Whenever we talk updating our phones, we inevitably talk about "manual updates." And that leads to the inevitable questions, "Is it safe?" and "How do I do it?"

Manual updates are just like over-the-air (OTA) updates. Only difference is that instead of letting your phone download the update from a server somewhere, you download it yourself, move save it to you phone's SD card and then manually start the update process. In an OTA update, the phone does all this for you. But the big difference is that there's no waiting with manual updates.

In the video above -- edited for time purposes -- we walk you through manually updating the Nexus One to Android 2.3.3 Gingerbead. And note that this is for a stock phone -- unrooted, stock recovery, the whole nine yards.

The general process is similar for most phones, though you'll want to follow the instructions for your specific device. And as always, if you have more questions, hit us up in the Android Central Forums.

 

Reader comments

Video how-to: Manually updating your phone to a new Android version

27 Comments

That's the one thing I like about Philblur, your phone can grab the update even if it hasn't been pushed to your personal phone.

You know, this video is very misleading. You're basically saying that doing this will work on any android phone, which I do not think is the case. "Most phones"? I don't think my Vibrant will be able to update to Gingerbread. Am I missing something here?

You're missing the fact that you are downloading the update from the manufacturer or from a trusted source who is mirroring the update. OTA updates are phased, meaning they don't go out to every phone at once. The point of this is to bypass the period between the carrier officially releasing the update and the OTA update actually making its way onto your phone. It's not to get updates which haven't been released yet for your phone. That's what custom ROMs are for.

So, no, you can't use this method to get Gingerbread on a Vibrant. The video may have assumed a certain knowledge of how updates are tailored specifically to the phone, but it is far from misleading.

Those of you who are responding to queries saying this is update is device specific may well have watched the entire video, but the accompanying article very clearly states the video is device specific, but the update "process is similar for most phones". So I would think that means this build is not nexus 1 specific, just the video.

No, this build is definitely specific to the Nexus One, and will not install on any other device. What Phil meant is that the process for manually installing an update will be similar for many other devices. (Boot into the bootloader, select recovery, load update from the SD card, etc.) So if you had an update for your device, the process to install it might be similar to what he showed in this video.

Thanks for the video. I've done this a couple of times with the Dinc but it's helpful to see the process happen so you know what to expect.

I second/third the request for using YouTube so that I can watch it full screen on my phone in the really nice YouTube app. The full screen mode in the Dinc browser doesn't work (audio & video get out of sync) so I have to try and zoom as close as possible which is a huge PITA.

Thanks again for all your awesome articles and podcasts.

Why cant i ever get a freakin straight answer on this dang site? IS THE UPDATE DEVICE SPECIFIC OR NOT, YES OR NO!!!!!! Can i install this on my HTC G2, yes or no?!?!

The updates are always device-specific. The Android 2.3.3 upgrade shown in this video will only work on the Nexus One, for example. There may be other updates available for your G2, but this particular update won't work on that phone.

How do I download the update file for the Verizon Fascinate? Verizon wants to force me up use the OTA update, but I have a limited data plan and it will cost me nearly $100 to install OTA.

OTA updates are free on Verizon. Well, so I've been told by their representatives. So take it for what it is.