Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Update: 5 Things You Need to Know

Last week, Google started rolling out a Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update to replace Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and Android 5.0.1 Lollipop. Android 5.1 Lollipop is a substantial upgrade for Nexus smartphones and tablets and today, we want to take a look at five things you need to know about Google’s Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update.

At the end of last year, Google pushed out an Android 5.0 Lollipop update that brought new features, enhancements and fixes to Nexus smartphone and tablet users. Unfortunately, Android 5.0 Lollipop was also riddled with problems and Nexus users encountered a number of problems and bugs with their new software on board.


Slowly but surely, Google’s started to fix some of these Android Lollipop problems. First, the company rolled out an Android 5.0.1 update to select Nexus devices. Next, it rolled out an Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update to some Nexus devices including the Nexus 7. Google’s two slates were upgraded to Android 5.0.2 Lollipop to fix lingering problems and both remained on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop up until last week.


Google’s new Android 5.1 Lollipop update is here to replace the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and Android 5.0.1 Lollipop updates. The update was first posted last Monday and it’s rolling out to select Nexus 7 users right now.


The Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update is the biggest update since Android 5.0 Lollipop’s arrival and it could be the update that serves as the bridge between Lollipop and whatever Google is cooking up next.


Today, we want to take a look at what we think Nexus 7 users need to know about their Android 5.1 Lollipop update. This will cover some brief initial impressions, Android 5.1 Lollipop problems and some of the features that Nexus 7 users can expect from their OTA update. Here’s what you Nexus 7 users need to know about your latest upgrade from Google.

Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop Update Rolling Out Slowly

The Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update, like the updates for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 10, is rolling out extremely slowly. We still haven’t seen the OTA hit one of our Nexus 7 2012 variants and that’s a sign that Google is really taking its time with this massive bug fixer. We’ve spoken to several other Nexus 7 users who are still trapped on Android 5.0.2 so we’re not alone.


Now, if this is your first rodeo, note that this isn’t out of the ordinary for Google. Google’s Nexus OTA Android roll outs can take up to two weeks to complete. Google’s monitoring the update for issues and if everything is good, we should see the pace start to pick up in the near future. It’s also worth noting that the roll outs are also unpredictable and random so while your friend down the street might get the update today, you may not. It’s impossible to tell.


The only thing you can do as a Nexus 7 user is sit back, check a couple of times a day and wait for the prompt. Well, that is if you don’t want to sideload the software ahead of the OTA, something that we’ll touch on in a second.

Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Update Remains Limited

You should also note that the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update remains extremely limited. Right now, it’s rolling out to the Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi and the Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi alone. It is not rolling out to the cellular version of the Nexus 7 2012, the Wi-Fi version of the Nexus 7 2013 or the cellular version of the Nexus 7 2013. Google rarely announces its plans ahead of time so owners of those tablets will likely be waiting in the dark.

If history repeats itself, and it might, the Wi-Fi only Nexus 7 2013 should be next in line. Google’s cellular versions of the Nexus 7 have a habit of being late to major Android updates and there’s a good chance that they’ll be late to Android 5.1 Lollipop. That’s something to keep in mind the OTAs progress.

You Can Get the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Update Right Now

If you want to, you can install the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update right now. The proper file for the Nexus 7 2012 has been found lurking on Google’s servers which means that those who are familiar with the sideloading process can now upgrade the Nexus 7 ahead of the OTA.

Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop Review Early - 3


If you are familiar with the process, the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update file can be found here. If you are not familiar with the process, note that link and take a look at our detailed step-by-step instructions.

Per usual, only seasoned Nexus users should attempt to do this. Sideloading has been known to cause issues on the Nexus 7 and other Nexus smartphones and tablets if the process isn’t done correctly.

Quick Impressions

We’ve spoken to a few Nexus 7 2012 users who say that Android 5.1 Lollipop has been a godsend for the aging former flagship. Performance is apparently much better than it was on Android 5.0.2 and Android 5.0.1 and the tablet is feeling like new. These comments echo the feedback that we’ve seen from Nexus 7 users on Google’s Help Forum and it mirrors what we’ve seen on our own Nexus 7 2012.

The Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update comes with a number of fixes for Lollipop problems. It also comes with a number of enhancements for Android features.


Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop features include new animations, the new Bluetooth and Wi-Fi quick settings in the pull down menu, separate media and volume controls, and more. 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.

The point is, this is more than your standard bug fix update for the Nexus 7 and it’s going to deliver some significant changes. Dig into these changes, and user feedback, before you install the software.

Android 5.1 Lollipop Problems

Android 5.1 Lollipop comes with fixes for Android Lollipop problems but it appears that Android 5.1 is causing some problems of its own. Nexus 7 users are complaining about several different Android 5.1 Lollipop problems including battery drain, performance issues, Bluetooth problems, random reboots, and more.


It’s worth noting that an Android 5.1 Lollipop memory leak problem, the one that’s causing some of these crashes, has been fixed by Google. Problem is, it’s not clear when the company is planning to roll the fix out.

Nexus 7 users will want to proceed to the Android 5.1 Lollipop update and OTA with caution and gather as much feedback as humanly possible before making the jump from Android 5.0.2 or below. Prepare your device for its arrival and have a look at these tips before installing.