Flashing LineageOS 14.1 to a Nexus 7 (2012)

The Nexus 7 (2012) ended with a terrible update that made the tablet basically unusable. I will cover the steps I took in flashing LineageOS to my wife’s old Nexus 7.

These steps aren’t high quality instructions. I wanted to capture my general steps and be able to retrace my path if needed. Feel free to ask any questions.

My first step was to realize that I actually had the 2012 version of the device instead of the 2013 one. The 2012 one is lacking a rear facing camera, so that’s how you can tell them apart.

Device codenames

These are the codenames used to refer to the devices. This will be helpful if you need to Google search for anything.

  • Nexus 7 (2013) — Flo
  • Nexus 7 (2012) — Grouper

Key concepts

  • Bootloader — Responsible for starting the device
  • Recovery — A primitive recovery console for your device
  • ROM — The main system software, which is not modifiable

Installation steps

I loosely followed the LineageOS instructions for the Nexus 7 (2013) substituting for the Nexus 7 (2012) downloads.

Setting up your system

Download ADB and fastboot. Here’s LineageOS’s guide. Just download the zip, and unzip it. Don’t worry about adding it to your environment.

Unlocking the bootloader

Boot into the bootloader by holding the power and volume down button while powering on the device.

Verify that your PC can find the device by typing: fastboot devices

Unlock the bootloader by typing: fastboot oem unlock

Restart the device, booting back into the bootloader for the next step.

Installing a custom recovery

Download the latest TWRP for grouper.

Boot into the bootloader.

Verify that your PC can find the device by typing: fastboot devices

Flash the custom recovery by typing: fastboot flash recovery twrp-*-grouper.img

Reboot into bootloader again, then boot into recovery. TWRP should launch. If it doesn’t you may have the wrong TWRP image for your device. I did this using the flo version myself. You just have to re-flash the right image again.

Finding and downloading a ROM

There aren’t any officially supported ROMs at this time (Feb. 2019), and I doubt there’ll ever be one at this point.

You can find ROMs in the XDA forums for the Nexus 7. I went with LineageOS 14.1. Download it or any other ROM you want to try.

Downloading Google Apps

Go to https://opengapps.org/ and select the following for your download:

  • Platform: ARM
  • Android: 7.1 (for LineageOS 14.1)
  • Variant: pico (needed due to small system partition size)

Installing the ROM

Create a backup of your device if you want using TWRP. Copy to your PC since it will be wiped in a later step.

Wipe the Data, Cache, and System partitions using the Wipe tool.

Sideload the LineageOS .zip package:

  1. On the device, select Advanced, ADB Sideload and swipe to begin.
  2. On your PC, sideload the package using: adb sideload lineage-*.zip
  3. Sideload Google Apps using: adb sideload open_gapps-arm-7.1-pico-*.zip

References


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