How to flash a Custom ROM on a Nexus device?

As we all know, Google just released Android 5.1 and is now rolling out to Nexus and Android One devices. Stock ROMs have pretty much a limited set of features often backed by the OEM, which is Google in this case, and many devices get knocked out without an update for a long period of time. Custom ROMs usually tend to have way more features than AOSP or Stock ROMs. So today we’ll be flashing a Custom ROM on our Nexus device. Make sure you follow everything exactly as mentioned here – else you might end up having a costly paper-holder! Make sure to backup your data before starting.

Things needed:

  1. A Nexus device (well, of course)
  2. Windows PC
  3. ADB and Fastboot along with USB Drivers installed (links below)
  4. USB Cable
  5. Custom ROM (zip file) (Refer to Android Police)
  6. Custom Recovery (recovery.img) (Refer to HowToGeek)

Let’s get started!

  1. On your Nexus device, go to Settings -> About Tablet/Phone -> *tap on build number 7 times* -> Back to Settings -> Developer Options -> Enable USB Debugging. (Skip if you already have USB Debugging enabled)
  2. Shut your Nexus device down. Press the key combination listed below for your respective device so that it boots into fastboot mode.
  3. Connect your Nexus device to your Windows PC.
  4. Open command prompt, and type ‘fastboot oem unlock’ without inverted commas. (Skip if you’ve already unlocked the bootloader of your device)
  5. On your Nexus device, press Volume Down Button and then Power Button. This will now unlock your bootloader, as well as wipe all data.
  6. Now, on your Windows PC, navigate to the folder where you have downloaded the recovery.img file. Now press ‘Shift’ key + Right click, now click on ‘Open Command Window here’. Type ‘fastboot flash recovery recovery.img’ without inverted commas. Replace ‘recovery.img’ with the name of the recovery you have downloaded. Make sure to type .img at the end of it.
  7. Now you have a Custom Recovery on your device too.
  8. Transfer the downloaded Custom ROM zip to your Nexus device.
  9. Reboot into recovery by first going into fastboot mode, and then two times pressing volume down button and then power button.
  10. Now, navigate to ‘Install’ button. If you have CWM Recovery, use Volume keys to navigate and power button to select. For TWRP, the controls are touch based.
  11. In the install column, choose the you downloaded earlier.
  12. Now flash it.
  13. After flashing it successfully, wipe cache, dalvik cache and factory reset.

ADB and Fastboot for Windows

XDA Developers

Button Combinations:

Nexus 5, 10 – Power Button + Volume Up + Volume Down

Nexus 4, 6, 7 , 9 – Power Button + Volume Down

Congrats, you now have a Custom ROM installed on your Nexus device! Do comment below if you face any issues!


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