How to manually update Nexus 7 to Android 4.4 KitKat

New Nexus 7 Unboxing

Earlier today, Google announced that it will start rolling out the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Nexus 7 (2012/2013) and the Nexus 10. Some lucky Nexus 7 (2013) owners have managed to get the OTA update on their device, and to the delight of fellow users, have managed to grab the OTA update download link as well. 

With the OTA update download link available, it becomes easy for tinkers and advance users to flash the update manually without unlocking the bootloader or voiding the warranty of the device. The steps are not rocket science and only requires a combination of key presses and an ADB command.

Step 1: Download the OTA update directly from Google first. The OTA links for the 2012 Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 are not yet available. I will update this post as soon as someone on the Internet manages to grab the download link for the OTA update.

Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi only – Download

Nexus 7 (2012) Wi-Fi only – Download

Nexus 10 – Download

Step 2: Once the file has been downloaded, transfer it inside a new folder called ‘android’ on your desktop. Make sure to rename it to ‘update.zip’, if you would like to preserve your sanity in later steps. Also, download the ADB/Fastboot files and the USB drivers for Windows from below.

Extract the contents of the ADB/Fastboot ZIP file inside the ‘android’ folder that you created earlier in this step on your desktop.

Step 3: You will now need to put your Nexus 7 into Bootloader mode. Do so by switching it off, and then pressing the Volume down + Power button simultaneously. After the device boots into bootloader mode, use the Volume keys to navigate to the ‘Recovery’ option and select it by using by the Power button.

Your Nexus 7 will once again reboot and you will be greeted with an Android logo with a red exclamation mark. Press the Power and Volume up buttons to boot into recovery mode. This process is a bit iffy and might take several tries.

Step 4: After your Nexus 7 has booted into Recovery mode, select the ‘apply update from ADB’ option using the Power key. Connect the device to your PC now, and open a new command prompt window on Windows or Terminal on Mac. Then, navigate to the ‘android’ folder that you created in Step 2.

Then, simply copy paste the following command:

adb sideload update.zip

Mac owners need to copy paste the following command:

./adb sideload update.zip

If everything goes right, you should see the file transfer percentage in the Terminal or Command Prompt window. After the file has been transferred, the update process will automatically start. After the update process is over, select the ‘Reboot system now’ option to reboot your Nexus 7 and enjoy some KitKat goodness.

If you face any issues, drop in a comment and we would be glad to help you.