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Update T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S2 to Android 4.3 using Carbon AOSP ROM Nighties


The Galaxy S2 T-Mobile or ‘hercules’, as it is commonly known, received its own version of Carbon Jelly Bean Nightlies allowing you to upgrade it to Android 4.3 using this custom ROM. Read this entire guide and you’ll learn how to successfully update your smartphone with this new ROM.

This custom ROM has been designed by Carbon AOSP team and it is based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Also, it borrows components and features from CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, AOKP and other popular ROMs. If you want to learn more about this release, then you can read the info listed at the developer’s web page here.

Before starting the installation, take a look at the guidelines below:

  • This tutorial works only with T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S2 with model number T989.
  • Don’t try to flash the files you find here on any other different Galaxy S2 smartphones, as you will end up bricking that device.
  • Your phone has to be factory unlocked and rooted.
  • CWM or TWRP Recovery should be installed on it. Without a custom Recovery you cannot flash the Carbon Android 4.3 Nightly ROM.
  • The tutorial will ask you to wipe data and factory reset the device. This will remove all data from system partition, while internal / external storage remains the same.
  • If you want to backup data from installed apps, then you can use the following tools for Android: Helium (here) or Titanium Backup (here).
  • Backup data from SMS, Call Logs info and APN Internet Settings using the following tools for Android: SMS backup & restore | Call Logs backup & restore | APN Settings Backup & Restore. Root access is needed for some of these tools.
  • Sync Contacts with the default Gmail account that you’ve assigned for your device.
  • Enable USB Debugging from Developer Options menu.
  • This guide is for advanced users, do not attempt to update your smartphone in case you don’t know what you’re doing or you don’t know how to use a custom Recovery mode.
  • You have to create a Nandroid backup for the ROM that is currently installed on your device. In the tutorial you’ll find a step that teaches you how to do that.
  • Make sure that the phone’s battery has enough power left before completely switching off. Read this entire post and make sure not to skip any steps.
  • If you cannot complete the tutorial, then you can ask for more help in comments.
  • Do not blame us in case something goes wrong and you lose data or brick the phone.

How to install Carbon Android 4.3 Nightly custom ROM for T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S2:

  1. Download the custom ROM from here.
    – click on ‘modification time’ to sort the zip files by the latest added.
    – download the latest build and don’t unzip its contents.
  2. Download gapps for Android 4.3 custom ROMs from here.
    – this file has to be flashed after you install the ROM, as it will add all Google-based apps that your device needs in order to run correctly.
  3. Connect your device with your PC, then move both zip files on to its internal Sdcard without extracting its contents.
  4. After the files are copied, disconnect the device from PC.
  5. Power off the T-Mobile Galaxy S2.
  6. Boot the device into Custom Recovery Mode.
    – both CWM and TWRP Recoveries are supported by this guide.
  7. First thing that you need to do is to create a NANDROID Backup for the ROM that is currently installed on your device:
    – CWM: select ‘backup and restore’ option. The backup has to be saved to your phone’s internal or external storage. Confirm the process.
    – TWRP: press Backup, select the system parts you want to backup. Confirm.
  8. Next, factory reset your device:
    – CWM: select ‘wipe data/ factory reset’. Confirm.
    – TWRP: press Wipe, then Factory Reset. Confirm.
  9. Now you can finally install the Carbon JB Nightly zip:
    – CWM: select ‘install zip from sdcard’, then ‘choose zip from sdcard’. Find the ROM and confirm its installation.
    – TWRP: press Install, browse the internal storage for the ROM zip, load it, and then confirm that you want to install it by swiping the blue button at the bottom of the screen.
  10. After the ROM is installed, repeat step 9 actions and install Gapps file.
  11. When both files are flashed return to the main CWM / TWRP Recovery screen.
  12. Reboot your device now in normal mode.
  13. Enter the Google Account details when the Carbon AOSP JB Nightly home screen appears.
  14. Start testing all of its new features and functions, the tell us in comments how’s your device working with the brand new ROM.

If the custom ROM doesn’t flash successfully at your first attempt, then you should repeat the entire tutorial. For any problems or in case you need extra guidance, then you should leave a detailed comment at the end of this post. We will try to come up with a solution for you.

Make sure that you apply all the steps listed above without skipping any of them. The ‘factory reset’ is needed for such custom ROM to flash successfully.

Also, if you don’t like how this new ROM works with your device, then you can always use the NANDROID Backup files of your previous ROM and restore the device to how it was before installing Carbon AOSP.