How to Install Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich on the Samsung Nexus S

by: Alvin YbañezDecember 29, 2011
4 24 8

Owners of the Samsung Nexus S can now enjoy the latest Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich on their phones. Google has finally released an over-the-air update package for the Nexus S. Some have already received the update, while others are still waiting for it to arrive on their phones.

Unfortunately, the update seems to be only for the T-Mobile and retail variants of the Nexus S. This means that the update does not support the AT&T variant of the Nexus S yet.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the newest Android experience, we have provided a step-by-step guide on how to manually update your Nexus S from Gingerbread to the sweetest Ice Cream Sandwich.


Take note of the following important things you need to know before you proceed with the updating process:

  • This update supports T-Mobile and retail (GSM) versions of the Nexus S. If you have the AT&T variant or the CDMA variant of the Nexus S, the procedure below may not work.
  • If you have rooted your Nexus S or have a device running a rooted stock ROM, you will need to unroot it because the update will fail on a rooted devices. Revert to a stock Gingerbread ROM before proceeding with the update.
  • Update your Nexus S at your own risk. We will not be held responsible for any malfunction or damage arising from your use of the information provided in this post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

If you’re all set to update your Nexus S, then follow the instructions below for updating your mobile phone to Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich:

  1. Download the Android 4.0.3 ICS OTA package update here.
  2. Rename the downloaded ZIP file to
  3. Connect your phone to your PC via USB cable.
  4. Copy the ZIP file into your phone’s internal storage.
  5. After saving the files, disconnect your phone from the PC and turn off your phone.
  6. Reboot your phone into bootloader mode by holding the Volume Up key and Power button simultaneously.
  7. Once booted into bootloader mode, select Recovery from the menu to initiate recovery mode. Use the volume keys to navigate between options and the Power button to select an option.
  8. When the warning triangle and arrow pops up, press and hold the Power button and then tap the Volume Up key.
  9. A menu will appear. Select “Apply update from /sdcard” and choose The update process will start immediately.
  10. Once the update is completed, reboot your phone and get ready for Android 4.0.3 ICS on your Samsung Nexus S.

Did our step-by-step guide work perfectly on your Nexus S? How good is Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich on your mobile phone?

  • Ben

    Worked for me – UK Vodafone

  • Guest

    It worked!!! Thanks soooo much for sharing!

  • Does it work on samsung galaxy s2 skyrocket too?

  • Zcxtek

    It works for me. Thank you so much.

  • kennyg007

    Worked on Nexus S, Mobilicity, Canada,
    Previous: 2.3.6, I9020XXKf1, GRK39F
    Now: 4.0.3, I9020XXKI1, IML74K
    It takes about 5 minutes. Didn’t loose anything. Only had to reconnect to Mobilicity network but was prompted.

  • Yall97

    can anyone tell me where the internal storage is?

    • kennyg007

      root folder when you plug your phone into your computer.

  • Bikatron

    To all those who updated, could you please let me know what the battery power now is like ?, because google had paused the OTA update following complaints of poor battery life so just wanted to know if anyone is experiencing any such problems. Also can I do this update from 2.3.4 or does the phone need to be in 2.3.6 before the update.

    • kennyg007

      I updated from 2.3.6 so I don’t know but I would update to 2.3.6 first just to make sure.

      Battery: seems okay – mostly screen use.

  • Aslamgmy

    awesome it works completely perfect… thanks for the effort

  • vasuki pan

    there seems to be a wireless, 3G network issue… the connection gets dropped

    • kennyg007

      Reconnect to your carrier.
      Settings > Wireless & Networks > More … > Mobile Networks > Network Operators > (Searching…) – select your carrier.

      • lawlietl

        no… there is a known problem with ics and wireless dropping there is a fix on the net…it depends on what kernal u running

  • Abc

    doesnt work

  • Nexus

    Does it work on Nesus S 4G too?

  • Nexus

    Also, do your contacts and apps get erased?

    • kennyg007

      No – you loose no data.

  • Ggh

    Is it official

  • Evripides

    This version can work on other samsung devices? Eg skyrocket?

  • Szilard

    tried on sim free phone instalation aborted

  • lawlietl

    can someone tell me if it is possible to install this on other android devices… stuff that are made in china?

  • AK-Nexus

    It failed for me – something about not having the complete signature in the downloaded file.

    Upgrading from 2.3.6 on Nexus S a

    Anyone else get this?

    • at&tsux

      Ya same as mine, mines an AT&T unit, it says on one of the two menus you see in recovery mode – this doc says it wont work on AT&T units yet.

  • Jkujat75

    Did not work on the Sprint Version

  • Kycay

    can this be trusted?

    • Dj-papa

      I think it can

  • Stephen Apraku-Boateng

    kofi_apraku just manage to upgrade to 4.0.3 was not painful only the file rename has to be saved as a link and rename. Tried a couple of times and finally got it. 4.0.3 Looks different. Totally enjoying it.

  • Ky

    It may steal your confidential information

  • Sic

    This works with 2.3.6, for previous Android versions or modded roms check

  • Sylv_ester35

    Work on Nexus S, Videotron, Montreal, Canada
    Before 2.3.6 I9020XXKI1
    Now 4.0.3 I9020XXKI1
    Apps, phone book every thing else in place did not lose anything

    After update had to reconnect to videotron network, and was faster than before.
    Wi-Fi works fine.

    • Blade86sam

      Strange I didn’t have to reconnect to anything after update, everything was working 100% perfectly and smoothly. But i do agree, connection to the videotron network is a lot faster then it was when on 2.3.X :)

      i also found the WIFI signal to be a bit stronger then it used to be, i could be wrong but i feel like it is, nevertheless this version is hands down way better then the stock gingerbread version.

      oh and i’m not sure if you had this glitch at the lock screen back in 2.3.6, but when i booted my phone, from off, and got to the lockscreen, when i dragged the “lock” slide, the word “Unlock” didn’t show until i unlocked it for the first time, afterwards it was there… weird right? at least now i don’t have to worry about that in 4.0.3 haha :)

  • Avtech

    So easy, thanks

  • MikaelG

    Doesnt work with nexus s from rogers it says faild to verify the signature

  • mo-ach

    It worked for my Nexus S, Mobilicity, Canada. I followed the instruction and now I’m having the ICS running on my phone……exact same everything as kennyg007

  • Elia Kazan

    Does it work on Galaxy note?

  • Shinost22

    the new update isnt installing on my phone. what do i do to make it work?

  • kurdi

    show error for me

  • nikhil

    Does it work on Galaxy pop?