Android 13 on the Google Nexus 5

When both my wife and daughter got newer devices one day, one of the first mobile phones I kind of “inherited” from them was the Google Nexus 5 – a truly wonderful device in my opinion, with a just right 4.95 inch screen size. When it came out it had Android 4.4 codenamed “KitKat”, and Google officially supported it until their version 6.0.1 “Marshmallow”.

LineageOS prolonged its life until Android 7.1 (LineageOS 14.1), and sometime last year or so I’ve found inofficial images on the XDA developers’ site for versions of LineageOS 18 (equals Android 11). So up until a few minutes ago, my device looked like this:

LineageOS 18 on the Google Nexus 5

Today I changed it to the newer and of course also unofficial version 20 of LineageOS which equals Android 13, so its operating system is now newer and more recent than even that of the Google Pixel 3a which we gave to my brother (tho an image of LOS20 for that exists as well, it’s also still not an official one). Here’s how mine looked after the first reboot, with a check on the version number:

Android 13 on the Google Nexus 5

The standard and unaltered start screen of the “Trebuchet” launcher of LineageOS20 looks like this:

LineageOS 20 (Android 13) on the Google Nexus 5

This time I haven’t installed any of the more or less free Google services, so no push notifications, no location or “Play Store” services, and so on – I can do without. This device hasn’t even a SIM card, and I use it over WLAN and for development/testing purposes only.

Anyhow, this is also a proof of concept that you don’t really have to throw or give away older hardware even if you want to or have to stay current because of security considerations. All you need is a computer and a bit of time to restore your devices to newer and still updated versions of a truly free (as in freedom) operating system. Only works with Android or Linux tho, Apple users sadly can’t do this.

My Pixel 4a will officially be supported until August of this year, after that I can decide about the right time to upgrade it to a free version of Android 14 or whatever is to come.

Like always, thanks for reading.

Update: like always, first things first – I installed F-Droid and after that (and from it) also the Aurora “store” (which is only a proxy to the Google Play Store, you need it for apps like Firefox et al), and then the Zapp app (also in F-Droid) which lets you view German live and “Mediathek” (streamed) TV from our public (“Öffentlich-rechtlich“) TV stations. Plus I copied over some music from my computer to which the device is still connected. So the list of apps now looks like this:

installed apps on the Nexus 5

while the screen in the integrated Music app looks like this now:

Music app in LineageOS 20 showing my albums which are on the device now

That’s hardly different from what my Pixel 4a has – which shows that this is truly a usable device still. I can listen to music both on- and offline, watch TV, I could also send email if I wanted to, so that was my point…

Again, thanks for reading.