May 24 AT 11:47 AM Taylor Wimberly 43 Comments

Verizon Galaxy Nexus one step closer to Android 4.0.4?


Early this month an update file for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus was discovered on Google’s servers that upgraded the device to Android 4.0.4 (build IMM76K). Google quickly pulled the file down so we assumed it was just a test version and not the final Verizon approved file. Now several weeks later, the update file has mysteriously reappeared on Google’s servers.

Verizon has given no indication that they are finally pushing out the long-awaited update, so this should still be considered a test build. Some have speculated that this is Google’s way of thumbing their nose at Verizon, by allowing Nexus users to manually update their phones before Verizon approves the update.

Most Nexus users that want to hack their phones have already installed custom ROMs based on Android 4.0.4 months ago, but the average Verizon user with the Galaxy Nexus is still stranded with the bug-filled Android 4.0.2 build that has been on the device since launch day.

If you can’t wait any longer and you want to install this test build, then you can grab the file and follow the instructions below. Google does not allow stock Galaxy Nexus phones to manually flash an file, so you will have to temporarily flash a custom recovery image to get the job done. This requires users to unlock their bootloader, which will wipe all data on the phone.

For people that have never hacked their phone or those that just wish to remain on the official Verizon build, I suggest waiting on the final build to be pushed to your phone over the air.

The Verizon Galaxy Nexus is no longer my daily phone, so I went ahead and flashed this test build to make sure it works. The total process from start to finish took less than 30 minutes, and everything appeared to be working.

I have purposely remained on the stock Verizon build to see how long it takes the carrier to roll out the update, so I went ahead and flashed the factory image to return back to Android 4.0.2 (build ICL53F).

Now we return back to waiting on Verizon to update the Galaxy Nexus for the masses. How long do you think it will take Verizon to roll out their update and fix their Galaxy Nexus?

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • LukeT32

    About damn time….. Get with it VZW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I bought the Gnex to get updates sooner and i have yet to get one

  • AvatarZ

    These non-update updates just make me sad – Verizon stop sucking please?

    • Gr8Ray

      They don’t care about us, just our money. That’s why they made us sign a contract.

      • leo

        Is the unofficial update as good as the official update?, is the question.

        also why is there a gap from leak of unofficial one and official one?

        is it so they can beta test with guinea pigs so they can perfect official one?

  • Robert Joyce

    Does build ICL53F include the stock radios?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Yeah the factory image for ICL53F from Google includes the old radios. It’s pretty easy switching back and forth from locked/unlocked bootloader and different builds/radios. Let me know if you have any major problems and I can help.

      • ipshdg

        My recommended! Your needs!
        Signal repeater is an effective equipment which designed to pick up the outdoor reception from service provider’s cell phone tower and amplify it. Absolutely loved it!

  • Rick

    When the first 4.0.4 got leaked, I found a similar way to install the update without unlocking the boot loader or rooting 4.0.x.

    Will have to see if the same steps I came up with will work with this 4.0.4 build.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Hmmm I’m not sure it can be done, but maybe. The default recovery image will only flash updates from the /cache partition. You need root to access that folder and drop an update file in there. I had to unlock the bootloader to flash a new recovery image that let me manually flash this update. It’s not a major deal to unlock the bootloader, because you can always return to the factory image and lock it back.

      • Rick


        Using adb and pushing an exploit to your phone. The chmod /cache to 777 and adb over the 4.0.4 update file.

        Here are the instructions:

        • Taylor Wimberly

          Ah thanks for adding that in. Looks like unlocking/locking the bootloader is still easier than those steps. I’d still suggest wiping your phone for anyone going from 4.0.2 to 4.0.4.

          • Rick

            You’re welcome and unlocking maybe easier but if you don’t have a backup of your SD card or want to remain stock with locked boot loader but sick of phone 4.0.2 issues, this is one way.

            It took me about 5 minutes to push the file over to /cache.

  • Leo209

    I finally got fed up with Verizon’s BS… As a matter of fact all of the US carrier’s BS. I canceled my contract with Verizon last week, sold my Verizon galaxy nexus, paid for my cancellation fee, and bought the galaxy nexus from the Google play store. I have t mobile now, and couldn’t be happier. TMobile’s reception is excellent in my area. Right when i turned on my unlocked galaxy nexus, it was already running 4.0.4, and about 5 minutes after turning it on, it prompted me to install a new system update. Talk about speedy updates :) i also got an email from the Android team welcoming me to the unlocked nexus and saying that my updates will be coming directly from google. Free tethering, no bloatware, longer lasting battery life since it does not use LTE. Just awesomeness lol. I don’t miss LTE much since hspa+ is good in my area. If u have good at&t or tmobile service in your area, i would highly recommend to do the same. If it’s taking this long for the nexus to get 4.0.4, Imagine how long it will take for the Verizon nexus to get Jelly Bean when it comes out? I’m good. Good luck to you still with Verizon.

    • pekosROB

      Out of curiosity, where are you located and have you done any speedtest’s to see your average mbps up/down?

