Nexus 9 Android 5.1 Lollipop Update: What to Expect

Roughly five months after the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop and the Nexus 9, and Google’s now released a few small updates as well as a bigger bug fixing Android 5.1 Lollipop update. We’ve seen countless Nexus devices all get updated to Android 5.1 Lollipop, but those with the latest Nexus 9 tablet are still stuck waiting, but it should be coming soon.

Back in June Google debuted Android L, which is now known as Android 5.0 Lollipop that the company fully revealed in October and launched in November on the new Nexus 9, Nexus 6, and Nexus Player. They quickly released Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 with fixes, but then this month released a big Android 5.1 Lollipop update. One that is fixing many key bugs.


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

The Android 5.0 Lollipop update delivered a number of new features to Android and debuted on the Nexus 9, but since then the tablet has been stuck without any bug fixing updates. Nexus 7 owners got Android 5.0.1 and 5.0.2, and now are running the latest 5.1, but the Nexus 9 still hasn’t received some of these updates. However, lately we’ve seen some movement on that front, and below is what owners need to know.



Back on March 9th Google confirmed Android 5.1 Lollipop after weeks of rumors and speculation, and made a quick announcement that it was coming soon for Nexus users. Sadly, that announcement didn’t state exactly which devices would see the update, or when, and that’s the problem Nexus 9 owners are experiencing.


Since then, we’ve seen Android 5.1 Lollipop arrive for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, some Nexus 7 users, as well as the Nexus 10, and eventually those with the new Nexus 7 (2013) and the Nexus 9 should see it too. For whatever reason those two devices are seeing a delay, not to mention the Nexus 4, but it should be here soon enough.

Android 5.1 Lollipop Update

So far we’ve been enjoying the Android 5.1 Lollipop update on the Nexus 6, and it was a huge improvement to the overall experience for the original Nexus 7, a device which was sorely needing an update after the initial Android 5.0 update arrived. Below are some of our initial thoughts and impressions of Android 5.1 Lollipop.

Read: Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Update Impressions & Performance

So when will the Nexus 9 see Android 5.1 Lollipop? We’re not exactly sure, but it should be sometime extremely soon. With most Nexus devices already seeing updates to 5.1, not to mention Motorola testing it on some of its latest devices, the Nexus 9 should get it any day now. Google’s Nexus devices typically see updates first, and the Nexus 9 should have been among the first to enjoy the update, but for whatever reason it has yet to surface. This could be due to the NVIDIA Tegra K1 Quad-core processor under the hood, but neither Google nor NVIDIA have responded to questions regarding the missing update.


Nexus 9 Android 5.1 Release

What’s new? Well, this week the Android 5.1 Lollipop update has officially landed in the Android Open Source Project, called AOSP. This is where Google pushes the final builds for developers to test and work with Android, and it’s currently listed as “Android 5.1.0_r3”. Along with this they released new factory images for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 Android 5.1 update, and we’re even seeing the Nexus 9 5.1 update in the AOSP. It initially arrived as Android 5.1.0_r1, but now the r3 version has landed with additional fixes. Google has now added a few more changes to Android 5.1 since announcing and releasing it a few weeks ago, and should finally be ready to push the update out to remaining devices.


This means that since releasing Android 5.1 Lollipop on March 9th, Google’s made a few additional changes and is now pushing out the official android-5.1.0_r3 update to AOSP, which means we can expect over the air updates to start, the factory images to be posted on Google’s site, and more.

Now that the final version of Android 5.1 Lollipop is hitting AOSP, hopefully this means the over the air update for the Nexus 7, Nexus 9, and Nexus 4 smartphone will start arriving. This doesn’t necessarily mean the updates are ready, but it is typically a signal that it’s about to start arriving, if it hasn’t already. All other Nexus devices have already been updated to Android 5.1 Lollipop, and those are the only three that remain.

It’s safe to say the Nexus 9 Android 5.1 Lollipop update will be coming soon and will fix a number of issues. Battery life should be improved, performance will be faster and more responsive, and hopefully some of the little bugs in Android 5.0 will be addressed.


Slow Arrival

When it does arrive, it will be a slow and staggered update. Google’s updates usually don’t hit all devices at the same time, like Apple does, and instead they slowly push it to all owners to make sure there’s no critical show-stopper bugs while it rolls out to owners. If they did the process would take longer for downloads to complete, and if any problems arise they won’t be able to stop it before millions of owners get the update.

Read: Nexus 9 Review: 3 Months Later

As a result, Nexus 9 owners are still on the same software the tablet shipped with back in November, and many of the problems users have been experiencing are still present. We can expect the Nexus 9 Android 5.1 update to start soon, hopefully as early as this weekend or early next week, and hit all users over the course of the next few weeks.

Android 5.1 Problems

The release of Android 5.0 Lollipop was the initial software debut, and as expected a few small bugs needed to be squashed. Once millions of users got it, more reports surfaced that got Google working on a fix. And while there will likely be a few small issues with Android 5.1 Lollipop too, it should fix a majority of the problems users have been facing.


Use this guide to Downgrade Android 5.0+ to Android 4.4.4 KitKat.

Again, the Nexus 6 and Nexus 7 both have already received Android 5.1, as has the Nexus 5, and most users are reporting huge improvements over the initial Android 5.0 update. That said, the “memory leak” issue we keep hearing about reportedly is still happening on Android 5.1, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Our experience with Android 5.1 has been almost all positive, but surely there are a few bugs here and there. That said, once Android 5.1 arrives for the Nexus 9, owners can expect a better experience, an improved interface, more features, and hopefully even better battery life. Stay tuned as we’ll update the moment it arrives, or once Google releases the factory image which users can flash if they’d rather not wait for the over the air update.

Be patient, Nexus 9 owners, as the Android 5.1 Lollipop update should be here any day now.