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.

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  • Orestes

    I bought a Nexus 7 this morning, and tried to update Android. However, I am stuck at step 3 and get get to recovery menu past the Android with the red exclamation mark. Can you give me a hand, please?

    • Rajesh

      How are you trying to access the recovery? It truly is difficult to get the key combos to work perfectly.

      Press the Power button, and then quickly press the Volume up button. Keep them pressed for a few seconds. Should do the trick.

      • Orestes

        Thanks for the answer :)

        Well, I always get to the red exclamation mark but it always prompts “no command” under the droid

        • JoeJoe

          Just hold the Power and the Volume Down button for 3 Seconds, then release them. This worked for me quite well.

          • Traian Codrut Teglet

            Tried this and it didn’t work for me, yet!

      • Orestes

        nevermind, I just got it :)

  • James

    Worked perfectly on my 2012 Nexus 7. Thanks for a great article and also the links!!! :)

    • Varunn

      James, is your Nexus 7 rooted or did you run from a custom recovery tool(Like clockmoded recovery)

  • josh

    says that the command adb is invalid or something like that in cmd? help?

    • MJordan84

      Make sure everything is perfect, usually a simple file wasn’t labeled correctly or some simple fix

      • MJordan84

        O, and make sure you didn’t skip a step…an invalid command tho usually means there is a typo somewhere

  • nexus guy

    Mine is not working:

    Aarons-MacBook-Pro:~ Avoitus$ /Users/Avoitus/Desktop/android

    -bash: /Users/Avoitus/Desktop/android: is a directory

    Aarons-MacBook-Pro:~ Avoitus$ ./adb sideload update.zip

    • Rajesh

      Mac is MUCH easier for ADB/Fastboot commands. MUCH, much easier.

      Did you boot your Nexus 7 into Recovery and select the ‘apply update from ADB option’.

      Also, use the cd command to go into the android folder.

      • thomas

        Hi rajesh

        I can’t see my problem:S

        in my terminal:
        macintosh:android itz$ ./adb sideload update.zip
        -bash: ./adb: No such file or directory

        the (renamed)update.zip file is the (self)created android folder next to the (extracted)files from adb fastboot…

        what am I missing?
        Nexus 7 2013 wifi – mac (10.9)
        device is in usb-debugging mode

        • Rajesh

          ADB file seems to be missing from that folder. Check?

          Also, make sure you are in Recovery mode with the ADB sideload option selected.

    • Sheryl

      Did you manage to get it done? I managed to solve it by using the cd command first.

      S-iMac: S$ cd /Users/S/Desktop/adt-bundle/sdk/platform-tools

      S-iMac:platform-tools S$ ./adb sideload update.zip

      Good luck.

  • will

    says it is not recognized as an internal or external command at cmd?

    • nexus guy

      im using a mac any help is appreciated, pc was so much easier but don’t have a choice at the moment

    • Rajesh

      Are you sure you are inside the ‘android’ folder? I think you are in the wrong directory.

      • will

        yeah. i fugured. thanks

      • frogmorton

        Rajesh – Hi, Thanks – I get the same response – I am in the Android folder created on my desktop as per the original instructions..
        Any help appreciated.

  • THREEPAH

    I keep getting a “signature verification failed…installation aborted” message.

  • GerardMcEvoy

    Christ I’m bad with command prompt. If I put the ‘android’ folder in my user directory how should my command read?

    I have C:UsersMe> ???????????????

  • Karl

    says ‘adb’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file

    • WangHui

      you need to add your android sdk path to environment path if you are on Windows.

      Like me, C:Androidandroid-sdkplatform-tools is in environment path.

      • Guest

        WangHui, thanks for posting this – can you give me step by step instructions for this fix?
        John

      • frogmorton

        WangHui – Thank you – can you tell me how to do this, plz?

  • sr0210

    Hey I’m getting this message ”signature verification failed…installation aborted”…
    After sending the file to N7.
    What does this mean

  • Bylot

    Thanks, work as described in less than 5 minutes. No data lost. Procedure steps are well detailled and match exactly how the Nexus 7 2013 recovery works.

    To be even better, may be:
    Description of step 3: “Press the Power and Volume up buttons to boot into recovery mode” could say “Press the Power Button and hold than press the up buttons”. This way it always work the first time.
    Description of step 4: Effectively don’t plug USB before it is mentionned.

  • soehte

    I want to upgarde my nexus 7 (2012) (Wifi) ‘s android version to 4.4(Kitkat) . My tablet is android 4.3(Jelly Bean) at the moment . The case is that I rooted my device so I worry about not to get auto update from Google . Till 4.3(Jelly Bean) I got auto update and I don’t need to worry nth about that. Now , I want to upgrade my tablet manually . I know how to upgrade a Samsung device and I have experienced with that and it is easy . But this is my very first time to upgrade my tablet(Nexus) . You just said “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.” . Is that “OTA” mean auto update and not manually? Could you plz advice me should I upgrade my device as your step by step methods or should I wait for the auto update from Google and do I have a chance to get that as being rooted? I just downloaded 4.4(Kitkat) Firmware from your mentioned link. I just looking forward your reply , Rajesh! Thank you so much! :)

  • Sahoo

    Thanks!

