I am unlocked/rooted and OTA is not working – how do I update to the latest android version (without loosing all my data and/or root)?

 

Answer: There are numerous ways to go about doing this, so I will explain each one and their corresponding benefits/drawbacks:

OPTION #1: Using “Flash Stock + Unroot” with ‘No Wipe Mode’.  Then ‘Sideload Update’ button [if needed] –

Instructions:

1. “Flash Stock + Unroot” > Enable ‘No Wipe Mode’, and select the latest build available.
2. After this completes, if the latest build available in the toolkit that you just flashed is the build you want, then you are done.  If not, proceed with steps 3-5.

3. Do a Google Search for the ‘OTA Update Zip’ for your particular device and build you want to update to. (Example: ‘KOT49E OTA Update Zip for Nexus 10’)
4. Download the correct OTA Update zip for your device (Example -‘bab270d1d4d935e31f61b1dcf2e66600006c87f7.signed-mantaray-KOT49E-from-KRT16S.bab270d1.zip’)
5. Use Advanced Utilities > ‘Sideload Update’ button and follow the on-screen instructions.

That’s it!  

  • Use the toolkit to root again (if you want to); selecting ‘Any Build Mode’ if your device is not yet listed in the toolkit as explained here
  • Manually reconfigure any system settings that got reset.
  • Enjoy!

Benefits:

  • Allows you to update to the latest android version without loosing your userdata.
  • Relatively simple and should correct any previously experienced unsuccessful OTA related errors.
  • Utilizes purely stock/official files directly from Google.
  • You don’t have to wait for Google to release the latest factory image package, all you need is the OTA Update zip.

Drawbacks:

  • Can reset some system settings since ‘Flash Stock + Unroot’ with ‘No Wipe Mode’ only preserves your userdata and cache, not your system partition (however reflashing the system partition is the very thing that makes this method work; i.e. it corrects any conflicting problems preventing your OTA from being successful by resetting your system partition to stock).
  • Using ‘No Wipe Mode’ can potentially cause unwanted problems since its not a truly “Clean Flash”.  If you were to review Google’s included “Flash-all.bat” scripts in their factory image packages, you would notice that they are written with the ‘-w’ switch included by default which means that their “recommended” setting for flashing stock involves wiping data.  That being said, in many circumstances using this ‘No Wipe’ approach can work great, and if for whatever reason it doesn’t – you could always backup your data and repeat “Flash Stock + Unroot” with wiping.

OPTION #2: Waiting for the latest official factory image package, backing up, and then using “Flash Stock + Unroot” –

Instructions:

  • Exercise some patience and wait for Google to release the update in an official factory image package, which can be found here.
  • Backup all your data using whatever method you prefer:
    • If you are rooted you may want to check out the paid app Titanium Backup from the playstore.
      • If you use Titanium Backup it is recommended to only backup user apps + data (not system apps), because when you update to the new android version, the system apps are most likely updated, so restoring an old system app backup will overwrite your new system app with the legacy version; and if you were just to restore the data, it may be incompatible with the new version of the system app.  There are some exceptions to this rule; as in – you might be able to get away with restoring some system data, however if you chose to go this route then make sure you just restore the data (not the app), you do so selectively (as in – one system app at a time), and you know how to delete that app data if it doesn’t work properly (Settings > Apps > All > navigate to the particular app > clear data > reboot your device.)
    • Make sure that whatever you backup ends up on your COMPUTER – NOT just your device’s sdcard; that means if you use a third party app like Titanium Backup to backup all your apps, then you must make sure to take the extra step to fully copy Titanium Backup’s folder from your devices sdcard onto your computer (or synced to your cloud storage) BEFORE proceeding to flash stock.
    • You can also of course use the toolkit to make backups, however you may find that third party apps like Titanium Backup are better than Google’s adb backup.
    • Make sure to backup everything on your devices sdcard you want to keep (like music, pictures, video’s) or sync it to cloud storage.
    • If you can, make multiple backups or use more than one backup solution – that way you can be sure you will preserve your data.
  • Use ‘Flash Stock + Unroot’ and select the build you want to update to in the flash stock interface and use Autodownload/extract, or use the ‘Other/browse’ option if that build is not yet listed and Google has released the package on their site.
  • Re-root your device with the toolkit if you want to.
  • Restore your data.
  • Manually reconfigure any system settings that got reset.
  • Enjoy!

