Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Upgraded my Nexus 5 to to Lollipop 5.1


In a previous post I wrote that Google released the Lollipop 5.1 firmware update for the Nexus 5 and that I was in a dilemma whether or not to perform the manual upgrade. I further said that I would do it during the weekend if I made up my mind to go through with it so that I would be able to troubleshoot if it would deem necessary.

Well, I couldn't resist. I decided to update manually on the next day.

According to my understanding, it would erase all the user data and application data,  making me have to set it up as a fresh device. I'm very uncomfortable with Android not having an iTunes like software that can manage the phone from a PC. There indeed is cloud sync but I wasn't sure if it was comprehensive when it came to backing up app settings. (Need to read about it sometime.)

Regardless, I decided to go ahead with the flashing. I moved all the user data (photos, music and PDF files) to my PC first, and downloaded the Hammerhead 5.1 firmware from official Google servers. Then I followed my trusty YouTube tutorial, the one that I followed when upgrading to 5.0 as it was still applicable.

I had the boot loader unlocked from the last time so I didn't have to unlock it again. And I kept it unlocked after the flash, which went fine without any issues (phew). I didn't see a reason to lock it back. Is there any?

Although the flashing went without any issues, I would be lying if I wasn't worried until I saw the Lollipop 5.1 launcher after the initial reboot. I couldn't remember how long it took to get from the first reboot to seeing the launcher the last time (that's when I upgrade from Kitkat to Lollipop 5.0),  so when it took few minutes to get there, I was a bit worried. I was in this worried state for more than 5 minutes and finally it showed up.


It asked me questions and told me to setup Wi-Fi but for whatever reason the 5GHz SSID wasn't listed up, so I decided to add it up later on. It then asked me if I wanted to restore the phone from the previous backup (voila!) or set it up as a new device. I instructed it to restore from the backup and it started restoring straightaway. Only then it struck me that I hadn't setup Wi-Fi connection and I was afraid that I was going to exhaust my data package. Quickly I went into the Wi-Fi settings, which took longer than I expected, probably because it just came to life, and managed to connect to the 5GHz SSID. However, the phone had downloaded more than 90MB during that period!

Google Play app downloaded the apps that I had installed during the last backup, however the settings weren't automatically restored. Some of the customizations such as the home screen  (is that what they call it in Android too?) layout and the wallpaper were synced back but most of the settings, even the OS settings weren't retained. This could perhaps be because this is a different version of the OS. Now that I think more about it, restoring iPhone backups worked the same way. Not everything were back to the state of the backup.

I'll write about my impressions about Android 5.1 after using it for a bit longer. The bad news is that Google haven't fixed the memory leak issues that haunted 5.0, at least not completely, and it doesn't feel more snappier nor power efficient than the predecessor either. Those are disappointing comments, however things might improve once all the apps get updated. Fingers crossed for that!

P. S.

After some digging around, I came to know that there was a way to keep the existing user data intact by modifying the flash-all.bat file. Since this file is the official batch file from Google, perhaps it is better not tamper it as there could be any detrimental effects of doing that.


As of 18th of March, which is 5 days after the official release of the firmware, my wife's phone is still to get the OTA update. I'll post back when it finally arrives. I don't expect it to arrive anytime soon though. I won't be upgrading her phone manually.

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