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Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Release: 10 Things to Expect



Google’s Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop release is finally starting to make significant progress though Nexus users still have some big question marks. One of the biggest mysteries still in play is the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 update, an update that hasn’t been confirmed outright but one that should arrive in the future. We’ve already taken a look at what we know about the release and today, we want to help set expectations for Nexus 4 users.

Earlier this year, Google quietly confirmed an Android 5.1 Lollipop update for Android One devices. The company initially failed to confirm the update for its stable of Nexus devices though two weeks ago, Nexus users finally got the confirmation they were looking for.

Two weeks ago, Google announced the start of the Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop release. The company confirmed the update for several devices including the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 though it did not confirm the Android 5.1 Lollipop update for everyone. That’s left many Nexus users looking for answers.

Nexus 4 Android 5.0.1 Update Review Early -   4

We, like Google, continue to get asked about the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update. This isn’t surprising given that the Nexus 4 is still a very popular device and a device that’s currently on Android 5.0.1. Many Nexus 4 users are dealing with Android Lollipop problems and they’re hoping that Android 5.1 will cure at least some of those issues. It probably will.

Android 5.1 is not your average Android update. It comes with a ton of enhancements for Lollipop features and it comes with a ton of bug fixes aimed at squashing Android 5.0 problems. It’s an exciting update but it’s still not available for the Nexus 4. Thus, the questions.

Earlier this week, we took a look at what we know so far about the Nexus 4 Lollipop update. Today, we want to take it a step further and outline what we expect from the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop release from Google. Our goal here is to set your expectations, something that Google has, thus far, failed to do. Here’s what we expect from Google and the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update.

A Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Update

We continue to get questions about the Android 5.1 update and its release for the Nexus 4. Not surprising given that the Nexus 4 wasn’t included in Google’s initial Android 5.1 Lollipop announcement.

We expect Google to release a Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update. As we mentioned yesterday, all signs point to a release for the aging former flagship. The Nexus 4’s update showed up in testing ahead of the public Android 5.1 release and it would be extremely strange to see a device that’s already on Android 5.0 and Android 5.0.1 get left behind. It also helps that Sascha Prüter from Google has essentially confirmed the release.

Nexus 4 Android 5.0.1 Update Review Early -   2

We’re not the only ones expecting an Nexus 4 Android 5.1 release and we won’t be the only ones with our jaws on the floor if Google decides to skip a Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update. We’re all in on a Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop release (or a newer version of Android 5.0) and at this point, there’s no reason to panic.

Quiet Announcement

We do not expect Google to unfurl the red carpet for the Nexus 4’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update. Instead, we expect Google to quietly confirm its arrival with a release into the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), similar to what it did with the recent Nexus Player Android 5.1 update. If you own a Nexus 4, expect to be in the dark all the way up until this happens.

Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Release Time

Google’s extremely unpredictable when it comes to the specific release times for its Nexus Android updates. We’ve seen updates emerge in the morning and we’ve seen them arrive in the late afternoon. It’s very difficult to say when Google will release the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 update into AOSP though we’ll say this. We rarely see it release updates on the weekend so we’re expecting an arrival at some point during the working week.

As for the actual OTA itself, that’s a different story. Google’s OTA process is also very random though Google typically keeps pushing updates from its servers 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the roll out is complete. So once the OTA does begin, you’ll need to be on your toes, especially once the roll out starts picking up steam.

Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Release Date

We haven’t seen any rumors or leaks and we haven’t heard about any firm dates ourselves. That makes predicting an actual Nexus 4 Android 5.1 release extremely difficult. So we’ll tell you what we know about Google.

Nexus 4 Android L System Image MIA

More often than not, Google gets its Nexus devices updated in a reasonable amount of time. So, we would not expect the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 release date to take place several months from now. Instead, we’d expect a release to take place in March or April as its other Android updates start to wind down.

Slow Release

If Google does release a Nexus 4 Android 5.1 update like we suspect, it will almost certainly follow in the footsteps of Google’s other Android 5.1 Lollipop updates. Google’s current Android 5.1 roll out is moving extremely slowly and many Nexus 6, Nexus 5, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7 2012 users are still without Google’s latest firmware.

Historically, Google’s roll outs have taken between a week and two weeks to roll out. And if the update hits a snag during the delivery, it can take even longer to deploy. So once the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 update does arrive, we expect it to take one to two weeks to roll out. What this means is that while your neighbor might get the software on day one, you might not get it for a week or more.

Way to Install Early

If you don’t want to wait for the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 OTA, you’ll be able to install the update early. Those with the know-how will be able to use the factory images from the AOSP to get it up and running and we also expect to see the OTA file captured from Google’s servers. Once that happens, you’ll be able to sideload the software.

Mostly the Same Android 5.1 Features

The Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop updates are all very similar in that they come with a number of new enhancements and a laundry list of bug fixes. There are a few differences (HD Voice for the Nexus 6 being one of them) but we expect the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 update to be similar to the updates that have already started rolling out.

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

Quick Settings

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.

We recently put together a look at some of the bigger changes coming with Android 5.1. Our Android 5.0 vs. Android 5.1 comparison will get you prepared for some of the visual changes that should come to the Nexus 4 with Android 5.1 Lollipop. Most of the changes are small but depending on how you use your device, they could have a big impact.

Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Problems

Nexus 4 users should expect Android 5.1 Lollipop to bring a ton of fixes for Android Lollipop problems. Nexus 4 users should also expect Android 5.1 Lollipop to let some Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0 problems linger and for it to bring some Android 5.1 problems of its own.

Android 5.1 problems are already a problem for many Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 users and they range from bad battery life to connectivity issues to issues that have carried over from Google’s other Android 5.0 updates.


We don’t expect the Nexus 4, a device that’s now well over two years old, to be immune so you’ll want to prepare your device, and yourself, for possible Android 5.1 problems.

Fixes for Those Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Problems

While we may not see Google roll out another Android Lollipop bug fixer for awhile, you can expect at least some of the fixes we’ve outlined to help. Our list of fixes for common Android 5.1 problems come from years of trial and error. We are Nexus users ourselves and many of these fixes have worked for us in the past. They will probably work for you as well.

Unclear Future

Finally, do not expect Google to outline the Nexus 4’s Android update future anytime soon. There is a very good chance that Android 5.1 Lollipop will be its last major update though you shouldn’t expect Google to confirm either way any time soon. Even if Google announces a new Android update at Google I/O 2015, we may not hear about the company’s release plans. The Nexus 4 Android 5.0 release was a mystery, right up until its release in November last year.

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