I know that the Android M preview was announced and released a while ago, but I am still asked how someone should go about installing Android M.

In response to these numerous requests, I felt that there is a need for a quick guide on how to install the preview.

Honestly time. I don’t have a Nexus Player. I would love a Nexus Player, but I just don’t have one, so I don’t know how much the steps vary for that device. However, these steps will work on the other Nexus phones and tablet just fine.


[list][item icon=”fa-flag” ]Nexus device with Android M preview[/item][item icon=”fa-flag” ]adb tools installed[/item][item icon=”fa-flag” ]adb debugging enabled on device[/item][item icon=”fa-flag” ]A way to extract TGZ files (I use 7-zip)[/item][/list]

Step One – Downloading the factory images

You can download the official Android M images for your Nexus branded device(s) here, or you can follow the direct links below.

Nexus 5 (GSM/LTE)Nexus 6Nexus 9Nexus Player

By downloading the images for the above links, you are agreeing to Google’s Terms and Conditions. Let’s be honest though, you weren’t going to read through those anyways.

Step Two – Extract the files

Extract the .tgz file with whatever program, methods you prefer.

For me, I installed 7-zip and used that to extract the files.

After that, you will want to extract the .tar file. I did that the same way.

Finally, extract the .zip file at the end of the trail.

Hopefully, you will be greeted with the following files

  • android-info.txt
  • boot.img
  • cache.img
  • recovery.img
  • system.img
  • userdata.img

Step  Three- Boot into bootloader

There are two ways to do this.

Option One – adb command

If your device is already booted up normally, then this is rather easy.

Make sure that ADB debugging is enabled and your drivers are installed.

If you can’t handle this on your own, you really should not install the Android M preview. While the preview is mostly stable, if you can’t manage to get adb commands functioning properly, you are going to absolutely hate yourself for installing the preview. Things will crash and not everything will work.

If you still want to continue on, you can follow this guide to install ADB and Fastboot tools.

Anyways, all you have to do at this juncture is open in a command window and type in the following command and press enter.

[alert color=”white”]adb reboot-bootloader[/alert]

Option Two – button combination

This one is easier, but I prefer option one to make sure that I have adb installed correctly.

All you have to do is when the device is powered completely off, press and hold volume down and the power button.

That’s it, you’ll boot into the bootloader!

Step Four- Wipe the device

Some people claim that this step is optional, but I find it 100% necessary. I actually tried to install Android M on top of stock 5.1.1 without a wipe, and I got nothing but trouble. Force closings everywhere.

For this step, it is just another command. Once again, just open a command window/terminal if you don’t already have one open and type in the following command and press enter.

[alert color=”white”]fastboot erase userdata[/alert]

if you are using a linux distro, you are going to have to add “sudo” to the start of the command and type in your password when prompted.

Step Five- Install system images

Just like you did for step three, just execute the following commands. IN ORDER!

Except, this time, you need to make sure that your terminal is opened to the same location as the files that I had you extract previously.

In Windows, you can just open that file location in the file explorer and right click while holding shift. This will allow you to select the option “Open command window here”

I am sure that there is a similar process that can be followed in Linux and on Macs.

[alert color=”white”]fastboot flash boot boot.img[/alert]

[alert color=”white”]fastboot reboot-bootloader[/alert]

[alert color=”white”]fastboot flash recovery recovery.img[/alert]

[alert color=”white”]fastboot flash system system.img[/alert]

[alert color=”white”]fastboot reboot[/alert]

Step Six – WAIT

Now, you should see a recovery Android.

Something similar to this

What this screen is showing is your phone’s recovery partition clearing everything out and getting things ready for you.

You don’t need to know exactly what it is doing, all you have to do is sit tight and wait. This will take a while. So long to the point that you think you did it wrong.

Don’t worry, just wait it out and your phone will boot normally. Then congrats! You should be booted into Android M!

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