The Galaxy Nexus launched in the year 2011 and was Samsung’s last Nexus smartphone. Packing quite decent specs, the device received a total of three major Android updates from Google. It was launched with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box and was later upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and finally Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. But of course, being a Google Nexus device, the Galaxy Nexus received great attention from the developers on XDA developers forum. As a result of which, the Galaxy Nexus owners have been consistently enjoying multiple custom ROMs based on the latest Android versions. While Google discontinued software support for the smartphone with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the smartphone currently has multiple custom ROMs available that are based on the latest Android Lollipop version.
The most popular Android 5.1 Lollipop ROM for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus seems to be the Unofficial CyanogenMod 12.1 Beta ROM from XDA senior member Ziyan. The developer of the ROM is quite active and has been coming out with new builds of the ROM on a regular basis, with each new build of the ROM offering a more stable experience. Currently the ROM is in Beta, so there are a few bugs that need to be addressed. The main bugs with the ROM as of now are no animation in off mode charging, and green lines on the edge of recorded videos. However, most of the other functions are working fine, so you should be able to use this ROM as a daily driver without any problems, as long as you can manage with the bugs mentioned earlier. While the offline charging animation bug isn’t likely to affect most users, the green line on the edge of recorded videos is something you should be worried about if you shoot a lot of videos regularly with your smartphone. If you do not, then you can proceed with the tutorial and get your device ready for the installation process.
Our detailed tutorial below will help you prepare your Samsung Galaxy Nexus for the installation process and once your smartphone is ready, we will guide you on how you can flash this Android 5.1.1 Lollipop custom ROM on your device. To ensure a successful installation of this custom ROM, we need you to follow the guide carefully and perform each step exactly as mentioned.
As explained above, our first goal will be to get your Samsung Galaxy Nexus completely prepared for the custom ROM installation. You shouldn’t try to hurry through the installation process and risk your smartphone getting bricked in the process. First off, what you will need to do is get a backup ready of all the important data on your smartphone. You can get this done by downloading and installing a backup and restore app from the Google Play Store. A few highly recommended apps that can be used for backing up your data are Titanium Backup, Helium, and MyBackup. Root access is a requirement when using some of these apps, so you should probably gain root access on your Samsung Galaxy Nexus in case you do not have root access on it already. When the app finishes installing, tap on it and open the app. Now choose everything that you wish to be backed, except for the media files. The media files will not be wiped when performing a full wipe before the custom ROM installation, so you don’t really have to worry about them. When the backup is completed, you need to meet the next requirement for getting this custom ROM installed on your Galaxy Nexus by visiting the guide posted here.
Since the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has been quite popular among the XDA developer community, some of you reading this guide may have unlocked the bootloader of your smartphone in the past to flash AOSP based custom ROMs. If you have not done it yet, you will need to unlock the bootloader of your Samsung Galaxy Nexus before you get to the installation process. The Unofficial CM 12.1 custom ROM being based on AOSP means you can simply not install it on your smartphone without unlocking the bootloader first. A custom recovery is required as well, so we recommend that you install the latest version of TWRP Recovery on your Galaxy Nexus. An older version of TWRP or any other custom recovery should not be used for the installation, so make sure you do update. Root access is something we have discussed earlier as well, so if you didn’t root your device back then, don’t forget to do it now.
When you finish the rooting process, you will have to enable the USB Debugging option under Developer Options in the Settings Menu. This option needs to be enabled since you will be connecting your Galaxy Nexus to the computer in order to transfer the files to the device’s internal memory.
You have almost prepared your Samsung Galaxy Nexus for the installation process, you just need to ensure the smartphone can get through the entire installation process with the remaining battery charge. Usually, it is required that your device’s battery be charged up to the 60% mark at the minimum to be able to safely get you though the entire ROM installation process. If this is not the case, you will have to wait until your smartphone charges and only then should you proceed further.
How to Update Samsung Galaxy Nexus to Android 5.1.1
Lollipop Using Unofficial CM 12.1 Beta ROM
- To kick off the installation process, you will need to first get the ROM ZIP file downloaded to your computer from this link. This file will need to be flashed via recovery in a later step and only then will this custom ROM get installed on your Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Apart from this ROM ZIP file, there is another file that you will need to download to your computer – GAPPS ZIP file, which can be downloaded from this link.
When the two important ZIP files have been successfully downloaded to your computer, the next thing to do is get them both moved to the Galaxy Nexus’ internal memory. Of course, in order to this, you will first need to connect your Samsung Galaxy Nexus to your computer with the USB cable. When the internal storage is connected, you just need to move the two files to the root directory or any folder, it all depends on your preference.
Now unplug your Samsung Galaxy Nexus from the computer and boot it into recovery mode. If you have a custom ROM that allows advanced options in the reboot menu, you can directly choose the reboot to recovery option, if not, you will first have to turn off your smartphone and then boot into recovery.
Before you can flash the custom ROM ZIP file, you will have to perform a full wipe in recovery to ensure a completely clean install of the custom ROM on your Samsung Galaxy Nexus. First select the ‘wipe data factory reset’ option to get a factory reset completed. Then move on to select the ‘advanced options’ in the same menu screen and then wipe system, data, dalvik cache, and cache partitions. When you have finished wiping everything, the full wipe will be complete.
Now let’s flash the custom ROM ZIP and get this Android 5.1.1 Lollipop custom ROM installed on your Samsung Galaxy Nexus. You will have to return to the main recovery menu and then tap on ‘Install zip from SD card’ to choose the ROM ZIP file from your smartphone’s internal memory. After the file is selected, flash the file so that this custom ROM can get installed on your smartphone.
We have now reached the final step in the installation process. The one file that remains to be flashed is the GAPPS ZIP file. That’s exactly what you will need to do in this step. In the main recovery, select ‘Install zip from SD card’ again and choose the GAPPS ZIP. Flash the file so that all the Google apps and services get installed with this custom ROM. When the ZIP file has been flashed, you can reboot your Samsung Galaxy Nexus by selecting ‘reboot system now’ option in recovery.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus is no more a cutting edge smartphone as far as the specifications go, so you will have to be a bit patient when the ROM boots up for the first time. It may take a few minutes for the boot up process to complete.
If you need any help with an issue or bug with this custom ROM after you have installed it on your Samsung Galaxy Nexus, you can contact the developer and other users of this custom ROM at this link.