Well, that didn't take long. Here are the instructions to you your Nexus S rocking ICS right now. Do not try this on the CDMA Nexus S!
  • Download the OTA Package
  • Rename it to update.zip
  • Copy it to the root of the internal storage
  • Power off the device, hold Volume Up and Power to reboot into the bootloader
  • Select "recovery," then hit the power button
  • Once the warning triangle appears, hold the power button and hit volume up
  • Select "apply update from /sdcard" and choose the update.zip
  • Once the process is finished, simply choose "reboot system now"

Once it reboots, BAM! You've got ICS. Congratulations!

Good news GSM NS owners - your piece of the Ice Cream Sandwich is on its way! According to the official Nexus Twitter account, the update started rolling out today and will continue for the rest of the month.

2011-12-16 15h33_05

Google's Nexus S support page has already been updated to comfort users transitioning from Gingerbread to ICS, offering helpful tips such as how to change the wallpaper, add a widget, and view recently launched apps.

There's no estimate as to when the CDMA version may be receiving its update, but I imagine that it shouldn't be too far out.

Let us know when this update hits your device!


Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Phil

    Wow, didn't think it was going to be that fast. Cool.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ISantop Ian

    Koush got it on his.

  • heldros

    @koush:Hello Nexus S ICS update: http://t.co/GnS6AQVl"

  • Scriptiz

    @heldros What's the build number required to use this file to update?
    I'm on 2.3.6 GRK39F. Did you tested it from this build number?

    Btw the full link is well on google server :

  • Frank

    Does your phone need to be rooted to follow the instructions above?

    To the above poster - I am on 2.3.6 GRK39F as well.

    • Cameron Summerson

      Nope. This is for stock unrooted phones.

  • wirbly

    Awesome! Now how about the Xoom? :)

  • Silent Bob

    any ETA on rooted way for updating?

  • PSquared

    Will this work on GSM Nexus S?

    • LOL

      I guess you didn't read the post. But, yes this update is for the GSM version only of the Nexus S.

      • PSquared

        Well then it didnt work as the instructions suggested. :)

  • Trevor

    Great, all working thanks

    • Silent Bob

      what version did you update from?
      stock? rooted?

  • Jaap

    Does this work on the att version

  • zolointo

    Followed instructions but am getting the following message when I try the update:

    E:failed to verify whole-file signature

    • Steeve

      I am getting the same error.

      • prksh

        I was also getting the same error, ust did a toggle verification and it went fine.

  • Chetan

    There are no images in my gallery app any more!!! :(

  • Chetan

    there is no face unlock.

  • Ryuuie

    Looks like CDMA Nexus S won't see the update until January 2012 at the least.


  • dayle

    i tried checkin several times but to avail so i decided to manually update

    btw..i was on 2.3.6 GRK39F non contract(unlocked) phone in India, and this worked perfectly...thanks guys

    • Sid

      some phones are reporting an issue with network detection. the phones go into airplane mode. is ur phone i9023????

  • Andrew

    File verification fails...

  • http://estebanlopez.mx Esteban

    File verification fails here too...

  • rednow

    Flashed over rooted 2.3.6 / ClockworkMod recovery mode - install from SD Card.
    No problem at all.
    I've been using Koush's v3 till now, this one seems to be less buggy and faster.

    • Steeve

      I tried to the same rooted with 2.3.6, no success. United and tried again still nothing.

  • Rebecca

    Working beautifully! Thank you!

    • Rebecca

      Edit: unable to screenshot however.

      • Rebecca

        Scratch that--screenshots work beautifully; you have to hold it down for 4 seconds to make it work.

  • Frank

    Guys can someone please say if this will work for i9020a - some are saying trying this method on i9020a bricked it.

    If it helps, I am on Rogers in Canada and running stock 2.3.6 GRK39F build.

    • Helios

      Nothing here, didn't brick, didn't update also.
      failed to verify whole-file signature
      signature verification failed
      installation aborted

      • Frank

        Thanks Helios. I think I will wait for a bit.
        I don't know why these sites don't be specific about versions rather than saying ATT and T-MO. I don't think everyone knows what versions are being run by diff. operators but at least you can check your own phone.

