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How to Update the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II with Official XWLP9 ICS 4.0.3 Firmware

Samsung had two top devices in 2011, the Galaxy S II and its bigger, HD display enabled brother, the Galaxy Note. Both devices launched with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and so far, only one of them has been able to make the leap to the more recent Android 4.0 ICS. This is exactly the case with the T-Mobile version of the Samsung Galaxy S II. Even though its international brother has been granted the much awaited ICS update some months ago, it is only now that Samsung has finally released the ICS firmware update for its T-Mobile specific flagship.

The firmware in question is the XWLP9 version and it comes as a flavor of Android 4.0.3. You may have noticed that Samsung has already started to seed this particular update just a couple of days ago, but so far its distribution has not been very widespread. With this in mind, you should know that the firmware we are going to present during this article is the official version, but it comes in the version which needs a PC to be applied, in other words: it is a tethered update. This guide should prove useful if you are eager to update your Galaxy S II to the XWLP9 Android 4.0.3 ICS Firmware but you have not received the OTA notification.

The XWLP9 4.0.3 ICS Firmware update is one specifically tailored for the T-Mobile version of the Samsung Galaxy S II so this means that you will only be able to safely flash it on any Galaxy S II as long it is the T-Mobile branded version. This also means that this firmware will revoke the root access on your Galaxy S II, so if you still want the benefits of a rooted device you should wait a little while longer for it to be repacked as a custom ROM.

Before we move on to the actual guide, there is one last thing that you have to do, read and accept our disclaimer notice: This software is not our creation so 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. By going further into this guide you have accepted the risks and terms above.

With this in mind we can move on to the treacherous business of backing up your personal data from your T-Mobile Galaxy S II. We will be using some third party applications and procedures as this update is not yet supported by the official Samsung KIES software suite.

  • Text messages – We will back them up with the following 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”

By now, the feature that Android 4.0 ICS brings should be all but history. People are already starting to talk about the next iteration of Google’s mobile OS named Jelly Bean, but it is too still far away to think of for any current handsets owners. As any carrier branded update, you should also expect to get some updated versions of those not so good T-Mobile apps that most people commonly refer to as bloat ware.

As far as the visual interface is concerned, this XWLP9 update should look very similar to the one found on the international version of the Galaxy S II, with the only exception being the T-Mobile specific apps. You can check out a couple of screen shots of the new firmware below:

T-Mobile Galaxy S II ICS Update

T-Mobile Galaxy S II ICS Update

This is a tethered update, so you will have to make sure that both your PC and your T-Mobile Galaxy S II meet their respective requirements below:

  • This update can only be applied to the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II (T989), so make sure you have this exact version.
  • The next requirement is that you have to charge your Samsung Galaxy S II to a minimum of 80% or even to full battery capacity in order to prevent it from accidentally powering off during the procedure.
  • The third one concerns your computer so you will need to disable any antivirus or other security related software on your computer because these tools tend to interfere with the updating program, and might cause it to misbehave, which could in turn result in a bricked Galaxy S II.
  • You will also need to enable the USB Debugging setting that you can find by going to Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging. Be sure you have this option enabled or otherwise the Odin application will not recognize your smartphone.

Having done all of the above, you can now safely proceed to the last part of our guide. This is the part that explains the actual updating process, so you should pay attention to every single step and make sure that you do not skip any of them:

  • We will start by downloading two packages, the first being the XWLP9 ICS 4.0.3 for T-Mobile Galaxy S II, and the second one being the Odin application that will make it possible to apply the update to your device. You should also extract both files to easily reachable locations so you can get to them quicker in the later steps.
  • Next you will have to turn your Galaxy S II off, and reboot it into download mode. The easiest way of doing this is to press and holding both the Volume Down Key and the OK Key while pressing the Power Key. At one point, a warning message will appear telling you to press the Volume Up Key in order to continue, so please do so in order to boot into download mode.
  • Once in this download mode you will have to run the Odin program on your computer (you will first need to extract it from the archive downloaded at step 1) and connect your Note to it using its original USB cable. You will know if the Odin tool recognizes your device if the section labeled ID COM: turns yellow. If that particular box doesn’t turn yellow, you will need to check the following:
  1. Make sure that the official USB drivers for your Samsung Galaxy Note have been installed
  2. Ensure that the Samsung KIES option is enabled in your Galaxy Note. You can find the setting at the following path: Settings -> Wireless & Network -> USB Settings.
  • If everything is in order with the previous step you can now proceed to setting up the Odin program. You will have to click on the PDA button in the lower half of the Odin program and select the following file from the one previously extracted:   I9100XWLP9_I9100ERALP3_I9100XXLPS_HOME.tar.md5. The final look of the Odin program should be much like the one in the screenshot below:
Odin Settings

Odin Settings

  • In the last step you will only have to press the Start button in Odin and wait for the update to be applied. Mind you, this may take some time, but you will receive a message when the process is complete. Your Galaxy S II should also restart after the update is finished, and once it is in the normal home screen you can safely disconnect it from your computer.

If something goes wrong in the steps above, or if your device takes more than 30 minutes to apply the update, you should stop the whole process, pull out and reinsert the battery from your Galaxy S II and simply retry the last part of the guide above from step 1. If you still can’t get it to work please write us a line in the comments section below.

If everything has gone smoothly you should now have a T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II running the latest software from Google, and this should make it one of the fastest Android smartphones out there, at least until the Samsung Galaxy S III begins its selling frenzy.