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Restore / Un-brick Google Nexus 7 2013 to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean ( TWRP and Root guides included)

The Google Nexus 7 tablet launched several weeks ago can be restored to stock firmware using the instructions that I have listed in this article. This tutorial is destined for users who are now running a custom ROM or for those of you who managed to brick the device while attempting to install any custom things on it.

Qualcomm has released the factory image for the 2013 Nexus 7 device along with all the drivers you need in order to be able to always flash a stock Android 4.3 Jelly Bean firmware that will restore the tablet to its original state. This tutorial is great for users who applied a bad custom ROM, kernel or any other type of custom file and now their Nexus 7 2013 tablet is boot-looping or, you simply installed a custom ROM and wish to restore it to stock Android 4.3 using the factory image files.

Before starting the process you will first need to take a look at the preparation guide, so that you will be able to correctly configure your device and make sure that you complete all actions at your first attempt. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Use this tutorial only with the Google Nexus 7 2013 WiFi model with the ‘razor’ codename.
  • Do not attempt to use this guide with any other Android device nor tablet, as you will end up bricking it.
  • In case your tablet’s bootloader is locked, then you will be forced to unlock it. This means that all data will be deleted in the process and this process cannot be avoided, as otherwise you won’t be able to install Android 4.3 Factory Image.
  • In case your tablet’s bootloader is unlocked, then you can choose to skip the ‘data wipe’. However, note that in some cases you ‘not wiping data’ might not allow your Google Nexus 7 2013 from booting into normal mode, which is why you will end up wiping data.
  • Download and Install Android SDK on your computer so that you will get the latest adb and fastboot versions on your PC. Download from here.
  • Make sure that you have the USB data cable near by as you will need to apply adb sideload, fastboot flash and enter some other commands in order to successfully flash all the required files.
  • Enable USB Debugging from Developer Options. If the Android Developer Options menu is not shown in the Settings menu, then you should un-hide it by opening the About Phone section. Scroll down to Build Number and tap 7 times on it until you’re told that the developer mode has been enabled.
  • Disable any antivirus application from running on your PC.
  • This guide is for more advanced users and you shouldn’t attempt to use it in case you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Note that we cannot be blamed in case you brick your tablet nor in case you lose any important data files.
  • Read the entire post and do not skip any steps.
  • If you have any other questions, then you should post them in the comments section of this post.

In case your Nexus 7 2013 has a locked bootloader, then you should first unlock it. Note that this process will wipe every single file from your device and you won’t be able to retrieve any of them. If the device is running on unlocked bootloader, then you can skip this part of the tutorial.

Here’s how to unlock the Nexus 7 2013 bootloader via adb:

  • Power off the tablet.
  • Boot it into Bootloader mode by pressing and holding Volume Down and then Power. Release the buttons when the Bootloader menu appears.
  • Open a command prompt window in the Android SDK / fastboot folder.
  • Connect your tablet with your PC.
  • Run the following command line to unlock Nexus 7 2013 bootloader:¬†fastboot oem unlock
  • Press the Volume Up on your tablet and then Power to confirm the bootloader unlock process.
  • That’s it, now you can continue to the next part of this post.

The ‘Lock State’ option in Bootloader Mode should now say ‘unlocked’, which means that you can continue with the rest of the process.

How to install Android 4.3 Factory Image ROM for Google Nexus 7 2013 model:

  1. ¬†Download the Factory Image of Android 4.3 for ‘razor’ Nexus 7 tablet from here.
    > this download contains the full system, bootloader, recovery and kernel boot img files.
  2. Extract the ‘tgz’ factory image archive and place all contents into a single folder.
  3. Next, you will need to edit a file so that your data will not be wiped. If you want to wipe data then you should skip this step.
    > so, edit the ‘flash-all.bat’ for Windows or ‘flash-all.sh’ for Mac / Linux using a text editing tool:
    – you will need to edit the ‘fastboot update’ command so that it will transform from ‘fastboot -w update image-razor-jss15j.zip’ into ‘fastboot update image-razor-jss15j.zip’. You will basically need to delete the ‘-w’ text, which is the command that tells fastboot to wipe data from your device.
    – continue to the next step when you’re sure that the ‘-w’ text has been removed.
  4. Now, power off your Nexus 7 2013 tablet.
  5. Boot it into Bootloader Mode.
  6. Connect it with your computer via USB cable.
  7. Run the ‘flash-all’ script and wait for the factory image to be successfully installed.

That’s it, now your device has been restored to stock Android 4.3 ROM using a factory image file.

The tutorial above has installed a factory stock recovery for your device, but if you want to flash a custom one such as TWRP Recovery, then you can easily follow the info below and learn how to install TWRP Recovery and then Root your Nexus 7 2013 with it. Here’s how to do it:

  • Download the TWRP Recovery file from here.
  • Place the image file in Fastboot folder.
  • Power off the device, then boot into Bootloader mode.
  • Run a command prompt in Fastboot folder and connect the Nexus 7 Wifi with your PC.
  • Enter the following command line and press Enter to flash TWRP: fastboot flash recovery¬†openrecovery-twrp-
  • Boot your device into normal mode and disconnect the device from PC.
  • Next, Download SuperSU from here.
  • Copy the SuperSU zip to your device’s internal SDcard.
  • Disconnect the tablet from PC and then boot the tablet into Recovery Mode.
  • Flash the SuperSU zip using TWRP.
  • When done return to the normal Nexus 7 home screen and go to Play Store to update SuperSU.

That’s it, you’ve completed the root process. For extra info or in case you need any additional help, use the comments field below.

Google Nexus 7 2013 Articles