Dec 16 AT 4:30 PM Dustin Earley 146 Comments

[Update: manual download live] Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Nexus S headed out now


Google promised that the Nexus S would be updated to Android 4.0 shortly after the Galaxy Nexus was released. Sure enough, just one day after the Verizon Nexus hit shelves across the nation, Ice Cream Sandwich for the Nexus S has hit the air.

As for how the update will play out, it will be rolled out in waves (much like every other update has), with GSM devices first in line. Sprint’s Nexus S 4G will come later on. It may take around a month for the update to be completely deployed, but rest assured you shouldn’t have to wait that long. Once the update is out there, developers usually release a flashable update file that doesn’t require root to use.

When it comes to the changes in store for Nexus S users, Google has published a “Tips for Android 2.3 Users” page that offers some words of advice on making the upgrade. The page features information like how to change the wallpaper, create a folder and view recent apps. There’s also information on the new lock screen, the gestures found throughout Ice Cream Sandwich and app upgrades.

I’m still waiting for the update to hit my handset, but once it does, I’ll be sure to share my experiences. If you feel up to it, you can do the same in the comments below.


The manual update file for the T-Mobile (not sure about AT&T) Nexus S is live. I have successfully update my Nexus S, but keep in mind that this is a download at your own risk situation. Famed Android developer JBQ has put out some release notes on the update, saying that this is the first AOSP build that supports three devices: the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Xoom. To download the update, I recommend visiting this Google+ post where you can also find instructions. Good luck!

Source: The Verge

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Futureboy

    Did I just hear trumpets playing and angels singing??? This is awesome!!!

    • itzxdjx

      Yes yes yes they are! I can’t wait to flash mine. Makes me feel a bit better about not having the galaxy nexus.

      • r1ch

        I can’t be the only one who’s contemplating picking up a Nexus S off eBay so I.can get my hands on ICS right now…

        Plus it’s got NFC for Beam. I love the G-Nex but it’s just too big for me. :(

        • mr 1338

          me so jealous !
          i with samsung would ditch TouchWiz and bring a Stock ICS . that update would be ready by christmas and not take ages to finish…

          • mr 1338

            talking SGS2

    • BiGMERF

      This is for all of my Nexus S owners out there ! Celebrate !!

      • David

        It’s like having a brand new phone indeed. ICS is awesome on the Nexus S. It’s actually faster and slicker than Gingerbread, and with more features. It’s a win-win. I’m impressed after the update yesterday… I loved it. Really. Feels like going from donut to eclair, just even bigger.

        Well done, Google, well done. OK, so now Google isn’t evil like I ranted about the Galaxy Nexus being updated by Samsung. At least not so much lol.

      • Sean the Electrofreak

        Jealllloouuusssss…! Congrats NS owners… this is why my next phone will be a Nexus device.

    • King Chris Scott

      Please please please release it soon for SGSII my buddy just got his GN and it is awesome

    • Samuel Hurd, criminal jungle bunny (drugs…)

      Nice, but drugs are nicer. Hook me up if you want some!
      Samuel Hurd

  • jamal

    Google is the bomb!!

  • zyphbear

    I’m really Glad Google has kept their plans as to the update cycle of the Nexus Series!

    Main question I would have is if Like the Nexus S 4G, if the Galaxy Nexus LTE will have delayed updates?

    • levigarret

      arrrrrrrg!!! so now how many hours do I have to sit here and obsesively check system updates on my NS4G?

  • Instrumentals

    /looks at system update button


  • heldros

    eagerly waiting for the flashable update file

  • clschnei

    I might see it for a day before I root to CM9. Overly enthused, though!

  • jasonlee

    Forwarding to my buddy now

  • myandroid99

    its about time cant wait to try it

  • Hall Lo

    Awesome reason to get a Nexus phone :D

  • heldros

    @koush:Hello Nexus S ICS update:

  • darkhorse166

    Is this for all versions of the Nexus S, including the SC-LCD and AMOLED GSM versions? I’m tempted to pick up a cheap Nexus S round this part of the world…

  • Billy

    Awesome!! Welcome to ICS my Nexus brothers and sisters!

  • xsynth

    I haven’t gone through a major version update yet (Nexus S was first phone already on 2.3), is there anything that would need to be backed up for the update or will it handle it all itself?
    I can’t wait for the OTA to get to my phone, really looking forward to it.

    The upgrade file has already been found for manual update (tweet from androidcentral with steps) but I think I’ll wait for the one direct to my phone so it has the right version etc.

    • Adam Snyder

      Nope, nothing to back up, although it is a good idea to check that all you info is correct. Go to and make a list of all your apps, and your contacts.

