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How to update Nexus 5 bootloader and radio

Authored by: Kris Carlon — May 5, 2014

If you've tried updating your version of CyanogenMod lately and have been having some trouble, here's the most likely solution. If you've tried flashing firmware and got a Status 7 error and had no idea what that means, it means that your bootloader needs to be updated for the firmware to take hold. You may also need to update your radio. Here's how to do both on the Nexus 5.

AndroidPIT Nexus5 Fastboot Start
A little Fastboot action is all it takes to update your bootloader / © AndroidPIT

1. First, you need ADB Tools installed on your PC. You can grab the download as part of the Android SDK. If you don't want the whole thing, just grab adb.exe from the SDK. You may also want to download Universal Windows ADB Driver from Koush too.

AndroidPIT Nexus Status 7 Bootloader Error
You can see the Status 7 message in the middle : assert failed: get prop (''ro.bootloader'') == ''HHZ11k''. This simply means CM 11 is looking for a newer version of the bootloader than you currently have. / © AndroidPIT

2. Make sure you have the relevant drivers installed on your PC for your Nexus 5. These should download automatically the first time you plug it in with a USB cable.

3. Next, you need USB Debugging enabled in Developer Options on your Nexus 5 (it's the same process on all Android devices).

DownloadNexus5FactoryImage
This is what you'll see in Android Developers. You want the latest build: KOT49H. / © AndroidPIT

4. Download the latest factory image for your Nexus 5 from the Google Developer's site. Right now that's KOT49H Android 4.4.2 (but this will be updated to Android 4.4.3 in the coming weeks. You may not need to update your bootloader again but if you do, you can substitute those files for these ones and repeat the process with the newer bootloader and baseband files).

KOT49H Factory Image Unpacked
Unpacked contents of the Nexus 5 factory image. You're after the two highlighted files. / © AndroidPIT

5. Extract the files and take a copy of the bootloader and radio files and place them in the ADB Tools folder.

Fastboot ADB Tools Files
Paste a copy f the bootloader and radio images into the ADB Tools folder. / © AndroidPIT

6. Reboot your Nexus 5 into Fastboot. To do this just turn your device off, then press and hold Volume Down and Power until you see the Fastboot Menu (Android lying on its back).

nexus 5 recovery fastboot start
This is the Fastboot menu on the Nexus 5. / © AndroidPIT

7. Connect your Nexus 5 to your PC with a USB cable.

8. Open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to ADB Tools (where you just placed the bootloader and radio files), hold Shift and right click anywhere in a blank space in the window. Select ''Open Command Window Here.''

ADBToolsCommandPrompt
This is the command prompt window. / © AndroidPIT

9. Type in the following command: fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-hammerhead-hhz11k.img and hit enter. Let it do its thing.

10. Next, type in: fastboot flash radio radio-hammerhead-m8974a-1.0.25.0.23.img and hit enter.

Fastboot ADB Bootloader Radio
These are the ADB commands you'll type in to update the bootloader and radio. / © AndroidPIT

11. Now reboot your Nexus 5 and you should have the new bootloader and radio installed. If you want to check you can simply reboot the bootloader from the fastboot menu and check for the updated version numbers in the information at the bottom. 

12. Once you reboot normally, you will be able to download the latest CM 11 build and flash it however you like, either with a useful tool like CyanogenMod Installer or ROM Manager or manually through custom recovery like TWRP or CWM.

ROM Manager Install on Google Play

Have you updated your bootloader manually? Has this fixed your CM 11 flashing problems?

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

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