Google’s Nexus Android 5.1 release continues to make progress for select smartphones and tablets. This week, we’ve seen a number of new details emerge for owners of Nexus smartphones and tablets and we want to take a look at what we think you need to know now about Google’s Nexus Android 5.1 update for devices like the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and more.
In early March, Google unveiled its brand new Android 5.1 Lollipop update for Nexus smartphones and tablets. The Android 5.1 Lollipop is larger than your standard Android bug fix update. While it brings a number of big time fixes for Android 5.0 Lollipop problems, it also brings some nice tweaks to existing features. It’s an update that many Nexus users have had their eye on for the past month.
Unfortunately, Google’s Android 5.1 release has been unpredictable and sporadic and it’s been a very difficult release to follow, even for those that are in tune with Google’s Nexus Android release protocol.
With that in mind, we want to take a look at the most important things to know this week about Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop release. This roundup covers all of the latest details and it takes a look at what might be coming next for devices like the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 6, and others.
Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Update Finally Moving
The Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Lollipop update was one of the first to start rolling out. Unfortunately, the update initially was moving at a snails pace with many Nexus 5 users complaining about missing updates.
This week though, the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 update finally started picking up steam and it appears that Google’s new Android 5.1 LMY47I build was indeed the catalyst that Nexus 5 users were looking for.
Google’s Android 5.1 LMY47I build is not the firmware that started rolling out to some Nexus 5 users in early March. Instead, it’s an updated build that features small fixes including one for SIM cards.
This week, two of our Nexus 5 models received Google’s new Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Lollipop build, a sign that the update is finally starting to make the progress that Nexus 5 users have been hoping for. We’ve heard from several other Nexus 5 users who have also received their upgrade and it’s clear that this roll out should reach all Nexus 5 users soon.
New Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Update Now Available
Earlier this week, Google’s posted the factory images for the Nexus 7 (3G) Android 5.1 Lollipop update on the Android Open Source Project. The appearance in AOSP meant that an OTA roll out was imminent. Google usually doesn’t announce the start of individual OTA roll outs so it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the OTA file is available sans announcement. Here’s the file:
- Nexus 7 (3G) Android 5.0.2 to Android 5.1: LMY47D from LRX22G
The arrival of this file means that the OTA roll out is here. Those that aren’t familiar with the sideload process should not download that file. Instead, we advise you to wait for the OTA roll out to arrive.
PSA for All Nexus 7 3G Users
Here are a few things that we think Nexus 7 3G users need to keep in mind as the Android 5.1 Lollipop update starts to roll out:
- You need to prepare your device. We have some tips here and here.
- The roll out will move slowly. Google’s updates typically take a week or more to complete.
- Check manually through settings but you don’t need to check more than two times a day. Most of you will discover the update via a prompt in notifications.
- You don’t need to install the update the second it arrives. In fact, you might not want to. There are loads of Android 5.1 problems that we’ll detail in a second.
Nexus 9, Nexus 7 2013 Android 5.1 Update
The fact that the Nexus 7 2012 and Nexus 7 3G Android 5.1 updates is surprising given that the Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 9 have yet to be updated with Android 5.1 Lollipop. As a reminder, all of these Android 5.1 updates will come at some point. Maybe in Android 5.1.1 form.
The Nexus 9, is still on Android 5.0.2 but that will change at some point. The Nexus 9 Android 5.1 Lollipop update is lurking on Google’s website and while that doesn’t confirm an imminent release, it does hint at a release in the future. It’s not clear how long it might take Google so Nexus 9 users need to remain patient as it works behind the scenes.
Google still hasn’t announced a Nexus 7 Android 5.1 release for the 2013 model but it does look like the device is in its plans. Eagle-eyed Redditors recently spotted the Android 5.1 Lollipop update for “flo” which is the codename for the Nexus 7 2013 Wi-Fi. Redditors have also spotted the Nexus 7 LTE Android 5.1 Lollipop update so it looks like Google will release a new update for that device as well. It’s just a matter of when at this point.
Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Update
The Nexus 4 is still sitting on Android 5.0.1 as well. Not a big deal if Nexus 4 users weren’t complaining about an assortment of Android 5.0 and Android 5.0.1 Lollipop problems.
We still believe that a Nexus 4 Android 5.1 update or something similar is coming. Last month, Myce spotted an Android 5.1 Lollipop build running on the Nexus 4. What this means is that Google has the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update in testing.
Sascha Prüter from Google essentially confirmed the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 release though he declined to offer any specifics about its release date. The update has also been spotted on Google’s website.
Our Thoughts on Android 5.1, So Far
If you’re still on the fence about whether to install Android 5.1 or not, you should take a look at our recent reviews for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 7. These will help get you started though we certainly encourage you to branch out to get some more feedback before making a final decision one way or the other.
Android 5.1 Problems Continue
Android 5.1 problems continue to plague Nexus users in the weeks after the Android 5.1 Lollipop release. Google’s Nexus Help Forums are littered with complaints about reboots, battery life, connectivity issues, and more. These problems are found across all of Google’s Nexus smartphones and tablets. They aren’t limited to just one device.
In response, we’ve put together a list of potential fixes for the most common Android 5.1 Lollipop problems. If you are dealing with battery life issues or problems with connectivity, make sure you take a look at those before slamming a device against a wall.
Major Android Lollipop Problem Discovered
It looks like some Nexus 7 and Nexus 5 users have discovered a major issue with Android 5.0.2 and in some cases, Android 5.1 Lollipop. Some Nexus 7 and Nexus 5 users are reporting that the Android 5.1 update bricked their device. It’s still not clear what’s going on here but it’s an issue that seems to have affected more than just a few Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 users.
What makes things worse is that it seems the issue has taken several weeks to pop up. Some users are reporting that the problem emerged a few weeks after updating. None of our Nexus devices have bricked, at least not yet.
Nexus Android 5.1.1 Update MIA
On April 1st, an Android 5.1.1 update was spotted in an update for the Android SDK. The listing all but confirmed an arrival for Nexus devices down the road. Android 5.1.1 is still missing in action more than a week later and we haven’t seen any new developments emerge for Nexus users.
It’s still not clear what this update might bring to Nexus users though many people assume that it will fix the Android 5.1 memory leak issue that’s plaguing a number of Nexus users. We’ve run into the problem on the Nexus 5 so we’re hoping that Google’s new update does offer a fix.
Android 5.1.1: What to Expect
Finally, here’s a quick look at what we expect from the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update:
- We expect there to be an Android 5.1.1 update. We doubt that the listing was an April Fool’s Joke.
- We expect the update to be small and contain a few bug fixes unless Google decides to postpone the release to add more fixes.
- We would expect it to roll out sometime in the next few weeks. The fact that it showed up in the Android SDK means that the update is getting close to a public release.
- We’d expect several, if not all Nexus devices to get updated to Android 5.1.1, especially if it has a fix for the memory leak problem.
- We expect there to be Android 5.1.1 problems. New ones and lingering Android 5.0 issues.
- We expect Google to stay silent about Android 5.1.1 and its release. It appears to be a small bug fixer and Google typically doesn’t make a big deal out of those.