Before every new Android version comes out in the market, Google releases several preview updates for testing, and then the final update. Those updates are initially made available only to select Nexus devices via factory images. Users needed to unlock bootloader on their smartphones to get the latest update, but at the expense of wiping their phone data completely. However, Google is now makingavailable the full over-the-air (OTA) binary images for Nexus devices. Users can sideload these images easily, without unlocking the bootloader or wiping their devices.
This is not the incremental OTA that takes weeks to appear on your smartphone, it’s the full OTA image that one can simply download and install using Android Debug Bridge commands in recovery. Google has introduced a new page on its developer website that hosts the latest OTA images with all the detailed instructions for installation.
The search giant asks users to agree to certain terms and conditions before they proceed to the installation details for security reasons. The OTA images are currently supported for Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, and Pixel C devices.
Even though this method doesn’t erase all your data, it is recommended to back up your data, just in case. The concept of OTA images isn’t entirely new with Google. The company had rolled out images for Android N preview users for rectifying glitches and for them to easily roll back toAndroid Marshmallow.