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How to install Android 4.4.1 on the Nexus 5

Authored by: Nico Heister — Dec 9, 2013

Google has started rolling out Android 4.4.1 to Nexus devices. The update is supposed to not only alleviate some bugs brought along by 4.4, but is also said to noticeably improve the camera on the Nexus 5. This is enough of a reason to go ahead and install the update right away without waiting for it to arrive automatically over the air. If you are just as impatient as we are, here is how to get 4.4.1 on your Nexus 5 today.

Nexus 5 teaser pic
Here's how to get Android 4.4.1 on your Nexus 5 in a pinch. © AndroidPIT

What you’ll need

There are two things that you will need before you get started:

With the update, your Nexus 5 will acquire a build number of KOT49E. In order for the update to install, your device should already be running on build number KRT16M - this is the default OS build the Nexus 5 shipped with, so you should be fine. To find out if this is indeed installed on your Nexus 5, bring up your Android settings, tap on ‘About device’ and check out your build number there.

Installation process

On your Computer

Unzip ADB Tools, go to the adb-tools folder and press the shift button on your keyboard. Then, right click on your mouse in a free space in Windows Explorer and choose ‘open command prompt here’ from the context menu by left-clicking the mouse on this selection.

Now copy the Android 4.4.1 update file into the adb-tools folder and change its name to something shorter which you’ll have to type in later on. A good example would be ‘’.

On the Nexus 5

  • Turn off the device
  • Hold down the volume down and power buttons in order to enter the fastboot menu.
  • By using the volume rocker, choose the option ‘Recovery Mode’ and confirm with the power button.
  • As soon as you see the Android robot with its open tummy, press and hold Power, then tap (press) Volume up
  • Again, by using the volume rocker, now choose the option ‘apply update from ADB’ in the open recovery menu and confirm with the power button.

Back on the computer

Connect your Nexus 5 to your computer via USB and go to the command prompt. Type in the following command in order to install the update.

adb sideload

Please note: if you renamed the update file something other than what we suggested above, please substitute whatever you renamed the file in the ADB command.

The installation process will now commence. The update will be copied onto your Nexus 5 and then be installed. After about 5 minutes, the entire procedure will be complete and you can restart your Nexus 5 via the option ‘reboot system’.

Done! You have now successfully installed Android 4.4.1 on your Nexus 5.

Tip: Should your Nexus 5 not be recognized by your computer, disconnect it from your PC, install the ADB tool into the adb-tools folder and connect the device to your PC again.

Let us know how the process went for you!

Nico Heister fell in love with Android when he bought the Motorola Milestone back in December 2009. He is passionate about hardware, software and all sorts of technology. He is curious about new things and is always on the lookout for new apps and gadgets. He is known for drinking too much coffee and sleeping too little. In his free time, he enjoys a good movie and long walks on the beach. The last part isn't true.


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  • Adrian Ciungan Dec 10, 2013 Link to comment

    ok, so I persevered with drivers etc and got this update to work, mainly because Miracast was not working before, and would not make a display mirror connection to a Panasonic Bluray player, while the same player WILL connect to a Nexus 7 tablet.

    after update to 4.4.1 there is now a new menu that refers to "cast display", rather than "display mirror" as it did before, but the Miracast STILL does not work

    do these manufacturers actually test anything before unleashing on the public? The main reason I bought this phone, at all, was for Miracast!

  • Vu Nguyen Dec 10, 2013 Link to comment

    Are you still stuck? just hold the power button to reboot.. that's it...
    I am also unable to follow the instruction, adb drops and unable to recognize the device once it's booted into Recovery mode... so I can't do adb sideload <file>
    Not sure how anyone else does it.

  • Manuel Labourdeth Dec 10, 2013 Link to comment

    im also not rooted and now stuck in recovery mode

    • Loie Favre
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Dec 10, 2013 Link to comment

      In order to open the Recovery menu (once in Recovery mode), you need to press and hold the Power button and then tap "Volume up". After that, choose "apply update from ADB".

  • Manuel Labourdeth Dec 10, 2013 Link to comment

    hi, i followed everything you said but when i entered adb sideload it would say adb is not recognized as an internal or external command! what do i do?