Install Official Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on Nexus S And Fully Root It

Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean has finally started arriving on Google Nexus S in form of the JRO03E OTA update starting with select regions of the world but if you haven’t received the automated over-the-air update yet but can’t wait to get Jelly Bean on your Nexus S, we’re here to help! In what follows, we will guide you through installing the latest Jelly Bean up and running on your phone in no time. Read on for more details and the complete instructions.

Installing Jelly Bean on Nexus S

Excited about Google’s latest version of Android? After being showcased on the Nexus 7 tablet at Google I/O in late June and released to Galaxy Nexus a week back, the JB update is finally being pushed to the international GSM version of Nexus S. If you are running the latest version of Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich on yours, you should receive the update notification anytime, if you haven’t already. However, those with custom ROMs or those running an earlier version of Android on their devices (even those on 4.0.3 ICS) will not be able to get the Jelly Bean update directly, and must first install the 4.0.4 ROM. That can be a hassle, so we’ll just bypass it and install Jelly Bean directly. So without any further ado, lets proceed and get Jelly Bean on our Nexus S manually.

Requirements:

  1. Make sure you have the International version of Nexus S. You can check this on the sticker on the phone’s inside, under the battery.
  2. Go to Settings > About Phone, scroll down and see the last entry that says ‘Build Number’.
    • If it says IMM76D, you are good to go.
    • If you are not running this latest build but are on an official version of Android (i.e. you haven’t installed a custom ROM), first update to this build by going to Settings > About Phone, clicking ‘System updates’ and clicking ‘Check now’ to check for the latest update, and install it by following the instructions that appear after the phone has downloaded the update.
    • If you are on a custom ROM, download the Official IMM76D Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich ROM from and flash it from recovery (you should know how, if you are on a custom ROM). This should get you on the IMM76D build, and ready for updating to Jelly Bean.
  3. Download the official JRO03E Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean OTA update.

Procedure:

  1. Transfer the Jelly Bean OTA update file i.e. 9ZGgDXDi.zip to your phone’s SD card (internal of course, since Nexus S doesn’t have external SD card slot).
  2. Reboot your phone into recovery:
    1. To do this, first power your phone off, then press and hold the volume-up button and press the power button, not releasing the volume-up button till you see the FASTBOOT MODE screen.
    2. Use the volume-down button to navigate to RECOVERY option and press the power button to enter it. You should now see the image of an Android opened up, with an exclamation mark on top of it.
    3. Now press and hold Power, and press volume-up. You will now see the stock recovery menu. You can navigate the menu using the volume up and down keys, and select an option with the power key.
  3. Select the ‘apply update from /sdcard’ option.
  4. Now use the volume keys to select the file that we had copied earlier i.e. 9ZGgDXDi.zip and press the power button. The update will start installing.
    • In case the update fails for you with error 7, you must install a custom recovery to flash the update. The relevant steps to do that and the required links are provided in the rooting guide below. To put it briefly, you must unlock your bootloader, put the phone into fastboot and flash ClockworkMod recovery. Once it has been installed, you can boot into recovery as described above, and flash the update from the ‘install zip from sdcard’ > ‘choose zip from sdcard’ option.
  5. Once the update has installed completely, select the ‘reboot system now’ option.

There you go – you should now have Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean installed on your Nexus S. If you check your build number now, it should say JRO03E. Enjoy!

Rooting Jelly Bean on Nexus S (Also installs ClockworkMod Recovery)

If you want to go one step ahead and root Jelly Bean on your phone, fret not – we are here to help you with that too!

Requirements:

  • Android SDK installed on your system to use fastboot. See our Android SDK Installation guide.
  • Unlocked bootloader on your Nexus S. If you haven’t unlocked yours already, see our guide on unlocking the Nexus S bootloader.
  • Latest ClockworkMod recovery image. Make sure to download the version for Google Nexus S. We recommend the touch version, but both should work.
  • Simple Root by XDA-Developers forum member kibmcz (Contains su binary, SuperUser.apk and busybox. Also removes the script that always restores stock recovery upon reboot, so that your ClockworkMod recovery stays installed)

Procedure:

  1. Transfer the Simple-Root-1.0.zip file to your SD card.
  2. On your computer, rename the downloaded ClockworkMod recovery image file from recovery-clockwork-X.X.X.X-crespo.img to recovery.img.
  3. Reboot into fastboot mode. To do that, power your phone off, then press and hold the volume-up button and press the power button, not releasing the volume-up button till you see the FASTBOOT MODE screen.
  4. Connect your phone to the computer via USB, if it isn’t already connected.
  5. Launch a command prompt window on your computer and navigate to the folder where you copied your recovery.img.
  6. Enter the following command:
    fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
  7. Now navigate to the ‘RECOVERY’ option in the fastboot menu and enter it. You will now be in ClockworkMod recovery.
  8. In ClockworkMod recovery menu, go to ‘install zip from sdcard’ followed by ‘choose zip from sdcard’.
  9. Scroll to select the Simple-Root-1.0.zip file and confirm its installation by tapping Yes.
  10. Once the installation is complete, tap ‘reboot system now’ from the main recovery menu.

Congratulations – your Nexus S is now rooted on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean.

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About Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith
Kelli runs customer support and creates content for Skillcrush, a digital skills training and education platform with friendly instructors, an active student community, and laser focus on helping you achieve your career goals with technology. She has an MBA and successfully ran an international company and her own freelancing business before pursuing her passion for tech by taking advanced web development classes. Kelli loves listening to tech podcasts at 2x speed, looking for cute Corgi photos online and teaching and performing country line dancing—as a true Texan living in Finland would do. Say hi on Twitter.

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