How to install Android 4.4 KitKat on your Nexus 4 right now

Android 4.4 on the Nexus 4As most of you already know, Google just released the latest update to its Android operating system, version 4.4 KitKat, which adds a bunch of new features and changes and is currently exclusive to the all new Nexus 5. Google has stated that the Nexus 4 will receive an over the air update to Android 4.4 in the coming weeks, but there is an option available for those of you who are adventurous and don’t feel like waiting for KitKat’s official release date.

Android 4.4 KitKat has already been released to developers and an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) custom build has been created for the Nexus 4. I’ve already installed this custom ROM and have been using it for over a day now, with no serious issues other than non-working GPS. This custom firmware will take your Nexus 4 (Model E960) from Android 4.3 Jelly Bean to AOSP Android 4.4 KitKat and is suitable for use as your daily driver in my opinion. Of course, only as long as you do not depend on using GPS from your phone, which I don’t.

The software works so well that I figured I would write up a quick tutorial on how to install the AOSP Android 4.4 KitKat on to the Nexus 4. Although this is an easy task to accomplish in my opinion and it is very hard to screw up a Nexus device, the usual disclaimer applies here folks. I’m not responsible if you follow the process I’m about to outline below and damage your phone in some way. With that said, let’s get on with it.


Before you begin, you will need to have the drivers for the Nexus 4 correctly installed and working on your PC. For this, I highly recommend using WugFresh’s Nexus Root Toolkit. It makes installing the required drivers so much easier and will also flash the custom recovery files for us as well root your Nexus 4.

You will need to have your Nexus 4 rooted with the ClockworkMod recovery installed for the remaining steps of this tutorial. There is a ton of information out there about rooting the Nexus 4 and flashing custom recoveries, so I’m not going to cover all of that here. Instead, go out and learn how to root your Nexus 4 and install ClockworMod recovery and come back to this tutorial once you do.

Also, before moving past this point, boot into your custom recovery and perform a full Nandroid backup of your Nexus 4. This process will wipe every drop of data from your device. So be sure you have a current backup before proceeding.

How to install install Android 4.4 KitKat on the Nexus 4

Step 1: You will need to download two files. The first is the Android 4.4 AOSP ROM itself and the second is an installer package for the Google applications. The ROM and Gapps I used came from Paranoid Android.

Download Android 4.4 AOSP ROM

Download Android 4.4 Google Apps

Step 2: Once the files have finished downloading, you can go ahead and connect your Nexus 4 to your PC using a USB cable and transfer over both downloaded files to internal storage. ATTENTION! – Do not extract the Zip files. They need to be transferred over as Zip files for this to work! Once the files have finished transferring, you can disconnect the USB cable.

Step 3: Boot into recovery. This is performed by first powering off the Nexus 4 then turning it back on by pressing and holding down the power and volume down buttons at the same time. This will cause the Nexus 4 to boot into bootloader mode and you should see an Android dude laying on his back. From the bootloader screen, you need to press the volume up button until you see the “Recovery mode” option appear at the top of the screen. Once you do, press the power button to select the highlighted option and you’ll be brought into CWM recovery mode.  At this point, you can perform a backup if you haven’t already. DO NOT skip this step.

Step 4: Using CWM recovery, perform a Factory Reset by selecting the option and hitting yes on the next screen. Warning, this will remove all of your personal data from the phone, including your settings and game progress.

Step 5: Wipe the cache by selecting it and confirming on the next screen.

Step 6: In CWM recovery, select the “Advanced” option. On the new screen that opens, select “Wipe Dalvik Cache” and confirm the step in the new screen that will open.

Step 7: Now you will actually need to install the two files we transferred over earlier. This is performed by going back in CWM until you see the option: Install Zip. Once you’ve found that, click on it and select install for SD card. That will open another screen which will allow you to navigate to where you placed the ROM file we downloaded earlier.

Locate the ROM file ( and select it to flash it onto your Nexus 4.

Step 8: Now that the ROM has been flashed, you’ll need to flash the Google apps Zip file. The process works the same exact way as before. Just go to “Install Zip” – select from “SD card” and navigate to the Gapps files (

Step 9: Once the ROM and Gapps have been installed, go back through the CWM recovery menu options until you see the “reboot system now” option. Select it and your Nexus 4 will reboot running the newly flashed Android 4.4 OS.

Keep in mind, this first boot up will take a bit longer than usual.

Step 10: Enjoy AOSP Android 4.4 KitKat. That is it, you’re done installing KitKat on your Nexus 4. At this point, you can boot back into recovery and restore the Data portion of the full backup we created earlier. Doing this will bring back your applications and make the device a bit more like it was before.


Will you be performing this on your Nexus 4? If so, let us know in the comments. Also, feel free to ask for assistance if you need any.