How to manually sideload the Android 5.0.1 OTA update on Nexus 5

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 16 Dec 2014

Full web

Earlier today, Google started rolling out the Android 5.0.1 update for the Nexus 5. Being a phased roll out, the update can take up to two weeks to land on your handset. While Google has uploaded the Android 5.0.1 factory image as well, it requires an unlocked bootloader and will wipe the handset clean of all data, which is not something that everyone prefers. 

Thankfully, the OTA update link has been captured, which means you can sideload it on your device manually via ADB. Don’t know the steps though? Worry not as we have got you covered.

While the steps below will not wipe your Nexus of your personal data, it is always recommended to create a backup in case things go wrong. Your device also needs to be in a completely stock state, which means rooted Nexus 5 owners are out of luck here. This guide is only meant for Nexus 5 users who are already running Android 5.0 Lollipop on their handset and are looking to update it to Android 5.0.1 manually.

Step 1: Download the OTA update and the ADB/Fastboot files linked below. Extract the contents of the ADB folder inside a “nexus” folder on your desktop and transfer the OTA update ZIP file within this folder as well. Also, make sure to rename the OTA update file to something simpler like “” for simplicity’s sake.


Step 2: Open a command prompt or Terminal window on your PC, and navigate to the “nexus” folder on your desktop using the ‘cd’ command. I have provided the example command below.

cd /desktop/nexus

Step 3: Switch off your Nexus 5 and press the Volume Up + Vol. Down + Power button simultaneously to boot into fastboot mode. Now, using the Volume keys select the ‘Recovery’ option, and press the Power key to confirm your selection.

Step 4: Your Nexus 5 will now once again reboot into the stock Android recovery. You will, however, be first greeted with an Android logo and an exclamation mark. To access the recovery now, you will have to simultaneously press the Volume Up + Power key for 2 seconds to boot into recovery. This step is a finicky so keep try and you should be eventually able to get into recovery.

Step 5: On your phone, use the volume keys to select the “apply update from adb” option. Now, connect the handset to your PC, and switch over to Terminal or Command Prompt window you had opened in Step 2.

Step 6: Copy paste the following command to sideload the OTA zip file to your Nexus 5. Once the transfer is complete, the installation process will automatically start.

On Windows:

adb sideload

On Mac:

./adb sideload

Step 7: Once the installation process complete, select the “reboot system now” option to manually reboot your Nexus 5 back into Android. The first boot can take its own sweet time but there is nothing you should worry about. On an average, the first boot can take nearly 5-7 minutes.

If you get any signature verification error, it is due to the system partition being modified. In that case, you will have to re-flash the system partition to restore it back to its original state.

If you are stuck on a particular step, drop in a comment and we will help you out.

Update: You can find the instructions on how to sideload the Android 5.1 OTA update on the Nexus 5, Nexus 6 and other devices here.