How to update your Nexus 4 to Android 4.4.4

Back when Android 4.4 came out in November and the automatic OTA update didn’t work for me, I posted a guide on how to upgrade manually. Now that version 4.4.4 is out, here’s an updated guide.

Most importantly, make a backup first, or make sure to remove that “wipe” switch in the script! Yeah, I forgot to follow my own advice and got my device wiped. Learn from my errors – that’s why I post these things.

Android 4.4.4 update

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

  1. You’ll need the Android software kit on your computer, so you can push the update to the phone. Download it from here and make sure you get the ADT Bundle for your platform.
  2. You’ll need the newest update for your device (TGZ file) and unpack it into a new directory. I’m assuming a Nexus 4 here, so the exact file is this one.
  3. 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. Also, on Windows skip the word sudo and make sure that the file paths are Windows-style, e.g. C:\Users\…

    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! (This is the part I forgot to do…)
    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.
  4. Open a terminal window and cd to the directory where the script lives.
  5. Power off the phone, then start into fastboot by pressing Power + Volume Down simultaneously. A green robot will appear.
  6. Run this command:
  7. 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 4.4.4 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 2.## 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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