  • Bylot

    An easy way to launch adb.exe with the right parameter is to create a short cut by right clik and drag that file in the same forlder with the right button and chose “create a short cut here” in the contectual menu. Than right click that short cut file and select “Properties” in the contextual menu. In the “Target field” just add the parameters starting with a space:

    sideload nexus7-kitkat-ota.zip
    Than you just need to open the shortcut to start a DOS Windows that will execute the upload ot the zip file. Put what ever the name you choose for teh zip file that should have been copy in the ADB folder.

  • Matt

    Mine says “error: device not found”

  • pranav

    showing signature verification failed

  • http://www.friv2friv3friv4.com/ friv 2 friv 3 friv 4

    Are you sure you are inside the ‘android’ folder? I think you are in the wrong directory.

  • Donato Pavrey

    Mine says “error: device not found”

    • rhymiZ

      For those that have that receive device not found with ADB trying to sideload the update, I’ve found a fix for that. (Windows 8, I don’t know if this works on Windows 7, but try it and let me know.)

      Steps:

      Step 1:
      Install the drivers that come with your SDK or download them here:
      http://developer.android.com/s

      Test while your device is on (regular mode) if you can see your device in ADB by running “adb get-serialno”, if so,

      Step 2:
      Get your device ready to receive the update from ADB, by booting into recovery mode and telling your device to “Apply update from ADB”.

      Step 3:
      Right click on “Computer”, Select Properties then device manager.

      You should see your Nexus show up with a triangle, indicating that drivers have not been installed.

      Step 4:
      Right click on Nexus 7 or which ever Nexus you have, click “properties”, select “update driver”, “browse my computer for driver software”, then click on “let me pick from a list…”, a Window will pop up where you can select your device type, select “ADB Interface”, then click next, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select a Model, click on “ADB Interface” (or “ADB Testing Interface”), click “next”, you’ll get a warning message from Windows, click yes anyway and your driver will be installed.

      Test it by opening a shell and typing “adb get-serialno”, you should see your Nexus’ serial number.

      Then proceed to sideload your update, enjoy!

      Let me know if this worked for you!

      Lemuel Boyce
      Twitter: @rhymiZ:disqus

      • AndroidBeat

        Thanks Lemuel!

      • Rohan

        Hi Lemuel,

        When to go to recovery mode and set it up to receive update, then I plug it into the usb go to device manager and it just does not show my Nexus 7 there. Any help?

        • rhymiZ

          When you Nexus 7 is on, in regular mode (not ADB), your computer sees the device?

      • Malachi

        Thank you SO MUCH. I couldn’t find this information anywhere

      • stamara

        thank U, man, so much)

      • Gautham

        Thank you so much, finally i got the update running. :)

  • Jonas

    I keep getting the “cannot read “update.zip”” error when I try to do the adb sideload on the command prompt

    Anyone knows what I’m doing wrong?

    • Ben

      I had the same problem. I realized the file had a “.zip” at the end of the file and I was typing “update.zip”. If there is a .zip at the end of the file you mist type .zip twice or you can rename the file without a .zip. I finally have Android Kitkat on my Nexus 4!

  • Christian

    Thx for sharing this info. Worked fine on my NEXUS7 2013 Wifi.

  • tambascot

    Failed to verify whole-file signature
    Signature verification failed

    Help?

  • David Kravets

    on a mac, says “no such file or directory”

  • Tim

    I’m getting this message:

    set_metadata_recursive:some changes failed
    E: Error in /tmp/update.zip
    (Status 7)
    Installation aborted.

    What does this mean?

    • Henry Wilkinson

      I am getting the exact same error message. Has anyone else suffered the same fate?

    • stevedaly

      I’m getting this error too. I’m trying to upgrade a LG Nexus 4 which is on 4.3 and rooted.

  • hussain

    Hi, im trying to update my nexus 4 (android 4.1.1) to android 4.4 on Mac. I used terminal but i keep getting “no such file or directory” when i try to sideload even though i navigated through to the exact folder (on my desktop). can anyone please help me out?

  • DR -

    I’m new to this sort of endeavor and struggled with this for a bit before realizing that this whole procedure (on a Wifi Nexus 7 – 2013) is dependent on using a file that may not be the proper one for a given device.
    As coded into the filename, the download link is to a OTA file for upgrading to “KRT16O-from-JSS15R.” That only works if the existing system is (JellyBean) build “JSS15R.”

    Also, as of now, the latest build of KitKat would be “KRT16S”.

  • really_upset

    kitkat my ass, dont be fooled … it says kitCat and when u look it up in the “about” menu u will find an other jelly bean version 4.4 … shoul I say most app from play store are no longer compatible it’s just a start …