In recent months, the developers of the Android OS have been working on Android “N”, even as Marshmallow/ 6.0 had just been released to the public. Android “N” now marked as 7.0 or Nougat is the latest in the long line of Android OS upgrades. But should you upgrade your Moto G4 ? Here, we take a look at why you may want to, as well as how to do so.
Why Upgrade to Android 7.0 ?
Unlike Android 6.0 Marshmallow, 7.0 isn’t a gigantic leap forward in terms of Operating System features or design. But, this hardly means it should be ignored, because what it does lack in innovation in these two departments, it more than makes up for in efficiency, security, and plenty of other minor improvements.
After updating to Android 7.0, you may notice that your phone will use less battery as well as less data from your network. One of the biggest issues to be resolved from Android Marshmallow was the tendency for the phone running it to run “hot” due to repeated callback attempts. This would happen when an app stopped functioning properly, or when synching did not occur in the expected manner. Users who have had short battery lives as a result of this may discover a charge lasting hours longer than before, and those gigabytes of data lasting at least a little longer than they had in previous months.
In terms of security, Android 7.0 Nougat offers two significant upgrades over its predecessor.
The first is that on the development side, more apps aimed at Android Nougat will have less permissions. Instead of letting apps have essentially free reign over your phone, many developers will have their apps limited only to folders within the phone that would be needed. For example, with android Marshmallow and before, if you gave an app permissions to access photo folders, all would be accessible. This would mean if you had an SD card full of photos, and just a few on internal storage you wanted to use for the app, both would be available to said app. In Android Nougat, with what’s called “Scoped Directories”, the app in question would be only able to access the internal storage unless explicitly stated otherwise.
The second is more on the user side, where Direct Boot has been implemented. Direct Boot more or less allows apps to function even after a reboot has occurred and you’ve yet to re-sign into your phone. Now, this does not mean that data encrypted by your login is available for either apps or users, in fact, that’s the major improvement for both security and functionality; Key features can still be accessed even if you don’t realize a reboot has occurred, while keeping your data safe at all times.
Now that we have covered some of the key features that may make you decide on upgrading to Android 7.0, let’s take a look at how to do so with your Moto G4 .
Step Zero: Back Up Your Moto G4
Whenever you plan to do anything that messes with the files of your device, it is often a wise idea to back it up. For the Moto G4, using Google backup may be your best bet. To back up to Google, go to Apps on the home screen, then select Settings. Next, tap Accounts and then Google. After ensuring the proper email is selected, pick what data you wish to back up (keep in mind, some of the more intensive upgrades run the risk of deleting everything from the phone) and then select More. To finish up, press Sync and the phone will back up to your Google drive.
Method One: Wait for Moto G4 to Get an OTA Upgrade
Despite there being an announcement back in October 2016 that Android Nougat would be released in short order, it has only been since mid December 2016 that users have had any luck in downloading the newest Android OS. If you have yet to get a push notification from the manufacturer and are excited to get Nougat, there is still a way to see if you can get it from an official source. Before doing so, it is recommended that you have the G4 at a half charge or greater, and you are on a Wi-Fi network, as sometimes these updates can absolutely devour available data. Then, select Menu, and tap on Settings. Next, choose About Phone and tap Software Version. This will allow you to check to see if an update is available. If there is, follow the prompts on screen to download and install the new software.
Method Two: Unroot Your Phone
For many users of the Moto G4, there was an option to buy the device rooted, which while allows for a great amount of customization and the ability to perform actions most users couldn’t, also comes with the consequence of having update issues. Luckily, with a bit of tinkering such settings can be reversed and allow for the reintroduction of stock updates and thus the newest Android Nougat OS. To begin this process, you will need an available PC, as well as a USB cord to connect to the phone.
You will also need to get the Android SDK onto the PC. If you have yet to download and install it, please follow these steps:
First, download Android Studio (which includes both the SDK and the Java Development Kit) which is available here .
After downloading Android Studio, go into the file manager and select the location of the SDK manager, opening it. Ensure that SDK Platform Tools revision 6, and then go to available packages, third party add ons, Google add ons, and ensure that the Google USB Driver is updated.
Now, go to the Control Panel and select System Properties. Then select Advance System Settings and then Environmental Variables. Next, select Path (towards the bottom of the screen) and enter into the value field:
Where Android SDK Windows Location should be replaced with the file location appropriate for your PC.
