Five days ago, Sprint announced that the Ice Cream Sandwich OTA was finally ready for the Nexus S 4G, but many of you still haven't received the update prompt. Yesterday, Google released the full OS image for the NS4G, but installing it does a full wipe, which may not be ideal for those just itching to upgrade.

Fortunately, the OTA link on Google's servers was finally found today by a number of AC forum members, which means you no longer have to wait for Sprint/Google and instead update your Nexus on your own. Since the OTA file contains the full OS image, including recovery and radio, rather than an incremental update from a specific version, you should be able to update no matter what you're currently running on your phone (feel free to point out otherwise in the comments).

Download (143MB):

MD5: 801f872eb16df581d696e6340e402c4c

Installation Instructions:

  1. Download the update file 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 4.0.4.


Image via Muffinabus

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.

  • http://markbennett.ca Mark Bennett

    Is this only for the Sprint Nexus S or would it also work for other Nexus S handsets. (I'm particularly interested in the Telus Nexus S handset.)

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

      Sprint only.

  • Flatlinebb

    If anyone goes through the update successfully, please report. I'm itching to do this, since my NS4G is still stuck in the stone age.

    • Kalium

      I did it. Took a few minutes, worked like a charm.

  • Andy

    Success! Have not played around yet but looks legit so far.

    Turn phone on WHILE holding UP VOLUME to get to recovery mode

  • Vance

    It Works!!!! Just did it. Follow the steps and you'll be fine.

  • pleather

    Do you think that those of us who couldn't wait and used Odin to put the leaked IMM76D on should re-update? - The screen shot looks like it has the same baseband and kernal... but I never know which is prefered for future updates.

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

      If you're talking about the Briefmobile leak, I think you should be fine as it is - it should have been the same build, radio, etc.

      Some people updated to 4.0.4 with a different build number a few months ago will want to apply this build though.

  • Thaddaeus

    Will this prevent users from getting OTA updates in the future?

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

      Not at all, it's just fast tracking the update you should receive anyway.

    • http://www.pretentiousname.com Leo Davidson

      Possibly the opposite: Since the ICS bootloader appears to be broken, installing any version of ICS may prevent you from installing any further updates via this method. But what can ya do? :)

      I'm still stuck on 4.0.3 on my GSM Nexus S, waiting a possibly infinite amount of time for the OTA update to reach my phone via whatever mysterious method is used by Google and or my carrier (who I'm not sure are even aware I have a Nexus S which needs updating) to decide when/if that happens. :(

      Unless someone's found a solution to this problem which doesn't involve wiping the whole phone?

      • http://www.pretentiousname.com Leo Davidson

        Heh, after writing this I woke up my phone and was prompted to install the OTA update.

        Ranting on the Internet seems like a very reliable way to get instant results! :-)

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

        It's not really fair to say that - you may not be able to install updates manually unless you root, but you'll still be able to get OTAs just fine.

        • http://www.pretentiousname.com Leo Davidson

          That's what I mean, "via this method".

          (Download & install manually as soon as an update is available, rather than waiting for OTA.)

          It's true, OTA still works eventually (and just did for my phone, which was a nice coincidence!).

  • Josh

    definitely works!!! everyone try this if your to impatient (im thinking everyone one of us by now is) everything is ok , a bit laggy at first but understandable, I love ICS:)

  • Flatlinebb

    I pulled the trigger and manually updated. All my data and apps are intact and I'm exploring it right now, checking out new stuff.

    • mavis

      does dis new update wipe the one clean back to factory setting

  • Travis

    Does the kernel version stay the same as in the picture

  • SQ609

    Well Damn! Everyone is getting some ICS 4.0.4 love but VZW. WTF is up with that Verizon??? Come on Google and Verizon... Get it the f*#k together. Anyone have any idea when this is coming to VZW? Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

  • Sanjeev

    Tried and got a "status 7" error when it tried to install. Anyone have some advice? Thanks.

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

      Check that your download is not corrupted (I provided the MD5 above). Otherwise, I'm not exactly sure, I don't have this device.

      • Sanjeev

        Sorry, newbie here. I see the MD5 you posted. How do I check it on my download? Thanks.

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

          On Linux, "md5sum FILE_NAME". On Windows, I'm not sure, but Google will tell you.

