For some reason, the lollipop OTA update for the Asus Nexus 7 2012 did not arrive on my tablet. I decided to take matters into my own hand and started searching for lollipop updates, either stock or custom ROMs. On XDA forums, Freak-SlimLp with Android 5.0.1[F2FS] / OptiPop 5.1.1 Nexus 7 was gaining popularity as a fast, lightweight custom ROM on the latest Android version. I was starting to find the tablet sluggish (running Android 4.4.4 stock) as well and decided to go via the option. F2FS had been suggested to speed up the Nexus 7 tremendously (Antutu scores were reported to bump up from 17k to 21k). I decided to try it out and I wasn’t disappointed.
Update: Instructions updated 31 May 2015.
First up, I had to root the tablet. I used the NexusRootToolkit. This program is easy to use, and let you root your Nexus device, install the latest custom recovery, backup, and more with straight forward easy to follow instructions. Once my tablet is rooted, I backup my apps and games with TitaniumBackup, and transferred them to my thumbdrive via StickMount. I used one of the Micro-USB / USB thumbdrive – accessible with OTG Mount (Stickmount). This was a life saviour, great convenience.
- Once that was done, you would need the latest TWRP recovery with F2FS support.
If you just rooted with the NexusRootToolkit, that should be fine. Otherwise, get the latest TWRP recovery and flash it with an app like Rashr.
- Download the F2FS ROM and Gapps (get the latest from the XDA thread).
- Backup – remember to backup as all data would be wiped. Transfer out the files to the cloud or to the thumbdrive.
Optional: If you want to to have a rooted Nexus 7 after flash, download the SuperSU 2.4.6 zip and add that after gapps.
- Transfer the backups and F2FS ROM and Gapps to the OTG USB thumbdrive.
- Reboot to recovery. From off state, press Power + Volume Down until you see the bootloader screen, select recovery.
- On TWRP, wipe and format the tablet to F2FS.
- Select all options
- Swipe to Wipe -> DONE
- Return to
Change File Format
- Repeat for
- Wipe System (Keep format as EXT4)
- Flash the new ROM.
- Select the USB Thumbdrive (
- Return to main menu
- Select the file – ROM
- Add more zips – Gapps, SuperSU (for root)
- Swipe to start flashing
- Reboot and that’s it. Be patient, first boot takes a while.
- After the tablet is setup and configured, there should be OTA and Root enabled. You can follow up by installing TitaniumBackup and restoring your files.
My Nexus 7 2012 felt extremely responsive after loading the new ROM. This particular ROM and coupled with F2FS is lightning fast, I haven’t had any problems with apps freezing, or laggy response (issues prior to the update) but that’s just after the refresh. In addition, I get to benefit from the Lollipop updates, such as the revamped app switcher, and overall, I am a big fan of the new Material Design. I am currently using Google Now Launcher but might switch back to Nova which should be a little faster. Other reports had indicated that the original lollipop update didn’t fare to well for the Nexus 7 2012, with many experiencing slowdowns and multitasking hiccups, so I am happy that my own experience with this new ROM is largely positive.