How to manually install Android 4.2 on the Nexus 7

Those of you who are running Android 4.1.2 on a Nexus 7 can now manually download and update to Android 4.2. This is an incremental update that is still referred to as Jelly Bean (4.1). There are no major changes to the operating system. This is an official update directly from Google. If you are uncertain or lack confidence in following these steps I suggest you wait for the OTA/Wi-Fi update. This post is based on my experience of installing this update earlier today.

An interesting new addition to Android 4.2 is that it now offers multiuser support (been shouting out loud for this for sometime :)), so if your Nexus 7 is used by more than one member of your family, each family member can now configure their home screens and app settings. This allows parents to lock down and manage specific app as well as device behaviour. To set up an account for your children > Settings > Device > Users > click “ADD USER” top right and follow the prompts. Android 4.2 also includes improved security for verifying whether apps contain harmful behaviour as well as alerting you if an app is about to send an SMS.

Here is how you manually install Android 4.2 on the Nexus 7:

  • Download the ADB executable zip file into your download folder
  • Unzip the file file containing the ADB (Android Debug Bridge) executables into your download folder – called “ac-platform-tools”
  • Download the latest Android 4.2 release but DO NOT UNZIP and move this into the “ac-platform-tools” folder
  • On the Nexus 7 > Settings > Development Options and toggle ON then enable USB debugging
  • Power down the Nexus 7 then start up the Android boot loader but holding down volume up, volume down and power on the Nexus 7
  • You should now see a menu – plug the Nexus 7 into your PC/Mac
  • Use the volume up/down keys to click on “Recovery mode” then press the power button
  • You will now see an ‘Android’ with an red exclamation mark. Hold down the power button > followed by volume down > then volume up (if it doesn’t work first time, the Nexus 7 will eventually reboot for your to try again)
  • Use the volume up/down keys to select “apple update from ADB” then press power button to select it
  • On your PC/Mac open up command prompt or terminal window
  • Using the command line, navigate to the “ac-platform-tools” folder containing the ADB executables and the update file (you will need to use the ‘cd’ command to do this)
  • I used a Mac and typed the following in Terminal: ./adb-mac sideload (this is the latest Android 4.2 build – see below)
  • Alternatively if you are using Windows you will need to use Command prompt: adb.exe sideload
  • The update will start installing and when it is done you will need “reboot system now”
  • On rebooting, you should now see Android is upgrading and will start optimising the apps on your Nexus 7 and then updates the media database

How to check you have the latest build:
Go to Settings > About tablet > Android version should be 4.2
Kernel version 3.1.10-g22b4fcd
[email protected] #1
Fri Nov 2 10:55:26 PDT 2012
Build number

Safe surfing folks!

Bootnote: After upgrading from Android 4.1.2 you will notice Android 4.2 doesn’t have ‘Developer Options’ in settings. You have to enable this feature. To do this, open settings > About tablet and TAP on ‘Build number’ 7 times – go back to settings > System > you should now see ‘Developer Options’.

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