+ Tuesday January 28th, 2020

With Android, one of the most exciting times, is seeing the ‘System Update Available’ notification on your phone or tablet. Especially if it’s a major release, but even with point releases, the updates can be long-awaited due to fixes for niggling bugs that affect different people. While it can take up to two weeks for an OTA update to appear on your device, the alternative is to side-load the OTA update.

Android community members often capture the URL from Google for the OTA updates as they’re released, giving people the opportunity to download and apply them as they appear, rather than waiting for a prompt. But how do you side-load an update? Well, here’s how:

First things first, you’ll need the Android SDK installed, or at least ADB. At this stage, the ADB tools are available through Android Studio, which you can download from Google. Once installed, you’re good to go.

  1. Download and install the Android SDK – or have ADB executable/binary file available. You can download the Android SDK here. This is especially important with some users getting issues with older Fastboot versions
  2. Turn on USB Debugging in Settings > Developer Options > USB debugging.
  3. Connect the phone to your PC through USB and make sure it’s connected. Easiest way to test it’s working is by running the command ‘adb devices’ if it’s connected you’ll see the serial # of the device followed by Device – Something like : ‘022c732d8a4cca82 device’
  4. ADB Devices

  5. Download the OTA update.zip to your PC for your particular device. Rename the downloaded file to something easy to type – we recommend update.zip.
  6. Move the zip file into your ‘Platform-Tools’ folder (or, remember its full path for later).
  7. Enter the command ‘adb reboot bootloader’ and your phone will reboot into the bootloader.
  8. Press the Volume buttons on your device until you see ‘Recovery’ and use the Power button to select.
  9. Next your device will boot to a screen with an Android logo with an exclamation mark on it.
  10. Press Volume Up and Power at the same time to get into stock recovery.
  11. Using the volume buttons, scroll to ‘apply update from ADB’ and then press the Power button to choose it.
  12. On your PC in the command prompt window, type ‘adb sideload update.zip’ (if you didn’t move the file, use its full path instead).
  13. If everything goes according to plan, you should see the file transfer across and your device will start to update.
  14. Once that finishes, your device will begin to update.
  15. That should be it, once it completes you should be able to reboot and go from there.

Daniel Tyson  

Daniel Tyson

Daniel is a former editor of Ausdroid, and left in February 2019.


  1. Avatar

    I had some trouble with this today, once I got to the “No command” Android screen – the solution is when you see the robot lying down, first press the power button and while holding that down, press once on volume up (and release volume up before releasing the power button..)

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    I can successfully complete all steps hjowever when I try to actually sideload the .zip (step 11) I get the error message below. Any ideas? Thanks.

    error: protocol fault (no status)

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    One thing that always screws me up with these instructions is #9: “Press Volume Up and Power at the same time to get into stock recovery.”

    I found alternate instructions that say : Hold power then press up. This works immediately for me.

    • Avatar
      Jesse Kinross-Smith

      Thanks for mentioning that – I was having issues with that step too – no combination of power + volume up worked until I held power, then pressed vol up.

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    does not work for 5.01 to 5.1 boot to recovery only lists recovery mode then there is the dead android and No command, no button combination other than a power hold does anything.

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      Ok on windows 8.1 you need to have the correct USB drivers installed. They can be installed as part of the SDK to

      Then ADB is in C:Users#USER#AppDataLocalAndroidsdkplatform-tools

      Once you are in the boot loader you need to once again check that the phone is recognised. If it appears as an unknown device you need to update drivers, select search locally then choose from a list of devices after that select the adb drivers. It will install and then you can update.

      • Avatar

        I forgot, watch for a certificate on the phone acceptance the first time you get the driver working and when it comes time for the volume up power buttons it takes some time but another list appears to select sideload.

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    Just want to mention as it stuffed me up for ages when I first tied to simply and could never get it to work. Seems silly now though but if I had the problem someone else surely will.

    Run the adb commands with the folder open in terminal or command.

    I was just typing ./adb devices from whatever terminal defaulted to when I opened it up and it didn’t work. Had to enable in settings (under keyboard/services on osx) right click to open folder In terminal to get to the SDK folder in terminal so the adb command would work.

    Took me a while to figure this out as it wasn’t ever expressly mentioned that you had to run it from the folder and how to get to that folder in terminal.

    • Avatar

      Thank you!!!! I have been having this issue for days and was about to give up until I saw this, I am happy to say I was finally able to do it.

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    Does side loading wipe everything stored locally?

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    ADB executable/binary file should be fine, downloading SDK is waste of space if you are not developing Apps…..correct me if i’m wrong

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    Can I use this method to side load the latest Lollipop firmware leaked for the SM-N9005 (Note 3)? Or do I still need to use Odin?

  9. Avatar

    Also, you don’t need to be rooted to sideload.

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