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Install CyanogenMod 9 nightly build on Samsung Nexus S GSM/CDMA

March 16, 2012

Despite the release of the official Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the Google Nexus S, a lot of users would still prefer flashing custom ROMs on their phones. Custom ROMs are more enhanced and give you the freedom to mold your phone the way you want it to be. Unlike official updates, most custom ROMs also get updates faster and can be manually installed on your phone.

The CyanogenMod team has been working day and night to produce its own variety of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich via CyanogenMod 9 (CM9). The team somewhat slowed down on its progress with development because it needed more build servers.  After calling out for help to the community, donations came in and the team was able to set up new build servers.

Now, the CyanogenMod team has made available new nightly builds for CyanogenMod 9 (based on Android 4.0.3) for the Nexus S, both GSM and CDMA (Nexus S 4G) variants.

In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to install the latest nightly build of CyanogenMod 9 on your Nexus S or Nexus S 4G.


  • Root your Nexus S/Nexus S 4G and flash ClockworkMod Recovery on your phone. Check out this one-click rooting method for your phone.
  • Ccreate a backup of your mobile phone data prior to installing the ROM.
  • Temporarily disable system tools such as antivirus software and firewall programs to prevent any interruptions while flashing the ROM.
  • Charge the battery to at least 70% on your Nexus S/Nexus S 4G. This will ensure your phone will last throughout the entire procedure.


This guide is written for educational purposes only. Any damage or unexpected outcome on your phone will be your sole responsibility. Follow the steps below at your own risk.

Installation Process

  1. Download the most recent CyanogenMod 9 nightly build to your computer:
    • Click here for Nexus S (GSM)
    • Click here for Nexus S 4G (CDMA)
  2. Connect your phone to the computer via USB cable.
  3. Copy the CM9 file directly to the phone’s internal SD card (i.e., /sdcard).
  4. Unplug your phone from the computer.
  5. Switch off your mobile phone and wait until it has completely turned off.
  6. Reboot your phone into bootloader mode by holding down both the Volume Up key and Power button at the same time.
  7. Once in bootloader mode, use the Volume keys to navigate and highlight “Recovery.” Tap the Power button to initiate Recovery.
  8. Create a NANDroid backup by selecting Backup and Restore > Backup to create a backup of your current ROM.
  9. Go back to the main menu and select “Wipe data/factory reset” and confirm the action on the next screen.
  10. Select “Wipe Cache” and confirm the action on the next screen.
  11. From the Advanced menu, select “Wipe Dalvik cache” and confirm the action on the next screen.
  12. Go back to the main menu and select “install zip from sd card.”
  13. Select “choose zip from sd card” and highlight the CM9 ROM file. Confirm to begin flashing the ROM on your phone.
  14. After installation is complete, go back and select “Reboot system now” to reboot your Nexus S/Nexus S 4G.

Congratulations! You have successfully upgraded your Nexus S / Nexus S 4G to the most recent nightly build of CyanogenMod 9, which brings Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich to your phone.