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Nexus 9 Android 5.1.1 Update: What to Expect



Last week Google finally released the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update aimed at fixing a few last outstanding bugs and issues since the initial Lollipop release back in November. This is the fourth update, however, the Nexus 9 hasn’t received anything past Android 5.0.1 back in November, but we’re hearing the Nexus 9 Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update could be here any day now.

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 in March came a big Android 5.1 Lollipop update, and up next (hopefully) for the Nexus 9 is Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

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

The Android 5.0 Lollipop release 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 5.1.1 as of last week, but the Nexus 9 still hasn’t received most 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. It never got the update, while the rest did.

Since then, we’ve seen Android 5.1 Lollipop arrive for all Nexus devices released over the past two years, and then last week the 2012 and 2013 Nexus 7 tablets both received Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, all while the Nexus 9 is still sitting on the initial software release. Last month some logs found a Nexus 9 running Android 5.1.1 which hinted that it was coming soon, and last week one Google engineer even said it’s coming soon, and some last minute bugs need to be addressed first.

Read: How to Install Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Right Now

Android 5.1.1 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 software 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, and a few even getting 5.1.1 as we speak. 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 dual-core Denver processor under the hood, but neither Google nor NVIDIA have responded to questions regarding the missing update.

Nexus 9 Android 5.1.1 Release

What’s new? Well, recently the Android 5.1.1 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. Along with this they released new factory images for the Nexus 7 WiFi, 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 5.1.1 update out soon. When though, is anyone’s guess sadly.


This means that since releasing Android 5.1 Lollipop on March 9th, Google’s made a few additional changes and is now pushing out a 5.1.1 build instead, which means we can expect over the air updates to start, the factory images to be posted on Google’s site, and more.

The Nexus 9 hasn’t seen an update in over 5 months, all while every other Nexus device as of late has received at least two. It’s frustrating for owners, but recent reports suggest it could be here as soon as this week.

It’s safe to say the Nexus 9 Android 5.1.1 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. Not to mention that big memory leak problem users have been experiencing where apps start to lag and crash, something all Lollipop devices are having trouble with.

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. It received one update the week it launched, to Android 5.0.1, and that’s it since. We can expect the Nexus 9 Android 5.1.1 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. That said, things are always subject to change.

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, and we’re hopeful it will finally be addressed in 5.1.1.

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 5.1.1 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.

It has been a frustrating few months for those with the Nexus 9, but if all the recent movement we’ve been seeing is any indication, it’s coming sooner rather than later. It hasn’t received the best treatment for being Google’s “flagship” tablet, but this update should address most owners concerns. Stay tuned for more details.

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