When Google released Android 12L earlier this month, the company highlighted new features designed for tablets, foldables, and other large-screen devices. But the company also said you’ll have to wait until later this year for the operating system, to roll out for tablets and foldables.
One reason for that? The first devices to get new Android updates are typically Google-made products… but Google doesn’t make its own Android tablets anymore. Once upon a time the company did though – and now you can (unofficially) run Android 12L on one of the best.
The Google Nexus 7 (2013) is a tablet with a 7 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel IPS LCD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, and up to 32GB of storage. It originally shipped with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. But folks have been unlocking the bootloader, rooting, and installing custom recoveries and custom ROMs since the tablet was first released.
Now developer followmsi has released an unofficial build of LineageOS 19.1 for the Nexus (2013), which means you can run Google’s new tablet-friendly build of Android on a Google tablet that’s almost a decade old.
Sure, some of its hardware looks a bit dated. It has a micro USB 2.0 port, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and the front and rear cameras top out at 5MP and 1.2Mp, respectively. But the tablet does have NFC and GPS support, stereo speakers, and a headphone jack (but no microSD card reader).
While there’s always some risk involved with replacing official software with an unofficial custom ROM like LineageOS, it’s been years since Google offered any sort of official support at all for the Nexus 7. So the fact that there’s a way to run up-to-date software with the latest features, app compatibility, and security patches, is pretty impressive.
Note that in order to install LineageOS 19.1 though, you may need to resize some partitions, particularly if you want to install Google apps (including the Google Play Store). Followmsi also says the latest builds have SELinux set to permissive mode, encryption hasn’t been tested, and some LineageOS customizations and bug fixes are not yet included, so it’s probably best to proceed with caution if you’re trying to install the software on a Nexus 7 that you’re actively using.