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How to update Nexus S to Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.x)

Google is rolling out Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.x) to GSM/UMTS Nexus S devices. If you are impatient and don’t want to or cannot wait for Jelly Bean to hit your Nexus S, there is way to manually update/install Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.x) right now. This guide tells you how.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended as a helpful “how to”. Ashraf and dotTech are not responsible for any gain or loss (including but not limited to bricked devices) incurred as a result of following this guide. Manually update Nexus S to Jelly Bean at your own risk.

Before we begin

At this moment Jelly Bean has only been released for the GSM/UMTS version of Nexus S. It has not been released for the CDMA version of Nexus S (i.e. Nexus S 4G on Sprint). If you try to update your CDMA Nexus S to Jelly Bean you will brick it.

Also take note the manual update package is for Nexus S i9020T and i9020A — the T-Mobile USA and AT&T versions of Nexus S. There are unofficial reports that the T-Mobile update works for i9023 (the Super LCD version of Nexus S). If you are a brazen fellow you can attempt to update your i9023 with the T-Mobile Jelly Bean package but be warned: You might get a brick.

Furthermore, you must have an unlocked bootloader to perform this manual update. To unlock your bootloader, do the following:

Note: Unlocking your bootloader will wipe all data on your Nexus S and it may void your warranty. Proceed further at your own risk.

Finally, this guide uses the i9020T/i9020A manual update package. If you have a i9023 the process is the exact same as the i9020T.

You Might Lose Root

Installing Android updates sometimes leads to loss of root access. This holds true with the Jelly Bean update. You can regain root access by reading’s dotTech’s guide on how to root Nexus S.

Be Sure You Are On Stock

If you have been modding or installing custom ROMs on your phone, you need to ensure you are on stock Android 4.0.4 before attempting to update to Android 4.1.x. (Having a rooted Android 4.0.4 is okay.)

If you are unsure, you can check by tapping the Menu button on your homescreen, going to System settings -> About phone, and looking at the “Android version”. If it says 4.0.4 you are most likely on stock and you can skip to the next section of this guide. If it doesn’t say 4.0.4 then you may or may not be on stock. For this latter situation I suggest you flash stock just to avoid issues. Also if you are unsure if you are on stock you should flash stock anyway to avoid issues.

To flash your Nexus S to stock Ice Cream Sandwich read dotTech’s guide on how to upgrade Nexus S to Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0.4 [3].

How To Install Jelly Bean On Nexus S

At the time of this writing Google has released Android 4.1.1 for Nexus S. To install Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.x) on your Nexus S, do the following:


Enjoy Jelly Bean! There are advantages of owning a Nexus device.