A few weeks ago, a GSM Nexus S update 2.3.6 (GRK39C) with voice search fixes started rolling out, but it was immediately discovered to break Wi-Fi and USB tethering. After many complaints, Google pulled the OTA, and it seems like they've spent the last couple of weeks making sure everything works as expected.

A new update surfaced tonight, also numbered 2.3.6, but this time bearing build GRK39F. While there is no official changelog, based on the fact that an update with the same exact build hit the Nexus One a few days ago and didn't break tethering, I think it's safe to say it fixes at least that issue (Update: thanks to our buddy Omar for an additional confirmation of working tethering).

Whether the update contains anything else new compared to GRK39C is unknown at the moment. Also unknown is the upgrade procedure for those who already zoomed to GRK39C the first time around.

What we do have for you today is an upgrade path from GRJ22 (2.3.4) to GRK39F. While it could work on non-T-Mobile Nexus S GSM devices, I can't make any guarantees.

Note: This update procedure may or may not work if you're rooted.

As always, proceed at your own risk.

Installation instructions:

  1. Download the update file GRK39F-from-GRJ22 (you have to be on GRJ22 for this to work) 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 or use your favorite file manager (mine's Total Commander).
  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 2.3.6.

Thanks, Omar and Leonid!

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.

  • awoodvine

    The update installed fine on my European I9020 Nexus S. Apparently this update also fixes the Maps app battery drain issue when you have "Use wireless networks" for location enabled.

  • Félix

    So it seems that, this time, my loved Nexus One got the update even before than the Nexus S, great!!! ;)

  • Anthony

    Nexus One still rules! Even beter than Nexus S. Bring it back!

  • BigVDawgy

    Doesn't work on AT&T 9020A Nexus S

    • Shalom

      It works, if you get an error trying to update your 2.3.6 android version, get back to the clockworkmod using rom manager, after this, you will be able to upgrade to ICS.

      Takes me a hold day to solved, but my cellphone rocks now! :D

  • Norbert

    works on my i9023! radio is now I9023XXKF1

    • flo

      Works very good? All functions?

      • Norbert

        yups. mms works. wifi works. mobile data works. if you have custom recovery, just nandroid backup your current rom and you can test this new rom for yourself.

  • tozes

    It worked for me but I lost my root. Does anyone know how to get it back?

    • Norbert

      use fastboot to flash custom recovery, in recovery, mount /system and use adb to push superuser.apk to /system/app and su to /system/xbin then chmod a+xs,g-w,o-w su to make it setuid then boot the phone or just flash this file via your custom recovery http://downloads.androidsu.com/superuser/su-3.0-efgh-signed.zip

      • Luis

        Are you sure that this files are valid for Nexus S 9020 with 2.3.6 ?
        I have fear of a brick.

        • Norbert

          that is the official superuser release of chainsdd. flashing it will not brick your phone. you should flash it using a custom recovery (e.g. clockworkmod)

  • Craig Rachel

    There is some confusion in this article.

    Félix, no the Nexus S i9020A was updated to 2.3.6 weeks prior to the Nexus One.

    GRK39C was a botched attempt to fix the capacitive buttons (specifically the search button) firing on their own in low 3G signal areas. This update was pushed to i9020A and not only did it NOT fix the button issue, it broke tethering.

    So now, the i9020T is getting the 2.3.6 maintenance update which, presumably is to get the Nexus line of devices on the same build number. Meanwhile, the i9020A still sits with the so-called "voice search" bug AND broken tethering.

    The only reason I continue to point all this out is if you're a i9020A Nexus S user with no root access on your phone, Google's handling of this situation is ATROCIOUS and the Android tech blogs need to be taking them to task on it as a loud voice for the users.

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

      Thanks for clarifying, Craig. There are way too many versions of Nexus devices and updates and way too little information that comes with build numbers to keep track of everything in a sane way, without having any of said devices.

  • Reakus

    Does the update also fix wifi?

  • sahebju

    unable to perform on my nexus one. followed the exact procedure, but it is failed. anyone can guide plz

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

      Yeah, no kidding. This is for the Nexus S.

