How to Get the Nexus 7 (2013) Android 4.4 KitKat Update Right Now

The update to Android 4.4 KitKat will likely hit the Nexus 7 tablet for most users over the next week, but those of us who are a little impatient can now install the update manually using a computer connected to the tablet via USB. People not willing to open a Terminal or Command Prompt window on a Mac or Windows machine should wait till the over the air update comes.

Owners will see that the update downloaded over the air when they notice a notification in their notification area on the Nexus 7. It’s also possible to manually check from the About screen in Settings.

This Android 4.4 Kit Kat Update file is only for the Nexus 7 2013 model with WiFi only.

We share the instructions and download links to get the right files to make it all happen on both a Mac and Windows PC. We crafted these steps with help from a post at Phandroid which only covers Windows and assumes the updater knows some advanced steps.


Checking Android Version Number

First, make sure that the Nexus 7 that will get the update runs Android 4.3 in stock mode, which means not rooted. Go into Settings by swiping from the top of the screen on the right side and then choose Settings. Slide the screen down to About and then look for Android version. If it’s running 4.3, then continue on. If not, then tap on the System updates from the About screen. Update to 4.3 or if you’re lucky to 4.4 if available. If it is, then that’s all. It won’t likely show as available until the tablet’s running 4.3. When complete with the update to 4.3, then move on to the next step.

Getting Files

Download the Android SDK files and unzip them. Download the updated version of Android 4.4 from Google but DON’T unzip it. Change the file name to by right-clicking the file. Chose the rename option from the pop up menu. Move it over to the folder with the Android SDK files downloaded before. Put it in the platform-tools folder inside the SDK folder.


Flash the Nexus 7

Now its time to flash the tablet. First, prepare it by going into Settings on the Nexus 7. Enable Developer Mode by opening the About section and tap on the Build number 7 times. Go back to the main Settings screen and open Developer options and put a check mark in USB debugging.

Shut down the tablet by holding the Power button till the menu appears. Select Power off. The table shuts down.

Turn the tablet back on by holding down the Power button and the Volume Down button. This puts the tablet into fastboot mode. Hit the Volume Down button until you see Recovery Mode at the top of the screen. Press the Power button and it boots into Recovery mode. You will see a little Android icon and an exclamation point. Press the Volume Up button, which shows the menu of options.

Plug the Nexus 7 tablet into the computer using a USB cable. Now use the Volume Down button to select apply update from ADB option and choose it by pressing the Power button.

On the PC open up a command prompt by hitting the Start button on the screen or Start key on a keyboard and type CMD. Hit Enter to open the command prompt. On a Mac open Terminal either from the Applications/Utilities folder or even easier open it by using the CMD+Space Bar together. Type Terminal and hit Enter.

Now switch to the platform-tools folder by opening Finder on a Mac or Explorer on Windows. Drag the folder to the Terminal prompt on Mac or Command prompt on Windows. That will keep users from having to type the full path to the file in the next step.

Add the following after the folder path from above to the command prompt. Users must add this to the end of the path on the same line, so don’t hit enter until after entering the right command from below.

  • Windows Users: type adb sideload
  • Mac Users: typ ./adb sideload

If you didn’t change the name of the KitKat update file downloaded from Google, do that before hitting enter after typing the commands.

nexus 7 after running kitkat manual update

Hit enter and the file will transfer to the tablet and run the update. Once the Nexus 7 finishes the update it will look like the screen above. Using the volume keys select the restart option from the menu on the tablet at the top of the screen. The tablet will reboot into the new KitKat OS and update apps and files once it boots.