      • Leo209

        I’m in Stockton CA. I did the speed test on the Verizon galaxy nexus when it first came out, and it got on average between 15 and 20mbps it even peaked at about 35mbps on occasion. I was excited to have those speeds. Right before i sold it, it was only getting on average about 7mbps. I don’t know if it’s because more people are on the network or what, but the fact is that it was slowing down. with TMobile in this area on average I’m getting about 5 to 7mpbs so it’s not much of a difference from what i was getting with Verizon at the end.

        • pekosROB

          7 mbps is still not bad, a far cry from what you were able to get before though. 5-7 mbps on HSPA+ ain’t bad either, I mean isn’t the average broadband speed between 7-10 mbps in America?

          Fast enough to play some Diablo or Starcraft! :-)

          • Leo209

            Exactly Lol. That’s why I didn’t care if I had LTE or not. As long as i could watch HD YouTube videos without buffering, I’m good. Plus my monthly Bill is lower, and i have an extra gb of data that i could use compared to what i had with Verizon, and I’m selling my brand new htc one s that i got with the new TMobile contract to help pay off my unlocked galaxy nexus phone. It’s a Win overall imo.

    • impulse101

      It’s much easier and better to just install 4.0.4 yourself or get a custom ROM. It’s pretty ridiculous buying a phone like this and not rooting/unlocking it so that you can do what you want with it.

  • ktg807

    Does installing 4.0.4 this way kill the warranty on the phone? I have some major issues with this phone’s radio and I want to see if 4.0.4 will fix the issues I’m having. If it doesn’t I will return the phone.

    Obviously the warranty will need to be valid for me to do so.

    • Rick

      I know when the first 4.0.4 update came out, it was pushed out to a few VZW GN users. I have not heard about the second or this leak being pushed out to any VZW GN users.

      Depends on how you update your phone.
      * There is to unlock your boot loader and in turn wipe your phone, install CWM install the update but then have to lock the boot loader.
      * There is the steps in the link above
      * Or the XDA method.

      • ktg807

        Thanks Rick – do you know which way is least likely to void my warranty/insurance?

        • Rick

          I think those steps since you do not have to unlock your boot loader or root 4.0.x.

          I added in steps to remove the mempodroid and su from /data/local if you don’t want to leave evidence on the phone. Or doing a factory wipe will take care of that as well.

    • impulse101

      4.0.4 fixes the radio issues. You should have done this 4 months ago

  • Glenn

    Do they new radios with this new update? I dont see any improvements…

  • thekaz

    Another day, another OTA update rumor, another day without an OTA update.

    I can’t say I am disappointed with this phone – I still think it is a great phone and am happy I got it. I am just a bit disappointed that it hasn’t seemed to live up to all I thought it would be. This update being one of the big things…

  • BigCiX

    What a shame!

  • leo

    yeah i’m with everyone who thinks this is rediculous. what is taking so long? is it google? is it samsung? is it verizon? is it 2 of the 3? is it all 3? can’t stand bugs! they need to hurry up. i was told in january that the update would happen in march, now here we are at the end of may and still nothing.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Each partner blames someone else. I think Verizon is the one holding it up, but I’m sure they would point that finger at Google or Samsung.

    • BrandonJD

      It is totally verizon, The GSM Galaxy Nexus has had the update for a while now. Any claim Verizon makes to say otherwise is just them wanting to pass the blame.

  • Max.Steel

    Got this from a blog:

    After leaving my Sprint contract in January 2011 because of my terrible experience with them, I made up my mind to never sign a contract for cellular service again. I purchased a used HTC G2 and moved to T-Mobile no-contract Postpaid service. At the time, it was a huge victory. I was “sticking it to the carriers” by buying unsubsidized (in this case used) and not signing a contract. After months with the service, it was pretty evident that T-Mobile’s main goal was to get me onto a contract. Every single customer service call was a chance for them to up-sell me to a contract plan and device – it even came to the point where they were cold-calling me, offering services on contract. This had to stop.

    In mid January of this year, I decided to take my wireless service into my own hands. Just a year after moving from Sprint contract Postpaid to T-Mobile no-contract Postpaid, I devised my plan to buy an unlocked GSM Galaxy Nexus, and make the move all the way to Prepaid service. My previous plan with T-Mobile offered 500 minutes (which I never used), Unlimited SMS/MMS, and 5GB of data, but cost me $70 monthly. My previous Sprint contract? Over $80 monthly. Following some advice from a great thread on XDA-developers, I made my decision to go with a T-Mobile (Walmart) Prepaid plan. The plan offers 100 minutes of talk, Unlimited SMS/MMS, and 5GB of un-throttled data – all for just $30 per month, $40 less than T-Mobile Postpaid.

    Before continuing, I should point out that there are some caveats when looking at this plan:

    1) There are no nights, weekends, or mobile-to-mobile minutes on this plan. 100 means 100. This can be a deal-breaker for some on this plan. Don’t worry, there are other options with more minutes! (As well as Google Voice solutions, which I’ll get into later in this post.)

