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Last Updated: July 30th, 2013

Android 4.3 was officially unveiled and released today to the Android Open Source Project. In a surprisingly timely fashion, Google also released both the factory images and OTAs to the Nexus 4, 7, 10, and the Galaxy Nexus.

In this post, I will show you how to easily update your Nexus 4 to Android 4.3 JWR66V without losing data or needing root, whether because you are having trouble flashing the OTA, because one is simply not available to you yet (these notoriously take weeks to propagate to everyone), or because you're running something else and want to return to stock. You can root your Nexus 4 in the last step if you want.

wm_Screenshot_2013-07-24-16-11-21 wm_Screenshot_2013-07-24-16-28-21 wm_Screenshot_2013-07-24-16-30-36

Disclaimer: Android Police isn't responsible for any harm to your device - proceed at your own risk.

Prerequisites

In order to complete the steps below, you need to have the Android SDK installed. The SDK contains the latest version of adb and fastboot, which you will need for flashing. You will also need a MicroUSB cable to execute adb sideload, fastboot flash, and other commands. You don't need a USB cable if you're just planning to download the OTA zip directly to your device and flash it from recovery.

Note #1: You will not lose your data in either scenario. The first one is the same as applying the OTA. In the second one, we'll skip wiping data and upgrade just the bootloader, radio, kernel, and system images manually.

Note #2: You will be able to easily gain root in the last step.

Scenario 1

In this scenario, you're running Android 4.2.2 JDQ39 and haven't modified the system files, which basically means you can cleanly apply the OTA update. I flashed the leaked 4.3 earlier, along with its bootloader and radio, then restored back to 4.2.2 and tried to upgrade using this OTA method, but failed. Therefore, I had to use scenario 2. However, most of you will probably be fine with scenario 1.

In order to avoid repeating the steps, download the official JDQ39->JWR66V OTA zip from here and then adb sideload it by following Section A or B in the guide here. If something fails, like it did for me, proceed to Scenario 2.

Update #1: JDQ39E->JWR66V.

Update #2: JWR66N (leak)->JWR66V.

Note: To flash the update via adb sideload, you don't need to unlock the bootloader and have your data wiped if yours is still locked .

wm_20130724_153942

adb sideload is painless and fast

Scenario 2

Scenario 2 is what I would call plan B. You're here because the OTA failed, you screwed up your device and it's not booting, you're not on 4.2.2 JDQ39, or you're running a custom ROM. Don't worry - you won't lose data, even though the default factory image installation method (the bundled flash-all script) does wipe it.

The idea of this method is:

  1. Download the full occam factory image, which includes the full system, bootloader, recovery, kernel (boot.img), and radio. It's a clean slate for these components - they'll flash cleanly over anything you have now.
  2. Instead of using the bundled script called flash-all, you will unpack the tgz (tar/gz) archive, and then the zip contained within as well. This will put all the components into one folder:
    image
  3. Follow the excellent guide over here and make sure to omit step D10, which overwrites userdata. Here are the commands you will be executing, for reference:
    adb reboot bootloader
    fastboot flash bootloader bootloader*.img
    fastboot reboot-bootloader
    fastboot flash radio radio-mako-m9615a-cefwmazm-2.0.1700.84.img
    fastboot reboot-bootloader
    fastboot flash system system.img
    fastboot flash boot boot.img
    fastboot format cache
    fastboot reboot

Note: Instead of unpacking the image*.zip and flashing system and boot manually, you can actually do fastboot update image*.zip - this won't delete data (you would pass a -w flag if you wanted that to happen), but it will re-flash recovery back to stock if you were running a custom one. You can then flash it back, or just use the commands above instead. Either way, the result will be the same.

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Bootloader in fastboot mode

Rooting

Rooting a Nexus 4 is very easy but requires an unlocked bootloader and a custom recovery. I recommend using TWRP.

  1. Flash TWRP from here (fastboot flash recovery FILENAME.img).
  2. Reboot into recovery (adb reboot recovery or hold Power+VolDn, then select Recovery).
  3. Flash SuperSU from this post. I've seen people complain that doing so via CWM doesn't work, but flashing through TWRP and selecting Fix Superuser Permissions at the end does the trick. It's certainly done it for me on both the 4.3 leak and the factory flash from scenario 2.
  4. You should be rooted.

Enjoy 4.3 and don't forget to see what's new!

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • titan87

    Do you know of a process like this for the Nexus 7 (WiFi)??

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Same idea for all Nexus devices.

    • skitchbeatz

      Probably the same process. you just need the proper Nexus 7 OTA. Don't quote me on that though.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        That's right. Or just use the factory image.

    • Andy
    • jesus

      its the same process.

    • Glen

      Any seen what the performance is like on the Nexus 7? 4.2.2 was very laggy and poor standby battery life for me. I switched to CM. Wondering whether these performance issues haves been addressed?

  • ProvoAggie

    This Root option isn't yet perfect. Several people (including me) have experienced a problem where SuperSU uses 100% of your CPU until the phone reboots. It's still a beta.

