Looking at the topic? Need to ask that why do we need to downgrade? The answer lies with every Nexus user here! At times of update, we almost feel like we’re receiving a brand new device with a pack of new features that we desire. But in certain cases, like mine, features of the newer version or its stability cannot always overcome the ones of the older version. Or may be, you might even dislike the newly added features at all on the stake of your older favorite ones. When we find ourselves in such situations, we often think of downgrading to a lower update/version that fulfills all our desires.

DroidViews has already done such an amazing guide to downgrade a Samsung Galaxy devices and today we are here with another easy tutorial on rolling back the Nexus series of devices to an older version of Android. Nexus series devices require flashing of Factory Images to downgrade, which can be achieved in a few steps and is easy to follow. The flashing process is same throughout all the devices; Nexus S (3G & 4G), Galaxy Nexus (GSM, Verizon, Sprint), Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (WiFi & 3G) & Nexus 10, the only thing that differs is the files and their respective names. So, further will be instructions only, all you got to do is replace the file name according to your device related files.

Here is the list of  “till what version” can your nexus device be downgraded:

  • Nexus S > From JellyBean 4.1.2  to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 to Gingerbread 2.3.6
  • Nexus S 4G >  From JellyBean 4.1.1  to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 to Gingerbread 2.3.7
  • Galaxy Nexus (GSM) > From JellyBean 4.3 to JellyBean 4.2.2 to JellyBean 4.1.2 to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4
  • Galaxy Nexus (Verizon) > From JellyBean 4.2.2 to JellyBean 4.1.1 to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4
  • Galaxy Nexus (Sprint) > From JellyBean 4.2.1 to JellyBean 4.1.1
  • Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi) > From KitKat 4.4.2 to KitKat 4.4 to JellyBean 4.3 to JellyBean 4.2.2 to JellyBean 4.1.2
  • Nexus 7 (Mobile) > From KitKat 4.4.2 to KitKat 4.4 to JellyBean 4.3 to JellyBean 4.2.2
  • Nexus 4From KitKat 4.4.2 to KitKat 4.4 to JellyBean 4.3 to JellyBean 4.2.2
  • Nexus 10 > From KitKat 4.4.2 to KitKat 4.4 to JellyBean 4.3 to JellyBean 4.2.2
  • Nexus 5 > From KitKat 4.4.2 to KitKat 4.4

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Warning!

  • Do not attempt to try this on any other than a Nexus device.
  • Remember! Device specific files are different, so please do not cross over the files or their names.
  • Read and Understand the Instructions carefully before performing any actions
  • DroidViews Community or any of its members are not responsible for any damage to your device

Preparation Before Downgrading your Nexus

Preparing yourself and your device is very essential. There are certain prerequisites before the actual downgrading procedure, these are mandatory to follow.

  • USB Drivers Installed properly    [Link]
  • Compatible USB data cable
  • Android SDK Installed    [Link]
  • Fastboot binary (Put the file in <sdk_directory>/platform-tools)
  • USB Debugging enabled [Link]
  • Backup device storage, Messages, Contacts etc.
  • At least 60% battery life (This is advisable to avoid any mishaps during the process)
  • Unlocked Bootloader

Downloads

All the available factory images for the Nexus devices can be downloaded here. 

Instructions To Downgrade Firmware On Nexus Devices

The steps mentioned are universal for all the Nexus devices. The only thing that differs is the files and the file names in commands, that shall be modified accordingly. We’re here, following the Fastboot method to flash the factory images of lower update to the devices. Lets start and know what is to be done to easily downgrade the mentioned Nexus devices to their corresponding firmware.

The initiative step towards downgrading, is to first wipe off every partition on your device. This could be easily accomplished by a set of simple commands.

  1. Connect your device to PC via USB data cable.
  2. Open CMD window and type in the following command to reboot your device into bootloader:
    adb reboot bootloader
  3. Wiping partitions and re-writing them requires the bootloader to be unlocked, if you already have it unlocked then skip this step and follow from #4, if you haven’t then type in the following command:
    Note: Unlocking bootloader wipes the complete device storage, so make sure to back it up completely before performing this action.
fastboot oem unlock

When prompted, use the volume keys to highlight “Yes” and select it using the power button.

  • Download the respective factory images from the links above for your device.
  • Right click the download file and select “Extract here“.
  • A new folder with the name matching that of the file will be created. Open the folder, press Shift key and right click on an empty space inside the folder. Select “Open Command Prompt here“.
  • Lets start the wiping procedure in the command prompt window that just popped up in the previous step.
    • To wipe the /boot partition (Kernel & Ram-Disk):
      fastboot erase boot
    • To wipe the /cache partition:
      fastboot erase cache
    • To wipe the /recovery partition (This will erase the current recovery; stock or custom):
      fastboot erase recovery
    • To wipe the /system partition (OS files):
      fastboot erase system
    • To wipe the /data partition (complete userdata):
      fastboot erase userdata
  • Once the wiping process is done, you can proceed towards flashing the factory images to your device.
  • To flash bootloader image, type:
    fastboot flash bootloader file_name.img

    For example, here I am flashing the bootloader file of Nexus 4 (mako)

    fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-mako-makoz10o.img
  • Reboot the bootloader now by typing the following command (this process is compulsory to avoid any disturbances during flashing process):
    fastboot reboot-bootloader
  • To flash radio image, type:
    fastboot flash radio file_name.img

    For example, here I am flashing the radio file of Nexus 4 (mako)

    fastboot flash radio radio-mako-m9615a-cefwmazm-2.0.1700.48.img
  • Reboot bootloader again:
    fastboot reboot-bootloader
  • The time is now to write the OS files i.e the factory image. Type:
    fastboot -w update file_name.zip

    For example, here I am flashing the factory image of Nexus 4 (mako)

    fastboot -w update image-occam-jdq39.zip
  • The flashing will take around 1-2 minutes depending upon the size of the file. Do not disconnect or detach the device from your machine.
  • Once done, your device will reboot itself into the downgraded firmware.

 

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Note:

If this tutorial worked for you (and it should work), please leave a comment below and do not forget to mention your phone model and the OS version from and to which you downgraded. It will help others. Thanks!