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Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, and Nexus 9: What You Need to Know

About a month ago, in a press event held in San Francisco, Google launched the final version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, two new Nexus phones, a new Chromecast, and a premium Pixel C Tablet. The company’s officials said that Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, and Nexus 9 will be pushed to users a week after the announcement, but there are still many owners who didn’t receive the update.

It’s worth reminding that as of last year Google has a different approach with new software updates. In the past years, Google used to release two major Android updates per year – one early summer and the other mid-fall. Beginning with Lollipop, Google only releases one incremental update pear year. The update is introduced to the public in the summer at I/O, then it gets through testing phase for a few months as Developer Preview, then it’s finally made available for download in the fall. Of course, the devices belonging to the Nexus line-up are the first to get the new update.

Unsurprisingly, Google followed the same release schedule for Marshmallow. The Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, and Nexus 9 was made available as factory image soon after the late-September event, then the over-the-air update started to spread to users.

As the norm is with new software updates, Google is rolling out Android 6.0 in phases, meaning it will take a while until the new firmware is pushed to all users. Moreover, the ETA varies with region, carrier, and device model. As you may already know, when the servers pushed the update to your terminal a message should appear in the notifications panel letting you know that a system update is pending. Tap on the notification, choose ‘Download now’, wait until the download is completed, then hit ‘Install now’. Your device should reboot and automatically install the update. For a manual check head to Settings > About device > System updates > Check for update. Because the update file could exceed 600-700 MB we are recommending you to download it through Wi-Fi. Also make sure that you have at least 50% battery, so your device won’t turn off during the installation.

In case the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, and Nexus 9 hasn’t been pushed to your device, you can skip the waiting and install it right away. There are a couple of options available: you can flash a factory image or sideload an OTA ZIP.

If you have a history of flashing factory images on your Nexus device, then installing Android 6.0 Marshmallow shouldn’t give you any headaches. You know the drill! After you download the factory image compatible with your device from Google’s Developer website here, install the latest Android SDK version and check whether the Google USB drivers are working. Now extract the factory image to the ‘platform tools’ folder, put your device in Fastboot Mode, hook it to the PC via USB, and run the ‘flash-all.bat’ script. Don’t forget that all the data on your device will be wiped if you use this method. This is the method you would want to use if you are running a custom ROM or if you want a fresh Marshmallow install.

More details about the installation of Android 6.0 Marshmallow using a factory image can be found in the update section of our website. The tutorial on how to install Android 6.0 factory image on Nexus 5 is here, while the tutorial for Nexus 6 is here. Owners of Nexus 7 2013 WiFi and nexus 7 2013 LTE can find help here and here, while the owners of Nexus 9 WiFi and Nexus 9 LTE will find the tutorials here and here helpful.

The OTA ZIP method is more straightforward and it makes use of the ADB sideload command. However, this will only work for the devices that run the latest official Android build. As I was mentioning above, if you run a custom ROM or if you tinkered with the OS in any way you must use the factory image method. After you have successfully downloaded the OTA ZIP file for your Nexus device, rename it to ‘update.zip’, move it to ‘platform tools’, boot into Recovery Mode, go to ‘apply update from adb’, connect your device to the PC, open a terminal window and write ‘adb sideload update.zip’ command. Your data will not be erased using this method.

For detailed information on how to use the OTA ZIPs to install Android 6.0 Marshmallow on your terminal hit the tutorials in the update section. The tutorial for Nexus 5 can be found here, while the ones for Nexus 6 and T-Mobile Nexus 6 are here and here. If you own a Nexus 7 WiFi or Nexus 7 LTE you will find help here and here, while the Nexus 9 WiFi and Nexus 9 LTE owners should take a look here and here.

The Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, and Nexus 9 might not be as big as the jump to Lollipop, but it still arrives with a plethora of new features. One of the most talked new features is the granular app permissions system which allows apps to ask for permissions only when they need to access them. So far, apps have asked for all permissions to be granted at installation. How does it work? Let’s say that you are using Whatsapp and you want to send a voice message. The app will ask you to access the mic and it will remember your choice.

The new software update also brings On Tap functionality to Google Now. Google Now On Tap is capable of giving you contextual information within any apps. For example you have received an email from a fried who asks you to book a room at a certain restaurant. You can launch Google Now On Tap (long-press the Home button) and it will scan the contents of the screen and give you information about that restaurant such as contact info, directions, open hours, price range, reviews, and more.

Android 6.0 is also set to improve the battery life of devices with Doze mode. When not used for a while, apps will enter a deep sleep state with limited network access and sync. However, apps can still send and receive notifications.

The Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, and Nexus 9 brings Deep Linking. When this feature is embedded by developers in their apps, your device will now what apps to use for opening specific links. For example, when you click an Instagram link, it automatically opens the Instagram app minimizing the number of times you see that annoying app selector.

The new system update also supports automatic app data backup. Your app data, settings, and game saves are backed up to Google Dive every 24 hours, but you are limited to 25 MP per app. Automatic data backup can be turned off on a per-app basis or system wide.

Android 6.0 also brings more customization options for Quick Settings. New tiles an now be added to Quick Settings, you can remove tiles, or you can change their position by dragging them around. After you enable the System UI tuner (long-press the Settings icon in Quick Settings until a little wrench appears next to it) you can select the icons that appear in the status bar.

The Nexus devices don’t come with microSD support, but I must remind you that in Marshmallow you can set SD cards as default storage. The new update also comes with an improved Storage Manager that has a built-in file explorer, along with an improved RAM manager that has the ability to show average and maximum RAM usage for apps. In Lollipop, Google debuted Heads-up notifications. In Marshmallow you can disable them for individual apps or for all apps at once.

The new update also comes with an enhanced Phone Dialer app which has a tweaked UI with more icons and more functionality. There is also improved functionality for the Contacts app as you can now select multiple contacts then merge, delete, or share them at once. Do Not Disturb Mode also got better with custom rules and the ability to choose which events can get past it.

Android 6.0 brings slight UI changes for the Share Menu and Direct Share feature. The Share Menu has a cleaner interface capable of display more apps at once and Direct Share is capable of showing your frequently used contacts at the top of the share menu.

Have you installed the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, and Nexus 9 on your device? How is the update treating you? The comments section below is all yours.