      • Paulo

        Had the same signature verification error here also.

    • Andre

      i9020T bricked it :(

  • synurge

    nexus S has two versions i9020 (AMOLED) and i9023 (Super LCD) phones can this update be used on both phones

    • bryan richards

      i get the famous E:failed to verify whole-file signature error when trying to update to ics this way. any help you can offer?

  • AJ Rehman

    I was able to upgrade mine. Very happy with ICS. Ultra fast and quite easy to use. A definitely upgrade.

    I am on GSM Nexus S and I upgraded from Nexus S 2.3.6 GRK39F to 4.0.3 IML74K using the method here. Thanks a lot guys.

    Just a quick question. After successfully upgrading, is it safe to delete, update.zip later on or should I leave it as intact?

    • Rajat

      Hi Rehman

      I also want to upgrade Nexus S from 2.3 to 4.0.3. Actually I was trying to copy update.zip from /mnt/sdcard to /

      but it is giving error as copy update.zip failed. Pls give me solution to this

      • khalil kalwar

        Go watch a video on YouTube, "how to upgrade nexus s to ics" . This may help i hope. But Google has paused this update because its buggy, so think twice before updating

  • Frank

    Same as Helios for me..

    failed to verify whole-file signature
    signature verification failed
    installation aborted

    • Alex

      Same specs as you, and everything just went fine. At the beginning it was a little bil lag, but now it is very smooth.

    • bryan richards

      i had the same issue, no luck finding an answer so far. same specs.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheErrormous Aash

    I'm rooted, how do I install this? Thanks!

  • http://eran.chetz.org Eran

    To install on a rooted device (with clockwork) :

    1) First download installable 2.3.6 rom, compilable for your device from here :
    2) put in /sdcard
    3) goto to clockworkmod recovery (up vol + power)
    4) backup everything
    5) install the 2.3.6 update
    6) toggle script asserts (Disabled)
    7) install the 4.0.3 you downloaded from this page.

    good luck

  • Leonid

    Rooted stock i9020t, works perfectly

  • Seph

    GSM / i9023 Nexus S ( S-LCD ) GRK39F 2.3.6 from Singapore here.
    upgrade went smoothly! ICS is the bomb!
    on the small downside, no face unlock for Nexus S :-(

    Overall performance greatly improved! it's like a brand new phone :-D

    • Segovia

      Hi my friend, how did you get it to update from GRK39G 2.3.6? I am also using a Singapore version of Nexus S. Do you flash it manually?

    • Glenn

      Hey Im from SG too. May I know if your Nexus is using 3g most of the time, or HSPA.

      Btw I'm using Starhub. With the official Nexus rom, (both GB and ICS) I always get 3g. But with the Alpha CM9, I managed to get HSPA.

  • http://blog.satheeshkumar.in SVPRSK

    Updated my Indian I9023 to 4.0.3 smoothly...but disappointed there is not face unlock :(

  • Des

    have nexus s with 2.3.6 stock

    but installation failed.. got following message:

    E: failed to seek in /tmp/sideload/package.zip (invalid argument)
    E:signature verification failed
    installation aborted.

    anyone know how to fix this?

  • Imran

    Do we have to backup our apps too? I mean on unrooted phone too or it will update it without cleaning up the memory like it does on update through air (wifi/3G)?

  • http://imran-ul-haq.blogspot.com Imran

    Okay so I tried to update through the method mentioned and " VERIFICATION FAILED" & "WHOLE-FILE VERIFICATION FAILED"

  • http://www.fernandofischer.com Fernando

    Just upgraded the european version (i9023)..
    my nexus s had the stock 2.3.6 and is unrooted.
    everything worked fine! ICS really rocks!!!

  • malaka

    It dosent work for me :(
    The installation aborts itself half way through... i followed the steps exactly so i know that is not what is wrong. And my friends seem to have updated their Nexus s as well....But dont know whats going on with this one...Any suggestions. ???

  • Glenn

    Hi, with the official, I have to re-flash clockworkmod every time I want to go to recovery. Is that happening to anyone else?

