How to manually update Nexus 5 to Android 4.4.1 KitKat

Camera protection

Earlier today, Google started rolling out the Android 4.4.1 KitKat update for the Nexus 5 and other Nexus devices. The update is mainly aimed at dramatically improving the camera performance of the Nexus 5, along with fixing a few minor bugs. As with any OTA update from Google, the update notification can take up to a couple of weeks to pop up on your phone.

Since the download link of the Android 4.4.1 OTA update is now available, you can manually sideload the update on your Nexus 5 as well. 

The below steps will work on a completely stock Nexus 5 without any issues. While your data will remain intact post the update, it is recommend to make backups just in case things go wrong.

Step 1: Download the Android 4.4.1 OTA update for the Nexus 5 directly from Google’s server. Rename the file to ‘kitkat.zip’ and transfer it inside a new folder called ‘google’ on your desktop.

Step 2: Download the ADB/Fastboot files, along with the USB drivers if you are running Windows from below.

Make sure to install the drivers and extract the contents of the ADB/Fastboot ZIP file inside the ‘google’ folder that you created in step 1 on your desktop.

Step 3: You will now need to put your Nexus 5 into Recovery 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.

If you get an Android logo with an exclamation mark, press the Volume down + Power button for 2 seconds. Also, try pressing the Volume up + Volume down + power buttons 4-5 times in a row. This is going to be a bit finicky, so chances are you won’t get into recovery mode right at the first try.

Step 4: Once your Nexus 5 has booted into recovery, use the Volume key to 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.

You will now need to navigate to the ‘google’ folder you created in Step 1. After that, simply copy/paste the following command:

adb sideload kitkat.zip

Mac owners need to copy paste the following command:

./adb sideload kitkat.zip

The OTA file will then be transferred to your phone, and the installation process will automatically begin. After the installation is completed, your Nexus 5 will automatically reboot as well. The first boot will take some time so please be patient.

You will get an error during the installation process if you have modified the /system partition on your device in any way. Make sure to restore or re-enable any disabled system apps if you are getting a signature verification failed error.

If you are running stock Android 4.4 KitKat with root access and a custom recovery installed on your Nexus 5, simply download the OTA update from above and install it using the custom recovery installed.

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