After 2 weeks of delays, the much anticipated Nexus S 4G update (Sprint only for now, sorry AT&T/T-Mo) to Android 2.3.5 (GRJ90) started rolling out earlier today. If you haven't gotten yours yet but want to apply it immediately to enjoy that nice boost to 4G speeds, among other things, then proceed to our instructions below - you'll be rocking the official 2.3.5 build in no time.


Note: Make sure you're running stock Android 2.3.4, build GRJ22 (the update will likely fail if you're rooted).

  1. Download the update file GRJ90-from-GRJ22 and rename it to update.zip (make sure it's named update.zip and not update.zip.zip if you're using Windows and have it set to hide file extensions).
  2. Move the file to your phone's /sdcard directory using your favorite method - the easiest way is probably mounting the phone as disk using a USB cable.
  3. Reboot your phone and when it starts booting back up, hold Volume Up + Power.
  4. Select Recovery.
  5. The phone will reboot into recovery but first it'll show an exclamation point and a triangle. At this point, mash the Power and Volume Up buttons a few times until the recovery screen shows up.
  6. Select Apply sdcard update.zip, which should start the update process.
  7. Reboot and enjoy Android 2.3.5.

What's New

Here are the important bits in this update:

[Update link via Peter Alfonso, more info at xda]

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • tehsusenoh

    "Mash the Power and Volume Up buttons a few times until the recovery screen shows up."
    Best. Instructions. Ever.

    • William

      Every time I "mash" the power button it just reboots me. :(

  • http://www.bankscabinets.com Cody

    Where is the widget?

    • aj

      I've been looking online everywhere and I can't find any answer as to where this elusive widget might be hiding.

  • Mario

    I just updated!! Thank you, the instructions were easy and I had no issues!!!

  • Mario

    well thats true, i dont see the widget either...??

  • Mario

    Well at least the hotspot widget from the market still works!!! I was worried about that!

  • http://www.bankscabinets.com Cody

    It works but they took the hotspot away.

  • ddp

    I'm getting installtion aborted. I was on the rooted stock ROM. Followed the instructions to a T:

    assert failed: apply_path_check("/system/app/BooksPhone.odex", "[random characters], [random characters]")
    E:Error in /sdcard/update.zip
    (Status 7)
    Installation aborted.

    Do I need to be unrooted?

    • OniKyanAE86

      You have to be unrooted and on stock GRJ22 rom to update. If you are rooted, custom rom, or if stock files/apps are missing, you will get those error(s) you are getting trying to update.

      • ddp

        Thanks for the info. I did flash a deodexed version and everything seems fine, but then it started to reboot almost every 30 secs. Switched back to stock with the new radio... slight improvements, nothing drastic.

  • mario

    Yes I also have no wifi hotspots! Its gone! Time to pay I guess!

  • coobey

    No more wi-fi hotspot or USB tethering. I mean it's there, and the network creates, but you don't get internet connection.

    Oh well, hopefully PDAnet works.

  • aj

    My tethering works fine. I just wanna know where the hell the 4G widget is!

  • Lassie

    I don't remember Sprint or Google making any official announcement regarding adding a 4G widget, though it would be nice to have.

  • kd

    Anyone put together a full list of features and improvements that this update actually provided? I do not seem to be getting any 4G in Downtown Raleigh still. WTF???? However my 3G speeds have improved from an average of 350kbps to 550kbps at my office. Wifi has no improvement. Still two bars and 15 feet away from my wireless router!

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Please see the update in the article about the 4G widget.

  • Frank

    does the phone have to be rooted?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      For this update, just the opposite - you have to be unrooted.

  • Doc

    There is NO SD card on the Nexus S4G!

    Your instructions are fine up to the place about pointing to a non-existent SD card!

    You should try out these solutions prior to putting them on-line for general consumption.

    I'm assuming that if the file is copied to the ROOT of the internal drive this update will work.


    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Chill out, dude. There is no physical SD card, but as far as Android is concerned, /mnt/sdcard and /sdcard are exactly the same as on phones with a physical SD card.

  • Doc

    OK, thanks. I've already copied the file to the root, but will stop there...see why in the 3rd paragraph below...

    For most people, who are non-technical, the SD card reference is a deal-breaker as they don't have one on this phone and the instructions don't make sense.

    (BTW, I actually do own the phone and love it. Would love to see improved 4G and signal strength.)

    FYI, I have a friend at a Sprint franchise store...he's the manager.

    Just spoke with him about this and he read to me from an internal (and official) Sprint/Samsung release on this update.

    It will be pushed out over only 4 days, starting yesterday...not the 3 weeks originally in posts on-line.

    Think I'll wait another 48 hours to see if it shows up.

  • Jeff Noli

    I have an original Nexus S which I purchased as a dev platform. It has no carrier. No SIM card installed. I manually updated it to 2.3.3 and shortly after that, while connected to WiFi it automatically updated to 2.3.4 Build GRJ22. Do you think this 2.3.5 manual update will work on my phone?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Don't think so - you need a Nexus S 4G.

      • Jeff Noli

        Any idea where I can find the correct image for my phone? I need the NFC enhancements of 2.3.5.

  • dmac

    this is driving me crazy. when do you start holding the volume button up and the power button...ive tried everyway possible and no matter if i start holding it right after i turn the phone on or i wait a couple seconds all my phone does is boot all the way up. How long does it take to shoot over to recovery?

    • Frank

      Same here man...I have no idea how to reboot. I tried the instructions above with no success. I tried to use a 'reboot' app but it only works if your rooted, which you can't be if trying to do this update. Can anyone provide some insight?

      • Frank

        Dude - I figured it out. And was able to get the new update installed. Difference is night and day.
        1) Turn off your phone.
        2) While phone is off...start by pressing and hold the volume UP. While continuing to hold the volume UP button, press the power button as if your turning on the phone. You should see the reboot screen with options.