  • Abe

    Do i need to unzip the file? or leave it as is?

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

      No need to unzip. Instructions don't mention it, so don't do it.

  • wesley

    I put did everything it said to do and when I go to apply the zip it says something about the signature not being verified or something then aborts the process, what do I do to fix that???? I'm using a sprint Nexus S 4G..

  • torontonian

    This doesn't work with the i9020A with Rogers in Toronto Canada (wrong radio).

    • http://kevinjmorse.ca Kevin

      Pretty sure I have the same problem with my Rogers i9020AUCKD1.

      I get a 'failed to verify whole-file signature' message.

      Any solutions?

  • Sergio

    Piece of Crap!!! Do not update your device. It will make your phone unusable. After update from GRJ22 to this new GRK39F my phone, and not only mine (a lot of complaints about this issue on the web)become totally crap. It keep rebooting itself every 1-2 minutes. While i was typing this comment my phone rebooted 5 times. Shame on Google Lab!Artem, how can I downgrade back to 2.3.4? Pomogi zemlyaku. I have a lot of pictures on it to do hard reset. Est varianti??? Spasibo.

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

      Your pictures should be unaffected by a hard reset as they reside on the /sdcard partition. If you're paranoid about it, you can probably hook it up to your computer via USB in recovery mode and pull the files via adb.

      As for downgrading - there is no way to do that AFAIK - the only way would be to find a full 2.3.4 build and flash the whole thing over. But at that point, might as well try a hard reset first.

      • Sergio

        Thanks a lot, dude. Will do hard reset first, per your suggestion.

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

          I'm 99% sure this should work. The Nexus S is a different kind of beast as it doesn't have a physical SD card, so I'd do a bit more research first. All phones with physical SD cards don't touch them when hard resetting.

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

          Btw, Sergio's response (in an email to me) was: "Oh, I did reset. And I still got my pictures. Thank you, Artem! But I don't see any apps, even paid apps. Are they not suppose to synchronize with my google account? Also the interesting thing is...my phone did not move back to 2.3.1 as it was when I bought it but stays on 2.3.6 and looks like working since I am sending this reply from the phone. It did not rebooted yet. I hope no more restarts. Spasibo!"

        • Sergio

          Yes, I did responded. For some reason it was not posted here. I did reset. And I still got my pictures. Thank you, Artem! But I don't see any apps, even paid apps. Are they not suppose to synchronize with my google account? Also the interesting thing is...my phone did not move back to 2.3.1 as it was when I bought it but stays on 2.3.6 and looks like working since I am sending this reply from the phone. It did not rebooted yet. I hope no more restarts. Spasibo!

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

          You only get restored to the OS that's currently installed, not what was installed when you bought the phone. And the app restoration is always wonky - some apps get re-downloaded auto, some don't. You always have access to your paid apps though if you go to the Market.

  • http://iandouglas.com Ian Douglas

    2.3.6 bricked my Nexus S. The /sdcard partition won't mount at all, even in recovery mode to try to flash my old update.zip. And 'adb' won't detect the device at all (tried on two different systems) to try any sort of recovery either.

    • Sergio

      I think you have to perform the wipe/delete all phone data. That's what I did. It did not affect anything on virtual SD/card partition at all. But you will loose all your apps for sure, except paid. The paid apps will be available for you on Market for free. That's what happened with me. Per Atrem's respond on my post you can not downgrade gingerbread. Good luck! I had no reset so far.

      • http://iandouglas.com Ian Douglas

        The problem is hardware based, none of the /system, /data or /sdcard devices are available for mounting, even in recovery mode using the stock and clockworkmod recoveries.

        This was actually happening off and on with just the /sdcard mountpoint, but after the 2.3.6 update, none of them worked.

        I sent my Nexus S out for an RMA. Hopefully they'll fix the storage issue and re-flash it.

  • John

    Will this work on the i9020T?

    • Sergio

      Yes. I have the same model I9020T.

      • John

        so, after applying the update, you had to wipe phone data and do a reboot afterwards? Seems kind of a lot to do, I thought the update would've fine through smooth..,

        • John

          I meant *gone*, not fine

        • Sergio

          No. I meant if after updafe you'll have an issues, such a random rebooting, then you have to do wipe phone data.