  • ramenchef

    This goes to prove that Nexus devices are THE devices to buy.

  • Donald Williams

    Makes me wish i had a Nexus S over the MT4G. Then again I cant go wrong with either and can always root to the newest ROM. Congrats on the updates. Way to go Samsung and Google!

  • ArticulateFool

    Nice. This came out earlier than i expected.

    Welcome to the ics club nexus s users!

  • behzadbayat

    When can I seeone post like this for my galaxy tab 8.9

  • 94wolfpack

    BOOM a lil pre-dinner dessert :). Just flashed on my T-mo nexus S.

  • Lewis McGeary

    Awesome, I usually wait for updates to roll out, might be tempted to jump ahead this time.

  • osc707

    no I wish I had gotten the Nexus S and had my wife take my Evo

  • ccn_cristi

    My next phone must be a Nexus one, only if just for this!

    • Chaoz can get my Nexus One for a fair price :) I so want to buy a Nexus Prime :-)

    • Adam Snyder

      ice cream sandwich won’t come to Nexus one (automatically), of course… you could root

      • cxandroid

        I would be a dev will make it happen though.

  • spoon201

    Okay now the question is who puts out the first rooted and ROM and will it be today?

  • Marcus

    Nexus S users rejoice! I have a Nexus One that, sadly, wont be updated :( have fun with ICS guys!

  • lufy0000

    why would this do this one day after Galaxy Nexus, wouldn’t this hurt sales since some people might tempted to just get the Nexus S instead?

    • tagon

      Maybe but most likely not, not to mention in the US galaxy nexus is only on one carrier and that carrier does not have the nexus s

  • RayMatthew

    What’s the hold up for Nexus S 4G users, the whole 4G part??

  • heldros

    Go back to 2.3.3, update to 2.3.6 and then to 4.0.3.


    Now, I’m a happy man and enjoying some ice cream sandwich

  • damambt

    Wheres the update for i9020a 😁

  • RockinEvo

    Congrats to all who have a nexus S

  • Joel Bird

    Really the Xoom is in the mix here too? Wonder when it will push out?

  • Alex Carlson
  • Alex Carlson

    im not sure how to downgrade to 2.3.3 though

  • tokra

    I’ve been waiting so long for this day :) awesome, i love Google!

  • beatrixasdfghjk.

    What’s the difference between T-Mobile and AT&T models?

  • myandroid99

    i got it its very nice, but where is the face unlock?

    • Steve Heinrich

      I noticed this as well. In the CM9 alpha ROM it was in there. Granted, it didn’t work very well for me. Hopefully they are just ironing it out to be released later.

  • Marvles

    Works perfectly on my T-Mobile nexus s!

    • Steve Heinrich

      Mine too. I’m happy for the quick release.

  • Daniel Fitzsimmons

    Does anyone have a list of nexus s devices this is compatible with? I have I9020XXKF1

    • Ozus Lohani

      Same deal for me! Did you get it to work?

  • thorgoth

    where is the face unlock???!!!!!
    i want EVERY bit of ICS!!! including face unlock!!

  • Steven Schwartz

    No face unlock and the auto brightness does not work either but besides that it is great

    • David

      I have the T-Mobile Nexus S and the auto brightness is working just fine. Juuuuuust fine.

      Face unlock obviously isn’t considering the secondary camera the S has.

  • antfelici

    I want it now

  • GrendelJapan

    Thanks! I upgraded my Nexus S earlier tonight and haven’t been able to put down my phone. Ice Cream Sandwich is totally awesome. What a huge step forward. It looks so nice. I had to totally redo my app layout and clean things up a ton, just so I didn’t feel embarrassed by how much I was cluttering it up.

  • Nathan D.

    I feel all left out in all of this excitement

  • MoSDeeb

    ICS is truly a great update. Used the CM9 Kang until I bought the Galaxy Nexus. Great hardware and software.

  • dandroid4g

    Ice cream sandwich deliciousness. Here I come :)

  • Kavman

    So, I have ICS on my Aussie Vodafone Nexus S now and it runs buttery smooth and apart from lacking face unlock, I love it.

    While out doing the mandatory Christmas shopping spree I notice the battery is running down faster than normal. Within 4 hours of putting the update on my battery is dead!

    Anyone else noticed something similar? I am about to charge it up and see what the heck is going on and using all that battery :/

    • JohnH

      May “extended” (1750) battery dead in 5 to 6 hours….regular battery in about 5…

  • Alex Carlson

    This ice cream sandwich tastes so good!

  • itzxdjx

    Did it awsome. So far!

