How to update your Galaxy Nexus to Jelly Bean

An easy, step-by-step guide to upgrading your Galaxy Nexus to Jelly Bean

Google has lifted the lid on the latest version of its Android platform, called Jelly Bean 4.1. If you own a Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android phone, you should receive a software update notification in the near future. However, this isn't likely to officially occur for a few weeks or longer, depending on the version of phone you have and where you purchased it.

If you can't wait that long, however, you can install the Jelly Bean software to your Galaxy Nexus manually, provided you are using a Windows PC. We've written an easy, step-by-step guide that includes images to help you through the process. The installation should take you around 20 minutes to complete.

IMPORTANT: Before you go ahead you should ensure you backup your Galaxy Nexus and save any important data (such as photos and videos) you want to keep. This manual software installation will wipe all data on your handset. To back up your Galaxy Nexus, navigate to Settings > Backup & reset and ensure the "Back up my data" checkbox is ticked, as shown in the image below:

To back up other files that won't be saved through your Google account there are a few options. For photos, we recommend the excellent Dropbox app. Navigate to the camera upload menu and you can choose to sync the images in your camera roll that you want to keep.

The best way to manage this in an ongoing manner is to use the automatic camera upload feature in the settings menu of Dropbox. When this is switched on, any new photos you take with the Galaxy Nexus camera will automatically be uploaded to Dropbox.

To backup your text messages, we recommend the SMS Backup+. It can back up your text messages through your Gmail account and can be set to backup automatically, or at predefined time periods.

WARNING: PC World Australia takes no responsibility for anything that might go wrong during this process. We are not liable for any faults or damages caused by any of the procedures in this guide. If followed correctly, these instructions should ensure a hassle free process, but you are ultimately advised to attempt this at your own risk.

This guide will work with any global, GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus, regardless of software build. It WILL NOT work on the Verizon LTE model that is sold in the US. This method does not require the phone to be rooted.

How to install Jelly Bean on your Galaxy Nexus

Step one

Download and install the Galaxy Nexus toolkit from here. It should be an 84MB file.

Once the download is completed, open the .exe file and follow the instructions to install the software. Make sure you install the toolkit directly on your main hard drive, as the software states. In our case, this was the C:\ drive.

Once the install is completed, open the Galaxy Nexus toolkit you just downloaded. It should look like this:

Step two

Follow this sequence using the Galaxy Nexus toolkit software:

Press "7" to select your device and then press "Enter".
Press "1" to install the Galaxy Nexus drivers on your computer, and then press "Enter".
Select the version of Windows you have installed on your PC. In our case, we pressed "2" for
Windows 7. (Press "1" if you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista). Then press "Enter".
Press "1" to confirm the install, then press "Enter".

This will install the drivers on your PC. If you get an error message after this sequence, just disregard it. It should look like this when completed:

Step three

Plug your Galaxy Nexus into your PC using the USB cable. If the drivers are installed correctly, the phone should automatically be detected by your computer.

If the drivers don't install, restart your computer and try and install them again, following the instructions in step two.

Step four

Download the stock version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 from here. This is necessary for the upgrade to Jelly Bean. It should be a 191MB file.

Once this file is downloaded, copy it to the following directory on your computer: "C:\Galaxy Nexus ToolKit\put_google_factory_image_here". (In your case, the "C:\" drive may be a different letter).

Step five

Turn off your Galaxy Nexus. Put the phone into bootloader mode by holding the power button together with both the volume up and volume down buttons. Hold these three buttons simultaneously until you see this screen:

Plug the Galaxy Nexus into your PC via the USB cable again. Once the drivers have been detected, open the Galaxy Nexus toolkit software again and follow this sequence:

Press "7" to select your device, then press "Enter".
Press "26" to refresh connected devices, then press "Enter".
Press "3" to unlock your bootloader, then press "Enter". Type the word "yes" then press "Enter.

You should now see a screen on your Galaxy Nexus that asks you whether you want to unlock your bootloader. Use the touchscreen to select "Yes".

Once the bootloader has been unlocked, you MUST turn on the Galaxy Nexus normally until you see the start screen.

Step six

Turn off your Galaxy Nexus again, and put it back into bootloader mode (see step five). Open the Galaxy Nexus toolkit software again and follow this sequence:

Press "7" to select your device, then press "Enter".
Press "8" to 'Download, Extract + Flash Google Factory Stock Rom', then press "Enter".
Press "2" to 'Flash Google Factory Image', then press "Enter".
Type the word "yes" then press "Enter".

The Galaxy Nexus toolkit software will now install the Google factory image software you previously downloaded. Following this process, your Galaxy Nexus should restart normally into the initial setup screen. Go through the setup process, but DO NOT log into your Google account.

Step seven

Download Google's stock Jelly Bean 4.1 software from here. It should be a 229MB .zip file.

Your phone should still be connected to your computer via USB. Open the internal memory of your Galaxy Nexus on your PC by going to Computer > Devices with Removable Storage. Copy the Jelly Bean 4.1 software you just downloaded to the Galaxy Nexus' internal storage. DO NOT unzip the folder, just copy the .zip file.

Turn off the Galaxy Nexus and put it back into bootloader mode again (see step five). Open the Galaxy Nexus toolkit software again and follow this sequence:

Press "26" to refresh connected devices, then press "Enter".
Press "9" to 'Boot to CWM or TWRP Recovery without Permanently Flashing it', then press "Enter".
Press "1" to 'Boot Clockworkmod Touch Recovery, then press "Enter".

The Galaxy Nexus screen should now display a menu that looks like this:

Use the touchscreen on the phone to select the "install zip from sdcard option" as shown above. Browse for the file "", which you copied to the Galaxy Nexus earlier in this step. Confirm the selection.

The software will then be flashed onto your phone. It should look like this when in progress:

Once the installation is completed, use the same menu on the phone (as shown in image above) to select the "wipe data/factory reset" option. Then go back and select "reboot".

Your Galaxy Nexus should now restart.

Step eight

Turn off the Galaxy Nexus and put it back into bootloader mode again (see step five). Open the Galaxy Nexus toolkit software again and follow this sequence:

Press "26" to refresh connected devices, then press "Enter".
Press "11" to 'ReLock your bootloader', then press "Enter".
Type the word "yes" then press "Enter".

Once this is completed, restart the phone normally again.

Step nine

Once your Galaxy Nexus has been restarted, go through the initial setup process again, but DO NOT log into your Google account.

On your phone, go to Settings > Backup & reset and then select "Factory data reset". The Galaxy Nexus will restart.

Step ten

You're just about done! You can now log into your Google account and setup the phone as you normally would.

To confirm you're running the latest Jelly Bean software, go to the settings menu on your Galaxy Nexus, scroll down to "About" and you should see the Android version listed as 4.1 as shown in the image below:

Have you updated your Galaxy Nexus to Android Jelly Bean? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!

Guide credits:

ClockworkMod for the Galaxy Nexus toolkit.
XDA Forums for the stock version of Android Jelly Bean 4.1.
Google for the stock version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?