  • Chimera

    Succes on my i9023. Whiped everything, installed the 2.3.x ROM and then updated to ICS. Unrooted tho..

  • Scott Oldfield

    Ice Cream Sandwich for breakfast! Yum! (i.e., no problems upgrading.)

    My pre-ICS info:
    Android 2.3.6
    Build: GRK39F
    Baseband: I9020XXKF1
    Carrier: T-Mobile

  • thiago BORGES

    I can't update
    Android 2.3.6 stock, unrooted
    Build: GRK39F
    Baseband: I9020AUCKF1

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheErrormous Aash

    Hey.. I'd written earlier how I'd not been able to get ICS on the rooted Nexus S. I've have managed it now, just thought I'd let you know what I did to get it to work. Firstly, even if you have flashed the clockworld recovery, flash it again. And then make a backup for your current ROM and load this one from the SD Card as said above from ROM Manager. This should do the trick, like I said before I wasn't flashing Recovery and that's why it wasn't working. I have ICS running now and it's working like a treat. Only noticeable lapse I've seen is no Face Unlock. Happy ICS day!

  • Alex M

    Works like a charm. I had bought a unlocked nexus s for 200€ here in austria.

  • thiago BORGES

    Any tips for GT-I9020A users?

  • Alex

    Will it wipe all my data, including pictures and music??

    • zookee

      It left mine, so I'd say NO. But on the other hand, some people are having trouble updating to ICS and for me it went perfectly flawless.

      • Alex

        didn't wipe any data, everything is perfect!

  • DJ

    It gave me an error:

    E:failed to verify whole-file signature
    E:signature verification failed

    Then the whole process is aborted... any idea?

  • Des

    Ok ..update finally worked with the file from the google server.

    Phone booted up and looks great but I get a continious error message
    android.process.acore has stopped !
    Report Ok?

    Cant open any programs without getting this message...cant make a call even! help!
    Someone PLease!

    had a stock nexus s 9020t with 2.3.6 before this update to ics...

  • zookee

    Working like a charm. Unrooted, from stock GB to ICS 4.0.3

    Anyone else notice the launcher redraw? It was bothering me on ADW EX, now on stock launcher too!? Any cure for it?

  • http://writeage.com Arash

    few questions from people who install this update:
    1- is it possible to use this update on a 2.3.7 custom rom or i must use 2.3.6 original rom?

    2- is this update wipe all my data include contacts, messages, apps etc...

    • Alex

      1 - Sorry but I don't know.

      2 - No, it won't wipe anything. (it didn't wipe any of my data, including pictures, apps, contacts, messages, etc)

    • TG

      ans 1 is that if its not the phones official version it might not as with the tmo nexus s which stops at 2.3.6. Also if flashing from a rom the ota will not work as i had to unroot.

  • Scott Oldfield

    FYI, all of my data has been saved. Some of my apps haven't been working right, but I've found fixes, updates, and work-arounds for most.
    1) Llama - you have to go to the website to get an update, market version won't work
    2) SMS Backup - Apparently doesn't work. However there is a "forked" version (a separate app in the Market) called SMS Backup+ that works.
    3) Beautiful Widgets isn't work right for me yet, but I'll keep playing with it.
    So, that's what I've found so far...

  • Steven

    Worked great for me on my UK I9020 nexus s phone i fully reset my phone after ICS went on it. Now it's Very fast and no lag better then Gingerbread this version is. Only one thing is missing from this update that is Face unlock option but least got the slide unlock

  • Imran

    It says "signature verification failed" Has anybody solved it yet?

    Nexus S
    Baseband: I9020A UCKF1

  • Akona

    Any one try this on at&t 2.3.4 stock rom

  • mihai

    I'm getting the file verification error as well. my phone is 2.3.6 stock, unlocked bootloader and build GRK39F.

    • Imran

      I have the same build and 2.3.6. But not sure about the bootloader. If it shows pad unlocked while boot then its locked.

      • TG

        no if the pad is unlocked that means the bootloader is unlocked but if their is no padlock shown when booting up its locked.

