How to update your Nexus 4 to Android 4.4

See the NEW and updated guide here! (July 2014)

Update 2013-11-16: Added how to get superuser access.
Update 2013-11-20: Download link now points to the newer “krt16s” version.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for anything that happens if you follow these instructions. I am just describing what worked for me!

I have just updated my LG Nexus 4 from Android 4.2.2 to Android 4.4. I followed these instructions from Android Police but ran into a minor problem that I solved – and here’s how I solved it. In fact, let me do a complete step-by-step here for your convenience!

If you use Windows then all of this applies to flash-all.bat rather than .sh. Also, on Windows skip the word sudo and make sure that the file paths are Windows-style, e.g. C:\Users\…

The trouble I encountered was that the fastboot program could not find my phone even though it was in bootloader mode. The solution was to run fastboot as sudo, but then the problem changed to be that sudo didn’t have the path to fastboot so I needed to give the explicit path to that as well: sudo ./fastboot devices worked (when I was in the directory android-sdk-linux/platform-tools). So I figured that I needed to change two things in the setup instructions: (a) run fastboot as sudo, and (b) add explicit paths in the flash script. Here are the complete steps.


Android 4.4 update

  1. Download the Android SDK here and be sure to grab the ADT Bundle (not SDK Tools Only) for your platform. In my case, it was Linux 64-bit.
  2. If you haven’t already, unlock the bootloader according to the instructions from Android Police. Your bootloader should now say “LOCK STATE – unlocked”.
    Warning: This will wipe your data!
  3. Download the full factory image -  for the Nexus 4, it’s this direct link (TGZ file) – and unpack it into a new directory.
  4. If you’re on Linux (like I am), edit the script in the following way.
    If you’re on Windows, the same applies to the flash-all.bat file.

    1. IMPORTANT! Remove “-w” from this line:
      fastboot -w update
      so it just reads:
      fastboot update
      Warning: If you skip this then the update will wipe your data!
    2. Notice that the fastboot command is called 5 times in the script. Edit each of those lines so that it no longer begins with just fastboot but rather begins with:
      sudo “/home/torbengb/Android SDK/android-sdk-linux/platform-tools/fastboot”

      • Remember to replace the username after /home/ with your own username.
      • Because I used a directory name that included a space, I had to wrap the path in quotes. You can omit the quotes if you don’t have spaces in the path. Be sure to state the path where your fastboot lives.
  5. Open a terminal window and cd to the directory where the script lives.
  6. Power off the phone, then start into fastboot by pressing Power + Volume Down simultaneously. A green robot will appear.
  7. Run this command:
  8. The installation takes a minute or two, and then the phone reboots. The first boot takes several minutes because it’s upgrading the software.

That’s it! You now have a phone with stock Android 4.4 on it.

Bonus: Superuser

Why superuser? Superuser access gives some programs more powers. For instance, a backup app like ROM Manager uses it to make backups (even automatic, if desired). Llama uses it to turn settings on and off based on simple rules such as “turn airplane mode on while I sleep”.

If you want superuser functionality, then follow these steps after you’ve completed the above. This will first install a custom recovery ROM and then install the superuser binary. Again, please revise the stated paths to match your system.

  1. Download the recovery ROM. I prefer the elegant ClockworkMod Touch and the newest version is here (version at the time of this writing).
  2. Power off the phone, then start into fastboot by pressing Power + Volume Down simultaneously. A green robot will appear.
  3. Install this recovery with the fastboot command like you’ve done above:
    sudo “/home/torbengb/Android SDK/android-sdk-linux/platform-tools/fastboot” flash recovery “/home/torben/Downloads/Android stuff/recovery-clockwork-touch-”
  4. Go into recovery mode by pressing Volume Down until the title reads recovery mode, then press the Power button to confirm. The phone will reboot into recovery mode.
  5. Choose install zip and then install zip from sideload. The phone is now waiting for a sideload command.
  6. Download the SuperSU file and then enter this in your terminal:
    adb sideload “/home/torbengb/Downloads/
    (Replace 1.## with the actual version number!)
  7. The phone will install the zip automatically.
  8. Reboot the phone into normal mode.
  9. Go to the Play Store and update SuperSU.

Again, that’s it!

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3 Responses to How to update your Nexus 4 to Android 4.4

  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for the post, helped me alot with my Nexus 4.

    Two tips, that worked for me and were necessary for the upgrade:

    – I had to run the as root under Linux.

    – I already had the ClockworkMod installed, so I couldn’t get to fastboot-mode easily. The solution was to start the script when the phone was already connected to the PC, but not started (only charging the battery). The script says “”. After that message was shown at the prompt I had to start the phone with “Power-On” and “Volume-Donw” pressed simultaneously. The ClockworkMod screen appeard, but the script started and installed the 4.4 image.

    In sum it took one or two minutes.


  2. Chris says:

    Uuups, sorry in my last comment the message on the prompt is missing. The scrip printed “waiting for device” to standard-out.

  3. Parag says:

    Thanks for this.

    A tip for Mac users. Replace fastboot with ./fastboot-mac
    Your file should look like below.

    ./fastboot-mac flash bootloader bootloader-mako-makoz20i.img
    ./fastboot-mac reboot-bootloader
    sleep 5
    ./fastboot-mac flash radio radio-mako-m9615a-cefwmazm-2.0.1700.84.img
    ./fastboot-mac reboot-bootloader
    sleep 5
    ./fastboot-mac update

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