This is definitely concerning. Several people are reporting on Google’s product forums that their Nexus 7 devices have stopped working following updates to various versions of Android Lollipop. And while it may not necessarily be the same exact issue (as users are reporting a wide variety of different symptoms), some Nexus 5 users have seen their device become unusable following recent Lollipop updates as well.

It’s not exactly clear which updates are affecting which devices, but the problem appears to be fairly widespread…

The largest thread reporting the problem on the Google product forums, titled “Nexus 7 stuck on Google screen” and dating back to December, involves several Nexus 7 owners who claim that their devices are simply getting stuck on the Google logo boot screen. Some users are reportedly unable to boot into recovery mode, while others can but their device hangs for hours on the Fastboot “Erase Userdata” screen. It seems as if the 2013 Nexus 7 (assumably WiFi) is the device most commonly affected.

Another thread more recently created on the Google product forums reveals even more people that are experiencing similar issues:

I’ve just have the same problem. I have a Nexus 7 2013 only wifi.It was working fine. I think I was listening to music on Spotify and suddenly it switched off. When I switched on again, the logo Google stuck on screen and nothing else.I tried hard reset and recovery mode and still the logo Google on screen.I’ve tried the quick tricks like dropping, massage and drying battery but they didnt work. Now I will try to install the factory image… Probably it also didnt work but no other solution at the moment. Desperate. Now I have an expensive digital frame with two pictures: Google logo or android ready to surgery. I keep watching the forum for next answers.

The problem seems to be affecting users who have made no modifications to their device and have simply updated to Android Lollipop—most commonly it appears as if 5.0.2 specifically is causing the problem:

So my Nexus 7 2013 edition is stuck on the Google screen.  The tablet is not rooted and is totally stock the way it came.  I have been reading that Android 5.0 has caused the issue but I have yet to find a solution.  When I called ASUS they told me it was out of warranty and there is nothing they can do about it.  Can someone please tell me how to fix this issue.

One user reportedly has been trying to run a reset for several hours to no avail:

Hi mine has also been stuck on the google screen, I am able to get into the recovery mode, I have been trying to run a reset, It has been on now for 6 hours it still says wiping data.. formatting/ data.  Im not sure if it is doing anything or how long I should expect to leave it like this.  Is there something else I can do?? Or should I just let it do what it is doing? Or how do I know if it is doing anything?

Thanks Melisa

Some users say that while trying to manually flash their Nexus 7, they’re getting stuck on the “erasing userdata” step in unlocking the bootloader:

Hi, so I was trying to flash my Nexus 7 as well and used the Techno Bill’s instructions. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but it gets hung up at the “erasing userdata” part of unlocking the boot loader. Anyone have any suggestions?

My Nexus bascially just goes to the google splash screen and then never goes further. I’ve tried doing the recovery mode, but that just restarts it back into the google splash screen again. So I decided to flash it because it’s either that or me payin Asus some dumb amount of money to repair it. I might as well just get a new tablet in that case.

It appears as if the problem is just suddenly happening weeks or days after the Lollipop update was applied. One user says that their 2013 Nexus 7 simply froze about 3 weeks after updating to 5.0.2, and that it got stuck on the Google logo screen after restarting. Presumably, this might mean that some versions of Lollipop are slowly causing a hardware problems that might not be fixable without getting a replacement:

Asus Nexus 7 2013 32g 5.0.2 about 3 weeks after update. I did notice it got warmer than normal.  When the issue happend I was downloading updates from the play store. It froze so the normal thing was to do a soft reset (hold power down for 10+ seconds) after that tried to turn it on and it stayed on the Google logo black screen. Attempted a hard reset (power + vol down and going to recovery) it act like it goes through but then get a stuck on wiping data.

One person took their tablet to a repair shop and they were told that the device’s logic board needed to be completely replaced:

I actually had a followup call from a Tablet Repair shop in my city. They said that they have seen these problems come in on Nexus devices lately, and they are completely unable to make any repairs on them and require having the entire logic board replaced. So all you people who have pictures, videos ETC on your nexus.. kiss them goodbye.

