Android 5.1 Lollipop Update: 5 Things You Need to Know

After weeks of rumor, speculation and leaks, Google finally announced its brand new Android 5.1 Lollipop for Nexus devices. The Android 5.1 Lollipop release has already begun for some users and it’s expected to hit several devices today as Google works to deliver Android 5.1 Lollipop’s enhancements and fixes to Nexus smartphone and tablet users.

Google’s been very busy in the months that followed its initial Android 5.0 Lollipop release for Nexus devices. First, the company released an Android 5.0.1 Lollipop update that tackled some of the Lollipop problems plaguing Nexus users. Shortly after that, Google released Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, another bug fix update aimed at quelling some of Android 5.0’s bigger problems.


After the release of Android 5.0.1 Lollipop and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, complaints about Android 5.0 Lollipop problems continued and it was only a matter of time before Google dealt with some of the remaining issues. Late last year, a rumored pointed to the release of an Android 5.1 Lollipop update for Nexus devices and earlier this month, Google finally confirmed the Android 5.1 Lollipop release.

Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop Review Early - 3

Android 5.1 Lollipop is the latest Android update for Nexus smartphones and tablets and it replaces Android 5.0.2 Lollipop as the company’s most current firmware. Android 5.1 Lollipop is actually a much larger update than the previous two bug fix updates and naturally, Nexus users are excited about its enhancements and fixes.


The Android 5.1 Lollipop release is set to begin for some Nexus users this week and today, we want to take a look at five things Nexus users need to know about Google’s latest Android Lollipop update and the upcoming Android 5.1 Lollipop release.


You Can Install Android 5.1 Lollipop Right Now

Those who own a Nexus 5, Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi or Nexus 10 can install the Android 5.1 Lollipop update right now ahead of Google’s OTA roll out. The appropriate files are now being hosted in the Android Open Source Project and those who know how to sideload software ahead of time can grab these files and get Android 5.1 up and running. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to sideload the software right now though we only recommend the process to Nexus users who have some experience.



We expect Google to release more Android 5.1 Lollipop update’s into AOSP sometime in the near future though the company is extremely unpredictable and users will need to keep an eye out for the additions. They will almost certainly appear without much warning. Novice users will want to wait for Google’s OTA process to begin. It’s a much safer, far more reliable route to take.


Android 5.1 Lollipop OTA

Thanks to U.S. carriers, we know that Google is planning an assortment of Android 5.1 Lollipop roll outs for the near future. T-Mobile says that it’s planning to push a Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update, Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Lollipop update and a Nexus 7 2013 Lollipop update. Sprint, another major U.S. carrier, says that it’s planning to push a Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Lollipop update. If these updates are rolling out, they’re still extremely limited because we haven’t seen too many owners speak up yet.

Google itself says that the roll out will start with the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi and the Nexus 10. It notes that it will reveal more roll outs in the future when it’s able to confirm them.


Google’s other Android 5.1 Lollipop updates (Nexus 9, Nexus 7 cellular) remain missing in action though we do expect most, if not all Nexus devices to get upgrade to Android 5.1 Lollipop. Google’s announcement didn’t reveal the full list of devices making the move from Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 to Android 5.1 but it’s clear that this is a massive roll out for Nexus users.

It’s worth noting that the Nexus 7 cellular models are often weeks, sometimes months, behind the pace of these other devices. We could see something similar here with Android 5.1.


While nothing is confirmed, it’s worth noting that the HTC One and Moto G saw Android 5.1 update details emerge a few days ago. So we could certainly see Android 5.1 move onto non-Nexus smartphones and tablets in the near future.

Early Android 5.1 Lollipop Feedback

The Android 5.1 Lollipop update is young which means that feedback is still hard to find. That said, we’ve tracked down some comments from Nexus users who are already using Android 5.1 on their Nexus devices.

One Nexus 7 2012 user claims that the update is improved over Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. He claims that “both machines seem snappier and don’t have the long lags they experienced before.” Lag was a major problem for the Nexus 7 2012 on Android 5.0.2, something that we pointed out in our review, so this is certainly encouraging news.

We’ve also flashed Android 5.1 Lollipop on our Nexus 7 2012 and the results mirror what this user is saying. The update has revitalized a tablet that is now going on three years old. Another Nexus 7 user echoes this experience:


Just reflashed to 5.1…

So far, smooth, quick, and back to where it was!
Geekbench 2 score is 1319, compared to an old KitKat score of 1344.

It’s still very early but it looks like Nexus 7 2012 users in particular are seeing good results after making the shift from Android 5.0.2 to Android 5.1. This probably won’t be the case for everyone, Android bug fix updates typically bring bug fixes of their own, but Android 5.1 Lollipop is certainly off to a good start.

Android 5.1 Lollipop Changelog

There are a number of changes on board Android 5.1 Lollipop including new animations, the new Bluetooth and Wi-Fi quick settings in the pull down menu, separate media and volume controls, and more. Google outlined a number of other changes during its initial announcement as well though it didn’t reveal everything.


Those looking for all of the changes can find them here in this change log. This Android 5.1 Lollipop change log, unearthed by Al Sutton and Android Police, will give you some idea about the Android 5.1 Lollipop update and its size. This is a massive update and one that not only delivers visible changes but also fixes a ton of problems under the hood. It’s a huge bug fix update and hopefully, it will stabilize Android 5.0 Lollipop for Nexus users.

T-Mobile’s changelogs state that Android 5.1 Lollipop will be bringing bug fixes to Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 users while Sprint’s Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Lollipop change log is a little more substantial:

  • Android 5.1
  • Factory Reset Protection
  • Enhancements to sending MMS messages in the UK
  • Fixed duplicate SMS messages being sent

Silent Mode Still MIA

Unfortunately, there is one big feature missing. Silent Mode, a feature that disappeared after the Android 5.0 Lollipop update and a feature that Nexus users have been pleading for, is apparently still not available after the Android 5.1 Lollipop update.

Android 5.1 Lollipop rumors pointed to its resurgence but Nexus users say that it’s still missing. There are some tweaks to the alarm and interruptions but the silent mode that many Nexus users grew to love is still non-existent in Android 5.0.