The Android 4.4.1 update for Google’s Nexus 5 handset has begun rolling out this morning, and thanks to some keen-eyed Nexus 5 users, we have the OTA (over the air) download link.

If you’re comfortable with some command line tools, and you haven’t modified your Nexus 5, you’ll be able to apply the OTA update file without any major dramas. However, if you’ve rooted your handset or made other changes to the system partition, you may find that the update won’t apply without some modification required (which is beyond the scope of this quick update post).

For those wanting to give the update a try without waiting for the OTA update notification, follow these simple steps:

  1. Download the update from Google:
  2. Make sure you’ve got ADB installed, and open a command line window.
  3. Reboot your Nexus 5 into recovery mode, and (depending on your recovery) enable sideload mode.
  4. Apply the update as follows:
    adb sideload


  5. Alternatively, copy the file across to your device, and install it like any other ZIP file

Of course, please be aware that updating your phone in this way is entirely at your own risk, and Ausdroid doesn’t take any responsibility for you breaking everything. Let us know how you go in the comments below!

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vijay alapati

did any one receive notification for OTA update? i haven’t got one yet 🙁


Waiting for replacement Nexus 5 to arrive. My brand new one has a bad screen and I’m sending it back. As a warning to others, returning faulty goods to Google is NOT a pleasant experience!!

Gregory Williams

What trouble are you having?


Lots of horizontal lines lines flicker on the screen through certain colours. Now they’re going to ‘hold’ another $470 out of my account while I wait for the replacement.

Gregory Williams

The HTC One had problems with screens, it was a gamble at the start whether you got a good or bad screen, but they got rid of the problem early. That’s a weird way of doing things, especially considering they are at fault.


It’s an amazing device at a great price; I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing Google. But they’ve told me I have to return the device within 21 days or I’ll be charged for the full amount, but that I have to return in the same packaging the replacement is coming in… which isn’t due for 3 weeks?!

Gregory Williams

Oh definitely, it’s amazing how cheap it is for such an awesome phone. I would like to know how much they are losing on them! But wow that’s quite bad on Google’s part.


Don’t sweat it – the 21 day thing is a pro forma response. I’ve done the return thing before – original nexus 7 screen didn’t turn on (could hear it though)

Reply to them with your concerns of you need to be put at ease. The return details are with the replacement so they know you can’t return it yet.


Thanks, I know I probably sound like a stress-head! I guess the thing I’m most disappointed about is having to wait another 3 weeks for another phone… first world problems anyone?!

Clarence Tang

I can’t seem to flash the sideload, it tells me it’s failed – is it because I installed some mods to the ROM (change in navigation bar DPI, and the reboot menu)? Is there a way to force flash it, or is this not recommended?


Did you follow the steps? Step 3 advises you to reboot into recovery mode and then select load from adb from the recovery menu. If you don’t do this as per your recovery rom process, you can’t sideload

Clarence Tang

Yes – it was because I had mods to the filesystem (kernel being the main one, plus a few patched files). All sorted now by restoring back to stock images for system and boot.

Alexei Watson

YES. “If you’re comfortable with some command line tools, and you haven’t modified your Nexus 5”

read first, flash later.

Clarence Tang

Thanks, that’s what I ended up doing after I posted – flashed back to stock boot and system; reboot into recovery, flash as standard zip file in recovery (this works better than ADB sideload!) and then install, recovery and root and kernel before rebooting. All done in one go.

Peter Massey

Thanks, the camera issues are a big bugbear for me atm.

Was wondering the easiest way to roll back my hacks.

vijay alapati

Will this remove my root?


Yes, no more rooting for you.

David Jacka

Yep but you can just root it again after the update.