Android 6.0 is currently rolling out to the Nexus 6 but if you don’t want to wait for the update then follow these steps to manually sideload it.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow is the latest, and arguably greatest, release that Google’s mobile operating system has seen to date. If you liked 5.x Lollipop then you’ll most likely love Marshmallow because it is a revisionary update to that(on the surface). There are a lot of under the hood changes that went into Android 6.0 that make it better than its predecessor. However, the average user probably won’t know the difference between the two versions.
Still, we get a lot of quality of life fixes and tweaks with Android 6.0 that make it great. I’ve been doing some tests with it on my Nexus 5 and absolutely love the Doze feature because I’m only seeing a 1% drop overnight compared to the 4-8 percent that I used to see. There’s a lot of other great things in there like the granular permission system and better alert controls. I could go on and on about the changes we have in Android 6.0 Marshmallow but that isn’t the point of today’s tutorial. Today I want to talk about the update that is finally hitting Nexus 6 devices around the world.
The Nexus 6 had to go through a minor update before it could get pushed to Marshmallow and that was why the update was delayed compared to the Nexus 5. Although, OTA updates for Android 6.0 on the Nexus 6 is rolling out now and if you don’t want to wait for the update to be pushed to your device then follow the steps below to manually sideload the update yourself.
It should be noted that this OTA update will take you from the last version of Lollipop to the first version of Marshmallow. This means you’ll need to be on build number LMY48T if you have the Global Nexus 6, build number LYZ28M if you have the T-Mobile Nexus 6 or build number LVY48H if you have the Project Fi Nexus 6. If you don’t have those builds yet, download them via the link above and follow these steps below to manually apply the update before you try to update it to Marshmallow. If you have trouble applying that update then it might be best for you to just start from scratch and manually install the Android 6.0 factory images to the Nexus 6.
Nexus 6 Sideload Android 6.0
- Download and Install the Google USB Drivers
- Reboot Your Computer
- Download the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OTA File for the Nexus 6 (Global – T-Mobile – Project Fi)
- Enable Developer Mode on the Nexus 6
- Go Back to the Main Settings Page
- Scroll Down and Tap on the ‘Developer Options’ Menu
- Enable the ‘USB Debugging’ Feature
- Download and Install ADB & Fastboot Tools
- Launch the ADB & Fasboot Tools Shortcut
- Type the Following Command. . .
- adb devices
- . . .and Press Enter
- Connect the Nexus 6 to the PC
- Tap the ‘OK’ Option to Allow USB Debugging if Prompted
- Boot the Nexus 6 into Fastboot Mode
- Use the Volume Down Button to Highlight the ‘Recovery’ Option
- Select This Option by Pressing the Power Button
- Wait Until you See the Android Figure With an Exclamation Mark
- Press and Hold the Power Button and Then Press the Volume Up Button
- Use the Volume Down Button to Highlight the ‘Apply Update from ADB’ Option
- Then Press the Power Button to Select This Option
- Copy This OTA .zip File to the ADB & Fastboot Tools Directory
- For Me, this is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Minimal ADB and Fastboot”
- Rename This File to Something like “otaupdate.zip”
- Go to the ADB & Fastboot Tools Command Prompt on the PC
- Type the Following Command. . .
- adb sideload otaupdate.zip
- . . .Then Press Enter
- Wait for the Copying to Complete
- Wait for the Update to Complete
- When Finished, Simply Reboot the Nexus 6
- Be Patient During the First Boot
If you haven’t done this before, you’ll need to download and install the USB drivers from Google for the Nexus 6 onto your computer. After those have been installed, it is best to reboot the PC so that the drivers can take effect. Once rebooted, we need to enable Developer Mode on the Nexus 6 so that we can enable the USB Debugging option in that hidden menu. This will let us issue commands to our smartphone from the PC with the ADB/Fastboot tool that we’re about to install.
Once that feature is enabled, you can then install ADB and Fastboot tools. This originally comes packaged together with the Android SDK, but I recommend a different path. You could install the Android SDK, find the ADB and Fastboot tools and then continue from here but the Android SDK is huge and you only need a few MB worth of the files in there. Also, the minimal ADB and Fastboot tools I link in the tutorial above can create a shortcut for you that when launched, will open up a command prompt and navigate you directly to where you need to be.
Either route you take, once the tools are installed, connect the Nexus 6 to the PC and then run the command ‘adb devices’ in your command prompt so that you can start the ADB service. If you look at your Nexus 6(and you haven’t done this before) you might get a request to allow USB Debugging access to this device from the PC. You’ll need to allow this in order to execute the other commands in this tutorial. Now, once that has been enabled, boot the Nexus 6 into Fastboot Mode so that we can actually issue those commands to our smartphone.
Once you are in Fastboot Mode, you’ll want to navigate into Recovery Mode by follow the steps in the tutorial. After you get the Nexus 6 into Recovery Mode, highlight the option called ‘Apply Update from ADB’ and then select it by pressing the Power button. Now, you can download the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OTA zip file from the link in the tutorial to your PC. I like to rename this to something like ‘otaupdate.zip’ and then move it into the directory where your ADB.exe and Fastboot.exe files exist.
When the update file is in there, turn your attention back to the command prompt and type the command ‘adb sideload otaupdate.zip’, or whatever you ended up naming that zip file you downloaded. Press enter and then wait for the copying and the updating to be completed. Once done, you’ll want to reboot the Nexus 6 which can be done by highlighting the ‘reboot system now’ option and then pressing the Power button to reboot, or you can simply hold the Power button down until the Nexus 6 reboots.
Your first boot back into Android on the Nexus 6 will probably take some time so please be patient and then you’ll see the new Android 6.0 OS without losing any of your personal data. This will be just as if you applied the OTA update to your device.