Installing Ubuntu Touch Preview for the Nexus Devices on Mac or PC.

The official instructions on require that you have Ubuntu installed on a PC before you can install the Touch OS preview on your Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10. Let’s be real though–not a lot of people use ubuntu compared to the amount of people who have Nexus devices.

Thankfully there is a quick way to get around this and it’s pretty simple–if you are familiar with flashing custom ROM’s like CM or AOKP you’ll find this delightfully satisfying.

If you DON’T have Clockwork Recovery, or TWRP already Installed Start Here:

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have the Android SDK, if you don’t go download it from

Once you’ve got the SDK cd into the platform-tools folder as you’ll need fastboot. If you’ve got it installed in your home folder you should be able to get there using the following command:

cd ~/androidsdk/platform-tools

Once you are in your platform-tools folder head on over to the ubuntu file repo and grab the correct recovery image for your device. In my example I am installing it on my Nexus 7 so I went with grouper. 

If you don’t know your device use this chart to learn:

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 5.17.40 PM

Now it’s time to plug your device into your PC. Once you’ve got it plugged in run the following command in platform-tools:

./fastboot flash recovery /path/to/recovery/image/you/downloaded

Now you’ll have the Ubuntu compatible recovery–don’t be alarmed if it looks like it didn’t change. It seems to me that Ubuntu is actually using Clockwork Recovery, which I found amusing.

If you DO have Clockwork Recovery, or TWRP already Installed Start Here:

Now the next thing on the list is to first download this file here (roughly 400MB) which seems to be the “Core” OS install file. Then you’ll want to go back to the ubuntu file repo and snatch the file specific to your devices code name. Again since I am using the Nexus 7 the file I grabbed was the file should be about 50MB in size. To my understanding these are the device specific files for each supported device.

Now, as you probably figured, you’ll want to drop these 2 zip files on the root of your SD card.

Once that’s done boot up into recovery and flash the 2 zip files using Clockwork Recovery like you would any other custom ROM. Be sure to flash the smaller device specific zip file before you flash the Core OS.

The device specific zip shouldn’t put out any messages, however, the core OS when installing will report the following message:

Welcome to the Ubuntu RootFS Updater…

If you are currently looking at this screen, congrats! you are on your way to installing the new Ubuntu Touch OS Preview. 🙂

If you want to go back to Android you can easily restore yourself back to a stock state using Google’s OS images available here.