Google released Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow for the Nexus 6P last week and today I want to show you how to manually sideload this OTA update.
OTA updates with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow have already started rolling out to the Nexus 6P and this update includes a ton of bug fixes as well as performance improvements all across the board. This update also comes with new features, like the ability to turn on Do Not Disturb mode until your next alarm, Band 12 for T-Mobile and a few others. The thing is, Google tends to do slow roll outs when it comes to their OTA updates.
These OTA updates can take up to two months to be completed and I know how anxious people can get(myself included) when a new update comes out and they want it as soon as possible.
Google takes their time with these OTA updates to minimize the possibility of any random mishaps that can surface from an update like this. So Google will push out the 6.0.1 OTA update to a small percentage of the Nexus 6P users and wait 24 hours or so to see if they can find any critical errors appearing in the diagnostic logs. If everything goes smoothly with this segment, then Google will push out the update to another small percentage and check for the same thing after a day or two. It’s only after these preliminary phases do we see Google push out the update to 25% or so of the Nexus 6P users and again, they wait to see if anything bad is happening that they didn’t catch in-house.
If everything goes well then about a month after the first OTA updates go out, the rollout will be finished. However, if something goes wrong then the rollout will be halted and Google engineers will begin working on the critical bug that they found. This process can take an unknown amount of time because squashing bugs can be more complicated than they seem.
This is a big reason why someone might not want to sideload an OTA update, but if it was a widespread issue then it most likely would have been caught before the first update was released. So there could be a chance for you to experience a bug, the likelihood is pretty small.
In order for you to sideload Android 6.0.1 onto your Nexus 6P, you don’t need root access but you do need to be on build number MDB08L or MDB08M. To check which build number you are, launch the Settings application and tap on the About Phone section. Then write down the build number you are on so that you can remember to download the right file. I will be including two different download links in the tutorial below so make sure you grab the one meant for your current build number.
Nexus 6P Sideload Android 6.0.1
- Download and Install Google’s USB Drivers to Your PC
- Reboot the PC
- Download the Android 6.0.1 OTA Update for the Nexus 6P to Your PC (MDB08L -> MMB29M) (MDB08M -> MMB29M)
- Enable Developer Mode on the Nexus 6P
- Enable USB Debugging Mode on the Nexus 6P
- Then Download and Install the Minimal ADB & Fastboot Tools to Your PC
- Double-Click the ADB & Fastboot Shortcut to Launch the Command Prompt
- Then Type the Following Command. . .
- adb devices
- . . .And Press Enter on the Keyboard
- Connect the Nexus 6P to the PC with a USB Cable
- If Prompted, Tap on the ‘OK’ Option to Allow USB Debugging Access From Your PC
- Disconnect the Nexus 6P From the PC
- Boot the Nexus 6P into Fastboot Mode
- Boot the Nexus 6P into Recovery Mode
- Then Press the Volume Down Button Until You Highlight the ‘Apply Update from ADB’ Option
- Press the Power Button to Select This Option
- Reconnect the Nexus 6P to the PC with the USB Cable
- Copy or Move This ZIP File into the Minimal ADB & Fastboot Tools Directory
- For Me, this is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Minimal ADB and Fastboot”
- Rename the Update File to “otaupdate.zip” (without the quotes)
- Type the Following Command into the Command Prompt. . .
- adb sideload otaupdate.zip
- . . .And Press Enter on the Keyboard
- Wait for the File to Copy to the Nexus 6P
- Then Wait for the Nexus 6P to Install the Update
- When Finished, Reboot the Nexus 6P and be Patient During the First Boot Cycle
Before we can start to mess with the OTA update, we first need to make sure you’re up to speed on all of the preparations. For example, you’ll need to have the Google USB drivers installed on your computer. If you are installing them right now for the first time, go ahead and reboot the PC after installation so you can make sure they are installed properly. You’ll then need to enable Developer Mode on the Nexus 6P so that you can enable USB Debugging Mode. This is required so that our computer can talk to the Nexus 6P in a way that lets us upload and install the OTA update in the proper place.
You’ll also need ADB & Fastboot tools and you can get these from a few different sources. If you want them from the official source then you’ll want to download and install the Android SDK. This SDK can be very large and it can take a while to install. We only need the ADB and Fastboot tools from this SDK though so I recommend grabbing the minimal version from the link included in the tutorial. Once installed, go ahead and double-click the shortcut it created so that it will launch a command prompt and put you in the exact directory that you need to be in.
With the command prompt open, execute the ‘adb devices’ command so that we can start the ADB service on the PC. With the ADB service up and running, connect the Nexus 6P to the PC with a USB cable and unless you’ve done this before, you’ll be prompted to allow USB Debugging access from the PC. Tell the Nexus 6P that this access is okay and then disconnect the cable from your phone. You’ll then need to boot the Nexus 6P into Fastboot Mode so that you can boot over into Recovery Mode. Since applying an OTA update requires that you be with stock Android and the stock recovery, you won’t be able to do this from a custom recovery like TWRP. When you get the Nexus 6P into Recovery Mode, you can then reconnect the USB cable to the phone and start downloading the OTA update.
As mentioned, you have to be on a certain build number before you can sideload this OTA update. If you are on build number MDB08L, then grab the first OTA update linked in the tutorial above. If you are on build number MDB08M, then grab the second OTA update linked above. If your build number doesn’t match either of these, you’ll need to get to one of them. This can be done by accepting an OTA update from within the Settings menu, or you will need to manually flash the update to your Nexus 6P. Manually flashing will erase your device though, and if you’re going to do that then you might as well download the 6.0.1 firmware and manually flash that.
So, once you grab the right OTA update for your specific build number, go ahead and copy or move that ZIP file to the same directory that your ADB & Fastboot files are in. Then rename that ZIP file to something like ‘otaupdate.zip’ and then turn your attention back to the command prompt window. You’ll want to execute the command ‘adb sideload otaupdate.zip’ without the quotes and then wait for the file to be uploaded to the Nexus 6P. Once the file has been uploaded, it should immediately start installing itself too.
Once done, you can reboot the Nexus 6P by either highlighting the ‘Reboot System’ option and then pressing the Power button to select it, or you can simply hold the Power button down for a few seconds and it should force the Nexus 6P to turn off. Turn the device back on and wait for the first boot to take you to the Android lock screen. This first boot after applying an OTA update can take some time, so just be patient while the Nexus 6P does its job.