With a Nexus Android 5.1.1 Lollipop release now confirmed for Nexus smartphones and tablets, we want to offer up some helpful tips to Nexus users poised to get the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update from Google. These tips should help make release day go a lot smoother for owners of the Nexus 5, Nexus 9, Nexus 7, Nexus Player and more.
Its been several months since Google first released its Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system for Nexus smartphones and tablets. Since the update’s arrival in November, we’ve seen Google roll out several incremental updates that have delivered bug fixes (Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2) and even one that delivered a combination of bug fixes and new features (Android 5.1). These updates have helped to stabilize the Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system on devices like the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 4, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus 10.
Despite Google’s best efforts, Android Lollipop problems continue to plague owners of Google’s Nexus devices. From battery life problems to random reboots to issues with the camera app, Nexus users of all shapes and sizes have been chiming in with complaints about Google’s operating system, even after Android 5.1 squashed many of its glaring issues. Fortunately, Google isn’t done with Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Earlier this week, Google finally confirmed Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, a new Android 5.1 update for Nexus devices that comes with a number of bug fixes for Lollipop problems. The update is expected to tackle a memory leak problem, a Nexus 5 camera app issue, and more. Android 5.1.1 isn’t a massive update but it’s an important one for Nexus users.
Google still hasn’t confirmed all of the details but we know this. The update is currently rolling out to the Nexus Player and it should also, at the very least, hit the Nexus 5, Nexus 9 and Nexus 7 2013. We wouldn’t be surprised if it hit everyone.
With Android 5.1 factory images now available for the Nexus Player, it should only be a matter of time before the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OTA process starts. And not just for the Nexus Player either. For other Nexus devices as well.
With that in mind, we want to help make the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop release date as stress-free as possible for owners of Google’s Nexus devices. Here, we offer some tips that should help those of you that are at least thinking about upgrading to Google’s newest version of Android 5.1.
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Release Time
The arrival of the Nexus Player Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update in AOSP means that the start of Google’s Android 5.1.1 OTA process is close. Unfortunately, Google’s OTA process is extremely unpredictable which means that the precise Android 5.1.1 release time for the Nexus Player and any upcoming Android 5.1.1 updates is going to be hard to nail down.
If this is your first rodeo, note that Nexus Android updates have started rolling out at all hours of the day. So unless you’re behind the scenes, there’s really no way to know when Google’s OTA update will start rolling out. It’s usually very random. So what does this mean for you, the Nexus user?
It means that you shouldn’t be checking your phone or tablet at any specific time. Instead, you should simply keep an eye out on the internet for the start of the roll out. We’ll let you know when the OTAs start and your fellow Nexus users will almost certainly give you a heads up. There is no need to sit by the phone or tablet all day checking for the start of your Android 5.1.1 upgrade.
Adding to that, you’ll want to remain very patient with Google and its OTA roll out process. In addition to the unpredictable release time, it’s worth noting that Google almost always rolls its Nexus Android updates out in stages. It’s a process that can take up to a week or so to complete. Android 5.1 moved out extremely slow to some devices. In the case of the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 update, it took more than a couple of weeks.
If you’re not familiar with the specifics, here’s how a Google engineer described the roll out process for Nexus devices:
Rollouts are conducted in phases. Typically they start at 1% of devices for around 24 – 48 hours; we watch the return rates and resulting device checkins and error reports (if any), and make sure nothing looks wrong before sending it to more. Then typically it goes to 25%, 50%, 100% over the course of a week or two.
What the percentages mean is that when your device checks in, it has a 1% chance (for example) of being offered the OTA. If it doesn’t (randomly) get an offer, it will never get an offer until the next batch.
IOW, once your device checks in and gets turned down, that’s it until the next batch. Mashing on the “check for updates” button just causes your device to check in again, and get automatically turned down again. Think about how that makes your device feel! WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE PHONES?!
That said, once the new batch does start, hitting that button does give you a new roll of the dice — but once. Since devices usually only check in for system updates every 24 hours (I think? Certainly on a many-hours basis) this can get you your shot sooner than it would happen on its own.
So, mash away. :) Just be patient, and mashing on it more often than once or twice a day isn’t going to gain you anything.
Edit: also, keep in mind that this isn’t first-come/first-served. You’re not racing other devices to get your slot in the current batch, or something.
If Google decides that it needs to roll out an updated build, the process could take longer. This is precisely why the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 roll out process took so long to complete.
You Can Install Android 5.1.1 Early
If you don’t want to wait for the OTA, and many of you won’t, know that you’ll be able to install the Android 5.1.1 update manually. If you’re savvy, you can use the factory images to sideload the software onto your device. You can also wait for your Android 5.1.1 roll out to begin.
Once the Android 5.1.1 roll out begins, the OTA files will emerge from Google’s servers. Once those files are found, you can easily sideload the software on your device. Seasoned Nexus users will be able to do this no problem.
If you don’t know how to sideload Android software onto a Nexus smartphone or tablet, we recommend educating yourself ahead of the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop release. For more information about sideloading updates, have a look at our guide. Even if you decide against it, it’s at least worth absorbing the process for next time.
You Might Not Want to Though
Here’s the deal. If you aren’t familiar with sideloading software updates or if this is somehow your first Nexus Android update, we suggest skipping the manual install process. It’s not worth the hassle.
The sideloading process has the potential to harm your device. Most of the early problems we see come from people that had no business sideloading software. If you’re not comfortable, wait for the OTA. That’s that simple.
You don’t have to install the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update the second that it comes out. If you want to, you can simply ignore the prompt and continue on whatever version of Android you’re on.
