Upgrading Nexus 4 from Android 4.4.4 to Android 5.0 Lollipop

In this post, I chronicle my experience upgrading the LG Nexus 4 from Android 4.4.4 to Android 5.0 aka Lollipop. This is a Google Play Nexus 4, unlocked and without carrier bloatware. I only did this on one device, one time, so I can’t speak to what happens if you have different Android versions or configurations.

The post is presented in three levels of information. First up, a quick summary, then a timeline of events, and then a play by play of the action.


If you don’t want to read all the step by step details, here is a recap here, followed by a Timeline:

  • need at least 500MB free space per Google
  • need more than 50% battery life if unplugged
  • download is 394.4 MB
  • too about 70 minutes to complete end to end, using Home Wifi, unplugged

Timeline of Nexus 4 Upgrading from 4.4.4 to 5.0

Times are approximate, measured with the phone/tablet clocks, not a stopwatch. Some of the steps (eg Optimizing Apps) heavily depend on the number of apps installed on your system. This was done as an OTA upgrade, on a Home Wifi network, not connected to a PC.

Duration of Upgrade Steps
Task Duration (Approx)
Downloading Android 5.0 15 minutes
Restart & install 3 minutes
Installing System Update 18 minutes
First Reboot 4 minutes
Optimizing Apps (165) 21 minutes
Starting Apps 5 minutes
Last Steps 5 minutes


The party begins with the Nexus 4 system reminding you in a pestery fashion (you can only temporarily make the notification go away) to upgrade…


I did a precautionary reboot (turned OFF, then turned ON) for good measure, especially since I hadn’t reboot the Nexus 4 in a while. I had over 1GB free space. The Google splash screen wants a minimum of 500MB, but it’s a good idea to free up as much as possible just in case. The download is 394.4 MB. I am doing this update Over the Air, unplugged, with 50% battery left. Going from Android 4.4.4 to 5.0.


The Main Event

When you press “Download”, it takes about a minute or so with the message “Waiting to Download”. After that, the download begins with that cyan-blue progress bar at the top. During this, a couple of apps reported as stopped working in the background. I did not use any app after the reboot. During the download, it wouldn’t let me capture a screenshot, it said: “couldn’t capture screenshot. Storage maybe in use”. The download completed in about 15 minutes.

Then it quickly went through “Verifying” and then you press the “Restart & install” button. At this point, I got a few pop-ups in the form of “Unfortunately, the process com.google.process.gapps has stopped working”. The rebooting took about three minutes.

Then it was time for the “Installing System Update” with the old familiar Android belly repair animation, with a cyan-blue progress bar. This took about 18 minutes to complete.

Then it rebooted, the Google Logo appeared on the screen, followed by the four colorful bouncing balls, nuclear physics style. This took about four minutes. Then came the “Android is Upgrading” with the “Optimizing app X of Y” in the next line. In my case, it had 165 apps to optimize (I managed to squeeze all those on an 8GB Nexus 4!). This took about 21 minutes to complete.

Then it went to Starting Apps. About 5 minutes later it powered off. At this point, I connected it to the power supply and rebooted. Not sure if it turned off because of power issues, or it was part of the plan. It was 8% when the prompt returned to me later on, so it could be either way.

After that, Google Play Services insisted that it must be updated. After that, it completed, and 70 minutes later, Android 5.0 is ready to go!