Those owning the Samsung Galaxy S II (SGS II) have been eagerly waiting for the official release of the latest Ice Cream Sandwich update. The new OS update brings a lot of eye-candy and additional features, which can speed up the phone and make it compatible with newer app versions. Downloading the ICS update for your phone is easy and takes a few simple steps. There are two methods of implementing the ICS update for the SGS II. Here’s how.
This method is applicable to those who have the official Android Gingerbread OS that came preinstalled with the phone. It doesn't matter if the phone was rooted or not, as long as the firmware (OS) is official. All you need to do is install the Samsung Kies utility on your PC, plug in the SGS II using the USB port and update it to the new firmware. OTA updates are also available, but if you have a slow connection, you could end up with retries and delays. The best way is to do it via the PC as it's safer and quicker.
Download Kies and install it on your PC. If you don’t have Kies, you can download it from the Samsung website or click on this link. Once done, connect your SGS II to the PC’s USB port. Make sure you had your phone’s battery charged to at least 80 percent before attempting any updates. This will ensure your phone does not lose power while updating, and you don’t end up with a bricked device.
Backup data with Kies
Once you connect your phone to the PC, the phone’s notification bar will highlight 'MTP connection enabled'. This ensures that the drivers are successfully installed and the phone is recognized by the Kies software. Next, the Kies software will check your phone’s current firmware (OS) and highlight it on the screen that a new firmware (ICS) is available for your phone and to start the updating procedure. Before you choose to move ahead, you should ensure a backup of all your data from the phone. Press the cancel button and then click on the ‘Back-up/Restore tab in the Kies window. This will allow you to take your necessary data backups before proceeding. Choose the ones you need to back up by checking the required fields (contacts, messages, memos, call logs, etc.) and hit the back up button. Once done, you are ready to install ICS on your phone.
Firmware update notice
Head back to the ‘Basic Information’ tab in the Kies window and click on the ‘Firmware Upgrade’ button. Follow the onscreen requirements and start the upgrade. The initial stage of the upgrading procedure involves downloading the necessary updates, which are more than around 350 MB in size. This will take time, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
Wait while the software download the necessary data. Once done, you will notice your SGS II automatically rebooting and entering the download mode. All of this is done automatically by the Kies software, and you don’t need to do anything at this stage.
SGS II Download mode
Note: If the SGS II was not completely installed with all the Android Gingerbread updates, then Kies will start updating them first before installing ICS to it. This is normal as the procedure involves a series of updates prior to getting the handset ready for the final ICS update. Kies will get everything done for you.
After a while, you will notice that your phone will start automatically running a few scripts. The upgrade has been transferred to the phone and is finally being applied on the phone. This will take a while, and your phone will restart with the new operating system – Android ICS version 4.x.x. Now you can safely disconnect the phone and check out the new features of ICS on your phone. Your data will be completely wiped off, and you will need to restore everything by connecting it back to the PC and running the Kies software. Head on to the Back-up/Restore section to restore your data.
The second method involves using a third-party utility, called Odin. This utility is developed by open-source developers and helps flash the firmware directly to the Samsung Phone without the need of the official Kies software. However, you will initially need to install the Kies software for the necessary drivers to be installed. The Odin utility is strictly not for the faint hearted. Therefore, if you are using this method, do it with a lot of caution, and if you are doing it for the first time, read up on related articles on the XDA forums before proceeding. The method of using Odin for flashing the ICS firmware is for those who have migrated away from Samsung’s official firmware and are making use of third-party ROMs for their SGS IIs.
Firm updating using the Odin tool
Before you proceed, you will need the following:
- The Odin utility which can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/odin-for-SG
- The ICS firmware for SGS II which can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/ICS-SGS-II . Alternatively, you can hunt for different versions from the XDA forum.
Take all necessary backups of your phone’s data using respective apps and utilities. Next, download the utility and the firmware (links mentioned above) and save them on your desktop. Once you have the two files, create a folder and decompress the downloaded files within that folder. You will be left with a few files, out of which the most important one is Odin (.exe) and the firmware (.tar.md5) files. Next, you need to switch your phone into the download mode. To do this, you need to switch off your phone and then press the following buttons—‘Volume_Down + Home + Power’ and your phone will display the download mode. Now connect the phone to your PC and let Windows install the necessary serial drivers for your phone. Once done, start the Odin utility. If your phone has successfully been detected by Odin, you will see the box with the header ‘ID:COM’ turned yellow and highlighting the phone connected via a COM port. This states that the SGS II is now ready to be flashed with a new firmware. Next, go ahead and check the box next to the ‘PDA’ and then hit the ‘PDA’ button and choose the ‘.tar.md5’ file you decompressed from the downloaded firmware file. Note: Do not check any other boxes and leave all settings as they are.
Once done, hit the ‘Start button’ and your SGS II will be flashed with the new firmware. After a successfully firmware flash, the phone will automatically restart. You are now ready to use your SGS II with the ICS firmware.
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