Friday, July 20, 2012

Applying Jelly Bean OTA on your Nexus S

The official Nexus S OTA file for i9023 is now out!

Google OTA file
(MD5 – 12c718dbda2565609db45c9631a25adc)

I had used the Nexus S 4.0.4 factory images for my phone and left the boot loader unlocked. Unfortunately, the instructions for applying the official OTA apply only to those on boot-locked stock recovery or custom recovery. I tried doing it but got the "apply_patch_check assert failed" error message. You might want to try it first if you are on stock.

Just a tip for going to the recovery menu on stock ROM:

1. While phone is off, press Power and Volume Up continuously until the fastboot screen appears.
2. Press volume down to select Recovery, then press Power to select.
3. The phone will reboot, show the Google logo and show a robot with a red exclamation point.
4. Press Volume Up, then Power to go the recovery menu. I thought the the robot with the red exclamation was an error. Also make sure you press Volume Up first, then Power and not vice versa, otherwise nothing will happen.

I didn't want to lock my boot loader using "fastboot oem lock" because it would wipe my phone so I decided to flash a custom recovery ROM and then apply the OTA update manually.

The Cyanogenmod wiki has the best instructions for doing this. You'll need the SDK for this.

Once the custom recovery was flashed, I powered off, then reboot to recovery (Power+Volume Up). Select the apply The update should proceed smoothly and reboot on Jelly Bean. Upon first boot, there will be an update message but all your apps and data should be intact.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mac OSX system preferences hang

Many users must have encountered a permanent hang in Mac OSX System Preferences because searching "osx system preferences hang" on Google returns more than 300,000 results. OSX isn't so rock solid after all.

This happened while I was changing the wallpaper and probably chose iPhoto. The bouncing ball then appeared. I left it like that for about 15 minutes and had to Force Quit. Rebooting the machine didn't help. This makes the entire System Preferences inaccessible so you cannot change any setting on your machine until you resolve the wallpaper issue.

The following forum entry had a solution:

All you need to do is to delete a file in your preferences folder which will reset your desktop to the default.

To do this, you will need to open terminal and type the following:

rm ~/Library/Preferences/

Then, reboot your Mac and you'll see the default wallpaper and System Preferences back to normal.

Upgrading Samsung Galaxy S to ICS

The best instruction guide for upgrading the Samsung Galaxy S is in Cyanogenmod's wiki. I followed the Mac OSX instructions using Heimdall Suite 1.3.2.

The "Installing the ClockworkMod Recovery" instructions will replace the recovery image of the phone and root it. You may then load any custom ROM to your phone after doing this. The trickiest thing in doing this is holding down Home+Volume Down while plugging the USB cable. I suggest you remove any casing you have on your Galaxy S while doing this. You will need the following files to install the recovery image. The links should be in the instructions. This step only needs to be done once. With Jelly Bean ROMs starting to appear, you will be able upgrade your phone easily using the recovery method.

heimdall-suite-1.3.2-mac.dmg (13MB)
hardcore-speedmod.tar (7.5MB)

After installing the recovery image, you can boot your phone normally and copy the ICS ROMs. There are typically 2 files that you need to install a ROM (main ROM and the Google Apps zip). The Google Apps file is usually distributed separately for legal purposes though some ROMs already have it included. I installed AOKP build 40 (Android 4.0.4) though by now there should be the newer AOKP Milestone 6 already. (139MB) (52MB)

Just follow the instructions in the wiki to install the ROM. After installing AOKP and Google Apps, I was able to boot into ICS, but the Google Sign-in did not appear. I had to boot again to recovery and reflash Google Apps. After doing that, the phone was now on ICS.


Installing a custom ROM will require a complete wipe of your apps and data so you will need to make a backup. I recommend Astro to backup the apps. Just use USB cable to copy your photos. For SMS, you can use either SMS Backup & Restore by Ritesh Sahu (backup to USB) or SMS Backup by Cristoph Studer (backup to Gmail). This part takes the longest.

The FM radio in the Galaxy S will not work anymore after you install a custom ROM.