How To Flash Nexus Factory Images Manually

Google Nexus smartphones are most popular mainly due to its simple interface. Also, your Nexus device will receive faster updates from Google. Even if updates to your device are delayed, you can still use the Nexus factory images from Google to flash it directly on your Nexus devices. Flashing the Nexus factory images will wipe the entire device and does a clean install of the software. OTA updates are preferable for minor OS updates but when you’re going for a version upgrade, better opt for the factory images as you’ll get a clean start. Let’s start our simple guide on how to flash Nexus factory images manually.


  1. Make sure that your device has more than 60% battery charge.
  2. Take a backup of everything on your device, so that you can restore them if anything goes wrong.
  3. Your device drivers should be installed properly on your PC.
  4. Enable developers options on your device at Settings » About phone » Scroll to the bottom and tap on “Build number” seven times to enable developer options.
  5. Enable USB Debugging on your device at Settings » Developer options » tick the “USB debugging” checkbox.
  6. Enable OEM Unlock on your device at Settings » Developer options » tick the “OEM Unlock” checkbox.


Installation Guide

Firstly you need to unlock the bootloader on your Nexus device and then flash the factory images.

Unlock the bootloader

  1. Connect your Nexus device to the PC using a USB cable and make sure it’s detected. If not, make sure that you’ve installed proper USB drivers and enabled USB debugging.
  2. Once detected, tap on the USB icon in the notifications panel and select MTP file transfer mode.
  3. Open the command prompt in the PC and type the command “adb devices“.
  4. To confirm that your device is recognized by ADB, a message will appear “List of devices attached” along with your device serial number.
  5. Once you find your device’s serial number appearing in the message then type “adb reboot bootloader” command in the command prompt to reboot into fastboot mode.
  6. Type “fastboot flashing unlock” command to unlock the bootloader on Nexus 6P. If your device is older than Nexus 6P, then type “fastboot oem unlock” command to unlock the bootloader.
  7. A confirmation message will appear on your phone to erase the data on the device.

Reboot your device to make sure everything is ok. You have now successfully unlocked the bootloader on your Nexus device.

Flashing( Single-click)

All you need to do is just a single click to flash the Nexus factory images.

  1. Download the Nexus factory images from the above download section. Extract all the files from the downloaded zip file to a separate folder.
  2. Connect your device to PC using a USB cable and type “adb reboot bootloader” to reboot into fastboot mode.
  3. Once your device enters fastboot mode on your device, run the flash-all.bat (Windows OS) or (Mac and Linux OS).
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to flash the factory images successfully.

Flashing( Manual)

  1. Download the Nexus factory images from the above download section. Extract the tar file  to a separate folder on your PC and you will see few files along with a zip file with the name
  2. Extract the zip file with the name oand you’ll get the files similar to below list.
    • boot.img
    • cache.img
    • recovery.img
    • system.img
    • userdata.img
  3. Rename the bootloader and radio images files to bootloader.img and radio.img.
  4. Navigate to the location where you have extracted the above zip file. Open a command prompt from that location by pressing Shift + Right click and select Open command windows here from the Windows context menu.
  5. Navigate to the path where you’ve placed the image files and open a command prompt in that folder by pressing Shift +Right click in any empty space inside the folder, and select Open command window here from the Windows context menu.
  6. Connect your Nexus device to the PC using a USB cable and type the command “adb devices” to make sure it is detected.
  7. Once it is detected, reboot your device into bootloader mode by executing “adb reboot bootloader” command in the command prompt.
  8. Now, flash the bootloader that came with the factory image followed by the radio.img using the below commands. (radio.img is not found in all factory images, so don’t worry if you can’t find it in your Nexus factory image)
    fastboot flash bootloader bootloader.img
    fastboot flash radio radio.img
    fastboot reboot-bootloader
  9. Once the device boots into new bootloader, flash the rest of the images one-by-one using the following commands:
    fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
    fastboot flash boot boot.img
    fastboot flash system system.img
  10. If you want to do a full wipe of the device, use the following commands one-by-one:
    fastboot flash cache cache.img
    fastboot flash userdata userdata.img
  11. The Nexus 9 factory image comes with an additional image file with the name vendor.img which contains the drivers. Flash it with the below command if you own a Nexus 9.
    fastboot flash vendor vendor.img
  12. Once everything is flashed, reboot the device with the following command:
    fastboot reboot

That’s it. You have now successfully flashed the nexus factory images on your device.

Naveen Robsworth

Naveen is a tech enthusiast with a deep interest in Open Source software and Operating Systems. Freelancing and learning new technologies are his motives. His Pen name Robsworth reflects that his talents are worthy to be robbed.
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