How to sideload Android 6.0 Marshmallow OTA update on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, and Nexus 9

Android Marshmallow

Google has started the staged roll out of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OTA update for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013), and the Nexus 9. The OTA update will not be available to everyone immediately and can take up to a couple of weeks to land on your device. 

This is done by Google to prevent overloading their servers and to make sure that there are no issues with the update after users install it on their device. For the impatient folks out there, Google has also released the factory images for Android 6.0, but flashing it can be a tedious affair for many. It will also wipe your phone clean of all your important data, which is not something that everyone will be fine with.

Since the OTA update link of the Android 6.0 update has been captured, it is now possible to sideload the OTA update manually on your device. The steps are relatively easy and will not touch your data on the handset as well. However, it is still recommended that you create a backup of all your important data on the device before proceeding with the steps below.

Step 1: Download the OTA update and the ADB/Fastboot files linked below. Extract the contents of the ADB folder inside a “nexus” folder on your desktop and transfer the OTA update ZIP file within this folder as well. Also, make sure to rename the OTA update file to something simpler like “android.zip” for simplicity’s sake.

Download:

If you are using a Mac, extract the contents from the ADB/Fastboot ZIP file inside a new folder called ‘marshmallow’ on your desktop.

For Windows, users simply need to follow the instructions shown on the screen to install the ADB/Fastboot files on their PC. When prompted, make sure to install the them system wide. There is no need to install the drivers from ADB/Fastboot installer, since you will be installing them separately. Once ADB/Fastboot is installed, proceed to install the drivers on your PC.

Step 2: Open a command prompt or Terminal window on your PC, and navigate to the “nexus” folder on your desktop using the ‘cd’ command. I have provided the example command below.

cd /desktop/nexus

Step 3: Switch off your Nexus device and press the key combination mentioned below to boot it into fastboot mode.

  • Nexus 5: Volume Up + Volume Down + Power
  • Nexus 6 | Nexus 7 | Nexus 9: Volume Down for a few seconds and then press and hold the Power button at the same time.

Then use the volume keys to navigate to the ‘Recovery’ option and press the Power key to confirm your selection.

Step 4: Your Nexus device will now reboot into the stock Android recovery. However, you will first be greeted with a warning logo. To skip the warning, you need to press and hold the Power key for a few seconds followed by the Volume Up button.

Step 5: Use the volume keys to navigate to the ‘apply update from adb’ option, and again confirm your selection by pressing the Power key. Then connect the device to your PC and switch over to Terminal or Command Prompt window you had opened in Step 2.

Step 6: Copy paste the following command to sideload the OTA zip file to your Nexus device. Once the transfer is complete, the installation process will automatically start.

On Windows:

adb sideload android.zip

On Mac:

./adb sideload android.zip

Step 7: After the installation process is done, select the “reboot system now” option to manually reboot your Nexus back into Android. The first boot can take its own sweet time, but there is nothing you should worry about. On an average, the first boot can take nearly 5-7 minutes.

If you have modified the system partition on your Nexus 5, 6, 7 or Nexus 9 in any way, you will get a ‘signature verification failed’ error. In such cases, it is recommended that you flash the factory image to update your Nexus to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.