Lollipopping my KitKat

Lollipopping my KitKat

This is something of an update to a post I wrote a few months back about unbricking my Nexus 4. I did end up getting it working in the end, if you’d like to just directly skip to that post instead.

Updating my Nexus 4

I noticed since Google rolled out with the new Lollipop 5.0 update, my Nexus 4 (still running the old Paranoid Android ROM, KitKat 4.4) would chew up my data plans. Like just today I went through a whole gigabyte. Ouch. After letting this go on for a few months and just learning to live only by WiFi, I finally came along a forum post that explained it all. Quickly, my phone was constantly trying to upgrade to Android 5.0 but, running a custom ROM, would just download the ~150MB update, fail to install it, delete it, and then try again. And again. And again. So I decided to not wait for the official Paranoid Android 5.0 release and just flash the Alpha version right away, to save big on data at the very least.

This initially seemed a super easy task: first, make sure you do a backup of your current system. I used Team Win Recovery Project. Then download the ROM and GApps and transfer them to your phone’s SD card via USB, in the main directory. Next, turn off your phone and boot it into Recovery Mode. In the TWRP menu that opens select “Wipe” and then swipe to Factory Reset. This done, return to the main menu and select “Install”. Navigate to the bottom of the list and install your ROM first, then GApps next. Now reboot and you shouuuld be done…


During my initial process, I was told my device wasn’t rooted, and then asked if I wanted to install SuperSU. I did. Everything seemed to work upon booting, so I tried to manually delete previous backups I had made via USB docking to my laptop. After this whole process, I noticed a few bugs (eg: photos and screenshots weren’t recorded, I wasn’t able to manually drag and drop files to or from my device via USB, I couldn’t properly download Threema from their store). So I redid this entire process, this time ignoring the prompt to install SuperSU. The same bugs were present.

… so I performed the whole process yet again, this time also performing an advanced wipe on both the cache and Dalvik Cache (as suggester here), and installing SuperSU when prompted. This somewhat cleared the photo problem… I was able to drag photos from my device to my computer and to manually delete them from my Nexus 4 via USB, but they still wouldn’t show up in my phone’s Gallery.

I then installed, re-installed, and re-reinstalled everything in all sorts of orders and configurations, with many tweaks here and there. Ultimately, GApps just stopped installing, so I took a break from it all. Thank goodness for my backups!

Final decision

I opted for waiting for the non-Alpha Paranoid Lollipop release. After dedicating two days to reviewing forums I just didn’t have any more time to dedicate to this issue. Until then, I’ll continue running Paranoid Android 4.4.4, which I think is the latest (and last) version of KitKat, and will simply restrict Google Play services from running on data. This isn’t ideal as I’ll have to open the majority of my chatting apps to check for messages (their notifications get blocked under these settings), but this in itself isn’t a tragedy.

Going forward, I will also ensure I have the latest TWRP and SuperSUs installed.The TWRP was quite easy to update: I downloaded the ROM Installer app from the Play store, then clicked on “Flash Recovery” in the main menu and selected the latest version (though I will likely uninstall ROM Installer because it keeps requesting superuser access…).

SuperSU was also easy: I downloaded it from the Play store, and then updated it by granting it superuser access when prompted. I then rebooted my device directly from SuperSU and made a backup. This way I at least don’t have to worry about entering some godforsaken bootloop limbo as in the post that started this whole adventure. Oh what a pain that was.

Update: After much effort, I finally got it working!

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