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Old 03-03-2019, 02:47 AM   #1
maximus83
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Updated my old Nexus 7 to Android 8.1

Thought I would just share my experience in case it's of interest to anyone. Today, after a few trials and tribulations, I managed to take my old Google Nexus 7 2013 (wifi) and flash a custom ROM to update to Android 8.1 Oreo. After getting it done, it was like having a brand new tablet except that now, I could skip all the Google apps and just install the readers, browser, and apps that I want. Installing the custom ROM also yields better battery life, and more control over the UI.

Basic specs:
* Nexus 7: 7" screen, 1920x1200 (323 ppi); wifi model; 2 GB RAM; 32GB storage; 7.87 x 4.49 x 0.34 inches; 10.25oz.
* AICP (Android Ice Custom Project) 8.1 Oreo ROM

Basic process:
* Installed USB drivers and Nexus rootkit on PC
* Unlock Nexus bootloader; and root it.
* Install the TWRP recovery utility
* Download and install the AICP 8.1 custom ROM image
* Download and install the Gapps 8.1 "pico" version (a custom, very minimalist set of basic tablet apps and utilities to replace the stock Google apps).
* The only thing I did not bother to do was that I did not re-root the new 8.1 installation as suggested in the last step of the guide linked below. I didn't need to do that to install the apps I want, it has no impact on how I want to use the tablet going forward. And it ultimately just increases security risk and maintenance hassle in the future.

The best guide I found for doing this:
https://www.androidblog.gs/update-ne...eo-custom-rom/

*Caveat emptor: Flashing a custom ROM comes with the usual warning. Try this at your own risk, always make a backup of your current ROM first, and doing this definitely voids the warranty.

For anyone who has, or can get their hands on a good condition used Nexus tablet, these make a lightweight, high-quality hardware 7" Android reader that is now very cost-effective due to their age on the market. This is a worthy alternative to consider to the e-ink tablets that cost more. It's real Android and has no trouble running all common Android apps, versus many e-ink tablets that have inferior screens, and outdated versions of Android on e-ink platforms that struggle to run many standard Android apps. In terms of availability, I still see Nexus 7 wifi's on sale on Amazon for $189 new, or $150 refurbed, or for about $110 on Ebay. If you can get one and upgrade to Android 8.1, you'll get an optimal user experience and maybe a couple more years of life out of it. For me, running say the Google Play Books reader app, or Kindle app, or FB reader, on this beautiful high-res 7" screen, just makes reading a pleasure. It gives a bit more screen real estate but the tablet is still fairly light and controllable. 7" really makes a nice reader size.

Last edited by maximus83; 03-03-2019 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 03-04-2019, 04:03 PM   #2
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So, an update one day in. First of all, I am loving this custom AICP ROM. It gives you a lot more control over the UI, and eliminates some of the annoying things in stock Android.

Next thing, an interesting find: this AICP ROM has a display feature that enhances using this tablet as an ereader. If you go into the Android Display settings, and then select LiveDisplay, there's an option you can enable called Reading Mode. It flips the entire tablet into a grayscale mode where the purpose is reading. This does not hurt performance in any of my apps, but it does improve battery life, and when reading in the Kindle, Google Play, and FB Reader apps, the user experience is excellent. Even with this mode on, you can still enable 'night mode' which gives a slightly amber cast (also adjustable) to the screen. I find that flipping into this grayscale mode, and then adjusting both the brightness and the night mode settings, I can get a pretty nice display configured for lengthy reading sessions.

I've found that using this Reading Mode in Kindle, with the high res display on the Nexus, really makes for a clear reading experience that's easy on the eyes.
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Old 03-05-2019, 12:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for the posting. Got me to have my nexus 7 do the same except I already had 8.0 loaded but cannot get it going because of space.

Saw android 9 (pie) & then saw another post about system space & cache; was able to install the partition change to lower cache space so that the os & gapps can be installed in the system space. Read that android no longer use cache since android 7. ??!??

Now running my old nexus 7 2013 on android 9, linos version. Able to install CC & Moon reader & now reading a book.
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:48 PM   #4
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Sweet. What ROM are you using for Android 9, have a link?

Also, have you found that "Reading mode" setting in your ROM that lets you flip the whole tablet into grayscale mode? I am loving that, for a tablet where the main purpose is reading. It has extended battery life by maybe 15 to 20%.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maximus83 View Post
Sweet. What ROM are you using for Android 9, have a link?

