How to lose the Lollipop preview and downgrade your Nexus to KitKat


Android 5.0 Lollipop. Photo: Google

Last week, Google released the updated developer preview images of Android 5.0 Lollipop for the Nexus 5 and 7. Even though these images are clearly targeted towards developers, it did not deter many advanced users from installing it on their Nexus 5 or 7. 

However, these developer preview images will not be getting the final Android 5.0 Lollipop update that Google will roll out sometime in November, which means you will again have to downgrade back to Android 4.4 KitKat or directly flash the final Android 5.0 Lollipop factory image on your device. Generally, factory images go live only after a few days, which means its best to downgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat and manually install the OTA as they are available within hours of the update going live.

In case, you are looking looking for a way to downgrade back KitKat for this or other reasons from the updated Android 5.0 Developer preview image, check out the steps below.



1. Since you will be flashing a factory image on your Nexus device, which will completely format its internal storage, you should make a backup of all your data. It is better to not make a backup of your app data since restoring them on Android 4.4 KitKat might lead to some compatibility issues.

Download the required files

2. You should already have all the required ADB/Fastboot files. If not, download them from below along with the KitKat factory image for your Nexus 5 or 7.

Extract the contents of all the files download above inside a folder called ”google” on your desktop.

Rebooting into Bootloader mode

3. Before you proceed with the installation steps, you will have to reboot your Nexus device into bootloader mode so that it can be detected by fastboot. For this, you will first need to switch the device off and then press the key combination mentioned below.

  • Nexus 7: Volume Down + Power
  • Nexus 5: Volume Up + Volume Down + Power

Once your device has booted into Bootloader mode, connect it to your PC.

Going back to KitKat

4. Now, you will have to flash the KitKat factory image on your Nexus 5 or 7. The simplest method of doing it is to open a new command prompt or Terminal window and then navigate to the “google” folder on your desktop.

Then, run the following command to make sure that your Nexus device is being detected by your PC.

fastboot devices

Mac owners, make sure to prefix a “./” before every Fastboot command you issue. Also, open up the “” file in Text Edit and add a “./” before every Fastboot command mentioned in it.

5. Run the following command to flash the factory image:

Once the factory image has been flashed, your device will then automatically reboot into Android. The first boot, however, will take a significant amount of time so be patient.

If you are facing any issues, drop in a comment and we will be glad to help.