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How to Update Motorola Xoom to Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich Firmware


Published onJanuary 24, 2012

Motorola has started pushing official Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich updates to users of the Motorola Xoom WiFi in the United States.  That surely elated a lot of U.S. users of the Motorola Xoom WiFi.  If you’re living in the U.S. and you own a WiFi-only version of the Xoom, you may want to check manually for the update.  If it’s not yet available, you can wait a bit because Motorola is rolling out the update in phases.

But, what can you do if you own a Xoom WiFi but don’t live in the U.S.?  Or, what can you do if you can’t wait for the official update to arrive?  There’s a way for you to load Android 4.0.3 on your Xoom WiFi by flashing two files to your device.  The firmware is said to be “stock” Android 4.0.3 ICS, although some folks noted that this is not “stock” in the sense of “pure Google” because the firmware includes Motoblur.

A member of XDA Developers, iohyitchun, was able to grab an SBF file released by Motorola China and extracted the said file into a system.img and boot.img file, both of which can be flashed using Fastboot.  Both the camera and HDMI are said to be working perfectly, and Gmail is said to sync without trouble with Contacts and Calendar.

Apparently, these files were flashed to WiFi-only versions of the Xoom, so there’s no telling whether flashing these files onto the 3G or 4G versions would work.  Some users of the 3G/4G version have reported success in flashing these update files, but there’s no confirmation yet whether 3G/4G works.

If you want to try updating your device to Android 4.0.3 using these files, check out the rest of this article for the instructions.  Follow the guide at your own risk and don’t hold us responsible if you damage your device.


  • Unlock the bootloader of your Motorola Xoom WiFi.
  • Root your Motorola Xoom WiFi.
  • Install the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) to your computer.  You will be needing fastboot.exe for flashing.
  • Back up  your data in case the data on your Motorola Xoom will be lost or corrupted during the update process.
  • Ensure that your tablet has a charge of at least 70%, so that it will not shut down in the middle of the update process.
  • Make sure that you’ve enabled USB Debugging on your device. You can do this through “Settings > Applications > Development > USB Debugging”.

Flashing Instructions

  1. Download the update files to your computer.  Get the ZIP file here.
  2. Extract the contents of the ZIP file to your computer.  You will get two files: system.img and boot.img.  Copy these two files into the same folder where fastboot.exe is located.  (This is usually the /tools or /platform-tools folder inside the Android SDK installation folder.)
  3. Turn off your Xoom and reboot into recovery mode.
  4. While in recovery mode, make a Nandroid backup of your currently working system.
  5. Turn off your Xoom.
  6. Remove the external SD card from your Xoom.
  7. Connect your Xoom to your computer using a USB cable.
  8. Reboot your Xoom into bootloader mode by pressing the Power button, then pressing the Volume Up key several times until you see the bootloader screen.
  9. On your computer, open a command prompt.
  10. Change directory to where fastboot.exe, system.img, and boot.img are located.
  11. Enter these commands one after the other and in order:
    • fastboot flash boot boot.img
    • fastboot flash system system.img
    • fastboot erase cache
    • fastboot erase userdata
    • fastboot reboot
  12. Your tablet will reboot after you enter that last command.

Congratulations! Your Motorola Xoom WiFi should now be running “stock” Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich.

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