  • ArizonaLoco

    The OTA update didn't work for me. I tried checking in by dialing *#*#2432546#*#* and the OTA downloaded and rebooted and I was stuck at the triangle exclamation. I then Googled the 2.3.6 update and landed here. I downloaded the provided file, renamed it to update.zip, moved it via USB connection and then rebooted into my ClockworkMod recovery. I then applied the update.zip from the sdcard option and it updated and pulled out any unnecessary files automatically. I booted up fine and now my about screen indicates 2.3.6. It kept my SuperUser/Root and all. The kernel version is android-build@apa28 #1 build number GRK39F. Note: I was running 2.3.4 on an unlocked and rooted T-Mobile Nexus S phone here in Phoenix, AZ USA. It was a stock rom I just rooted it.

  • ham

    I was using my phone today and suddenly it prompted me to install and reboot phone for this update. Didn't even ask me for download! Update was fine. No problems so far. But I should say that I had hard reset my phone just a fewcweeks ago.

  • Kamatoz

    works fine on my nexus s I9020XXKF1

  • Ingo

    Sergio , for the next time I recommend the app "app-backup and restore" to you , it makes the whole process more easy , it kept a folder with all the apk files on my sd partition and restoring my almost 300 apps went really quick , although I had to click manually "install" on all of them it was really quick since there was no need to download them from the market , neither to search them all in the first place :-) . also I like to recommend launcher pro , wich has also a function to restore all your homescreens and settings in the launcher (except widgets...) the launcher pro backup file was also untouched by the full hard reset I did !

    • Sergio

      Thank you for this useful information

  • carlos

    Any body have notice a diferent screen color? Like use to be before the 2.3.4
    Haven't upgrade yet

  • carlos

    Did they fix the screen color tone

  • Remco

    Doesn't work on my phone. The update fails but luckily the phone is still working...

  • Santhosh N

    No issues so far after upgrading to 2.3.6. Wifi, bluetooth and Mobile data are all working. With 2.3.4, bluetooth used to fail. It works now. I am having I9023.

  • Gerrit

    Manual update worked fine for me but resulted in terrible battery life. Am trying the disabling of wifi use for location and will see if this helps.

  • master

    hi guys !
    i have a question:
    Can you now set an proxy and a port nr. @ the android 2.3.6?
    i need is really at my work....
    thanks a lot

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/09/27/new-nexus-s-2-3-6-ota-update-rolling-out-grk39f-reportedly-fixes-tethering-here-is-how-to-install-it-manually master345

    hi guys !
    i have a question:
    Can you now set an proxy and a port nr. @ the android 2.3.6?
    i need is really at my work....
    thanks a lot

  • Yossi


    After 2.3.6 upgrade there is no Hebrew in the Input Language for the keyboard.
    Somebody can help?

    Thanks in advance

  • Markov

    I haven't succeeded to update my Nexus S. I have a rooted Nexus S (2.3.4 GRJ22) and after copying the update.zip to /sdcard, I rebooted into my ClockworkMod Recovery (v5.0.2.0 ) and I chosed "install zip from sdcard" and after "apply /sdcard/update.zip" but I had the following error :
    assert failed: apply_patch_check("system/app/AccountAndSyncSettings.apk", "86ea......","e8fb.............")
    E:Error in /sdcard/update.zip
    (status 7)
    Installation aborted

    Any help please ?

  • joanna

    assert failed: apply_patch_check("/system/etc/apns-conf.xml","a6ed505c4412262f0cc1eb1eb5fe364de166db2","866a899752ee4778c397c0d7cf50300c7e1fbbf1")
    E:Error in /tmp/sideload/package.zip
    (status 7)
    Installation aborted

    This is what I get when I try to update. Can someone please tell this not so techy person how to do this. Thank you so much for any and all help.

  • amin khan

    :how to update my nexus s to Android 2.3.6 gingerbread .please help me guyz

  • Jack

    Also getting something similar to this...

    "E:Error in /sdcard/update.zip
    (status 7)
    Installation aborted"