Also, have you found that "Reading mode" setting in your ROM that lets you flip the whole tablet into grayscale mode? I am loving that, for a tablet where the main purpose is reading. It has extended battery life by maybe 15 to 20%.
Using the LineAgeOS version for Pie:
"https://forum.xda-developers.com/nexus-7-2013/development/rom-lineageos-16-0-t3903286"

The non-destruct partition changer is 'sysrepart_1280_120.zip' & is at
"https://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=78703434&postcount=1971"

You do need the "latest" TWRP to do for android 7, 8, 9.

Do not see the Reader Mode. Also important is that you must go into developer mode & change the usb default from 'no file transfer' to 'file transfer' if you want to do usb file transfer; no "MTP" setting.

There is a battery saving mode that is set on as default. I do set my wallpaper to no wallpaper & get a black/blank background for battery saving & more easily find the icons on the screen without all the clutter.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:19 AM   #6
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I put LineageOS v14.1 on my N7(2013) a long time ago. It really revived the device for me as my go-to portable tablet/ereader. I've not pushed the envelope beyond the recommended Nougat equivalent of LineageOS for the device, though.

It's really extended the battery-life and gave it back its new tablet feel. Happy to have an old friend back!

Last edited by DiapDealer; 03-06-2019 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:50 AM   #7
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I put LineageOS v14.1 on my N7(2013) a long time ago. It really revived the device for me as my go-to portable tablet/ereader. I've not pushed the envelope beyond the recommended Nougat equivalent of LineageOS for the device, though.

It's really extended the battery-life and gave it back its new tablet feel. Happy to have an old friend back!
That's great, I actually considered (and tried) a Lineage OS 15.1 ROM when I was doing this. Unfortunately I kept getting the dreaded "Status 7" error which I could not find any resolution for. That was part of the trials and tribulations I mentioned, fighting with that error. But the AICP ROM has been great.

ETA: The above reminds me, if there are any Android hardcores around here who know the short list of possible causes for a "status 7" error when installing a custom ROM, I would sure like to know what it is. I would really, really like to NOT run into that error again in the future. I did try a few of the hacks I found online, for example, commenting out an 'assert' line of code contained in one of the files in the ROM, but none of that helped.

Last edited by maximus83; 03-06-2019 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 03-06-2019, 10:30 AM   #8
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Yes. 15.1 is not "officially" supported on flo's hardware. Someone's maintaining an unofficial build, but there's tricks involved to borrow space from /cache to have enough room to extract even the pico-variant of gapps. And while I'm certainly technically capable of jumping through the hoops necessary, I don't really want the hassle of actually having to do it. There's nothing from Oreo that I can't live without on the device, so I'm sticking with the easy-peasey 14.1 (Nougat) and its standard updates for now. I'll deal with Oreo and beyond if I absolutely have to sometime in the future.
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Old 03-06-2019, 10:51 AM   #9
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Makes sense. If you want a friction-free update to Oreo, I have to say the AICP ROM made it really easy, no issues there. I wish I would've found that one in the first place. :-) I have yet to see any issues with my hardware or basic functionality that is not supported on this ROM.
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Old 03-06-2019, 11:35 AM   #10
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Makes sense. If you want a friction-free update to Oreo, I have to say the AICP ROM made it really easy, no issues there. I wish I would've found that one in the first place. :-) I have yet to see any issues with my hardware or basic functionality that is not supported on this ROM.
Thanks, I'll take a look at it. I guess I didn't really realize LineageOS had much competition in that department.
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:38 AM   #11
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You have to update TWRP in order to fix status 7 error
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Old 08-19-2019, 12:12 PM   #12
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My experiences to date with lineage-15.1-04202019 on Nexus 7

A few days ago I decided to give my old Nexus 7 2013 (flo) a bit of a freshen up since it's a well enginered piece of kit and it deserved better than Android 6.01 I used TWRP to unlock and root the tablet and then looked around for suitable ROM code to upgrade. My initial thought was to go to Android 7 but then I found the Android 8.1 Oreo ROM here: https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=1395089523397948526 and the corresponding Pico Gapps here: https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=3700668719832236373 Along the way I had to update my TWRP software to fix the status error 7 --- see here: https://android-fix.com/android-erro...or-7-twrp.html for one of the many descriptions of "How To". I now have an impressive Nexus 7 tablet that runs pretty much everything I throw at it. It runs Kindle well with super clarity and overall I'm happy to have given the tablet a new lease of life and look forward to reading many more books on it for some years to come.

Last edited by Stuart- g3sna; 08-19-2019 at 12:13 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:45 AM   #13
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Thanks for the info! I've recently discovered there are no more updates for LineageOS's 14.1 (Nougat) for the flo hardware. I've also discovered that I'm not ready to be done with my Nexus 7 2013. So while I'm still satisfied with it's performance and useability with LineageOS 14.1, it's nice to know I'll have options when I want software installed that's unsupported on Nougat.
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