Benefits:

  • A truly clean flash; overwrites any modifications or system hacks you may have performed on your setup prior to flashing and ensures you are running a truly clean stock setup.
  • Allows you think about how you will setup your device again; I always find that after I perform a full flash that I opt to restore less apps than I had beforehand, or replace apps that I rarely use with better ones.
  • Don’t have to deal with any OTA errors
  • Uses only official stock files from Google

Drawbacks:

  • Requires you to wait for Google to release the full factory image package rather than update the moment the OTA gets posted
  • Have to spend the time backing stuff up, restoring it, and setting things up (however with third party apps and some experience, this becomes quicker every time).

OPTION #3: Wait for an independent developer to release a pre-rooted/Custom-ROM version of the newly released build and “dirty flash” it –

Instructions:

  • Google search for a pre-rooted/custom-ROM release of the newly announced build (Example; ‘KOT49E Custom ROM for Nexus 10’)
  • Download which ever custom ROM looks the best to you/suits-your-needs (some will be very-close if not identical to the pure stock experience, whereas others may offer some neat mods and enhancements..)
  • Dirty flash the ROM in custom recovery (either via the toolkit using ‘Flash zips’ button – ‘file is on this comp’ or manually through flashed/temp custom recovery)
    • By ‘dirty flash’ – I mean – flash the ROM without wiping user data first (however you may want to consider wiping dalvik and cache – probably better practice)
    • You can of course opt to ‘Clean Flash’ instead – as in, wipe data/factory-reset first and then flash, but in that circumstance you are going to want to backup all your important data before doing so (following the same guidelines described in option#2).
  • Re-root your device (if you want to) if the ROM you flashed isn’t already pre-rooted.
  • Manually reconfigure any system settings that got reset.
  • Enjoy!

Benefits:

  • Don’t have to deal with any OTA update errors.
  • Don’t have to worry about having custom recovery, or any system mods and hacks prior to flashing.
  • Typically independent developers are really quick to release these ROM, so you can get the updates within a very short time-span after Google releases the official OTA.
  • If the ROM has other enhancements and features, you may find the experience to be even better than what Google offers.
  • Typically these ROMs are pre-rooted so you don’t even have to bother with re-rooting (although its very simple to do with the toolkit)
  • If you are running an actively supported custom ROM like CyanogenMod – you may find that it has its own in-built OTA system that works great and grabs the latest and greatest directly from them without any OTA update error hassles (however you may have to wait a little longer for them to merge the new official build changes into their ROM)

Drawbacks:

  • Probably have to wait a little bit longer for a dev (or your favorite dev) to merge the new official build changes into their releases.
  • Does not use the official stock files directly from Google (however many people would consider this a benefit, as many custom ROMs often offer an even better experience than Google’s official releases).
  • By running a custom ROM, you will not be able to successfully take future official OTA updates without first going back to a stock state (like option#1) – however this really isn’t an issue if you are getting your updates directly from the Custom ROM developers.
  • Running custom firmware could void your warranty.

So in conclusion… there are numerous ways to update your device – each with its own benefits and drawbacks.  Consider the options and pick the one that sounds best to you. ^_^

Which option do you use Wug? –

Typically I am switching between options #2 and #3.  If its a major update that I want right away and no Custom ROM is offering it, then I backup all my stuff, then flash the factory pack with the toolkit.  Otherwise I enjoy custom ROMs and wait for them to get updated with the latest and greatest.  This is mostly because I am a big fan of clean flashing (personal preference), I typically only dirty flash when a ROM developer says its cool and its an incremental update/nightly.

 

Hope that helps.  Enjoy! ^_^