  • M

    Works perfect on my Nexus S 3G! It also support Persian language without any problem.
    Vodafone Australia

  • Zeratoda1

    It Just seems like Nexus Devices are going to be my next phone they get everything

    • ArticulateFool

      That is why I vowed to not leave the nexus line again.

      It always seems tempting, but nothing works quite like a Nexus.

      Great hardware married to great software and fast updates…. A recipe for WIN!

  • Anthony E

    I can’t wait for this :D

    • Anthony E

      Woohoo, mine and my dad’s just OTA updated to ICS!! (WIND Canada)

  • simofacc

    How long will it take till ICS gets on my HTC Desire ;)

  • sgumer

    this is great for all the nexus s owners. now i just need one for the evo.

  • cherrytree

    This is also great for owners of the galaxy S! Some new sources for CM9 because they are so similar! ICS FOR OUR BELOVED SGS!!

  • Deepak Gupta

    So the good news is that the Galaxy S series will get ICS soon because of the same hardware. The bad news is I should have purchased a Nexus S instead of a Captivate. Oh well!!

  • Kev

    Wait… is the ota a world wide thing? Or is it US only (for now)??

    • dr3amcast3r

      It was live in Portugal yesterday night so I guess it’s worldwide

  • HoLfElDeR

    wohooo so fast, and there is a upadte, this is nice

  • MOhammedD

    i want help for my nexus s
    I don’t have any rom in my phone and i lost the system
    I can see only google in Start and no system
    Please help me

  • Fabio R


  • DRA

    has anyone tried it with the xoom yet?

  • 94wolfpack

    Anyone seeing any issues on the stock ICS for Tmo nexus S? This website causes my browser to disappear and it sends me back home. By this I mean … the browser is up and as I try to scroll on this website the browser exits/dies/quits/stops. It does not force close however. it just dies and goes back to the home screen.

    I am completely stock and have not made any modifications to the OS.

    It seems as if the scrolling isn’t as responsive as it used to be on GB. When I swipe up and down it seems as if my finger has gone well over half the screen before it starts to scroll (on all websites).

    Curious to see if anyone else is seeing this.

    • Lewis McGeary

      I’m seeing similar on a stock Gingerbread Nexus S. I use Dolphin HD browser and Android and Me sometimes closes it(not Force Close). Usually this seems to be when Android and Me was the last site I was on, when I open the browser again it comes up for a second then closes back to the home screen.
      In fact when writing this post on my phone I got a call, after the call, it went back to the browser for a second then closed back to homescreen, so typing on laptop instead. Not seeing this with any other site!

      • 94wolfpack

        Interesting… I never saw this on GB using the stock browser. The scrolling is MUCH MUCH MUCH slower on ICS in the web browser than it was on GB. Almost unacceptably slow. Hopefully its just me.

  • kg

    No face lock :(

  • tkitty93

    I am jealous…I want this on my S2 so bad…but I am happy for Nexus S users too :).

  • txbluesman

    Sounds like everyone is having fun. This is great! Everyone enjoy! :-)

  • Samar

    Abt time.

  • jiggybyte

    Anyone running ICS on an HTC Evo 4G yet? Wondering if CM9 is out in alpha yet and if so how good it is.

  • byrd

    NICEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! this is totaly awesum!!!!!!
    Nexus S 3G cinn. bell.

  • Nate B.

    Can’t wait for the NS4G turn. I might use my NS4G as a daily again once we get our serving and put the Epic Touch 4g down until a fully frozen CM9 is ready for it.

    I didn’t expect face unlock to come over. Our camera hardware wouldn’t be as smooth. I mean the early roms were crappy when it came to that feature.

    • Lewis McGeary

      Was really hoping for face unlock!

  • frmorrison

    That is neat that Google supports the Nexus S still. Kudos to Google.

  • Dirge

    Glad to hear it for fellow Nexus owners. You’re going to love ICS!
    -Sent from my LTE Galaxy Nexus.

  • Michael C.

    So as someone who outright bought the Nexus S SIM-free from Best Buy, and not one of those carrier-specific versions, would the manual update apply to my phone?

    • Andromedo


  • jdawg334

    How would I go about flashing this on my OG Droid?? Would it work or do I need to do anything different since its ICS?

  • dafi81

    getting green with envy

  • Patti

    I just received my OTA update today. It all went very smooth. The file was over 160MB so it took a little while.

  • mcopeman23

    …i still have to wait. sprint + nexus s = fail

  • todd

    So mad that nexus s 4g isn’t getting the update yet! The reason I got this phone was to be 1 of the 1st 2 get the new updates!!!!

  • Daniel

    Is it relevant which UMTS provider I have? Currently I am using O2 in Germany but I am switching to Vodafone next month ( ). Or can I also update via wireless lan?

