The HTC Nexus 9 might be running on the pure Android Nougat firmware but that doesn’t mean that there is no room for improvements. If you are an experienced Android user who is always trying to test all that’s new and push his tablet’s performance to the limit, maybe you will want to take a closer look towards the steps from below. There I detailed the Lineage OS release which is now compatible with your very own Google Nexus 9.

The Lineage OS is not the pure Android Nougat software but it is one of the best custom ROMs that can be used on the Android system. Based on the last CyanogenMod 14.1 build, this Lineage OS release is coming to embrace the Google Nexus 9 with various features, apps and capabilities which cannot be found on the stock Android 7.1 platform. Moreover, thanks to various customizations and optimizations this ROM can be personalized depending on what you want to obtain from your tablet.

And the results are quite great. According to the users who are already using this custom ROM on their devices everything is working smoothly and without further problems. With the Lineage OS running the Google Nexus 9 is fast and the battery life is better. The UI is light and secured and you can customize it in various ways. Basically, everything can be changed as your tablet can become your very own playground.

But, the Lineage OS is not an official Android 7.1.2 Nougat update. The ROM cannot be associated with Google and with HTC but with third party devs. Thus, since you will apply an unofficial process, you will also lose your tablet’s warranty. That’s why you should be careful when applying all the steps from this tutorial – messing things up might lead to a soft bricked handset and taking your device back to service will imply in paying for the technical assistance.

And that’s not all. Applying a custom ROM is quite complicated as there are other things that must be performed first. In that matter you must know that the Lineage OS can be flashed only if your HTC Nexus 9 is rooted – so gain root access on your tablet before returning to this step by step guide. Moreover, the actual ROM firmware is offered in form of a .zip file which can be flashed on your tablet only if a custom recovery image can be used. In order to make things work from your first attempt I recommend you to use TWRP recovery as your main custom recovery image.

After completing these two additional procedures you still have to backup your personal files. You see, during the update process from below you will have to make a hard reset and clear app data cache – otherwise, the new Android 7.1.2 Nougat system won’t run properly. Now, the wiping operation will erase everything from your device (you will be left only with the default apps and data). Therefore, for securing what’s personal and important, you have to use your favorite backup and restore solutions in order to place your data in safe hands.

A complex backup solution that you can use can be applied through the custom recovery image – the Nandroid backup operation. This particular backup process can help you save the current Android software that runs on your Google Nexus 9. Afterwards, this Nandroid backup package can be used for making a downgrade process – if, for example, you don’t like how the new and custom Nougat firmware is running on your tablet.

A computer is required and your tablet and its USB cord should be there too. The computer will be helpful as there you will first save the files which will be used during the update operation. Now, on your tablet, the USB Debugging option must be checked. You can verify if that’s happening by accessing “menu - > settings - > developer options”. If Developer Options isn’t shown on your device you have to: go to About Device and tap repeatedly for about 7 or 10 times on Built Number; eventually the ‘you are a developer’ message will be displayed.

Your tablet will get turned off in the middle of the Nougat update operation without any warnings if it will remain out of power. Unfortunately, if that occurs you can end up with a soft bricked handset – various malfunctions can be caused within the Android core system. Therefore, plug in the charger before doing anything else if that’s implied – usually, you have to complete the charging process if the power left is lower than 50%.

How to Update Google Nexus 9 with Android 7.1.2 Lineage OS custom ROM firmware

  1. Power on your computer and enable an Internet connection.
  2. There, preferable on desktop, download and save the Lineage OS (from here) and compatible Google Apps (from here).
  3. Note: Google Apps must be flashed separately because this package is not included by default on the Lineage update file.
  4. Switch on your tablet and establish an USB connection with your computer.
  5. Take the downloaded files from desktop and transfer the files on your tablet.
  6. Then, remove the USB cord and power off your Google Nexus 9 – the computer will no longer be required.
  7. Wait while your handset is being switched off and when done reboot recovery mode on your Android device.
  8. From recovery you have to make a hard reset and to clear app data cache (if the recent transferred files will be erased, after making the hard reset transfer them again); that can be done by selecting: “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
  9. You have to go back to main menu of recovery when that’s done.
  10. From there you now need to tap on Install and to load the Lineage OS package – if TWRP recovery isn’t used, then you will have to select “install zip from SD card” and “choose zip from SD card”.
  11. Wait while the Android 7.1.2 update file is installed on your HTC Nexus 9 and then repeat the last step for applying Google Apps.
  12. When everything is completed select “reboot system now” from main menu of recovery.
  13. Enjoy.

Good job. The Lineage OS is now installed on your Google Nexus 9. So a custom build of Android 7.1.2 Nougat firmware is powering your tablet. In order to make sure that everything is running as expected you should start testing all the new features and apps. You can afterwards share your results with the other user who might want to use this update tutorial by using the comments field which is available from below.

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