  • Imran

    I noticed many of the failed attempts were Canadian phones.. I have 3 posts earlier on this page but no gain. I checked some other blog posts related to Gingerbread update and what I found is that those who were getting error had Canadian Nexus S and here while updating for ICS its the same error and surprisingly same canadian phones. I live in Pakistan but have canadian NS what you people have who are getting signature error?

  • sambit

    update was smooth. However I feel my nexus s has become a bit sluggish.

  • Scott Oldfield

    Anyone else having widget issues after the ICS upgrade? As I noted earlier, I was having trouble with Beautiful Widgets. Turns out some widgets that have to change in appearance (clocks, power control widget, etc), seem to not install correctly or stay static after they install. (Clocks don't increment, power widget 'lights' don't turn on and off). Is it just me? Any thoughts?

    • Matt

      Having the same problems. Even the stock power toggles do not change color when pressed. I am also having instances of the email client for gmail and enhanced mail giving error notification that they had closed. The camera seems a little buggy too. It works, but sometimes it locks up and one time it forced rebooted. I think its is a matter of waiting for the developers to catch up. Although beautiful widgets does say it has been upgraded.

      • Scott Oldfield

        Glad it's not just me, but it's frustrating. Strange that the stock analog clock seems to work, but the clock some BW widgets don't. Let me know if you figure anything out. I get them to work occasionally but then they stop.

      • Scott Oldfield

        Okay. Factory reset is the way to go. That seems to have fixed EVERYTHING. If you haven't already, just do it!

  • Laurent

    chose the second update.zip in the list if you have the signature issue, worked for me (on my phone i had 2 different update.zip

    the first : -update.zip
    the second: update.zip

    the second worked for me

  • yardi

    FIXED for error

    signature verification failed

    Nexus S
    Baseband: I9020A UCKF1
    BUILD: GRK39

    You need to use CWM for this zip, not stock recovery. That is why it is labeled unsigned

  • Ado

    whats CWM? can you give a step by step instruction. - noobie here

  • ram

    Hi, I manually upgraded to ICS using the following steps above. But after doing that my mobile is unable to detect the sim and search for mobile networks. It shows search for network error.Can some1 plz help me wid dis? Thanx in advance.

  • Musa

    I this the full version ? I cant do the face unlock stuff and also my google account doesn't work.. It has stopped working

    • Imran

      Yes Musa it's the full version and it doesnt have Face unlock for NS. But it isnt installing on my device. Don't know why.


        face unlock will not be available from what I understand the camera on the nexus s is not good enough to work with the feature. Just what I've heard

  • Technodork

    I'm having a random rebooting issue where the phone reboots after about a minute or so. This is constant. Is anyone else experiencing it?

    • Scott Oldfield

      I had one random reboot...but this has been an ongoing issue with the Nexus S since I got it. Since I did a factory reset, I have not had a random reboot. *fingers crossed* (Read: Do a factory reset.)

  • Scott Oldfield

    IMHO, I'd like to *strongly* suggest doing a factory reset after your upgrade. I just did and it seems to have fixed a lot of tiny annoying problems I was having. And, I know, it always scares me to do it, but then I don't and realized there was nothing to be scared about. Just do it!!!

    • Steven

      I did the same as you said when i updated my phone did a factory reset and it sorted the little bits out that was lagging it. Now it's running great without any problems only thing I've noticed is the 3G icon by the signal bar stays Gray while the rest goes to blue colour. And the wifi is well lot faster coming on in ICS. For anyone with problems just do the factory reset

  • http://cowidster.wordpress.com/ cowidster

    Somebody already updated answer please! I want to ask, after upgrading to ICS on your nexus, does the capacitive button (menu, home, search, back) still work like on GB? Or it now become unusable?
    I curious about it, because I read that ICS use the virtual button on the display instead of physical button or capacitive button. Thank in advance.

    • Scott Oldfield

      Capacitive buttons still work on the Nexus S after the ICS upgrade. There are no virtual button added with the ICS install on the Nexus S. Presumably, an ICS install on any phone with capacitive (or physical) buttons would have the same result.

      • http://cowidster.wordpress.com/ cowidster

        Ow, thank you very much for the answer.. it's real help for me.

