One bricked phone and lots of reboots – I finally have Android Lollipop on my Nexus 4

I have been a fan of Android since I had my first mobile phone. Since Gingerbread I’ve managed to have every new version (although still running an older version on some of my devices) and it just keeps getting better. So I was very excited when I heard that the latest version Lollipop was available for my Nexus 4.

Android Lollipop

I was notified that the update was available. I checked on the requirements for the update (min 500Mb space) and made sure my phone was ready to take the upgrade. I applied the update and then disaster struck. The install appeared to go well until the “Installing system update…” screen. The bar moved across showing the progress as the update was installed, but instead of booting into the new operating system it rebooted back onto the “Installing system update…” screen.

I checked on the forums and I was not the first to have this problem. The suggested solution was to go into recovery mode, clear the cache and then try booting again. Worst case I should have been able to do a factory reset and then try the install again; or at least I though that was the worst case…

The problem is that whilst I could get to the bootloader I was not able to get into recovery mode. This appears to be a rare thing to happen, but there are certainly others that also reported the same problem.

I phoned Google (the phone was purchased directly from them through the Play store) and to their credit they sent me a replacement phone. It was their update that caused the problem with my phone in the first place, but the phone was originally purchased about 2 years ago, and I’d already had a replacement due to a faulty touch screen about 18 months ago. So whilst I think it’s only fair that they did replace the phone I know of other suppliers that are not so helpful.

The new phone arrived the next day. It’s a refurbished phone, but apart from the lack of packaging it looks every bit as good as a new one. The problem is that the Nexus 4 is now quite an old phone and it came pre-installed with Android 4.2.2. I logged in to the new phone and it came up with an upgrade available to 4.3 Jelly bean. This installed fine, but then the next install to Android 4.4 (KitKat) wouldn’t install. It downloaded and verified the install, but then when I clicked “Reboot to install” it counted down to “installing now”, but then didn’t actually reboot. I tried rebooting, checking for new updates but it just refused to install the update. I even tried a sideload from a PC (using both the next incremental update and a jump to the latest version), but all of these failed due to a verification failed error.

So last resort I thought – start again and did a factory reset. I thought that the factory reset would take it back to the initial Android image (ie. 4.2.2), but in fact it reset it to factory settings to the last successful image which was 4.3. At least this meant that I had kept my last installed image (even if I did lose all my data again). This was good as this was not going to be the last time I performed a factory reset.
I then successfully upgraded to Android 4.3.3, but the update to Android 4.4.4 failed. Aftering trying to get the install to work I then did another reset to factory state (which kept it at Android 4.3.3) and was then able to upgrade to Android 4.4.4. Finally I was able to update to Android 5 (Lollipop), but first following the advise of the Google help desk (and the forums) this time I did a cache reset first. The cache reset is accessed through the bootloader and wipes the cache partition, without deleting any data. I then tried the update for Lollipop, Android version 5. After a bit of nervous waiting whilst it went through the update the phone booted into Lollipop and finally my upgrade is complete.

I don’t think my experience is particularly common. My wife has a similar Nexus 4 (although she has the 8GB model whilst mine is the 16GB model) and her upgrade worked first time without any problems. There are some other people reporting similar problems, but I think we are in the unfortunate minority. The good thing is that Google were helpful in sending me a replacement phone and getting me back up and running again.

Android 5 looks great. Was it worth the hassle of the upgrade?
I don’t think that the new version of Android has any killer must have features, but as someone that loves technology it’s great to have the latest version of Android.

Also see QI Wireless charger for Nexus phone