  • Manas

    Sorry, not the right place for this, but I don't have this section ("Disabled") in apps on my Galaxy Nexus, Android 4.3, GSM version!? Do I have to disable first some of the apps? But I can't find the option for that...

    • Franco Rossel

      It only appears i f you have disabled an app previously.

      • Manas

        Thanks for that! Still can't find the option to disable...

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        That is correct. I was also wondering where it was at first. I still wish Google would let us disabled regular apps, like TB does. I want to keep some things installed but disabled rather than having to uninstall them. Give us both options!

        • Franco Rossel

          That's actually a pretty good idea. It would be nice to see it on CM 10.2 or some custom rom.

    • Ashutos Don Jain

      I am not able to see Regulatory info Tab under Legal Info Tab on my gnex running Android 4.3 . Any sol ?

      • Ashutos Don Jain

        Any help ?

    • hung

      I cannot find the notification like they said. You have it @disqus_eOHDxGdVhC:disqus?

      • Manas

        Do you mean this 'disabled' Tab?
        "It only appears i f you have disabled an app previously" like Franco Rossel said.

        This only works with stock apps, like Maps, Camera,...
        So I don't need it currently ;)

        Or which notifications do you think of?

  • Steve Secor

    Oh hey! You linked to my xda thread. :-)

  • Dexi

    I tried scenrio 2 and I got stuck with the Google screen when booting. (I had stock with franco kernel with TWRP recovery). Any ideas? I don't want to lose my data.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Hook it up to your computer and see what adb logcat says. Chances are it'll say there are incompatibilities, so unless wiping cache fixes it (I doubt it), you may need to wipe data.

  • roberto.elena

    Is the OTA zip file in scenario 1 valid only for takju or also for yakju? If not where can I download the yakju version?

  • Luxferro

    "
    Flash SuperSU from this post. I've seen people complain that doing so via CWM doesn't work, but flashing through TWRP and selecting Fix Superuser Permissions at the end does the trick. It's certainly done it for me on both the 4.3 leak and the factory flash from scenario 2."

    CWMR works just fine for flashing SuperSU. You just have to say 'NO' at reboot when it asks you if you want to disable the script the replaces the stock recovery back. SuperSU uses that script, so if you hit 'yes' than supersu won't work right. As long as you did fix the auto flash stock recovery at least once prior to flashing SuperSu, you don't need to do it again.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Well, I couldn't get it to work with CWM on the 4.3 leak, so I'm just sticking to TWRP. There were definitely issues, and not just with my phone.

  • angel_spain

    "Scenario 2 is what I would call plan B. You're here because the OTA failed, you screwed up your phone and it's not booting, or you're running a custom ROM. Don't worry - you won't lose data"

    In scenario 2, if you are running a custom rom it probably won't boot unless you wipe your data (the common wipe data on custom recoveries), so it's better to have a backup of all your apps.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      True, though it's been known to work before. I thought it goes without saying that for different ROMs entirely you'd see wipe data, but I guess that wasn't obvious.

  • Craig M

    Can't we just download the OTA and flash it via custom recovery?...and use OTA Root keeper to keep root?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Did you read the post re: first question?

      Not sure about OTA Root keeper. I doubt it would work because everything about root has changed in 4.3. You need Chainfire's custom root right now.

  • Michael Fontenot

    What would happen if you just flashed that image with twrp or cwm?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You can't flash .img files in recovery. They're for fastboot. Recovery flashes zips, which contain update-scripts with instructions inside.

  • usamaisawake

    Can I use this same trick if I want to upgrade my wife's Galaxy Nexus without losing data?? Specifically scenario 2 (I'm more comfortable with adb/fastboot than trying to find a supposed OTA update for the GNexus at this point in time). Thanks for this wonderful post.

  • Ian

    Artem, any tips on how to find out the OTA update file location on the Google servers? Not the factory images but the OTA updates.

    I suspect someone is figuring this out once an OTA hits their device and they sniff the network traffic to get the URL?

    I want to make a start on my N7 3G now :-)

  • Matthew Rhodes

    Followed these steps and used Nexus 4 Toolkit from the xda. Worked with root Perfectly! Thanks! I don't know how to use ADB commands. These steps + Nexus 4 Toolkit = 4.3 with root. Thanks for the help!

  • Alain Lafond

    Thanks for helping, I was the one that needed to know that I had to fix permission.
    But does the recovery needs to be flash by Fastboot?
    I wonder if the so called Google device will receive their upgrade fast... Samsung and HTC don't have the reputation of being very preocuped by upgrading their device...
    Will see...
    For the time being, I'M 4.3... Yeah...

  • Ashutos Don Jain

    Does this root method works on gnex running 4.3

    • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

      yes...i tried it. just need to know that the version number for the radio and bootloader are different between devices...

