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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.



  1. Mike Murphy

    11/13/2013 at 1:41 pm

    This is a terrible write up…i did absolutely none of the cmd part this write up said to do.

  2. Ken Kohlmann

    11/13/2013 at 2:27 pm

    Great tutorial! Got KitKat up and running! Mike Murphy…clearly you are doing something wrong.

  3. Aaron Grijalva

    11/13/2013 at 3:13 pm

    once i get to the recovery mode I can’t even access any options by pressing the volume up button.

    • Chad

      11/13/2013 at 4:52 pm

      Same here. No options coming up in reciver mode. Just says “No Command” and volume up does nothing.

      • Chad

        11/13/2013 at 4:56 pm

        recovery* mode i mean

    • Xi Yue

      11/13/2013 at 5:43 pm

      Me too! I could see the Android icon and the exclamation mark in Recovery Mode, but the Volume Up button doesn’t do anything! Now I’m stuck at this! What should I do!!!! Please help. Mine is 1st gen Nexus 7.

      • Jeff

        11/13/2013 at 10:44 pm

        This is for 2013 models only… says so at the beginning of the article.

        • Mark B

          11/18/2013 at 12:08 pm

          That’s what I have, and it’s not working. So stop trying to act like a know-it-all.

    • gjbiteam

      11/13/2013 at 7:26 pm

      After the recovery mode you have to press power button then Volume Up, and you’ll see 4 options, and select apply update from ADB .

    • Eric Polite

      11/21/2013 at 7:07 pm

      Hold down the power button, then press volume up. That’s the only thing that worked for me

  4. Francisco

    11/13/2013 at 6:14 pm

    I got stuck there too! Hit the “Power Button” and “Volume up” several times at the same time and release at the same time. It took me three tries doing that.

    I got Stuck at the CMD part now.. It just wont work.

    • Remi

      11/13/2013 at 8:00 pm

      +1 for the “Power Button” and “Volume up” technique

      I got the CMD part to work by doing (in windows):
      cd C:\\sdk\platform-tools
      then hit enter, then do the:
      adb sideload

      you also need to make sure you have the right android package for your device (I have a 2012 nexus 7 wifi only) and had to go find the package elsewhere (androidcentral) because this one didn’t work

  5. afflicti0n

    11/13/2013 at 9:00 pm

    The people who do not understand the directions probably shouldn’t be doing this. It is on the same line as rooting your phone so if you did want to do that you will struggle her

  6. colin

    11/14/2013 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks. Some tuts are better than others. This one was better.

  7. Aaron Grijalva

    11/14/2013 at 12:27 pm

    Now Im at the point where I do the cmd but now it just says cart read

    • flashman

      11/15/2013 at 6:20 am

      when renaming the update zip file, do not type “.zip” at the end. just rename it KitKat and press Enter. Manually adding the .zip extension screws it up.

  8. Matthew Ponce de Leon

    11/14/2013 at 5:16 pm

    Wil this prevent me from doing OTA updates in the future?

  9. Matthew Sutton

    11/15/2013 at 5:36 am

    worked fine for me, apart from dragging the folder to cmd prompt i had to copy the locations name as text then pasted that to the cmd prompt window! other than that all good …Thanks i got sick of waiting :-)


    11/15/2013 at 8:16 am

    This worked for me and I’m a (noob) the only thing I had a problem with is the drivers in adb mode. After installing them from adk it was a breeze and I was able to go to sleep lol. I just got tired of waiting for ota.

  11. Sanjay

    11/15/2013 at 12:52 pm

    By doing this… will this prevent any updates in future? Is this rooting the device… sorry (noob). Just wanting to make sure, or is this essentially the same as speeding the update a long quicker?

    Thanks in advance

  12. Darrin

    11/15/2013 at 8:02 pm

    I kept getting “device not found” when running the adb command. I found that my Nexus 7 was coming up in Device Manager as not having drivers installed. I tried for a while to get the USB drivers to work, then I got annoyed and selected “browse my computer for drivers” then selected “let me pick a driver manually” and selected the “ADB Interface driver”. After I did that, I ran the adb sideload command and it successfully pushed the update to my Nexus. I am now on Kit Kat!

    • Dean

      11/22/2013 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you Darrin! You solved my problem. When the list of devices comes up, on Windows 7, I selected “Android Phone”, then 3 choices appeared, and I selected the first one, “ADB Interface”. Worked like a charm!

  13. Carla

    11/15/2013 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial!! KitKat is working perfectly for me.

  14. Darshana

    11/17/2013 at 5:26 am

    Will this method erase my personal data, apps etc…

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