    • Cinderellarocks

      Did u get it to work? Sanjeev

  • dt

    How do i move it to my sdcard directory? I can't seem to find it anywhere on the phone. I'm sorry, I'm sort of new to this whole thing...

    • Ian Santopietro

      When you plug the phone into the computer, the folder you're seeing _is_ the SDcard directory. If you're on the phone, it's under the root (/sdcard)

  • Sanjeev

    Ok, thanks again.

  • Ryley Miller

    Does anybody's screen flash when you turn off the screen on ICS?

    • Ian Santopietro

      Sort of like a TV? That's a feature, not a bug.

  • http://musclecarlegacy.wordress.com Jake

    how do you set up the file extensions thingy because every time i rename the update, it saves it as "update.zip.zip" PLEASE HELP

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

      So just save it as "update" - Windows will append .zip. Or use a proper file manager like Total Commander.

  • Tim

    Just updated and so excited to finally have ICS. I've been waiting patiently for the OTA update but my wife got it last night so I couldn't wait any longer!!! Just a note on the instructions: at step 6 I had to select something like "install update from sdcard" and THEN I had to select the file (update.zip). Everything else worked great! Exploring ICS now!

  • George

    I'd like to add, I used the method above to update. Nothing but problems for me after. I then rooted, kept saying Superuser wasn't installed/wasn't allowing permission for anything. I then installed Clockworkmod Recovery (standard AND touch, separately of course) and it would work a time or two then revert to the stock Android recovery.

    I spent like 2 hours just messing around with it.

    Finally, I just locked my bootloader again (while on the OTA ICS). Then unlocked it, flashed Clockworkmod Touch Recovery. Then just went back to my original leaked official ICS zip. Been smooth sailing since and my Clockworkmod Recovery hasn't disappeared randomly either.

    Maybe it was just me, but I've been hacking phones for quite some time and this was really unusual. Just wanted to share this in case anyone else has similar problems.

    • Aboljamajem

      have, same problem, but hate to lock back my bootloader, since phone will wipe all data if i need to tweak anything layer, have clockworkmod recovery and fastboot ready on my pcif i need to do anything, it only takes 3mn.

  • Kevin

    My wife just got the OTA update this morning

    • mavis

      does it work on Samsung galaxy tabs

  • jay te

    Name & cp nbr/get problem/emphaty/read notes/no web to all site/error msg/no changes in the acnt/no 3G/3white signal bars/zipcode#/wi-fi off/unchk/chk data enable/issue resolved:YES

  • Archvictory

    does it work on HTC Desire HD?

  • laa

    i didnt understand anything

  • ador

    Does it on my lg optimus2x p990?

  • hamza

    how to reboot my wildfire s

  • kamenos

    i want to change my lg optimus l3 e400 android version (from 2.3.6 to 4.0.4) plz help i did what it needed and is the same as before help give me instructions

  • hussain

    signature verification failed any solution

  • hussain

    signature verification failed any solution plz hlp

  • zunair

    Doez it works on nexus s

  • kushal

    i wnt it for my xperia u
    hw can i download

  • Sanjai Sambu

    Does it work for Samsung galaxy y

  • Razal

    Can this be installed android on samsung star 2

  • kr

    can this work on htc magic

    • kr

      pls... reply

  • raj

    does this work with htc hd2 completely

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelum.lokuwithana Kelum Deshapriya Lokuwithana

    Does It work for Galaxy Y Duos Lite

  • abhi

    I want to update lg p500 android...

  • Angelica Cruz

    does it work in 0+ 8.1 android?? my android version is 2.3.5...

  • madalin

    does it work for samsung galaxy s sl gt-i9003


    Does it work for Samsung galaxy y?

  • Hanes Kids

    can i used this to reflash on my android 4.0.4.. my tablet wifi is not working so could you please answer if i can use this... btw non rooted android.

  • Just wondering..

    So I take it that this can be used with Any android Device? I'm interested in trying it with my LG Optimus Q (StraightTalk)

  • facebook

    I've got a Mobil e11 communications, I need newest saree Android 4

  • Enmanuel

    funciona para el huawei evolution 2?

  • R K

    its work in andy 3e ?

  • worldwide news
  • eric



  • almira

    does this work for torque droidz span ??

  • Concerned User

    Does this work on any Android tablet? I have tried it with a different .zip update, but it said "verification failed."

  • Bane

    work on huawei y200