    • Andromedo

      As long as the update is for the hardware model you have, you should be able to. If you have any doubt, the manual method should work for you.

  • cxandroid

    Hopefully this will help development on some of the SGS devices.

  • eioous

    Mmmmm…Ice cream sandwich

  • Jorge Eslava

    I can’t wait to get my Galaxy nexus!

    • Louis A

      You will not put it down when you get it. I have being on it for the past days non-stop.

  • flamesbladeflcl

    I can’t wait for it to be on my girlfriend’s nexus s 4g so i can play with it

  • dacatalyst41

    It’s amazing how different the hardware specs are between the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Nexus!

  • dacatalyst41

    BTW, face unlock is whimsical at best. I don’t use it very often. Anyone else using face unlock a lot in ICS?

    • dafi81

      it is only a gimmick neither secure nor handy!

  • gherea

    ICS is truly a great update.

  • Danny Calderon

    Right about now I wish I had bought a nexus s, can’t seem to root the MT 4g, so I will probably be stuck on gingerbread

  • pmex83

    LOL, I have felt salty this whole weekend with all the news about ICS and the Galaxy Nexus and not being able to get one on Tmobile.

    • itzxdjx

      Salty is and understatement

  • pritams

    I SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(::happyface:D::)

  • GrendelJapan

    Anyone with Nexus S + ICS able to play mkvs w/o a special app? Thought mkvs were supported natively, but they aren’t working for me…

  • humidity

    I have some friends who will love this news!

  • jenskristian

    I’m so jealous. My SGS2 also want some Ice Cream Sandwich for Christmas…

  • dr3amcast3r

    received mine last night. I’m in Portugal so I think is world wide. So far haven’t been able to set face unlock and configure widgetoid to manage my 3G connection, other than that… It’s looking GREAT

  • Ilyse Rose

    This is awesome news, too bad I don’t have an S. Glad to see the update’s rolling out fast.

  • Anthropic

    Oh Samsung please hurry, my Galaxy S2 is so excited about 4.0 it’s holding my contacts ransom until I find a way to give it the update! Please hurry!

  • aranea

    I’m so jealous of Nexus users now!

    • Louis A

      You should lol

  • Louis A

    This is exactly why I will always buy a Nexus phone. Quick updates! If you have a Nexus S, you will love ice cream 4.0. Great is an understatement.

  • Luke Haviland

    so amazing how google updates their phones.
    I only want nexus devices from now on
    if only i could afford a new phone

  • Dan13

    I’m happy for those of you who get this!

  • zyphbear

    I’m really happy how quickly they were able to get this available for download! I don’t know if once I get my Galaxy Nexus, if I would do the update manually or if I would do it via auto-update instead, but I’m glad it’s available for me to make that choice!

  • donger

    nice, nexus devices are awesome with getting updates. I remember when the Nexus One would get updates faster than any other new phone that comes out.

  • ndub21

    Congrats Nexus S users! That was fast!

  • mclarensr

    May regret switching from Nexus line to Atrix, lets see.

  • thel0nerang3r

    any leaks for the Nexus 4G?

  • ciabo18

    Thanks to google!!!!

  • MOnline

    Just updated yesterday, I was waiting for the official OTA but as I where refreshing and checking every few minutes I decided to flash the manual one. Works like a charm :).

  • Tardelli

    I got Android 4.0.3 ice cream sandwich official update on my Nexus S I9023 and it’s draining battery!! I mean a lot of battery. The battery widget is showing android system consuming more battery than the screen. Hope they fix it fast. I can’t even get 7 hours without a recharge.

  • aaroncoffman3

    come on droid3, come on droid3!

  • Fabio R

    just upgraded yayyyyyy

  • Gone


  • d3us

    Installed ota version 2 days ago, signal strength poor, battery goes from 100 to 0 faster than bugatti veyron from 0 to 100, slower rotate of screen, but it looks perfect and futuristic, it has some new features, and i love it, and will keep it :D

  • SadPanda

    Congrats, everyone!

    Unfortunately, I have the NS4G, and have to wait. Hopefully it’s out soon!

  • WM

    I have the Ice Cream now downloaded on my 2011 Nexus S
    I use T-Mobile, can I utilize 4g now???

    Thanks in advance anyone w/ info:-)

  • MihaiC

    If you experienced fast battery drain on Nexus S with ICS check out this link:

  • KNF

    I love this update, but has anyone noticed the default alarm clock tone has changed? I’m used to hearing the alarm clock ringing, but this morning I woke up to some strange beeps. I liked the old ringtone and it’s no longer on the list! WHY?