backup image should be there just in case

  • Shashank Chourey

    Good job PhoneRadar, you seem to update every news faster than any other tech blog.. like igyaan and so.. very informative article. THanks

    • Thank you!

    • Android

      Yes i will have to agree with you !!. This is my morning news for me!!

    • Yes phoneradar is awesome, im discovering new articles constantly!

  • Nebu Cherian

    What about the Nexus 7 ? Same steps except the download file?

  • Downloading the entire ADT, People with slow internet can’t do that! Plus you didn’t mention about the environment variable setting (Setting the path of the ADT tools) so that they can be accessed universally in the system, which will not require all the ADTs.

    It can be done using, go to search (system) : Search for environment variables, and in that place you will see the set variables for this system

    Then selection of Environment Variables, and in that select the path and in that place enter the path of Fastboot and ADB folder. 🙂

    Anyways this would also work, if the entire ADT is downloaded.

  • Joshua Akinsola

    Chetan has said that original images are also included for nexus users so thats good. Things should run smoothly if everythings followed step by step