Guide To Install Ubuntu Touch On Nexus 7 2013

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How to install Ubuntu Touch on Nexus 7 2013

Ubuntu Touch images are finally available for Nexus 7 2013 WiFi model (code named Flo) and I just installed it on my Nexus. If you are eager to experience Ubuntu Touch, I’ll show you how to install Ubuntu Touch on Nexus 7 2013 WiFi.

This tutorial was performed on a Dell Inspiron 14.10 running Ubuntu 13.10, Nexus 7 2013 WiFi Flo. The steps followed were mentioned on the official Ubuntu Touch installation page. I am rewriting it to make it more simple and easy to follow, specially for beginners.

Lets check some of the prerequisite before proceeding to install Ubuntu Touch:

  • A computer running Linux (preferably Ubuntu).
  • Nexus 7 2013 and a USB cable.
  • Internet connection.

Please note that the following the steps here will wipe out all the data in your Android device, quite obviously. So, make any backups you want to make beforehand. Now without further delay, lets see how to install Ubuntu Touch.

Install Ubuntu Touch on Nexus 7 2013:

Step 1: Install required tools

You’ll be needing some tools first. Use the following command to install adb:

sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb

Afterwards, install ubuntu-device-flash using the official PPA. For Ubuntu 12.04, use the following PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-sdk-team/ppa

For newer versions such as Ubuntu 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10, use the following PPA followed by the installation of the tool:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:phablet-team/tools
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-device-flash

Once you have installed the tools, lets proceed to next step which is to unlock the bootloader of Nexus 7. If you already have bootloader unlocked, skip to step 3.

Step 2: Unlock the bootloader

Unlocking the bootloader is not a herculean task. You can follow this guide to unlock bootloader of Nexus 7 2013 which has screenshots with clear instructions.

Step 3: Enable debugging mode

Connect the Nexus device to the computer. Now enable USB debugging via Settings > Developer options > USB debugging. If you don’t see the developer options then you need to enable it first by going to Settings > About Tablet and tap the Build number 7 times to see the Developer Options. Here is a screenshot tutorial to help you enable debugging mode in Nexus.

Step 4: Install Ubuntu Touch on Nexus

Make sure that device is recognized. Use the following command:

adb devices

The output should show some device. If it shows offline, it means USB debugging has not been enabled. Make sure that device is not connected in MTP mode.

If the device is recognized correctly, boot in to the bootloader with the command below:

adb reboot bootloader

Your Nexus device will look like the one below when you are in bootloader:

Unlock Nexus 7 2013 bootloader

Once you see the green robot on Nexus device, it’s time to install Ubuntu Touch with the command below:

ubuntu-device-flash --channel=trusty --bootstrap

The output of the above command will be like:

abhishek@itsfoss:~$ ubuntu-device-flash –channel=trusty –bootstrap
2014/03/12 21:29:48 Expecting the device to be in the bootloader… waiting
2014/03/12 21:29:48 Device is |flo|
2014/03/12 21:29:48 Flashing version 229 from trusty channel and server to device flo

It will download around 300 MB of data. Have patience. It takes some time to install it. Once installed, you will boot in to Ubuntu Unity Shell, a familiar boot menu for Ubuntu users. In here choose the first option. It will provide you with the following question:

root access possibly lost. Fix?


Use volume up and down button to select +++Go back+++. Now the device will reboot again. You’ll see Google logo and may be 4 bouncing colored balls. Wait for some time. You’ll see the familiar purple screen soon. It will then followed by a little tour to familiarize with the OS.

That’s it. I hope you find this guide helpful to install Ubuntu Touch in Nexus 7 2013. Stay tuned for more Ubuntu Touch related articles. Any questions are suggestions are always welcomed.

  • Mark Rich

    Which version of Trusty will be installed? Will this be the daily build in which case should we do this often?

    • Abhishek Prakash

      You can update it in Nexus via Updater.

  • Pingback: Restore Android Factory Image In Nexus 7 2013 In Linux()

  • Patrick Davidson

    Sorry, what is Nexus 7 2013? I’m familiar with the tablet, but not the 2013 aspect. You mean a Nexus 7 made in 2013? So not the current Nexus 7 sold at say Costco for $200 in June of 2014? I’m confused.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      The first Nexus 7 tab was released in 2012. And the second one in 2013. There is no third one as of now. The term Nexus 7 2013 is used for Nexus 7-2.

  • Sem B. E.

    Is this valid using 14.04 ?

    • Sem B. E.

      Cannot cleanup /cache/recovery/ to ensure clean deploymentexit status 255

      • Abhishek Prakash

        Sorry.. your comment got buried among numerous others. Sounds like you have not enabled debugging mode. Can you give full error message?

        • Anand

          I get the same error. What Sem B. E. has mentioned is the complete error.
          This is not a debugging mode issue as that step has been done.

        • Sem B. E.

          Your too. LOL. I`m now on Android L. 😀

  • Minto Kumar

    I have Xperia U. Could you post the instruction for it?

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Unfortunately I don’t have access to Xperia. Moreover, Ubuntu Touch images are available for Nexus devices only.

  • royalmcmaster

    I did this wrong the first time, and now when I click the first option it reboots into stock Kitkat. Is there anyway to fix this?