ASUS is reportedly offering to fix these devices out of warranty for around $200, and Google isn’t helping Nexus buyers who purchased outside of the Google Store/Google Play Store:

In August 2013 I purchased a Nexus 7 tablet from BestBuy (I also purchased the extended warranty) the tablet had been performing flawlessly up until a few weeks ago when one morning the tablet would not boot past the Google screen. This appears to have happened after the last system update (Lollipop) released by Google. From what I have read on the Internet, I am not the only one that has this issue. Since the tablet won’t boot past the Google screen and it has never been rooted (the bootloader is locked) I can not enter recovery mode or perform a factory reset. Phone calls to Google and the tablet manufacturer ASUS have not helped. ASUS would attempt to fix the tablet at my expense for $200 (it is out of warranty) and Google won’t help because I did not purchase the tablet from the Play Store. I now am left with a $300 useless brick with a cracked screen (the Google representative asked me to open the tablet to find the serial number). It is my estimation that this is not a hardware issue but rather a software issue created by the last release of Lollipop. I simply would like someone to take ownership of this issue and replace my Nexus 7 2013 tablet.

Several people are posting Tweets as well using the hashtag #Nexus7Bricked:

But it appears as if it’s not just the Nexus 7, as several users say their Nexus 5 are experiencing a similar problem. One user says their device is rebooting “again and again”:

Today my Nexus 5 stopped working. When restarting, it started to reboot again and again: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8hjVfgXaRZnS0RXVnZsR1M4Znc/edit?usp=docslist_api Help!!!

And another user, who translated his post from German, says his Nexus 5 is “dead,” and that “nothing works.”

Hello! (German translation below/Deutsche Übersetzung unten) My almost a year old Nexus 5, that worked like a charm until just now is dead. No matter which buttons i press, no matter in which order and how long, nothing works. The only sign of life is when i plug it into the wall. The Google logo then comes up, screen blacks out after about 2 secs and the procedure starts new. I didn’t do anything to it, just got my OTA Update to the newest Android Version (which is 5.1 or 5.0.1, i can’t remember). I installed an App from the Play Store(a level with ~700kb) which worked, then crashed, then worked again and crashed again but my phone still did it’s job. 10 Minutes later i needed my flashlight, which worked as expected, put the phone back in my pocket and 2 minutes later it was dead. What can i do? It was almost fully charged. I should still have some warranty left. I hope i can get it back quickly. Thanks in advance! Paul

One user says that this happened to his friend’s Nexus 5 as well:

Yikes. This happened to my buddy’s N5 as well- I was there when it happened, and he had just updated the OS a couple days prior. But the N5 went into a rapid bootloop: the Google logo would appear for barely a second, then the screen would shut off for a second, then the logo would reappear for a second, etc. (I never did try to adb his phone to see if it might be recoverable. He just took it to T-Mobile and bought an upgrade instead.) This bootloop behavior is slightly different than the N7-2013 brick, where it simply hangs up on the Google logo. But this N5 bricking does seem similar now to the N7 bricking- both are experiencing motherboard failure a short time after a 5.X update. So it seems there is something in the software update that is affecting the hardware in an incremental fashion such that the problem is not immediate upon updating, but builds up rapidly over time. Both devices have Qualcom chips, though different ones. Someone on another forum suggested that maybe the update is causing a write-loop to the NAND; since flash memory can only sustain a limited number of write cycles, this could eventually cause it to fail. Interesting theory.

Sadly, it looks like both ASUS and Google have ignored the issue, giving many users the “run-around” and refusing to offer any real solutions. Under warranty these devices would be happily replaced or repaired by ASUS, but many owners of 2013 Nexus 7 devices have warranties that are long expired. Considering the update was pushed by Google and that it seems to be permanently breaking some devices, it seems like this is a case where out-of-warranty replacements might be the right thing to offer.

We’ve reached out to Google for an official comment on the matter. Have you experienced this issue?

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.