How to Update and Root Android 5.1 Manually on Nexus 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10!


For those of you who are looking to get the Android 5.1 today not tomorrow, this tutorial will show you how to update your Nexus 4, 5, 6, 9, or 10 to the latest Android 5.1 and root it.

UPDATE: Also works for Android M Preview but DO NOT install SuperSU as you will soft brick! (Cannot root M Preview atm.)

Android 5.1 comes with some nice performance/ram tweaks to make your Nexus device a bit faster plus cool features like drop-down WiFi/Bluetooth menus and more!

*Note – This method works for all Nexus devices and also works for other versions of firmware such as KitKat.

Who this tutorial is for:

  • For people with a rooted Nexus device who want to update to Android 5.1 with root.
  • For people who want Android 5.1 and root and have a custom ROM on rooted Nexus device.
  • For people who want to install latest Android 5.1 bootloader and radios. (Could make your network faster/better, get better signals.)

This method WILL NOT ERASE ANYTHING on your Nexus device.  If you are already on a stock firmware/ROM, you can skip the “Wipe/Factory Reset” step in the video, it will simply upgrade you to latest Android 5.1 + root.  If you are on custom ROM, you will probably have to do a “Wipe/Factory Reset” so backup your ROM and/or apps using Titanium Backup app FIRST!

Before we begin, we assume you already have an unlocked bootloader on your Nexus device.   If you don’t know what this is, you probably shouldn’t be following this tutorial.

Download the Files you need in the video tutorial:

  • Download firmware here on our Nexus Android 5.1 Firmware page or on Google’s site. (For Android M Preview, go here instead)
  • – This contains all the fastboot files you need for all Windows, Mac, or Linux.  You DO NOT NEED to download the whole Android SDK, we just saved you an hour downloading the SDK, this is ALL YOU NEED!
  • Android USB Drivers – For Mac or Linux, YOU DO NOT NEED DRIVERS.  For Windows, you will need Android USB drivers, please see video tutorial on how to install these drivers.
  • SuperSU – You will need this to root Android 5.1.

NOTE: For Nexus 6, you will need to use this fix along with the below tutorial!

Commands used in video tutorial:

Note – Some firmwares DO NOT have radio image file, then you can skip that step!

For Windows:

cd Downloads
cd fastboot
fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-XXX-XXX.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot flash radio radio-XXX-XXX.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot flash boot boot.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot flash system system.img

For Mac OSX:

cd Downloads
cd fastboot
chmod 755 *
./fastboot-mac flash bootloader bootloader-XXX-XXX.img
./fastboot-mac reboot-bootloader
./fastboot-mac flash radio radio-XXX-XXX.img
./fastboot-mac reboot-bootloader
./fastboot-mac flash boot boot.img
./fastboot-mac reboot-bootloader
./fastboot-mac flash system system.img

For Linux/Ubuntu:

cd Downloads
cd fastboot
chmod 755 *
sudo ./fastboot-linux flash bootloader bootloader-XXX-XXX.img
sudo ./fastboot-linux reboot-bootloader
sudo ./fastboot-linux flash radio radio-XXX-XXX.img
sudo ./fastboot-linux reboot-bootloader
sudo ./fastboot-linux flash boot boot.img
sudo ./fastboot-linux reboot-bootloader
sudo ./fastboot-linux flash system system.img

13 Responses

  1. Jaimy says:

    When I’m doing the “fastboot flash system system.img” command it says “load_file: could not allocate 1778070480 bytes
    error: cannot load ‘system.img’

    Any idea what might be wrong? I’m on a Nexus 6, rooted and bootloader unlocked

  2. leoazerty says:

    Nothing just boot loop!!

  3. berat says:

    hi i updated yesterday and everything was fine but radios
    i used to get more signal on wifi and cellular and also when i am on the phone sound qualty was so bad
    so i went to recovery did wipe ( dalvik/cache/internal storage) and factory reset
    i am stupid yes stupid and brick my phone
    what ever i do flash a custom rom or try to reflash ota update no chance after boot image i get stuck on black screen
    i need help please

  4. Morgan Sutherland says:

    I did the steps above, nothing showed any errors, but SuperSU says I’m not rooted. What gives?

  5. thiromi says:

    Did the procedure and worked like a charm!

  6. Артем Шибанов says:

    Hi from Ukraine. I followed all the instructions in the video. File “system.img” established successfully. Stuck on the installation file UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.37 (I was on stock firmware and have no custom recovery so i couldn’t install this file). What should I do next to get Root on my Nexus 5, help me with advice please.

  7. Mert Konrat says:

    I have failed to complete this tutorial, because I couldn’t installed the driver properly as it is shown in the image. Do you know how can get rid of this error shown in my device manager?

  8. Mert Konrat says:

    I lost my courage to complete this tutorial, so I am looking some
    freelancer to help me to root my nexus 4, add me on skype: mertimiks2

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.