Best daily deals
Best daily deals

Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

How to Update the Samsung Nexus S to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

December 1, 2011

Google’s iconic smartphone, the Samsung Nexus S, is now finally getting the royal treatment as Samsung will soon be rolling out the official Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) upgrade for the device. As we wait for the official update to be released, we’ve managed to stumble upon a leaked version of Android’s latest offering for the Nexus S.

As a precaution, this is not the official ICS update but a leaked version circulating around the Net. Luckily for Nexus S owners, you can easily apply this update on your device.

Considering this is still the beta version, you may face certain issues in running applications and functionalities like the Face Unlock feature and NFC capability due to the Nexus S’s limited hardware. The core features, though, are present in the leaked update, and if there are minor glitches or bugs, those will be taken care of once the official version is finally released during the next few months.

Along with a host of enticing new features, the ICS firmware will surely make your device feel like brand-new. If you can’t wait for the official update and want to try out ICS ahead of your fellow Nexus S users, then follow the steps below to put ICS on your Nexus S.


  1. To ensure that you don’t meet installation failures, it is suggested that you leave at least 60% of battery juice on your device.
  2. For the ICS firmware to function properly, you need to have root access on your device. Check whether you have the Superuser app installed or ClockworkMod recovery in your app drawer. If you do find one of these apps, then you’re ready for the next step. Otherwise, root your Nexus S first.
  3. Download the latest Ice Cream Sandwich firmware for the Nexus S. Get the ZIP file here. It’s about 155 MB, so downloading might take some time.
  4. Connect your phone to your desktop using a USB cable. Copy the ZIP file to your phone’s internal storage.
  5. Restart your phone and enter into ClockworkMod recovery mode. You can enter recovery mode by holding the Volume Up button while pressing the Power button.
  6. In the recovery mode menu, select the option “Wipe Data / Factory Reset”.
  7. Once there, select “Wipe Cache” and also select “Dalvik Cache” to clear out previously stored caches associated with your past firmware.
  8. After the cleaning process, select “Install Zip from SD Card”, and then press “Choose Zip from SD Card”. From there select the ICS firmware ZIP file that you have previously downloaded and copied to your phone’s storage. It will take about 5 to 8 minutes of waiting time for the installation process to finish.
  9. Once the installation is done, head back to the main menu by choosing the “++++ Go Back ++++” option. Select the “Reboot System Now” option to reboot your phone to the Ice Cream Sandwich firmware.
  10. Turn off your phone again. Then, boot back up to recovery mode (as in the earlier step). Do the “Wipe Data / Factory Reset” and “Wipe Cache” again, as in the previous step. Afterwards, choose to reboot the system.

On your first boot, it may take a couple of minutes for your newly installed firmware to take place but after this process your device should function normally.

Congratulations! You have successfully updated your Nexus S to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.