How to Install Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Nexus 4

This week the highly anticipated Android 5.0 Lollipop update finally arrived for many devices, but that didn’t include the aging Nexus 4 smartphone. However, yesterday Google promised it was coming soon, and here we’ll explain how to get the Nexus 4 Android 5.0 update right now.

The update to Android 5.0 Lollipop will be an over the air update for most devices, including all Nexus smartphones and tablets as of late. And while over the air updates haven’t arrived just yet, with a little knowledge and the how to below users can flash the stock Android 5.0 image on their Nexus 4 right now, rather than wait. This is via the “factory images” released today by Google.


Read: How to Install Android 5.0 Lollipop Right Now

Above is a guide for flashing the early developer preview of Android 5.0 for the Nexus 5, and the exact same method and steps holds true for the Nexus 4. You will need the just released Android 5.0 factory image provided by Google to install on your device. In addition you will need to install the Android SDK or at least ADB and Fastboot. Below we’ll go over all the details in a simple fashion for those who’d like to get Android 5.0 on the Nexus 4 right now.

Nexus 4 Android L System Image MIA


The Android 5.0 System Image is a download that contains all the files needed to install a stock version of Android 5.0 on the Nexus 4. This is essentially everything that you would download as an OTA update for regular Android updates. However, this makes the phone stock like it was out of the box (aka factory image) and it will wipe out all user data and settings.


The Android 5.0 over the air updates haven’t started yet, especially for the Nexus 4, but most likely we can expect the OTA updates to start rolling out in the next few days, or within the next two weeks. But some don’t want to wait.

If you’d rather not wait for the official updates for your device in the coming weeks, you can get it right now by following the steps below. It’s worth waiting for average users, but if you’re up for the challenge, here’s all the details. This guide will show you how to install the Android 5.0 Lollipop update on your Nexus 4. This is something you can do from Windows, Mac, Linux or ChromeOS.

How to Install ADB on Windows, Mac, Ubuntu & ChromeOS

Before you can install Android 5.0 to your Nexus 4 smartphone you will need to install ADB and Fastboot to your computer. This is a program that runs on your computer to connect to your Android device through a USB cable and flash the Android software to your device.

Installing ADB and Fastboot is one of the most annoying parts of installing Android factory images, but several new tools make it incredibly easy.


How to Install ADB on Windows

Use this tool to install ADB and Fastboot on Windows in seconds.

If you are using a Windows machine, including up to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 you can use the 15 second adb installer to streamline the process.

Download the ADB installer for Windows. Find the file, right-click on it and choose Run as Administrator. When prompted you need to give the app access to run as an administrator. After the app launches type a Y and enter to select yes to Install ADB & Fastboot, to intsll ADB/Fastboot systemwide and to install Drivers. When a new window pops up follow the steps to install the drivers.

After this is installed you should be ready to install Lollipop on that aging Nexus 4.

How to Install ADB on Mac, Linux & ChromeOS

This tool installs ADB on Mac, Linux and ChromeOS easily.


Nexus Tools makes it easy to install ADB on a Mac, Linux or even ChromeOS. All you need to do is open Terminal on your computer and past in the code from xda. Open terminal by going to search, and simply typing Terminal and opening the program.

This will install ADB and Fastboot on Mac, Linux and Chrome OS without the need to do anything else. It’s that easy, and avoids all the ADB package mess.

After the script completes you can type ADB or Fastboot to start running either program. This is where you’ll need to be to flash the new Android 5.0 image on your Nexus 4. Remember to head into developer options and enable USB Debugging first.

How to Install Android 5.0 on Nexus 4

The first thing you need to do is download the just released Android 5.0 Factory Images. You’ll need to download the latest Android 5.0 image for the Nexus 4 (aka Occam).


You will need to unzip this file to a folder you can access, we just unzipped it to our Mac desktop. After you have the factory image unzipped you will need to find the folder and type cmd into the address bar on Windows, or open terminal and change the folder to this folder on Mac, Linux or Chrome OS. Reminder, if you’re on a MAC you need to make sure terminal is running inside the folder you just unzipped.

If your Nexus 4 is not unlocked you should do that first. We could not install the Android 5.0 System image with the device locked on the preview images.

Open a Terminal in the adb folder and type then hit enter.

adb reboot bootloader

In Fastboot type:

fastboot oem unlock

Then hit enter. Follow the on-screen instructions and choose to erase the device. Wait a minute or so for it to unlock. This removes everything on your device. (Below is what you can expect, just shown on the Nexus 5 instead)

You can install the Android L Beta using these directions.

Now open the folder containing the unzipped Android 5.0 factory image. Type cmd in the address bar. Type the following (below) and hit enter. On a Mac you can open Terminal in the folder by enabling terminal shortcuts in settings. This is key for Mac users. Head to System Preferences and select Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services. Find “New Terminal at Folder” in the settings and click the box. Now when you’re in Finder, just right-click a folder and you’re shown the open to open Terminal. Or just do it from the desktop where you unzipped the Factory image as shown below.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 11.52.31 AM

Once in terminal simply copy and paste the commands below to install the Android 5.0 image on your Nexus 4.


This will flash all of the needed files. If you are on a Mac or other computer you will need to type;

sudo ./

This will push all of the files to your Nexus 4. The files will start pushing and installing and your Nexus device may reboot and you will see an Android figure and then a moving Android logo. The logo screen may stay for a long time. Don’t unplug the device. This may last 15 minutes or longer. When Android prompts you to complete setup you can unplug the Nexus. It took less than two minutes for us.

If you run into an error saying missing system image, check out these instructions from Android Police.

When the device finishes you can enter your information and start using Android 5.0 Lollipop today on the Nexus 4, instead of waiting for the official update over the air. Give the new Tap n Go (automatically restore) a try using NFC to automatically restore and and all apps, settings, accounts and more from another device. It works like a charm in Android 5.0 Lollipop. Enjoy!