  • Stacey Liu

    TWRP is not asking me to fix any permissions… so my root isn;t working. What am I doing wrong? I flashed the latest twrp 2.6.0.0

    • http://www.innews.dk/ Erroneus

      Same problem here :|

      • Robin Singh Nanda

        you will have to go to Advanced>Fix Permissions in TWRP recovery

        • http://www.innews.dk/ Erroneus

          Thanks for the reply, but that didn't help here, tried it lots of times :)

          v1.43 fixed the problem though, running 4.3 with root on my N4 and N7 now.

  • mick.remy

    I can boot on TWRP on my Nexus 4 anybody else ?

  • mick.remy

    I can't boot on TWRP on my Nexus 4 anybody else ? (sorry for double post)

  • Darkmyth CH

    well i know this isnt the place, but i sent my N7 WIFI to factory due to a charging problem, but then it came back flashed with the 3G version, and im not really that geek smart... could someone point me in the right direction? thks in advance

  • Ashutos Don Jain

    what is the kernel version of 4.3 on nexus 4 / 7 ?

    • Zuko

      3.4.0-perf-gf43c3d9

      • Ashutos Don Jain

        so why it's different from gnex as gnex runs kernel 3.0.72 on 4.3 ? why old kernel ?

  • http://www.innews.dk/ Erroneus

    I would advise against 4.3, if you want root. For many, root are simply not working at all and for those where it does work, it has some strange bugs, causing root not to work properly and use lots of CPU. Chainfire is working on it, but he is pressured for time, because of vacation.

  • James

    When switching to recovery mode for JDQ39->JWR66V I get "Download Mode. Do not unplug the device until the process is complete". I'm guessing this is LG's own thing. Can I do the sideload with this phone?

    • amdparsn

      same problem here wat to do??

  • Yalla Tschikowski

    When i try to use adb sideload update.zip i get ERROR: Device not found.. it is waiting for the update from adb

  • Ashutos Don Jain

    I am not able to see Regulatory info Tab under Legal Info Tab on my gnex running Android 4.3 . Any sol ?

  • Hermann Bier

    Second scenario worked like a charm on Nexus 4, rooted and with CWM. One user already wrote here: you have to chose NO before CWM reboots. I chosed YES each time and SuperSU said after boot: su binary not found. Chosing no works like a charm!

  • Elias

    If I follow these steps, can I later just flash a custom ROM based in an earlier version of Android (such as CM, PA, AOKP) ?
    ( I'm afraid I'd have to flash another bootloader or radio, but downgrading might not be supported)

  • daren226

    I installed using Scenario 1 because I had stock ROM rooted no system modded files.
    The update was succesful and root is working fine, however I do not see any changes - example the phone keypads are still the same, the wifi off search is not there. The only thing that changed is in 4.2 to 4.3 in about.
    Also is something wrong with the google play store? I can't seem to update any of my apps.?

  • David Rousseau

    Thank you. Worked like a charm.

    You have to make sure you can install non-market apps if you want to SuperSU to install.

  • bk

    Thanks. Works well for me.

  • Gert

    I have a stock Nexus 4 here. Tried to to upgrade OTA to the incoming Android 4.3. The Upgrade did end with en "Error". No I am catched in a bootloop (the device resets after showing the "google" splash screen). So I would like to recover the Nexus4, but without deleting the user data.

    You write that it is not required to unlock the boot loader. But If I try to flash the new bootloader I just get an error (using the android-tools installed from ubuntu 13.04):

    # fastboot reboot-bootloader
    rebooting into bootloader...
    OKAY [ 0.001s]
    finished. total time: 0.001s

    # fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-mako-makoz20i.img
    sending 'bootloader' (2201 KB)...
    OKAY [ 0.139s]
    writing 'bootloader'...
    FAILED (remote: not supported in locked device)
    finished. total time: 0.141s

    So what should I do now? Is there a way out of this without unlocking the bootloader (what will delete all my user data AFAIU)?

    Thanks,

    Gert

  • Fabian

    After the OEM Update didnt work because my CWM got an error i tried scenario #2 with TWRP and it worked like a charm!

    Thanks for this Guide!

  • Bendichi

    Flashed 4.3 over Xylon Rom using scenario 2 following the instructions to the letter. I'm stuck at the boot animation (The glowing Nexus X). Tried re-flashing 4.3, still stuck at boot animation. Any suggestions? Kinda don't want to do a full wipe..

  • Aditya

    Hey i followed the steps mentioned above for flashing 4.3 but my device is stuck in boot x screen. I was running pa custom rom.Please help

  • André Neto

    The best tutorial! :D

  • DK

    I already unlocked bootloader, but I forgot to root it in the process. If I follow the steps for rooting, is my phone's data gone again?

  • Luiz Marcelo Alves Costa

    I have stock 4.3 ROM updated using OTA on my N4, but I'm having overheating an battery issues, can I flash "occam" (using SDK method) over this OTA update??

    if yes, it would be easier if I flash the stock ROM using custom recovery?

    Thanks in advance!!