The Nexus 5 Android 5.1.1 update is rolling out to replace the device’s Android 5.1 update and while some users have already upgraded, some are still on the fence. That’s only natural. That said, there are some reasons why the Nexus 5 Android 5.1.1 is worth installing right now.
In November, Google started pushing out Android Lollipop to the Nexus 5. Android 5.0 was the first major Android update for the Nexus 5, a device that arrived in the fall of 2013 with Android 4.4 KitKat on board. Over the past few months, Google’s worked to improve the Nexus 5’s Android Lollipop update, and the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for other Nexus devices, through a series of bug fixers.
First it was Android 5.0.1, a small bug fix update aimed at squashing some of the initial problems with the company’s new operating system. After that, it was Android 5.0.2 though the Nexus 5 skipped that update. Instead, it went straight for Google’s third incremental Lollipop update, Android 5.1.
For the uninitiated, Android 5.1 was and is a big update that’s full of bug fixes and new features for Nexus devices. It’s also riddled with problems, problems that me and my fellow Nexus 5 users ran into almost immediately after the software’s release.
Thankfully, Google didn’t sit on its hands. Instead, it cooked up an Android 5.1.1 update that’s meant to stabilize the Android 5.1 software on the Nexus 5 and other Nexus devices including the Nexus 6 and Nexus 4.
I’ve already detailed my thoughts on the Nexus 5 Android 5.1.1 update though I continue to get questions from Nexus 5 owners who are on the fence about Android 5.1.1. Some people, it seems, are really struggling with the decision. And that’s understandable given how many times Google’s burned Nexus devices with updates.
Today I want to address those questions and take a look at a few reasons why I think Android 5.1.1 is worth installing on the Nexus 5. Before I get into that though, a disclaimer.
One, I am one human with one version of the Nexus 5. I probably use it differently than you and have a different set of apps. My feedback will help but I suggest gathering feedback until you feel comfortable with one side of the fence or the other. And two, know that you always assume risk downloading new software and that mileage always varies.
Stabilizes Camera App
If you have been dealing with an unstable stock camera application on Android 5.1, Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0, the Android 5.1.1 update is worth a look.
I haven’t run into any issues myself and it appears that Google fixed a problem where the camera app would crash when Nexus 5 users tried to access it through a third-party application like Facebook.
The Android 5.1.1 update unfortunately won’t fix the quality of the camera sensor but should help to stabilize one of the Nexus 5’s core applications. If your camera continues to crash after Android 5.1.1, and it shouldn’t, my advice is to take
Cut Down on Random Reboots
I was experiencing a ton of random reboots on Android 5.1 and I know a ton of other Nexus 5 owners were experiencing the same thing.
I’ve been using Android 5.1.1 for close to two weeks now and I haven’t experienced a single random reboot. Not one. In other words, my Nexus 5 is back to where it was before the Android 5.1 update. And that’s a great thing.
I’ve been trolling the Nexus Help Forums and other Android-centric forums in search of widespread complaints about Android 5.1.1 random reboots and I haven’t been able to find much. This guy’s still seeing problems but most people I’ve spoken to aren’t.
Installing Android 5.1.1 may not wipe away your reboot problems completely, I’ve seen them occur on just about every piece of iOS and Android software I’ve ever used, but it should limit them to a tolerable level. I can tolerate a few per month but with Android 5.1 on board I saw upwards of 30.
If you’re on Android 5.1, and you’ve seen an abnormal amount of random reboots, my advice is to make the move. Android 5.1.1 is stable for me and it appears to be stable for a lot of other people as well.
If you’ve been dealing with performance issues on Android 5.1, Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0, Android 5.1.1 is probably worth installing.
Battery life, connectivity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE), UI speed, and my apps are all performing beautifully after a week and a half with Android 5.1.1 on board. This is key because I saw an abnormal amount of app crashes with Android 5.1 on board. Play Music was practically unusable on Android 5.1.
I’ve seen complaints about the Nexus 5 Android 5.1.1 update, you can find a few of them here, but I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary. Just the usual isolated complaining about battery drain (it’s probably not Android 5.1.1 causing it), some charging issues, and some boot problems.
So, if you’re seeing performance problems in any of those key areas (UI speed, Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth, apps), it’s probably worth an install today. Major issues in these areas typically jump off the page after a week. Its been two weeks and I still haven’t see any issues on my phone and I haven’t seen any widespread complaints from Nexus 5 owners.
Potential for Other Fixes
Android 5.1.1 also has the potential to fix smaller more isolated issues. Often times, Android updates will fix problems that aren’t listed on a change log. It’s impossible to say if that’s by design but I’ve seen odd bugs and problems disappear after making the move to a new piece of Android software.
So, if you’re one of those people dealing with an extremely strange problem on Lollipop and you are unable to come up with a fix yourself, you might want to try Android 5.1.1. If you can’t fix the problems on your own, I think Android 5.1.1 Lollipop is definitely worth the risk.
You Can Always Downgrade
Now here’s the kicker. This is a Nexus 5 Android update that we’re talking about here. What I mean is that Nexus devices are setup so that you can easily customize your software. That includes custom ROMs and such but it also means stock Android software.
If you get Android 5.1.1 on board and it doesn’t solve your problems, you can always drop back down to an earlier version of Lollipop or even KitKat if you absolutely cannot stand what Android 5.1.1 and its Lollipop brethren bring to the table.
Maybe you use Android 5.1.1 for a few days and call it a trial run. That’s entirely up to you. That’s the beauty of Nexus and Android.
For me, Android 5.1.1 is the update that Android 5.1 should have been. It’s stable and I’m finally able to enjoy some of the tweaks that Google included in Android 5.1.
Bring on Android M.
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