How to install the Marshmallow OTA on your Nexus device


Android 6.0 Marshmallow is finally here, and it’s brought with it dozens of cool features! Google is rolling out the over-the-air (OTA) update right now, but chances are you don’t want to endure the wait that could be several weeks to get the latest version of Android on your Nexus device.

Good news, folks! We’re going to show you how to download and install the OTA update. If you want to install via the factory images, we’ll have a complete guide on that up very soon.

Setting things up

In pushing the OTA update to your Nexus device, you shouldn’t lose any data in the process; however, the improbable is not impossible.

Next, you’re going to need ADB and Fastboot downloaded and installed on your computer. If you’re a Windows user, all you need to download is Minimal ADB and Fastboot. If you’re running Linux or Mac, you’ll need to grab them from the Android SDK itself. We’ve got steps outlined for both processes below.

Installing Minimal ADB and Fastboot:

  • Download Minimal ADB and Fastboot from the XDA Developer Forums
  • Open the downloaded file
  • When prompted, install to C:\android-sdk\platform-tools

It’s a quick and simple process. If you didn’t install to the recommended directory, just be sure to remember the location you saved the files in.

Downloading the Android SDK:

  • You’ll need to download the Android SDK Tools from Google. The Android Developers website primarily advertises the Android Studio package, but you can just get the Android SDK Tools at the bottom of the page for your desired operating system.
  • Follow the wizard and install to C:\android-sdk
  • Launch the SDK Manager
  • Unselect all packages except for Android SDK Platform-tools and Google USB driver
  • Install your packages.

You’re good to go! Now we just need the OTA zip file for your specific Nexus device.

Getting the OTA Zip file

One quick note: some devices are getting their October security updates. You’ll need to download those before proceeding with Marshmallow. You can follow the same steps in this guide to apply them, you’ll just need go to through this guide twice–one for the security update, and another for Marshmallow.

Nexus 5 (hammerhead)


Nexus 5X (bullhead)


Nexus 6P (angler)




Nexus 6 (shamu)




Nexus 7 (2013) WiFi (razor)

Nexus 7 (2013) LTE (razorg)


Nexus 9 WiFi (voltanis)


Nexus 9 LTE (voltanisg)


Nexus Player (fugu)


Note: We’ll be sure to update this post with any new OTA links when available.

Preparing to flash

The first step is to go into your device’s Settings menu and enable USB debugging in Developer Options near the bottom of the menu. If you don’t see Developer Options anywhere in your Settings, Google has some documentation on how to make them visible:

To access these settings, open the Developer options in the system Settings. On Android 4.2 and higher, the Developer options screen is hidden by default. To make it visible, go to Settings > About phone and tap Build number seven times. Return to the previous screen to find Developer options at the bottom.

If you went the route of installing Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you’ll need to follow this process:

  • Download the official Google USB Driver from the Android Developer website.
  • Install the USB Drivers
  • Remember the location of the drivers after extracting the .zip file.

Now, we’re ready to plug the device in. Connect it via USB cable, and if this is the first time you’ve connected it to your computer, you might get an RSA prompt on your Nexus device. Just check the “Always allow for this computer” box, select OK, and we’re good to go.

Installing the OTA update

Preliminary instructions for Mac users:

These instructions are intended for Windows users, however, getting them to work on a Mac is very similar. The only real differences is that you’ll need to open Terminal on Mac (as opposed to Command Prompt) and add a “./” in front of the commands you type in Terminal. Additionally, you’ll need to add the platform tools to your $PATH directory on Mac.

The process is simple:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Type sudo nano/etc/paths
  3. Enter your password
  4. Type in the path of your platform tools directory
  5. Hit control-x on your keyboard to quit and to save the changes

You should now be able to follow the flashing instructions below without any issues on Mac. Just be sure to remember to add that “./” in front of your Terminal commands.

Flashing instructions:

  1. With your computer connected to your Nexus device via USB and USB debugging enabled, you’ll need to restart in fastboot mode. You can type “adb reboot bootloader” in Command Prompt without the quotation marks to do this. Alternatively, you can use your device’s hardware commands.
  2. You should see the fastboot menu. Start should be at the top right of the screen. Just press Volume Up until you see it change to recovery. Then, press the power button to select it.
  3. An Android with a red exclamation point will appear. Press and hold the power key and then the volume up key to bring the Recovery Menu to the forefront.
  4. Now, find the apply update from adb option and select it with the Power button.
  5. Next, go back to your computer, and in Command Prompt (or Terminal) type “adb sideload” replacing “yourfilenamehere” with the actual file name. Remember to remove the quotation marks from the command as well.

Congratulations! The update should begin to install, and once it’s done, all you need to do is reboot. Welcome to Marshmallow!


After all is said and done, Marshmallow should be successfully installed on your device! The update has been a long time coming, and you should see all sorts of cool improvements.

Have you installed Marshmallow? How do you like it? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.