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Install Android 6.0 Marshmallow on Samsung Galaxy S2 with CM13 Custom ROM

If you are still having the old Samsung Galaxy S2 and if you haven’t updated your phone with a custom ROM until now, it means you are still stuck on the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) firmware. Well, that might be really annoying especially since Google released a new and completely modified platform: the Android 6.0 Marshmallow system. Anyway, if you aren’t planning in getting a newer device and if you don’t want to be left alone, read the guidelines from below and learn how to update your own Samsung Galaxy S2 to Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS.

Of course, I am definitely not talking about a new official update released by Samsung for your SGS2. It is about a new custom update, developed by those of xda-developers – we must thank them for this update tutorial. Thus, it is about CM 13, the latest CyanogenMod platform that is based on the AOSP version of Android 6.0 M. As you can tell, you won’t be able to use the Nightly built of CM13 for now as the firmware isn’t coming from the CyanogenMod team. However, don’t worry, the present ROM is stable and will smoothly run on your own Galaxy S2 device.

According to the devs and to the users who have already tested and flashed the software, the CM 13 update works without major problems on the S2. You will get all the new features, apps and capabilities along with extremely useful in built settings through which you can then customize, optimize and improve the performances of your smartphone – basically, with CM 13 installed, your GalaxyS2 will run better and also faster. Anyway, since it is a custom ROM, in this Android 6.0 Marshmallow software you might still find some minor problems or software related issues, but nothing major though.

Since your S2 is from a while on the market, most likely the warranty period was already lost. However, I must tell you that flashing a custom ROM is not an official update operation, so by default, when dealing with such operations, the warranty of your phone gets void. That’s why I always recommend a dedicated troubleshoot solution to be read before doing anything else. In this way, if something wrong happens, you will be prepared and you will know how to manually fix a soft bricked Android based device.

Moreover, since flashing an unofficial Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS isn’t coming in form of an OTA, you must complete a manual installation process. Well, in order to make things work, first you have to prepare your Galaxy S2. In that respect you must root your Samsung branded device before resuming the guidelines from down below. Moreover, a custom recovery image (you can use CWM or TWRP recovery) must be installed on your handset as through the same software you will flash the CM 13 system.

As a precaution, you should consider in applying a Nandroid backup. Basically, you should save the Android OS that currently runs on your SGS2. In this way, you will be able to downgrade back to stock anytime you want, by using the Nandroid file. Do note that this dedicated backup operation can be completed through the same custom recovery image.

If you are coming from any other software than CyanogenMod, then you will have to complete a clean install of Android 6.0 M (if a previous version of CM is already running on your phone, then you can skip the wipe). So, you will have to clear app data cache and hard reset your smartphone before doing anything else. Thus, you can lose all of your personal data, info and accounts, unless you previously make a proper backup – just sync your data with your account or use any other backup and restore apps you prefer. On your way don’t forget to take care of essential data such as EFS, internet settings, contacts, call logs, texts, images, videos, audio files, market apps, IMEI / NVRAM data, saved passwords and anything else you might need afterwards.

A manual installation guide implies in preparing a computer, on which you should temporarily turn off the security protection (because you have to download third party files which might be detected as viruses). Also, you will have to prepare a few things on your phone too: go to “menu – settings – about phone” and enable Developer Options (just tap several times on Built Number); then, tap on Settings, enter Developer Options and check the USB Debugging field that will be displayed. In the end, charge your Galaxy S2, or else you might have problems during the Marshmallow update operation – basically, your phone might get turned off in the middle of the CM 13 flashing process and if that happens your device might get also bricked.

Do note that this step by step guide is compatible only with the International model of the Samsung Galaxy S2, so try not to mess things up in any matter.

Install Android 6.0 Marshmallow on Samsung Galaxy S2 with CM13 Custom ROM

  1. You can download the Android 6.0 M firmware file from this page.
  2. You also have to download compatible Google Apps.
  3. First, place these files on your computer; put them on your desktop.
  4. Then, you have to connect your smartphone with your PC by using the USB cord.
  5. Now, transfer the downloaded files on your device and when done, unplug the USB cord.
  6. Finally, power off your S2 and reach recovery mode on your Android device.
  7. Good; now from recovery make the wipe (if you are coming from a different system than CyanogenMod): select “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
  8. After doing that, go back to main menu of recovery and pick “Install”.
  9. Just load the CM 13 firmware file and the Google Apps package.
  10. From this point follow on screen prompts and resume the flashing procedure.
  11. When done, within main menu of recovery select “reboot system now”.

Good job. Test the CM 13 Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS and see how everything works on your Samsung Galaxy S2. Of course, don’t forget to share everything with us by using the comments field from down below.

Samsung Galaxy S2 Articles

  • tjm1706

    I installed CM13 on the Samsung Galaxy S2.
    How can I install the Gapps (or at least google play)?

  • Unable to Flash Gapps on my S2… It gives error whatever solution I try.

  • kedar hendre

    Gapps not getting installed due to insufficient storage

  • Engasif Shaikh Asif

    Can I use the 4g services on my Samsung s2 after updating to marshmallow.

    • Soren Cicchini

      No, the S2 hardware isn’t 4G compatible and CM13 isn’t available for the S2 LTE (GT-I9210), which is a 4G phone.

      It is also worth reading the software release notes for its limitations: I successfully installed it about a week ago (I have flashed a PIT that provides 1 GB of system storage, so had no problem installing Gapps) but removed it when I found that the GPS is not functional. I am now running CM12.1, which is working well on my international S2 (GT-I9100).

  • derek alexander

    i am unable to get the gapp package to install and keep getting status 7 error message. everything else works ok any help please