Gather Feedback from Nexus Users
If you’re new to Android, Android 5.0 Lollipop or you’re simply a novice smartphone or tablet user, we recommend holding back on your Android 5.1.1 release date. Instead of installing the software on day one, we think you should gather feedback about the update from your fellow Nexus users. This will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to install Android 5.1.1 or not. We’re expecting good things from this update but it’s difficult to get a good read on performance on day one.
Prepare Yourself and Your Nexus Device for Android 5.1.1
Do not come to your Nexus Android 5.1.1 Lollipop release date unprepared, especially if you’re a novice user. Make sure your apps are updated so that they don’t cause serious issues after the upgrade. Make sure your device is at charged halfway at least. Make sure your important files are backed up in the cloud or locally so that you don’t lose them if something does go wrong.
These precautions might seem like overkill to some of you but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The upgrade process can be unpredictable and you’ll want to make sure that you and your device are ready ahead of time. Coming prepared won’t shut the door on potential issues but it will make them easier to deal with if they do pop up. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of steps to take ahead of the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop release. Use them.
Do Not Use the Google Framework Services “Trick”
For years, the Google Framework Services “trick” was been promoted by some sites as a way to force a Nexus update. While this “trick” may force the Android 5.1.1 update, it’s going to do way more harm than good. Here is what a Google engineer had to say about the Google Framework Services move:
Doing this changes the primary ID by which Google knows your device. As far as the servers are concerned, the device was basically factory reset. There are many downstream effects of this, but a big one is that this invalidates the tokens used by any app that uses GCM (which is nearly all the Google apps, and a ton of third-party apps.)
How apps react to GCM IDs changing varies by app. With Play Store you have to log out and log back in, I think Gmail usually handles it transparently eventually but won’t get new mail notifications for a while, etc. Some apps you may have to clear data on to recover. All apps will simply stop getting GCM push-messages, until they get a new GCM ID; some do this frequently, others rarely, and some apps use the GCM ID as an ID on their own servers (as it is opaque and basically random), so other things besides push messages may not work.
Nothing bursts into flames, but it makes a ton of nuisances on the device, including some that can look pretty mysterious. Your mileage will vary depending on what apps you use.
All of this can be avoided by just doing an ‘adb sideload’ if you are impatient.
If that’s not convincing enough, take a look at what Google itself has to say about this “trick.” Do not use this process. Sideload the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update or wait for the OTA.
Set Aside Some Time for the Update
We recommend setting aside some time for the Android 5.1.1 installation and download process to ensure that everything goes smoothly. There’s always a chance that something will get fouled up, maybe even the installation process itself. You don’t want to be distracted if that happens. Put aside an hour to make sure that everything goes smoothly. You’ll be much better off if you do.
Android 5.1.1 installation times will vary based on device and based on connection speed. If you’re on a slow connection, set aside some extra time for the update to download and install. It probably won’t take too long but it’s difficult to predict ahead of time.
Expect Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Problems
The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update will bring a collection of bug fixes for Android Lollipop problems. That said, you should also expect it to bring some problems of its own.
Android updates almost always bring new problems to Nexus devices. They also allow older problems to linger. We don’t expect anything different from Android 5.1.1 and you shouldn’t either.
Most of these Android 5.1.1 Lollipop issues will likely be isolated so you’re probably not going to be able to rely on Google for help. In other words, there’s no telling how long it might be before Google rolls out another Android 5.1 update for Nexus devices. And because you don’t have any idea, you’re going to need to be proactive if you run into problems. And please, don’t panic.
If you’re using your Nexus device for work, check in with your IT department before installing the software. If you aren’t, you’re going to have to rely on feedback and your own judgement.
Here Are Some Solid Resources
Google’s Nexus support forums are the first place to look for solutions for Android 5.1 Lollipop issues. There, Nexus users and forum moderators will offer useful advice and present temporary or permanent fixes. That’s a site that you’ll want to bookmark as a resource. It’s free and easy to navigate.
Social media sites like Twitter are also helpful places to go should something come up during the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop installation process or after the software is installed. The Android Central Forums are also another solid place to look for possible fixes or help with the update should you need it. XDA-Developers is also a good site to check out though it’s typically a little more dense.
We’ve also put together a list of potential Android 5.1 Lollipop problems and fixes that’s worth checking out if you’re not familiar with some of the more common problems and fixes.
Rooted/Custom ROM Users Proceed with Caution
If you are rooted and using custom ROMs, you will want to proceed to your Android 5.1.1 release date with caution. While power users will likely have no issues making the upgrade to the latest version of Android, average Nexus users that aren’t as involved in the community and Nexus users who have only recently rooted or installed custom software will need to be extremely careful.
Before you install Android 5.1.1, we suggest heading to a place like XDA-Developers or to a specific domain for your modded software (Cyanogenmod forums for example) to ensure that everything is working properly and to seek assistance if necessary. We expect a fairly smooth transition process for most people but again, you just never know what might occur.
Install Lollipop From Home If Possible
Install Android 5.1.1 Lollipop from your home base if possible. Installing at home means that there will be fewer distractions. It also means that you should have access to all of the proper information in case something goes wrong. The last thing you want is for something to go haywire while at work, in the middle of a class or on vacation.
You Can Downgrade to Android 5.1 or Below
Finally, if you get Android 5.1.1 Lollipop on board your device and you aren’t liking the performance, you will be able to downgrade. We’ve put together some instructions that detail the process. You’ll just need to substitute in the correct files. It’s something to keep in mind as we inch closer to the OTAs and potential Android 5.1.1 problems.