Buying a Nexus device will always ensure you timely software updates, but once your Nexus device gets a bit older, that rule is no longer set in stone. Google has recently launched the Android 4.4 update, but the Galaxy Nexus will not receive it. The reason for this is because the smartphone in question falls outside of the 18-month update window established by the search engine giant.

The good news is that you can still experience the Android 4.4 OS on your Galaxy Nexus, as long as you're willing to install custom ROMs. CyanogenMod has recently started releasing "nightly" CM 11 builds for the SG Nexus, and this guide will show you how you can download and install the latest nightly build on your device.

Keep in mind that, while this is an official CyanogenMod release, it's not an official Google / Samsung update. Also, since this is a "nightly" build, this means that you may encounter certain bugs. On the bright side, "nightlies" are being released on a daily basis and as such, CyanogenMod will release bug fixes and improved builds that you can apply in a timely manner.


  • This guide is valid only for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM maguro). Do not attempt to apply this guide on any other device or Galaxy Nexus variant
  • In order to successfully complete this guide, you will need to have a rooted Galaxy Nexus that uses the latest version of CWM Recovery. TWRP might work as well, but it is recommended that you use CWM
  • During the installation process you will need to factory reset your smartphone. Create backups if necessary
  • You can use the "Helium" application to backup app data
  • In order to backup messages, you can use the "SMS backup & restore" application
  • The "APN Settings Backup & Reset" app will allow you to backup your APN Internet settings
  • Your contacts can be (and should be) backed up onto your Gmail account. Just sync your contacts with your account
  • This guide includes instructions on how to perform a NANDROID backup
  • Before proceeding, make sure that your smartphone has at least 60% battery life. It's crucial that your device will not remain out of juice during the installation process
  • You'll need to enable "USB Debugging". To do so, go to "Settings" > "About phone" and tap "Build number" several times to make the "Developer Options" menu visible. Then, go back to "Settings", tap "Developer Options" > "Debugging "and enable "USB Debugging"
  • This is an advanced guide. In case anything goes wrong (like phone bricking / damaging or data loss) you can't hold the developers or anyone else responsible
  • Don't skip any steps

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM): Installing Android 4.4 CM 11 Nightly using CWM Recovery:

  1. Download the necessary CM 11 nightly zip by visiting this link. Make sure you download the latest available nightly build
  2. Since CM 11 does not include Google apps, you need to download a separate Gapps zip file by visiting this link
  3. Connect your smartphone to your computer via USB. (Make sure USB Debugging is enabled)
  4. Copy both zip files onto your phone's internal storage. Don't unzip the files!
  5. Once the transfer is complete, disconnect your smartphone and turn it off
  6. Reboot your Galaxy Nexus in CWM recovery mode. To do so, press and hold the "Volume Up", "Volume Down" and "Power" buttons at the same time. Once the bootloader menu appears, release the buttons and use the "Volume" keys to navigate to "Recovery". With "Recovery" highlighted, press the "Power" button to enter CWM recovery
  7. In the main CWM screen, navigate to "backup & restore" and create a NANDROID backup. This will create a restore point of your current ROM. This will allow you to return to your current ROM later on, if you need to
  8. After the ROM backup, you will need to wipe the handset's memory. Go to "data wipeout / factory reset" and confirm. NOTE: you can skip this step if your SG Nexus already runs on an earlier, official CM 11 nightly build
  9. Now go back to the recovery menu and select "install zip from SD card" > "choose zip from SD card"
  10. Browse for the CM 11 zip that you have downloaded at step 1, and flash it on your device
  11. You will now need to flash the Gapps zip as well. Select "install zip from SD card" again, and browse for the Gapps zip
  12. Once both files have been flashed, select "+++Go Back+++" to return to the main recovery menu
  13. Select "Reboot system now". NOTE: the first time you reboot in normal mode (after applying the CM 11 ROM) can take a while. Be patient and don't press any buttons. If the process does not complete in 10 minutes, or if your handset is stuck in a boot loop, then you'll need to restart the entire process without skipping any steps
  14. Congratulations! You can now restore your contacts and data

NOTE: if you wish to return to your previous ROM, you can use the NANDROID backup to do so. Simply reboot in CWM recovery mode as explained above and select "backup & recovery"

See More: Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM): Install Android 4.4 KitKat CM 11 Nightly (Official CyanogenMod Release)