    2) Don’t expect customer support. One of the ways that these plans achieve low cost is outsourcing CS. If you call in to T-Mobile, you’ll be forwarded to India for support, and only support for services, not for hardware.

    3) No roaming. Now, if you’re like most people, you spend 99% of your time within the city limits. In that case, you won’t ever need roaming. If you plan on getting cell service on the top of a mountain somewhere, you should probably look elsewhere.

    Still interested? Let’s move on to setting up the plan!

    Order your SIM and SIM activation kit online directly from T-Mobile. It is $1.99 with free shipping, and the card actually has ~$3.50 in credit pre-loaded, so they’re actually paying you to activate it. When the card arrives (for me it took an atrocious 8 business days), open up the entire packet and pop out the SIM, and take down the required numbers from your device of choice (IMEI# and SIM# specifically). Go to T-Mobile’s Prepaid Activation page and follow the prompts. Enter your information and choose the plan you want. Be sure to read the fine print here: only the $30 and $70 plans offer 5GB of un-throttled data. Other plans will only offer 25MB, 250MB, or 2GB. Be realistic about how much data you will use. Once you’ve completed activation, enter your credit card # and pay for the service. You now have 30 days of use out of a phone for just a touch over $1 per day!

    Contrary to the way typical contract postpaid services work, you must pay before you use the service. Now once you get into the swing of it the payments will be no different than you’re used to. You’ll still pay once per month and your service will never stop unless you stop paying. The difference will be that your card is charged exactly every 30 days, with no exceptions. The beauty of this system is that there are no overages, fees, or nickel-and-dime schemes. Since you pay for the service up front, they can’t charge you more later. You get what you pay for – no more, no less.

    This – or any prepaid plan setup – wouldn’t be complete without a quick praise of Google Voice. Now, this is probably best saved for another blog post to get into the nitty-gritty of it, but I’ll give the overview. Most people’s interaction with Google Voice consists of setting up Voicemail on your Android device that lets you check it in your e-mail, by text message, or in any browser. Actually, GV goes much, much farther than this if you’re willing to put in the time for setup. Going to the Google Voice website will get you started. Choose a number with any qualifications you have – you can search by area code, number combination, or spelling. I personally snagged a number which has the same 7-digits as my current carrier number, but with a Maryland area code. After doing so, you can now call and text from this number as if it were provided by a carrier. Calls made on the computer are 100% free to/from US numbers, and SMS sent both on the computer and device are free also. I’ll be the first to admit that a love/hate relationship quickly forms with Google Voice, but as I said, if you’re willing to put in the man hours for setup, the rewards are numerous. I personally would not be able to do prepaid without it.

    I’m now just over a month into this service, and I can honestly say I couldn’t be happier with how it has gone. The service is great, the cost savings are huge, and I get the feeling of satisfaction every day I see someone with an AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint phone knowing that I’m paying far less for the same service. The one bit of caution I can give is to really do your research. I spent a good 2 weeks hunting down the specifics and making sure that everything would work as I expect. That being said, I would definitely advise trying it on for size – at the very most you’re out $31.99 for a month of service to see if it will work for you. I think that’s worth every penny.

    • BrandonJD

      Having a GSM unlocked Galaxy Nexus from the play store, I forgot that the Verizon folks were still waiting.

    • BrandonJD

      I am a Happy T-Mobile customer. They are the national carrier with the cheapest plans out there. And the kicker is that if you have an unlocked galaxy nexus, they cant stop you from tethering.

      I have a grandfathered plan from back when they offered 10gb for 20bucks, an outrageously good deal in this day and age! in the event i go past 10gb, which is hard, it just throttles. The also have very good customer service, and when you are with them for a while, the loyalty plans cant be beat.

  • Nathan D.

    Dam, Verizon really kill the nexus with their version of it. Verizon really sucks at updating their phone or they have to high of a standard either way it’s killing the phone user experience.

  • YellowDucati

    Is there a way to apply this without losing all my current setup and configuration?

    • YellowDucati

      ” This requires users to unlock their bootloader, which will wipe all data on the phone.”
      I just read again. That answered my question.

    • Rick

      Please see my earlier post.

      Or in 5 hours (7:30 PST), I can let you know if those steps worked for this 4.0.4 from the first 4.0.4 update.

  • counsel dew

    If the update does not fix

    I’ll think the update is worthless!

  • chris

    i got tired of waiting so i finally flashed 4.0.4 this morning, works great. i really notice that the screen rotation is a lot faster and it hasn’t randomly rebooted on me yet. calls seem a little more “clear” for some reason and the mic hasn’t cut out at all like it used to. maybe it’s all in my head but everything just seems to be “smoother” over all. you will lose root with the flash so you will need the updated to regain root.

  • Beebs

    If I flash this update, will I get updates from verizon in the future? I know that’s kind of a laughable question in the first place, but just wondering.

    • impulse101

      no, you do it yourself and get it 5 months faster


    seriously??? Verizon really sucks about updates, I got my GSM GNex update weeks ago….. :)

  • Chris

    Verizon rolled out update this weekend.