Flash or sideload OTA ZIP to Google-branded devices like Pixel, Nexus and Android One

Jesse Han   2017.08.01 2:55   Jesse Han  

It may takes a long time to wait for a new Android update, but actually, it is always possible to manually download and install the OTA update, especially for those who using a Google-branded device such as Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P and more.

As we all know, a new Android update is always distributed as the OTA. It means that you may suddenly get an update notification on your Android device once the update is ready for your device. However, sometimes, we don’t receive a new OTA update notification, you know, there will be exceptions in some cases for various reasons, such as reason of zones.

Then actually, the OTA file can be downloaded manually. Once we have done this, we can easily install or sideload it by using Android ADB command.

Well, let’s dig in and see how to install an official OTA package. Let’s assume you have a normal recovery mode, or more to the point, you have not changed your device. At this point, you don’t need to unlock bootloader for your device. You know, if you flash a factory image, you must first unlock the device’s bootloader.

For Google-branded devices, you can easily download the full OTA packages from Google.

Google OTA Images Download Directly

Full OTA images? Yes, it is a full OTA package file, on this all these Google OTA packages are not simple incremental OTA ZIP packages and they containing all files that you needed. It is great, right?  

Install OTA Package

  • Make sure you have Android SDK configured on your computer, you should use the recent ADB platform tools, such as version 25.0.3
  • Copy OTA ZIP package you downloaded to Android SDK folder where some executable program files like adb and fastboot contained, here I assume the name of OTA ZIP package is OTA.zip
  • Now connect your device to your computer
  • Open a command or terminal window
  • Boot your device into bootloader mode by using adb command
    adb reboot bootloader
  • From the bootloader mode, please scroll down to Recovery mode by using Volume Down or Volume Up button, and select it by using Power buttonNexus.Pixel,Recovery.mode.bootloader.mode
  • You are in Android system recovery mode, please highlight apply update from ADB by using Volume Down button, and select it by using Power buttonAndroid.system.recovery
  • Now sideload the OTA ZIP package by using adb command
    adb sideload OTA.zip
  • Now the update process starting, please wait for the update process to be completed

And that was it! Your device is now running on the latest Android version without waiting for roll-out of the official OTA.