Google Providing Full OTA Images for Nexus Devices
One of the perks of owning a Nexus or Google device is the ability to manually upgrade or rollback to any version that is officially supported through factory images. Other phones also give you this freedom, but Nexus devices just make it a breeze.
However, one of the downsides of factory images, if you could actually call them a legitimate downside, is that you need an unlocked bootloader in order to flash the factory images. Keeping the bootloader unlocked poses security risks, and is not really recommended unconditionally for the general public. So when one does need to flash a factory image, they will have to unlock that moment, and also deal with their data being wiped in the process of unlocking.
Now, there’s one less thorn in the road if you did wish to flash a different system, but had a locked bootloader. Google is now posting full OTA images for supported devices for Android 6.0 builds. These are different from incremental OTAs as these are full images which can be sideloaded with adb. You do not need an unlocked bootloader for adb sideloading, so this works for both locked as well as unlocked bootloader.
So, now if you would like to upgrade or downgrade your system on a Nexus device, but would rather keep your bootloader locked and data intact, head on over to the official download page and download the requisite file for your device. Even though your data will not be wiped, it is always a good idea to back it up if it is important to you. Afterall, that is the whole point of a backup.
Should more companies adopt locked-bootloader-friendly update mechanisms? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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