After this is complete, we can finally begin editing phone settings. First, you will want to ensure developer options are turned on. To do this, go to the Menu, Settings, About and then select the build number. Tap the build number until such time as you get a message saying you are now a developer. Then, go to Settings and select Developer settings, turn on USB Debugging. To check if this is successful, plug your phone into the PC and open the Command Prompt (taking the time now to install the Moto G4 drivers may be a fine idea). Type in adb devices and the device should be listed. If so, we can move on. Be sure to unplug the phone at this time
We can now move into setting up the stock firmware for the Moto G4. To do this, you can go here to get the needed stock files, and download them onto the desktop. Next, we need to get what’s called the flashstock file, here . Now, boot your phone into fastboot mode. To do so, shut it off, then press and hold the volume down button for a few moments, and in the last moment simultaneously press and release the power button. To navigate the menu, one can use the volume buttons and the power button to select an option.
Next, plug in the phone to the computer yet again, and go to the SDK folder we have. Then, hold shift and right click the window, and select to open the command prompt. After this, select and run the flashstock.bat file, which should provide on screen commands to complete the procedure.
After this is finished, one can check for updates without issue, and follow the procedure as one would for the previous OTA method.
Method Three: Download and Install a Custom Nougat ROM onto the Moto G4
Now, if your phone is both unrooted, and you have still yet to get the OTA update, or if you want to see what the world has to offer in terms of custom Nougat ROMs, there is still one option left for you. We can root the phone and then install custom software, though this comes with a few risks. First, doing this will certainly void your warranty. It also runs the risk of bricking your phone. However, if successful, you will have more control and customizability of your phone than ever before. If you have not already backed up your phone and wish to proceed, do so now. You will lose data in this method.
To start off with, it’s highly recommended you visit XDA-developer forums to take a look at potential new ROMs for your device, as there is quite a bit of choice available. At time of writing, both the Titan ROM and CM 14.1 ROMs are good choices and based off the Nougat architecture. However, the latter is a nightly build so while typically functional, there is still plenty of “work in progress” features.
Having seen what the G4 can do, let’s now make it possible by rooting the device. First, it’s advised to have a full charge on the G4 before going any further; Interruptions are typically not tolerated well during this procedure. Next, download SuperSU , and find a version of Team Win Recovery that you prefer (TWRP is usually very easy to find within XDA and other reputable sources) alongside Minimal ADB & Fastboot.
Now, before we can truly begin customizing and rooting, we need to unlock the bootloader. While there is the Universal Moto Boot Tool, personal experience has led me to believe it is not always the safest route, so instead we will cover how to get your G4 officially unlocked.
First, connect your phone after it is already in fastboot mode, and open the ADB and Fastboot program. Then, enter in the following:
oem get unlock data
This will give you several strings of characters you will want to put down into a .txt file for later use. Now, navigate to the Motorola website, and find the page that allows you to see if your phone is currently unlockable. Agree to the terms after selecting the Unlock button, and enter in the desired data from the .txt file. Within a few moments, you should receive a message with a code that you can add at the end of the command:
fastboot oem unlock
You may get a warning, acknowledge it and then double check the phone is unlocked, then reboot the G4.
After this, we now need to install TWRP onto the system so we can really start having some fun. First, disconnect the G4 and boot it into fastboot mode yet again. Then, go to ADB & Fastboot and enter the following:
and hit enter, then connecting the device. Then, take the TWRP downloaded version and rename it to something easy (for example, twrp.img) and copy it into the same file folder as ADB & Fastboot.
Next, go back into the prompt and write and select enter after the following:
fastboot recovery twrp.img
Now, go to the phone and scroll down to Recovery. Press power quickly to select this option, and swipe to install TWRP. After this, you can reboot the G4.
We can now install SuperSU. After downloading the file, save it to the SD card of the G4. After this, as you may have guessed, it’s time to boot into recovery again. In TWRP, tap Advanced, then Terminal, and type the following exactly as it appears below:
echo “SYSTEMLESS=true” > /data/.supersu
Select the check box on the bottom right hand of the keyboard, then select home, and select Install. Here you can select the SuperSU Zip and swipe to install. Again, reboot to allow for SuperSu to fully install.
Lastly, after selecting your custom Nougat ROM, you can then take the zip of it (as well as gapps, as these will be needed in recovery and to run google apps) and put it on the SD card of the phone. Install them directly from TWRP as directed (some formats require slight tweaks in process which are mentioned in the release notes) and then do a data wipe, including a dalvik cache wipe. After this, your new Nougat ROM is good to go.