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How to revert back from Android L to KitKat ?

How to revert back your Nexus from Android L to KitKat NexusandMe

As said earlier and again today the Android L is definitely not meant for daily drive as its still a beta. Though the new version of Android came up with some completely redesigned User-Interface of notification drawer, settings, lockscreen, headsup notification and other under the hood tweaks but the bugs in the preview keeps the daily thing away. Don’t know the reason why my favorite game Dots isn’t running on Android L. Is that a bug or because of ART, which is a default runtime in Android L. And the apps I prefer the most the Tasker and Xposed Frameworks are incompatible with the Android L. Tasker may fix the issues prevailed but Xposed Frameworks, the monster may or may not make its way into Android L as it is all set to Dalvik runtime. Most of you guys might have noticed these incompatibility issues with Android L by now.

So, I then decided to switch back to Android KitKat 4.4.4 stable release, where Dalvik is the default runtime. And to wait until the official stable release of the Android L. Below is the quick guide on “How to revert back from Android L to KitKat ?” this is a common guide to all the versions of android. You may choose either Android 4.4.4 kitkat or 4.4.x KitKat its up to you. Lets get started.

Prerequisites :

  • Nexus 4 or Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 running Android L
  • USB Cable
  • Windows PC

How -to ?

If you have gone through my previous guide on How to manually update your Nexus to 4.4.4 KitKat without losing data then you may skip the Steps 1 to 5. If not then just follow the guide right from the beginning.

Step 1 : Prepare your Phone/Tablet

Since this method will utilize Android Debug Bridge (ADB), you’ll need 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 unlock it now.

Head into Settings, then scroll all the way down to the bottom and hit About Phone. In here, scroll down to the bottom again and tap Build Number seven times in rapid succession.

Next, back out one level and you’ll see a new Settings menu titled Developer Options. Open this menu, then tick the box next to Enable USB Debugging and press OK on the subsequent popup.

usb debugging android l nexusandme

Step 2: Connect Your Phone/Tablet to Your Computer

This is a simple step, but it’s an important one. You’ll need to connect your phone to your PC to apply the update, but the USB cable you’re using to do that is important. Make sure there is no visible damage to the cable and the connection it makes at both ends is firm.

Step 3: Download the Factory Images from Google

Thanks to Google for uploading the factory images for all the Nexus line of Devices. The Factory Images can be downloaded from the Google’s official Developers site. The Factory images here are the exact firmware that came shipped with your device, so there’s no difference between this and an OTA update.

From your Windows PC, click this link scroll down and download the latest 4.4.4 Factory Image under your Device Name. Make sure to note the save location as you’ll need to access this file later.

Step 4 : Install Nexus Root Toolkit

This is a superb tool which not only simplifies the things but also explains each and every option and its purpose. To download Nexus Root Toolkit click this link from your Windows PC.

When the download has finished double click the .exe file and hit RUN. From the next window, click Install.

Nexus Root ToolKit NRT

When the installer is finished, you’ll be asked to enter your device name and Android build number. Choose your device and its built as “OCCAM-MAKO: Android *.*.*-Any Build” from the drop down and click Apply.

Android L to KitKat NexusandMe

At this point, you’ll see a dialog box instructing you to enable USB Debugging on your device. We’ve already covered that part in Step 1, but you’ll also need to allow your computer to connect to your device at this point.

Unlock your device and you should see a dialog box asking you to Allow USB Debugging. Tick the box next to Always Allow From This Computer and tap OK.

Computers RSA Key

Next, NRT will ask you to download a couple of files. Click OK to allow it to download all of the necessary files.

Step 5: Configure Nexus Root Toolkit (NRT)

At this point, you should be looking at the main screen of the Nexus Root Toolkit. First, you’ll need to install the ADB drivers if you haven’t already done so. Right up top, tap the button that says Full Driver Installation Guide to get things started.

Nexus Root ToolKit Initial Setup

On the next screen, click the Step 3 tab and take note of the Recommended Driver Solution. Click the corresponding driver solution below it, then follow the prompts for driver installation.

ADB Drivers installation

To check whether the drivers configured properly or not. Goto Step 4 and hit the Full Driver Test.

confirm your drivers configuration NRT

When finished, head back to the Nexus Root Toolkit’s main page.

Step 6 : Unlock the Bootloader

If you haven’t unlocked your bootloader you may now have to. Inorder to flash stock or any other custom rom on the device you first have to unlock it and this process erases all the data on your device. So, it is recommended to take a backup of all your apps and their data before you begin this process.

Now, just go ahead and click the Unlock button.

Unlock Bootloader NRT Nexus and Me

The phone then boots into bootloader and thus begins the process. At the end you may notice the “Lock State – unlock” which states, the phone has been unlocked successfully.

Step 7: Flash the Update

Back on the main screen of NRT, click the button labeled Flash Stock + Unroot.

Back to Stock NRT Nexus and Me

On the next screen, be sure to tick the boxes next to Other/Browse and I downloaded a factory image myself…, then click OK.

browse factory image

Use the next window to browse the Factory Image  file that you downloaded in Step 3, then click Open.

Next, you’ll be asked to enter an MD5 number to verify the file’s integrity. You can get this MD5 Checksumnumber from the Google Developer Website next to download. Copy the text and paste it into the field in that window and click OK.


Note : If you get MD5 Checksum Error as “Mismatch” then choose the default options “Automatically download + extract the factory image selected above for me” and click OK.

After a bit of processing, a window will appear that summarizes the install options you’ve selected. Click OK here to begin flashing the update, making sure that your phone doesn’t get disconnected from your PC during this process.

When it’s done, you may see a window asking you to change your build number (Step 3). This is for NRT’s own sake, and it’s not necessary here, so just click Cancel.

That’s it, you are now successfully reverted back to the stable version of Android – 4.4.4 KitKat. Stuck at any point during the process then feel free to ask using the below comment section. And if you are willing to root your nexus device running the current 4.4.4 kitkat then here’s a common guide on How to Root your Nexus 4/5/7 running Android 4.4.3 Kitkat for all the nexus line of devices. Share it with your fellow Nexus owners if you find this article useful.

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