While many older smartphones out there have been all but abandoned by their manufacturers in terms of software updates, some other devices like Samsung Galaxy Ace have been given a lot of love and attention from the developer communities most likely because of its reasonable specs and price tag. While Google did mention at some point that Android 4.0 ICS doesn’t require very high end hardware, many manufacturers decided to restrict the updates to the high end smartphones in their portfolio. This was also the case with Samsung, which decided that only it’s Galaxy S II line and higher would benefit from the latest Android ICS. This guide is aimed at those of you who have ditched the official update path and have embraced the openness of a rooted device, and as such we will provide you with an easy and safe way of updating your Galaxy Ace with the Cyanogen Mod 9 Android 4.0.3 Beta 6 firmware.
Before we move on you should know a couple of very important aspects regarding rooting and flashing any Android device. Updating your Samsung Galaxy Ace with non official firmware or rooting it will most likely void your warranty, so if you are uncomfortable with this, you should probably stop here. If somehow, something goes wrong, you are on your own. Neither we nor the developer of this software can be held responsible for any damage that might come to your device by following this guide. By all means, you should not be discouraged by the above statement, as everything in this article should work thanks to the testing process that came prior to the release of this custom ROM.
If you wish to return to an original firmware after following this guide all you have to do is flash one using Odin and everything will return to stock form.
And now let us move on to the first part of this guide, the one that covers the main features of the Cyanogen Mod 9 Beta 6 firmware for the Galaxy Ace:
- Android updated to 4.0.4
- Clean Cyanogen Mod – we’re using only CM9 sources with our device sources!
- Super smooth system
- Smooth windows animations
- New phone lock animation
- Hardware acceleration on most video formats (not all)
- Smooth videos on YouTube (LQ only right now)
- Fully working deep sleep (all the time when BT is disabled)
- GSM fully works (signal indicator/mobile data/phone calls/messages etc.)
- Updated Google Apps
- Temporary removed CRT screen-off animation (will be back in beta7)
The second part of this guide consists of the steps needed to be taken before the actual flashing process. While these steps are not mandatory, we strongly advise you to follow them, as they mostly refer to backing up the information that is already on your device. This is done in order to prevent the loss of any kind of personal data if anything should go wrong. We are not using the original KIES software because it does not support custom ROMs.
- Text messages – Install this app: SMS Backup & Restore
- Phone Contacts – These can be synced via your Gmail/Google account or by exporting them to the micro SD card
- Call Log – Install this app: Call Log Backup and Restore
- Pictures, Music, Videos, Files etc.– Copy to internal memory card
- Internet & MMS Settings – Backup all the settings from this path “Applications > Settings > Wireless and Network > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names”
Before proceeding to the updating process, you must do the following in order to maximize your chances of success, and to avoid turning your Galaxy Ace into an expensive brick:
- Charge your device to full or to a minimum of 70% to ensure that the phone will not power off during the install process.
- Enable the USB debugging in your Samsung Galaxy Ace. This can be done from the following: Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging. The USB Debugging option should be ticked.
- Turn Off all the antivirus as well as Firewall tools in your computer as these tools tend to interrupt the process of firmware update.
- Make sure you are running on a rooted ROM before proceeding to the actual updating procedure.
The third part of this tutorial is actually the hard part, as it covers the whole updating process. Many people tend to think that updating your phone with custom firmware is a risky and dangerous business, but if done properly it actually poses less of a risk that installing an app. The most notable improvements in any custom firmware are a speed boost and a better battery life so these reasons alone should be enough for you to commit to doing this procedure.
- The first step requires you to download this ICS Cyanogen Mod 9 Firmware Package to your computer. In order to do so you must click on the link above and then click on Download > Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 > change to the Releases tab > and Download the File named “Beta 6 for Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 (1 Apr 2012). After this you will have to copy it to the root of your Samsung’s Galaxy Ace memory card. Be sure not to place the file in any subfolders. Just to be sure also use the original USB cable.
- The second step involves disconnecting the USB cable and rebooting your device into Recovery mode. The Recovery mode of the Samsung Galaxy Ace can be entered by pressing the Menu key and then Power ON key simultaneously after the device has been shut down.
- The third step is actually some cleaning that needs to be done so you will have to select the Wipe data/factory reset & Wipe Cache partition options in order to clear some important areas needed by the new custom firmware.
- The fourth step is the one that actually installs the Cyanogen Mod 9 beta 6 Custom ROM. All you need to do is select Install zip from sd card > Choose zip from sd card, and then choose the ICS Cyanogen Mod 9 Zip which you have conveniently placed in the root folder of the phone’s microSD memory card.
Now all you have to do is wait 5 to 10 minutes for the software to do its trick. After a successful flash, the Samsung Galaxy Ace will boot to either the recovery console or to the normal starting phase. If the smart phone does not reboot in the normal way all you have to do is select the reboot now option from the recovery menu and then simply wait for it to start. Mind you, the first boot might take a bit longer than usual because the software needs to do some additional tinkering.
In the unlikely case you encounter problems during flashing you should follow the steps above again and re apply the firmware update. This is also valid in case you get the dreaded boot loops. In any case, you might want to restore an earlier nandroid backup before attempting to redo the steps above.
If everything has gone according to plan you have just successfully updated your Samsung Galaxy Ace to the latest build of Cyanogen Mod 9 for it, and you should enjoy the benefits on the latest Android 4.0.4 ICS build.