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Manually flashing the Android 4.2.2 OTA

The Android 4.2.2 update is just rolling out to select devices. If you don’t want to wait any longer, here are the instructions to flash it manually. There are different methods available like for instance using adb sideload when you don’t have root. However I have root and I’m always flashing new OTAs from ClockworkMod, so I’m describing this method only.

You need to have the following prerequisites:

  • The previous Android 4.2.1 is already running
  • ClockworkMod recovery (or a similar custom recovery) is already on your device
  • A computer with the adb tool available (I assume you have this already)
  • USB debugging is enabled on your device

If you have modified your system then you can’t flash the OTA. So first make sure that you have restored any framework modifications, undo any build.prop patches, and hopefully you didn’t delete any system apps (installing new system apps is fine, just don’t modify any existing files).

Now download the update ZIP for your device:

Galaxy Nexus GSM:

Nexus 4:

Nexus 7 WiFi:

Nexus 10:

Copy it to your SD card:

Galaxy Nexus:
adb push /sdcard/

Nexus 4:
adb push /sdcard/

Nexus 7:
adb push /sdcard/

Nexus 10:
adb push /sdcard/

And then reboot into recovery:

adb reboot recovery

Now select ‘install zip from sdcard’, ‘choose zip from ‘sdcard’, select ‘0/’ (this is the SD card for the device owner), and scroll down until you see the update ZIP. Select ‘Yes – Install’

This will take a while. When it has succeeded then select ‘Go back’ and ‘reboot system now’. The recovery will ask you to disable the stock recovery. If you don’t do this then you’ll lose your custom recovery after reboot, so choose:

Yes – Disable recovery flash

Now the recovery will ask you to fix root, so you wisely choose:

Yes – Fix root

Your system will reboot and you’ll enjoy the Android 4.2.2 experience. According to first reports on Google Plus this is now buttery smooth again!

Nexus 7 Android 4_2_2


Unlocked bootloaders and custom recoveries on Nexus devices

If you have ever rooted your Nexus device then you probably know that you first have to unlock your bootloader if you want to flash a new factory image or custom ROM. So here’s the famous:

fastboot oem unlock

fastboot oem unlock

Security issues

When unlocking your bootloader however your whole device data is wiped. But why is that? Actually when the bootloader is unlocked then you open all doors to the device. Even when your phone is locked with a pin code someone could still boot into the bootloader, flash a custom recovery, and from here be able to access your device data.

BootUnlocker to the rescue!

Ideally you unlock your bootloader, flash a new Nexus factory image and then re-lock your bootloader again. However if you need to flash another factory image two weeks later then you have to unlock your bootloader again and your device is first wiped before you can flash a new image.

But there’s an app for that! BootUnlocker allows to to lock/unlock your bootloader without the need to wipe your data. From a security perspective of course that makes only sense if you have applied a pin code, unlock pattern, or a similar protection.

Currently the app doesn’t work on all Nexus devices yet. Among the supported devices are the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, or Nexus 10. The Nexus 7 is not supported because Asus have implemented some more security to their devices and don’t allow to modify the bootloader this easily.

But wait… what about Custom ROMs?

Typically you are using a custom recovery (ClockworkMod being the standard) which you are using for flashing your ROMs, framework modifications or be it only the latest Superuser binaries.

But unlike official factory images Custom ROMs can not be flashed from the bootloader. A custom recovery is needed that allows you to flash unsigned files.

Now even when you lock your bootloader (after flashing a Custom ROM) then you still got your doors wide open because everyone could just boot into recovery mode and use it to access your device.

I’m not saying this is so much of a critical issue and that you should immediately stop using custom ROMs but at least you should be aware of what you are doing! If you lose your Android phone then chances are good that a thief does not know about custom recoveries and the like. Nevertheless it still would be great if the device was more secure!

Possible solutions

Usually you are using the fastboot tool to flash a custom recovery:

fastboot flash recovery your_recovery_image

Alternatively the tool allows you to directly boot a custom recovery (without flashing it permanently). So you can boot into the recovery, do your business like usual, but on the next reboot you are back to the stock recovery:

fastboot boot your_recovery_image

This command only works if your bootloader is unlocked, but unfortunately it’s more complicated for you to access your recovery. Gone are the times when you could quickly boot into recovery to flash a zip!

Call for more security to Custom recoveries

In an ideal world you would have the best security together with the best possible freedom for yourself! It would be nice if you could use a Custom recovery but rely on the security that not everyone can use it! So here’s my call to all recovery developers:

Please add some kind of protection level to your custom recoveries! On every PC you can setup a password to protect CMOS settings so you can too! Adding a password protection would be so much of a better feature than big ugly styled touch buttons! Thank you!