  • cristian

    Will this work if my bootloader is unlocked?

  • ganzo

    i manually updated.works good.but wifi doesnt work? How to fix it?

    • Al


  • Sam

    Will a Stock Mobilicity nexus S:

    Android 2.3.6
    Build: GRK39F
    Baseband: I9020XXKF1
    Carrier: Mobilicity

    Work fine? Why not have a broadcast upgrade like system updates?

    • Scott Oldfield

      I have the exact same phone specs (see above), except it's on T-mobile. Mine upgraded with only a few problems. Afterward, I did a factory reset as well and it works beautifully! (I strongly suggest the factory reset after the upgrade.)
      As for you second question, there is a 'broadcast' (OTA) update going on right now. It's rolling out over a month or so. You should get it if you wait. If you're like most of us, you're impatient and will do the manual update. Am I right? :)

  • sujith

    hey can any one help me out with my doubt...
    its like , is this ota an official update from google r a custom one ????
    plz someone clarify this doubt ....

  • andre

    hahaha yes my nexus s can be updated to ICS....

    Nexus S 9023
    bootloader unlock

    powered by nexus s indonesian comunity

  • soleil s

    my wifi does n't work.what shoul i do???

    • Al


  • DJ

    Still have the same error of:

    E:failed to verify whole-file signature
    E:signature verification failed

    My Nexus S is compatible with AT&T 3G frequency(850/1900). Also, when I restart the phone I see an 'Unlocked" lock beneath the Google colorful startup icon...

    Any idea?

  • Jaap

    @DJ this update only works for T-Mobile. So not for AT&T

    • DJ

      Ouch Ouch Ouch...:(

  • Sorel

    I have a Nexus S 2.3.6 and i made the update . All works perfectly! try it!

    It olso work for Vodafone RO!
    thanks for info!

  • cliff

    i updated mine nexus s (s-lcd version). Can u undo this update to the previous version 2.3.6. GB?.... this update (ics 4.0.3.) drains my battery so fast .. almost half of built in apps was disabled .. can anyone help me with this issue thanks!

    • Sorel

      i have the same problem dude! :( it`s so annoying ...DO NOT UPDATED !!!!
      if somebody know how to downgrade at 2.3.6, please tell me !

  • Samir Shah

    Can anyone please let me know of how to find out if my phone is GSM or CDMA? I opened my battery cover and the SSN says i9023GSMH, I don't know what that exactly stands for or implying that my phone is a GSM. On the contrary, i tried the *#*#4636#*#* and it gave me the phone information in which there was an option of GSM/CDMA Auto PRL, GSM ONLY, CDMA only. So I don't get it, my phone is GSM but CDMA as well? And that this update is for GSM phones only? What in the world is going on, why can't google take one damn model out?

    • Scott Oldfield

      It's not Google, it's the carriers. Some are GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile) and some are CDMA (Verizon, Sprint). So, that is the easiest way to to tell, by which carrier your are on.

  • Al


  • Rajat

    Successfully upgraded from Android 2.3.6 to 4.0.3 in my Nexus S i9023

  • benchung08

    Hello for the people having trouble with the update, ensure that you have updated from 2.3.4 to 2.3.6 GRK39F. After you verify that you have the most recent Gingerbread update then you can upgrade to 4.0. Worked on mine for Windmobile cnada

    • markosan

      nop... I have that version and it gives the same error...

      E:failed to verify whole-file signature

  • randommmmm

    I have a Nexus S and the OTA update hasn't come out yet :/
    and what is the difference between CDMA AND GSM and how do I tell?

    • PJ

      GSM = the original model.
      CDMA = the newer 4G model.

      Chances are, you have the GSM one.

  • Mikazu

    Does this work on:
    Baseband version I9023XXKF1
    Build GRK39F
    Android 2.3.6 (stock)

    The phone isn't rooted and I bought it from Finland (in northern europe). And if ICS doesn't work is there any way to downgrade back to 2.3.6?

  • Zain

    will this work on the GT-I9020A

  • derp

    Got the message

    failed to verify whole-file signature
    signature verification failed
    installation aborted

    Has no one figured this out yet?