How to Update the HTC Desire to Android 4.0 ICS Beta 5.0.3.

ICS HTC Desire

After reading the title many of you will think that HTC has gone back on its words and will indeed release an official Android 4.0 ICS update for the two year old Desire, but this will never happen. What has happened is that a dedicated group of developers has struggled and put together a working build of Android 4.0 ICS for the former HTC flagship. Although it is still in its beta phases, the ICS rom for the HTC Desire is almost fully functional, to an extent in which only some small quirks need to ironed out. The only major downside of this custom ROM is that it doesn’t come with any Sense skin on top, but is the vanilla flavored edition. This article will be dedicated to providing a safe and easy way of updating your Desire with the latest edition of the ICS ROM with as fewer issues as possible.

It is highly unlikely that your HTC Desire is still in warranty, but if it is, following this guide will void it. You will need a rooted HTC desire before proceeding, so your warranty will no longer be an issue. This update is a custom made kit of software so you should know some very important facts about updating your Android device with such software: We must warn you that you cannot hold us responsible for any damage that might occur to your device by following the procedures in this guide. However, we will try to help you sort out any glitches or problems that might arise by following the steps in this guide to the extent our knowledge limits us. Fortunately for you, this procedure has received a lot of testing including by the author of this here article and it should work like a charm. I would also like to thank Sandvolt for his dedication at making ICS run on the HTC Desire.

It is a wonder that ICS is working at all on the Desire with its limitations, but as there is no official way of getting this update, you should read the list below to find out what features this custom ROM brings:

  • Full HWA
  • USB mass storage
  • Camera+ preview working
  • WiFi
  • SMS
  • GPS
  • Sound
  • Calling
  • Touchscreen
  • Stable 3G
  • Gmail sync + calendar working with Gmail
  • SD read/write
  • All sensors
  • BT
  • Picasa sync
  • Fixed permissions (3rd party apps that needed maps now works)
  • Headphones
  • Native A2SD (can flash other scripts)
  • GoogleBackup
  • HW acceleration
  • Wifi tethering
  • Data usage tracker
  • Video streaming and playback
  • Extended powermenu
  • Trackpad
  • Market with payed apps

Apart from these working things, there are plenty of bug fixes added on every new release, but to get a better view of what you are installing please see the image below:

HTC Desire ICS Beta 5.0.3

HTC Desire ICS Beta 5.0.3

The next part of this guide is going to cover the personal data backup problem. You may know that updating to any custom ROM means losing your important data stored on your device, at least the one that is not on the microSD card. We will be presenting some third party apps and procedures that will help you backup all the important stuff on your Desire and restore it after the update.  We are not using the official HTC Sync software to do the backup because it does not support this custom ROM. In the lines below we have also added some requirements that will help make sure your HTC Desire doesn’t get bricked during the updating procedure so please read them carefully:

  • Be sure to charge your HTC Sensation to full or to a minimum of 50% to ensure that the phone will not power off during the updating process. If it does power off there is a high risk of it turning into an expensive brick.
  • We saved the most important requirement for last: You need to be running a rooted ROM before proceeding and you also need to have the Clockwork Mod recovery installed.
  • Text messages – We will back them up with this application : SMS Backup & Restore
  • Phone Contacts –  You can simply synchronize them to your Gmail account or export them to the micro SD card as a .vcf file
  • Call Log – We will use the following application to backup your call log : Call Log Backup and Restore
  • Pictures, Music, Videos, and other files – Simply copy them to your microSD card.
  • Internet & MMS Settings – Write down all the settings from this path “Applications > Settings > Wireless and Network > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names”

The last part of this guide will be covering the whole process of updating your Desire with the Beta 5.0.3 ICS Custom ROM so please make you sure you don’t skip any steps. The process itself is not very complicated, but it will take some time do finalize and thanks to the Desire being an old device there is almost nothing that can go wrong. In case you end up with a half bricked device or worse please drop us a line below.

  • We will start the update process by downloading the ICS Android 4.0 Custom Zip to your PC.
  • Then you will have to move the Zip file to the root of your Desire’s memory card. By root I mean that you will place it directly on the card, without placing it in any additional subfolders.
  • After this you will have to power off your HTC Desire and restart it in recovery mode. The easiest way to do this is to do so is to press the Volume Down button + Power Button and wait for the HBOOT screen to appear. One it is there don’t touch the device for a couple of seconds, until some green text flashes. After this simply select the recovery option by navigating with the Volume Up and Volume Down keys, and press the power button again. The HBOOT screen will look almost like the one below:
HTC Desire HBOOT

HTC Desire HBOOT

  • The next step is all about cleaning up some parts of the software that will be used by the Beta ICS ROM. You will have to select the Wipe data/factory reset & Wipe Cache partition options from the recovery and wait for them to finish.
  • The fifth step is the one where you will install the Beta 5.0.3. ICS Custom ROM. All you have to do is to select the option: Install zip from sd card > Choose zip from sd card, and then choose the ICS Android 4.0 Custom Zip that you have placed in the root your microSD card.
  • The last step is more of a waiting task, as you will have to be patient until the update finishes, and when it does you will have to go back to the previous menu in the recovery console and select the Reboot now option to reboot your Desire.

If the first boot takes longer than usual don’t worry as it is normal. The ICS Android 4.0 Custom ROM is just installing and fine tuning some of its features for them to work properly, and once it is done you will have to go through the setup wizard first.

If you encounter any issues during this update procedure you should try to redo it after pulling and re inserting the Desire’s battery. If you do get stuck at some point please restore an earlier nandroid backup and then write us a line in the comments section below to see if we can help.

If everything goes smoothly, you should be happy as you can now enjoy the benefits of Android 4.0 ICS on your aging Desire, a thing that was deemed impossible by HTC just a couple of months ago. There is word of another port of the HTC One V software for the Desire, so we will keep you up to date if anything interesting happens.

HTC Desire Articles

  • Usman Khan

    hi, and thanks for this effort but i want to tell that when i chose recovery otion and press power button then the mobile switch on and the black scree appear and in that black screen htc desire photo was there……i am having htc desire phone.thanks ……any answer is very appreciable