Nexus S Android update to 2.3.4

These are my quick notes after updating my Google Nexus S Android phone to the latest 2.3.4 release from this week. The main issue I had was that my phone was rooted, making the official update package fail with a “status 7” error, because the existing system was modified.

Updated 2011/10 : The 2.3.6 update works fine too (see below).

Step one was to restore the original unrooted Android 2.3.3 release, as the update to 2.3.4 works from there. The downside is that all of the user and application data gets deleted. The upside is that the internal USB/SD memory doesn’t, unlike when unlocking the phone with fastboot, so you can quickly restore apps and data by using an application like Titanium Backup. It doesn’t hurt to back up the USB/SD memory just in case.

Restoring non-rooted Android 2.3.3

This section can be skipped if you are running 2.3.3 non-rooted, or rooted in a way which doesn’t trigger and error with “status 7” when trying to update to 2.3.4. If you need to restore, keep in mind that all of the user data and preferences will be lost, so don’t forget to backup first. Also, leave the 2.3.4 update file on the phone as it can be applied right after restoring 2.3.3.

  • Download the original Google Android 2.3.3 archive and the Google Android 2.3.4 update archive.
  • Place the files onto your Nexus S mounted through USB (anywhere with any name, just remember where they are).
  • Turn off your phone.
  • Turn on your phone while holding the volume up key, you will enter the bootloader menu.
  • Change the highlighted line with the volume up/down keys, press the power button once on the RECOVERY line.
  • Once you see the exclamation mark screen, keep the power button pressed while pressing once on the volume up button to make the system recovery menu appear.
  • Once again, choose a line using volume up/down and validating with power.
  • Since I wanted to start off clean, I chose to wipe both the cache and data/factory reset before finally choosing to apply update from /sdcard. Maybe you can keep your data if you directly choose to update, but I doubt it. The SD/USB partition won’t be touched.
  • Once the restore is finished, you can choose to apply update from /sdcard if you already have the 2.3.4 update zip file available too.

Updating to Android 2.3.4

Follow the steps above with only the Google Android 2.3.4 update archive and make sure you do not choose to wipe any data, just apply update from /sdcard.

Clean Rooting of Android 2.3.4

Once you have updated to 2.3.4, follow these steps in order to root the phone in a way which should no longer prevent future updates from being installed :

  • Download the Android SDK and extract it.
  • Run the included tools/android program, go to Available packages, expand Android Repository and select both Android SDK Tools and Android SDK Platform-tools then validate Install Selected.
  • You should be prompted to restart ADB, choose Yes.
  • To check that ADB works, run platform-tools/adb get-state which should return bootloader or device. Otherwise check permissions for your user to the Nexus S.
  • Next, download fastboot to be run from your computer as well as recovery-clockwork- and to be put onto the USB/SD memory.
  • Start the Nexus S into the bootloader menu (see above). I’ve noticed that entering the bootloader menu requires USB to be disconnected in order to work.
  • Do not yet choose the RECOVERY menu entry, first send the ClockWorkRecovery (CWR for short) to the phone by using : fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork- (adapt the paths accordingly).
  • Once CWR is loaded, choose the RECOVERY option. You are now using CWR, as very powerful and dangerous tool, so beware.
  • Enter the mounts and storage sub-menu.
  • Choose mount /system then mount /sdcard which should then change into unmount choices, confirming that they are now mounted, then +++++Go Back+++++ to the main menu.
  • Choose install zip from sdcard then choose zip from sdcard and browse for the file.
  • Confirm the installation. You should see Install complete. Enjoy! at which point you can +++++Go Back+++++ and finally reboot system now.

That’s it, you now have a rooted phone! The best test is then to restore apps and/or data with Titanium Backup, which requires root permissions (don’t forget to let it install busybox). Enjoy!

Update 2011/10 :

Update to 2.3.6

The latest 2.3.6 update also works fine. You loose root, but you then just need to repeat the steps above once running 2.3.6. I accepted the OTA update from Vodafone, but you can also download the 2.3.4 to 2.3.6 update from Google and update manually following the instructions from above.

2 Replies to “Nexus S Android update to 2.3.4”

  1. Thanks man for sharing this with us.

    I had trouble updating my rooted Nexus S for a long time, tried many solutions, but yours was the best and the only one worked perfectly.


  2. Snap!

    Had the same problem and tried a few work arounds but this looks better!

    Cheer mate!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *