Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop Update: 10 Things to Know Now

Two weeks ago, Google announced the start of its Android 5.1 Lollipop update for Nexus devices. In that two weeks, we’ve seen a number of new details emerge for owners of the Nexus 5, Nexus 6 and others and today we want to take a look at the important things to know now about the Android 5.1 Lollipop update and its release for Nexus users.

In late 2014, we heard a rumor about an Android 5.1 Lollipop update. That rumor suggested that Google had a substantial new update planned for Nexus devices, one that would fix many of the Android Lollipop problems plaguing Nexus users on Android 5.0, Android 5.0.1, and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. Google seemingly confirmed the update early in the year though it wasn’t until two weeks ago that the company confirmed the rumors and announced the Android 5.1 update outright.



Two Mondays ago, the same day that Apple announced iOS 8.2, Google announced the arrival of Android 5.1 Lollipop. The company confirmed several bits of information including the Android 5.1 Lollipop release date. For nearly two weeks, the Android 5.1 Lollipop update has been moving out to select Nexus users though the release still remains fairly limited. Even for those that are currently in the midst of the roll out.

With two weeks now under our belts, we want to take an updated look at what we think Nexus users need to know right now about the Android 5.1 Lollipop update for Nexus smartphones and tablets and Google’s progress.


This will take you through the different roll outs that are taking place now or are set to take place in the near future and it will walk you through some of the smaller Android 5.1 Lollipop details that don’t get a lot of coverage. If you haven’t been following along in the past two weeks, and you own a Nexus device, this is your chance to catch up.


Android 5.1 vs. Android 5.0

Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update is a bug fix update but it also brings some new enhancements to Google’s Nexus devices. These enhancements improve some of the features found inside the company’s Android 5.0 operating system though for many users, they are going to be rather difficult to spot. Most of them are small tweaks and changes.

Android 5.1 vs Android 5.0 Lollipop Walkthrough: What’s New

Quick Settings

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Quick Settings

Our favorite new change has to do with Quick Settings. For those that don't even know, pulling down the notification bar twice (or once with two fingers) brings up a Quick Settings menu. From here you have access to screen brightness, and toggles for WiFi, Bluetooth, a flashlight, airplane mode, auto rotate settings, location, screen casting, and more quick toggles appear as you use them. Like hotspot control, and more.

In all of our slides Android 5.1 is on the left, with the older Android 5.0 screenshot on the right.

With Android 5.1 Lollipop Google made quick settings even better. Once you swipe down twice or once with two fingers, you'll have easier access to controlling WiFi or Bluetooth and connections. Rather than fumble through settings, simply tap the little drop down arrow, and you can connect to WiFi or Bluetooth devices all from here. This is a small but very convenient change, and one of our favorites.


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In an effort to help you wade through some of these changes, we’ve put together a comparison that will walk you through some of the biggest changes Google’s made to Android 5.0 in Android 5.1 Lollipop. While some of them are small, they could be game-changing for many Nexus smartphone and tablet users and they’re worth a look if you’re on Android 5.0 or if you’ve already moved to Android 5.1.

Nexus 5 Android 5.1 OTA Moving Slowly

The Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Lollipop OTA roll out started last week and it’s moving out extremely slow. One of our variants is still waiting for the OTA to arrive and we’ve spoken to a number of Nexus 5 users who are still waiting for the software prompt to appear.


As a reminder, Google’s Android roll outs can take up to two weeks or so to complete (it rarely gives out a specific window) so we should start to see some pickup this week.

Those of you who are still on Android 5.0.1 Lollipop would be smart to check out some of our Android 5.1 release date tips. They will help make the wait for the OTA a little more bearable.


Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Update Making Solid Progress

The Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Lollipop update is making solid progress as the update’s recently landed for both T-Mobile and AT&T in the United States. T-Mobile’s software update page lists the change while AT&T users are reporting the arrival of the OTA. As a reminder, Verizon’s Nexus 6 arrived with Android 5.1 stock on board earlier this month.


Like the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 update, we expect Google’s Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Lollipop update to take its sweet time rolling out to devices all over the world. It could be a week or so before we see the software roll out to everyone so users will want to remain patient as Google works behind the scenes to get its new update delivered to its new Nexus smartphone.

Nexus 10 Android 5.1 OTA Begins

Nearly two weeks after it posted its factory images, Google’s Nexus 10 Android 5.1 Lollipop roll out has reportedly begun. It should mirror Google’s other Android 5.1 OTAs and roll out slowly to Nexus 10 users. Those who own the aging tablet will want to keep an eye out for a download prompt between now and the end of the month.


New Nexus Android 5.1 Update Imminent

Google’s next Android 5.1 Lollipop update apparently won’t be for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 2013, or Nexus 9. Instead, it looks like the Nexus Player is next in line.

Google recently posted its factory images to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and typically OTAs start shortly after the appropriate files show up there for developers. It could still be a few days but those who bought the Nexus Player will certainly want to keep an eye out for the OTA. It could arrive in the near future.

Missing Nexus Android 5.1 Updates

There are still a number of Android 5.1 Lollipop updates missing. Owners of the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 2012 Cellular, Nexus 7 2013, Nexus 2013 LTE, and Nexus 9 are currently without Android 5.1. That doesn’t mean that these roll outs won’t come though. Android 5.1 Lollipop will roll out to all of these devices, it’s just a matter of when at this point.

Nexus 4 Android 5.0.1 Update Review Early -   4

We know a lot of people are panicking, especially those who are dealing with Android 5.0 Lollipop problems, but there’s no reason to fret. Google will get the update out to these devices. It might not be tomorrow or the next day, but you can count on OTAs starting up at some point. All signs point to a release for all Android 5.0 Lollipop powered devices.

One thing to keep in mind though: Nexus 7 cellular models have been known to get new updates weeks sometimes months after the rest of the pack. So if you own a cellular version of the Nexus 7 2012 or Nexus 7 2013, brace yourself.

Reminder: You Can Install Android 5.1 Lollipop Now

Consider this a final public service announcement. If you want to skip the Android 5.1 Lollipop OTA process you can, provided you have the appropriate files available to you. We’ve put together a how to that will take you through the steps. We only recommend this route to those of you who have some experiencing sideloading software. If you don’t, familiarize with the process and then try it next time.

Android 5.1 Lollipop Impressions

We’ve already taken a look at the Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Lollipop update and Nexus 7 2012 Android 5.1 Lollipop update and we encourage you to take a peek at our impressions, especially if you haven’t installed the update yet. We’ll be posting more impressions this week so you’ll want to keep an eye out if you’re at all leery about Google’s new update.

Android 5.1 Problems

Android 5.1 Lollipop fixes a number of lingering Android 5.0 Lollipop problems but it also brings some problems of its own to Nexus users. (Another reason why you should prepare and remain patient as Google works to get all of its devices upgraded.) We’ve taken a look at some of these problems though Google’s Nexus Help forum continues to fill up with complaints about battery drain, Wi-Fi issues, cellular data problems, and more.


So while you’re understandably excited about the arrival of your Android 5.1 Lollipop update, note that there are actually some advantages to Google’s slow roll out. You can prepare, you can gather feedback, and you can take a look at some of the problems Nexus users are facing after making the move up to Android 5.1 Lollipop.

Fixes for Android 5.1 Problems

In response to these issues, we’ve put together a list of fixes for the most common Android 5.1 Lollipop problems that Nexus users are seeing in the two weeks after its release. These are a great starting point for those dealing with Android 5.1 problems and those who want to prepare as much as possible ahead of their Android 5.1 OTA.