[GUIDE] How to Install Android L on your Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 (Fastboot Method)

How to Install Android L on your Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 (Fastboot Method)One of the highlights of this year's Google I/O developer conference was the unveiling of the Android L release, which is expected to be made available for Android smartphones and tablets later this fall. However Developers who own a Google Nexus 5 or a Google Nexus 7 (2013) got an opportunity to try out a Developer Preview of the L Release ahead of the public. 

While it is not recommended that regular users install this developer preview on your daily use device, you can check out our guide if you want help getting Android L on your Nexus device.

[NOTE] This is a Developer Preview not meant for public use. As such you will come across a fair share of bugs and non functional features as you use this preview. Note that this site nor Google will be responsible for any loss of data or damage which may occur from installing this update. Please proceed at your own risk

[NOTE] This update is only meant for the Nexus 5 and 2nd Generation Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi models. Please do not proceed if you do not have one of these two devices.

[NOTE] This guide assumes you are familiar with using fastboot commands. If you don't want to mess with fastboot. Check out this automated process of installing Android L on your Nexus using the Nexus Toolkit and Windows.

[NOTE] This guide is based on a Windows 8 computer, but the steps should be similar across other operating systems.

Step 1 - Download the Necessary Files to Your Computer

Download the Android SDK, which includes fastboot, the tool you'll use to install "L" on your device. Once you have it, make sure to place it somewhere you can easily find it later, like your desktop—it will be called ADT Bundle.

Download the Android L Developer Preview for your Nexus 5 or Nexus 7, from the Preview SDK page and make sure you download the appropriate .tgz file. You will have to agree to the terms to continue.

Once it's downloaded, place it in the Platform Tools folder inside ADT Bundle -> SDK. If you did everything right, you'll have fastboot and flash-all in the same directory.

Step 2 - Enable USB Debugging

Since this method will utilize Android Debug Bridge, you'll have to enable USB Debugging on your device, which is in the Developer Options menu. If you don't see that menu in your Settings, let's go ahead and unlock it.

Start by going to Settings, then scroll all the way down to the bottom and hit About Phone. From here, scroll down to the bottom again and tap Build Number seven times in a row.

Now, just back out one level and you'll see a new Settings menu for Developer Options. Tap this menu, then tick the box next to Enable USB Debugging and press OK on the following pop-up.

Step 3 - Enable Fastboot Mode on your Nexus device

Make sure that all of the above has been completed and that you have backed up any important documents, images, and messages (apps and contacts will be restored if they were linked to your Google account). This process will wipe your device and put it back to its original factory state.

When ready, power down and enter fastboot mode. To do so, turn your device off, then back on by holding the Power and Volume down buttons - this will take you to your device's fastboot menu.

Step 4 - Connect Your Nexus

Connect your Nexus device to your computer using your USB and place it aside. You will be performing the rest of the process.

Step 5 - Flash Android L Developer Preview

On your computer, head to the Platform Tools folder we copied the extracted images files to (from Step 1), then hold the Shift key, right-click in the folder, and select Open command window here.

If you've never performed any hacks or mods on your device, you'll likely have a locked bootloader, which we'll need to unlock in order to continue. In the command prompt, type the following, followed by the Enter/Return key:
  • fastboot oem unlock
Now you're ready to flash the Android L factory image, so type in the following:
  • flash-all
The process can take a few minutes, and when it's done, you'll see the last command line say Press any key to exit... - press any key, and unplug your USB cable. At this point, your Nexus device will be booting up (give it time), after which you'll be at the main setup screen.

You can now access the Android Developer Preview on your Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 and enjoy the latest and greatest version of Android to date.

Have fun looking around, and let us know what you think. This is a big change from the Android we all know and love, and I like it!

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