The original model of the Google Nexus 7, which was released way back in 2012, is currently running on Android Lollipop OS. Unfortunately, due to hardware limitations, the 2012 Nexus 7 will not receive the new Marshmallow update, so you will be stuck on Lollipop by default. Now, I know that many users reported major problems while using the Android 5.0 firmware (several bugs, major lags and so on) so a new update might resolve all these issues.
But, how to obtain a stable Android software (without downgrading to a previous Android built) if Google isn’t planning to release new OTAs for its first Nexus 7 device? Well, that’s easy: you can use an Android 6.0 Marshmallow based custom ROM software.
Of course, in order to make a real upgrade you will have to choose a stable Marshmallow firmware as you don’t want to be stuck on another buggy ROM. So, that’s why during the following lines I will tell you which are the best Android 6.0 custom ROMs that are currently available for your own 2012 WiFi Google Nexus 7.
Do note that all the ROMs listed below aren’t official. All the firmwares are developed by third party devs and are only based on the stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow system. In fact, each update represents a free aftermarket distribution of Android OS which shouldn’t be associated in any matter with Google or with Asus. Thus, bottom line, you are going to apply an unofficial Android update on your Google Nexus 7.
Unfortunately, completing such an operation implies in losing the warranty of your tablet. So, if the warranty is still valid, now it will be void. That’s why, I recommend you to learn which are the most common Android related issues and how to manually troubleshoot them; as starting from now taking your tablet back to service will imply in paying for the future technical assistance.
Also do note that a custom ROM can be installed only in certain conditions – being an unofficial update it can run only on unlocked devices (the ROM must customize, optimize and modify in built settings, features, apps and processes). Therefore, before choosing one of the custom ROMs mentioned below, root your Nexus 7 and install a custom recovery image on your tablet (I recommend you to use CWM or TWRP recovery). If the root access must be ensured for unlocking your tablet, the custom recovery image will be used on the flashing process.
Now, during the update operation you will have to hard reset your device and you will need to clear its app data cache - else, the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS will not run properly. So, due to same considerations, you must now backup your Google Nexus 7. By syncing your data or by using other backup and restore procedures you should store your personal data, info and accounts including your contacts, texts, images, videos, audio files, market apps, internet settings, IMEI / NVRAM data, calendar info, saved passwords and anything else you might use afterwards.
Along with the classic backup operation you should also save the current firmware that powers your tablet. You see, since we are talking about unofficial updates, you can risk in getting stuck with a buggy firmware that isn’t on your taste. So, with the Nandroid backup you can save, and restore if needed, the software that currently runs on your device.
Good; now let’s see which are the best Android 6.0 Marshmallow custom ROMs that you can use on your 2012 Google Nexus 7 WiFi (in the end I will also show you how to install these updates, so read all the guidelines from below).
Best Android 6.0 Marshmallow Custom ROMs available for 2012 Google Nexus 7 WiFi
The new release of CyanogenMod brings the CM 13 custom ROM into our consideration. The firmware is based on stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow and brings all the new features, apps and capabilities on the Google Nexus 7. Unfortunately, the official CM13 isn’t yet available for the Nexus 7 which means that you can only use a ported version of the same ROM – thus, thus update is developed by those of xda-developers and not by the CyanogenMod team. For now the ROM comes with a major bug related to the camera app – you can read further info here, from where you can also download the ROM.
Twisted Android Project
Another interesting Android 6.0 M update available for the 2012 Google Nexus 7 is the Twisted Android Project. The firmware is not yet fully stable so you might experience a few minor bugs and other software related issues – users already reported a problem with the Camera FC when using HDR mode in Google Camera. Here is the developer page from where you can also download the update.
A clean Marshmallow firmware to use on your Nexus 7 is the Pure AOSP software. The ROM comes without bloatware or any other factory related restriction and can ensure a pure Android M experience on your tablet. The software is stable and will smoothly run on your device. You can get it from here.
The classic AOSP platform is also available and compatible with the original Google Nexus 7. The ROM is stable and will come with great features, apps and capabilities. The official developer webpage can be accessed here – there you can read more about this software and you can also get it on your own device.
Pure Nexus Project
Based on AOSP Android 6.0 Marshmallow firmware, the Pure Nexus Project might be exactly what you need. It is a clean system that will ensure a great battery life and improved speeds for your 2012 Google Nexus 7. You can read more about it here.
Still under development stage, Unofficial Krexus can ensure a stable Marshmallow experience on your Nexus 7. The firmware requires SuperSU in addition, but it comes with some important features that can optimize the performances of your tablet. You can give it a try by accessing this page.
Omni ROM is an extremely popular firmware as it features essential capabilities and apps that can improve the Android experience. Moreover, with this ROM you can now optimize and customize the performances of your Nexus 7, so you might have all the reasons for testing it. You can download OmniROM for Google Nexus 7 from here.
How to install an Android 6.0 Marshmallow custom ROM on the 2012 Google Nexus 7 WiFi
- Download the ROM from above and get compatible Google Apps package (you can get Google Apps from here).
- Save both files on your computer – place them on desktop if that’s possible.
- Charge your tablet before resuming the steps from below – plug in the charger if the power left is currently lower than 60%.
- Enable USB Debugging on your Nexus 7 – head towards “menu – settings – about phone” and tap several times on Built Number for gaining Developer Rights and then access “menu – settings – developer options” and check the USB Debugging field.
- Connect your tablet with your computer with the help of the USB cable.
- Transfer the downloaded files from your PC, to your device.
- Unplug the USB cord and power off your handset.
- Reboot recovery mode on your Android device.
- From recovery select “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
- Return to main menu of recovery and select “Install”; then pick the firmware file.
- Also pick the Google Apps package.
- Resume the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update process by following on screen prompts.
- When done, from main menu of recovery select “reboot system now”.
So, those are the best Android 6.0 Marshmallow based custom ROMs currently available for the original model of the Google Nexus 7 WiFi. Do tell us if you tried one of these updates and also share your results with us and with other users by using the comments field from down below.