I know that Google stopped the official Android support for the 2016 Nexus 7 from a while now but that doesn’t mean that the third party support should be ended too. In fact, those of xda-developers continued to provide Android custom support for this device and basically that’s why you can now experience the latest Android software on your own Google Nexus branded handset. Thus, yes, that’s right: during the following guidelines I am going to show you how to install Android 7.1 Nougat on the 2012 model of the Google Nexus 7.

The software, dubbed as CarbonROM is optimized and customized for the Nexus 7. So, all the main features, apps and capabilities can smoothly run on your tablet. Therefore, the Android 7.1 Nougat software can be safely used on a daily basis. Anyway, since it is a custom ROM and not an official firmware released by Google you might still experiencing minor problems – don’t worry, you can safely use the ROM for completing your daily tasks and for testing everything that’s new in the Android system.

Overall, with the Android 7.1 Nougat ROM installed your Google Nexus 7 2012 should run better and also faster and without bugs or lags. You can speed things up by overclocking CPU frequencies and you can also upgrade the battery life by using built-in settings. You can also remove bloatware, install custom kernels and apps from other sources than Google Play. And you can use features and processes that aren’t included on the default Android platform.

However, you shouldn’t perform the steps from down below without previously making a Nandroid backup. This dedicated backup operation can help you avoid further unpleasant situations. For example, if the CarbonROM will not run as expected you will be able to downgrade your Nexus 7 back to its default Android state – so, during the Nandroid backup you can save the current Android firmware that runs on your tablet.

A custom ROM, such as the present Android 7.1 Nougat software, can be installed only after the internal system of your handset is wiped out. That’s why, during the update process you will have to make a hard reset and clear app data cache. Therefore, making a Nandroid backup is not enough. You also have to save contacts, call logs, texts, images, videos, audio files, market apps, internet settings, the EFS folder, IMEI / NVRAM data, calendar info, saved passwords and anything else you might have to use afterwards. You can complete a general backup by downloading compatible apps from Google Play, by syncing your data with your Google account or by using built-in cloud storage platforms.

The CarbonROM is developed by third party devs and not by Google. In fact it has nothing to do with Google so it should be clear for you that you will be applying an unofficial operation. Since we are talking about a device that was first released in 2012, this aspect shouldn’t matter, but you must know that if you choose to resume the update process from below, you will lose the warranty of your Nexus 7 – if something bad happens, you will be by yourself, meaning that you will have to learn how to manually address possible software related issues such as boot loops, lags, bugs, force close errors, screen freeze, signal strength problems, total blackouts and so on.

Moreover, you can update your Nexus 7 to Android 7.1 Nougat only if your tablet is rooted – thus, the internal Android system must be already unlocked since the new CarbonROM must access and modified existing features and processes. Moreover, a custom recovery image must be installed on your device. Through the custom recovery image (I recommend you to use CWM or TWRP recovery) you can then flash the custom ROM package which will be offered in form of a .zip file.

A computer or a notebook is required – there you will download the files mentioned below. Your tablet and its USB cable must be there as a connection between these two devices must be ensured. On your Nexus 7 enable Developer Options – tap 7 times repeatedly on Built Number; this section can be found under “menu – settings – about device”. Then, check the USB Debugging option by heading towards “menu – settings – developer options”. One last thing must be checked: the battery power remained. If the power left is lower than 50%, plug in the charger before updating to Android 7.1 Nougat – if your 2012 Google Nexus 7 gets switched off while the CarbonROM is flashed, various software related problems can be caused.

How to Update Google Nexus 7 2012 to Android 7.1 Nougat with CarbonROM firmware

  1. From this page download the CarbonROM on your computer.
  2. Then, from here download compatible Google Apps package.
  3. First, save the files on desktop.
  4. Then, connect your Nexus 7 with your computer via USB cable and transfer the downloaded files on your tablet.
  5. When done, remove the USB connection and power off your handset – also, wait while the shut down process is completed.
  6. Reboot recovery mode on your Android device.
  7. A wipe is a must, so you should begin the update process by clearing everything – choose “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
  8. After cleaning up the internal storage space you can finally begin the Android 7.1 Nougat operation.
  9. Thus, select “install zip from SD card” followed by “choose zip from SD card”.
  10. Now pick up the CarbonROM package and install the Nougat software.
  11. After doing so, repeat the last step and flash Google Apps on your Google Nexus 7.
  12. When done, return to main menu of recovery and select “reboot system now”.
  13. That should be all – do note that the last reboot might take a while; just wait while the new Android OS is being loaded.

The Android 7.1 Nougat ROM can be now booted on your Google Nexus 7 2012. Test all the new features and check if there are lags while you try to navigate within different apps and processes. Also, do search for other software related issues. If you find anything, share it with us and with the other users who might want to use this step by step guide – in that respect you can use the comments field from down below.

Alex Coaster · 1 year ago

The Nexus 7 (2012) does not have an SD card slot but the directions say to use the SD card. Please explain.

Zoltán Várnai · 1 year ago

Hi Alex,
Probably you already sorted, but just in case. The device has a built in "SD card" internal memory. Just choose the option and you will see the files.

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