I have an unlocked GSM Nexus S I bought from a friend. I'm currently running version 2.3.6 (which was pre-loaded on the phone). I really like the way Ice Cream Sandwich looks, so I would like to upgrade to 4.0.3.

I've looked around for tutorials and it seems I'm going to have to root my device and install a ROM. However, I can't seem to find an ICS (4.0.3) download from any reputable sources. They all seem to be hosted independently by users. Is there a place I can download the update from Google/Android directly?

  • The GSM version should have gotten an official OTA update: androidguys.com/2011/12/16/… (unless unlocked devices didn't get it, I guess) Jan 18, 2012 at 18:47
  • In general ROM-searchers are reffered to this question, but I think this is sufficiently complex enough to stand alone. I've added the condensed version of my answer from here to the canonical post though. Jan 18, 2012 at 19:27
  • @eldarerathis: The OTA update was delayed/paused due to problems discovered
    – zdan
    Jan 18, 2012 at 19:43
  • Post your baseband, (In System Info) and we can point you to the right update file
    – Dunhamzzz
    Jan 19, 2012 at 0:07

1 Answer 1


Google hosts their flagship device OTAs online, fortunately, under the codename crespo for the Nexus S. Some searching along those line resulted in this Android Police post (affiliate links removed):

Well, that didn't take long. Here are the instructions to [get] your Nexus S rocking ICS right now. Do not try this on the CDMA Nexus S!

  • Download the OTA Package
    • Rename it to update.zip
    • Copy it to the root of the internal storage
    • Power off the device, hold Volume Up and Power to reboot into the bootloader
    • Select "recovery," then hit the power button
    • Once the warning triangle appears, hold the power button and hit volume up
    • Select "apply update from /sdcard" and choose the update.zip
    • Once the process is finished, simply choose "reboot system now"

Once it reboots, BAM! You've got ICS. Congratulations!

The link there is http://android.clients.google.com/packages/ota/google_crespo/VQ8PQk_V.zip. Koush notes that this is for the T-Mobile version, the i9020T. From dottech.org:

There are unofficial reports that the update works for i9023 (the Super LCD version of Nexus S); and can work for i9020A (the AT&T/Telus/Koodo Nexus S) by flashing compatible radio files. If you are a brazen fellow you can attempt to update your i9023/i9020A with the T-Mobile ICS package but be warned: You might get a brick.

  • I am moderately confident that if you were to accidentally download the wrong package, your device would refuse to install it. So, given that, and the URL being hosted at Google, I'd try it. In any case, I followed the instructions at theverge.com/2011/12/16/2641496/… last month, and it's worked fine.
    – offby1
    Jan 18, 2012 at 23:53

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