I have a problem - a half year ago I installed the 4.0.3 on my Nexus S. I installed it by placing the 'update.zip' file in the \sdcard folder, restarting phone, holding Power+VolUp buttons, then choosing recovery and install.

However, now I downloaded the 4.0.4 update, did the same, but the phone got stuck - upon choosing recovery an android picture with something like a sphere in his stomach is shown for like a second and then the phone turns black - only buttons are lit.

What could be wrong?

Edit: Here is a YT video of my problem, sorry about the resolution, it's recorded on my laptop

  • Make sure that you deleted the previous update.zip before updating the new version. (I know that's pretty basic - but it wasn't clear from your post whether you did that or not).
    – shar1z
    Jun 3, 2012 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


This is a known bug in the Nexus S' 4.0.3 firmware when you apply the i9020 update.zip to the i9023 model. Background: The i9020 sports a self-illuminating amoled while the i9023 has a traditional LCD with a backlight. The recovery fails to switch on the backlight and the screen goes black.

You probably downloaded the update.zip from Google and did not use the official update method, right?

In short:
The screen backlight of the i9023 model is off in recovery mode due to that bug but everything else just works

Here's a thread on XDA that covers just this.

Possible solutions to fix it:

  • Use a strong LED flashlight and illuminate the LCD just for the installation of the 4.0.4, see images below (both show the same homescreen, except the left has a switched off backlight)
  • Unlock your Nexus S and install a working custom recovery (guide)

forced illumination normal backlight


That logo in the background is the recovery mode, it looks like as if recovery binary died for some unknown reason, perhaps the update.zip is corrupted and it could not be parsed.

Might be worth a shot to use dsixda kitchen, to convert that update zip to a flashable zip that can be flashed, not using recovery's update menu option, but choosing the file manually.

But judging the youtubey, it looks recovery got b0rk3d up, you did not state if the handset is still able to boot normally in your posting?

  • :-) @tomm: see real reason above ^^
    – ce4
    Jul 24, 2012 at 18:01
  • @ce4: "Above" and "below" don't have much utility when referring to other answers, since they can be sorted in multiple ways.
    – ale
    Jul 24, 2012 at 18:28
  • erm, yeah. Thanks :) Maybe it was just confidence ;-)
    – ce4
    Jul 24, 2012 at 18:33

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