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How to manually install Android 4.4.3 on your Nexus 5

Authored by: Nico Heister — Jun 4, 2014

The wait is over and Google has finally begun the roll-out of Android 4.4.3 on the Nexus 5. The update itself brings mostly just bug fixes to various devices but also boasts a visually redesigned phone app. If you’re just chomping at the bit to get the update and don’t want to wait for the OTA update to hit your phone, we’ll show you how you can do it manually.

fr teaser
© AndroidPIT


Before starting, you’ll need to download two files:

By doing this update, you’ll be updating your Nexus 5 to build number KTU84M and as such, you’ll need to have a Nexus 5 with a build number of KOT49H prior to doing this. To check what version you have installed currently, go to Settings > About Phone > Build Number.


On your computer

Extract the ADB Tools file that you downloaded above and make note of the file path (C:// etc etc). Move the file to the same folder and rename it something easy to remember, like Now, hold the shift key on your keyboard while you right click on some free space in your Windows Explorer window. From here, select Open Command Window Here and then click it with the left button.

When in the ABD Tools folder, hold the shift key and right click to get to this menu. / © AndroidPIT

On Nexus 5

  • Turn on your Nexus 5
  • While it is booting, hold down the power button and volume down key. This will open the fastboot menu.
  • Once you see the Android Robot with the belly open, press the volume up button until you see recovery mode (see image below).
  • Press the power button to confirm. This will open the recovery menu. Select apply update from ADB with the volume buttons and then confirm again with your power button.
nexus 5 recovery fastboot
The Nexus 5 in recovery mode.  / © AndroidPIT

Back on your computer

Connect your Nexus 5 via USB to your computer and open up the Command Prompt that you enabled during the first section. As long as you named your OTA update to what we suggested, enter the following into your command prompt (otherwise substitute the zip file name you used).

adb sideload

The update will now be installed on your Nexus 5. The whole process will take about 5 minutes. When everything is ready, you will have the option to reboot the system, which you should do.

When you reboot, you will have the latest version of Android running on your system.

Frequently Asked Questions

My Nexus 5 is not recognized by the computer, what can I do?
Disconnect your Nexus 5 from your PC, install the ADB driver from the folder adb driver in the ADB Tools folder that you extracted. Reconnect your Nexus 5.

Does the boot loader need to be unlocked?
No, because this is the same method that Google uses to install OTA updates.

Will my data be deleted during the update?
No, all data and settings are preserved in the process. But is always a good idea to do a backup of all your data regardless, just in case. 

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.


Write new comment:
  • Deepesh Mukundan Jun 7, 2014 Link to comment

    Will this be considered as flashing?? ... as in will my nexus 5 be devoid of the warranty and the further android updates?

    • Kris Carlon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Jun 11, 2014 Link to comment

      Hi @Deepesh, this has no effect on your warranty because it is the official update from Google. I remember it being memorably described as the difference between picking up a pizza or getting it delivered: same pizza, different delivery option. Google have designed their Nexus line to be used by developers and others that are not exactly ''into'' waiting around for something they can get themselves pronto! So while it is flashing it's the ''ok'' version of flashing. The same as using Samsung Kies to update official firmware rather than waiting for the OTA update to come. Future updates will still arrive OTA, or you can manually flash them yourself to avoid the wait too.

  • Leo Smith Jun 6, 2014 Link to comment

    HELP: On the step

    "Once you’ve done that and your Command Prompt has opened up, extract the Nexus 5 update files to the same directory. For the sake of simplicity, rename it to something easy such as"

    When I extract the files from the zip folder there are various folders that that been extracted out of it, which one do i rename to ' The folders that are extracted and appear are: META-INF, patch, recovery, system, and the file radio.img.p


    • Kris Carlon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Jun 11, 2014 Link to comment

      Hi @Leo, that was a misleading part of the article (which has now been clarified). When you download the 4.4.3 firmware, you shouldn't unzip it, just save it to your computer. Then rename it and so on. Sorry for the confusion!

  • Brendon Shipley Jun 6, 2014 Link to comment

    * daemon not running. starting it now on port 5037 *
    * daemon started successfully *
    error: device not found

  • Rahul Baskaran Jun 5, 2014 Link to comment

    After this step:
    Use the volume keys to select Recovery Mode and select with the power button.

    The next screen I see is the Android with belly open and a message saying "No Command" with the error symbol. After this I'm not able to proceed. Any help?

    • Rahul Baskaran Jun 5, 2014 Link to comment

      Ok.. I found the solution in a Youtube video.. I think you have to edit this step:
      "Once you see the Android Robot with the belly open, hold down the power button and briefly press volume up button."

      You don't have to hold down the power button. All you need to do is press the volume up button and you will get the menu.

  • Rico Ricardo Jun 5, 2014 Link to comment

    Not working for still get me Status to fix it?? can you help me??


  • Ionut Jun 5, 2014 Link to comment

    it gives me an error " cannot read "sideload"

    • Ionut Jun 5, 2014 Link to comment

      issue resolved. i renamed the folder wrong.
      FYI if someone receives " failed to write data"protocol fault" no status -> go to task manager -search for adb.exe , right-click -> end process.

    • Praveen Jun 6, 2014 Link to comment

      i too face the same problem can u help me out of ths;)

    • Kannan Mohan Jun 6, 2014 Link to comment

      i was using this video as a guide to manually update the N7 youtube /watch?v=iQhyerPfGes
      what it doesn't say is that you DON'T HAVE TO UNZIP THE FIRMWARE!!!

      You have to issue the command from the platform-tools folder (or the directory in which adb.exe resides). Right-click n the folder window and choose "open command prompt here." Then type

      adb sideload
      remember, don't unzip the firmware

      my Nexus 7 still doesn't finish the update because it say something about an error, but that's another problem

      but at least i'm not getting "cannot read sideload" anymore

      • Kris Carlon
        • Admin
        • Staff
        Jun 11, 2014 Link to comment

        Hey @Kannan, I've fixed the misleading part of the article. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Leonardo Jun 4, 2014 Link to comment

    Thanks a lot for these, very simple and easy to follow instructions. I was up and running on 4.4.3 in no time... I got "error: device not found" initially but I installed the driver like you said and puffff!..