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How to Update the Nokia 3

Nokia is trying to refresh its success by launching a new smartphone lineup, which is now based on the Android system. However, unlike some expected, the new Nokia phones aren’t as ‘outstanding’ as previously rumored. If the Nokia 6 is an over-priced handset for the performance that it brings, the Nokia 3 is just another entry-level Android Nougat based device that comes with little to impress. However, the low price-tag will most likely make the Nokia 3 a relatively popular Nougat featured handset.

Anyway, the best thing about these new releases is the official support, which is currently rumored to last for at least two years. Thus, your Nokia 3 should receive OTAs from time to time for a long time, as I don’t know if you will be able to keep your smartphone for more than 2 years without ending in experiencing bugs, lags and hangs. That’s why I decided to show you how you can successfully and safely complete the most common update operations on your own Nokia 3.

Therefore, this tutorial can help you maintain your smartphone updated all the time. Additionally, the guidelines from below will show you how to tweak your phone in order to improve the general performance and for obtaining better results from your Nokia 3, regardless of the apps and processes you will choose to run on your handset.

In a few words, this step by step guide will contain three different sections. During each part a dedicated update operation will be detailed and exemplified. Along with the actual flashing process I will also review the advantages, the risks and the pre-requisites involved by each process. So, in the end you will know exactly what to expect from OTAs, manual update operations and custom ROMs such as Lineage OS, AOKP and Paranoid Android.

Of course, I recommend you to read all the lines from below before deciding which type of update operation to follow for your Nokia 3. Also, you can bookmark this page as I bet that some info from below will be required in the future, especially if you plan to keep your Nokia 3 for more than 2 years.

How to force down OTAs and how to manually install an OTA Update on Nokia 3

When an OTA is implied we discuss about an official roll out provided by Google and by your OEM. This roll out is quite complicated as usually it follows this pattern: the OTA (the ‘over the air’ update) is developed and pushed out by Google for each OEM that has devices on the market; then each company is modifying this stock / pure OS for their own smartphones and tablets; then, the already modified ROM is provided for the carriers which are also adding their own customizations; finally, depending on each carrier and on each market, the final OTA will be released for your Nokia 3.

As you can tell, because of this complex process an OTA can be received sooner or later by different Nokia 3 users. That’s why you might have to try to force it down, or to manually install it on your phone – that’s the only way in which you can skip the ‘OTA wait’.

But, before doing anything else make sure that your Nokia 3 is already running on stock Android OS and that root access isn’t ensured. Otherwise, the OTA can’t be received – if your phone is tweaked you must follow the second update section of this guide if you still want to apply the official Android firmware.

Since the OTA is the official Nokia release, you have nothing to worry about. The flashing process is official and can be completed without any sort of problems – no, you don’t have to use complex programs, you don’t have to save your data first as everything will remain safe and secured and you won’t lose your phone’s warranty during this particular update operation.

So, here is how you can try to force down an OTA if you know that a new update is available for your smartphone:

  • Start by enabling a WiFi connection on your Nokia 3.
  • Also, make sure that there is enough power left for the update process – more than 50% power must be ensured.
  • Then, power on your phone and tap on Menu and go to Settings.
  • From About Phone you can access the search field for new updates.
  • Just launch a new search as if a new Android notification is available you will be prompted with the same.
  • From that point you just have to follow on screen prompts for resuming and completing the update operation.
  • Do note that during the update process your device will reboot several times.

If the OTA isn’t spotted but you can download it from online, you can choose to complete the flashing process through recovery mode or by executing an ADB command. Here are these two processes explained:

Using the stock recovery mode menu:

  • Download the OTA file on a computer and then transfer it on your smartphone.
  • Switch off your device and reboot it into recovery mode.
  • From recovery select “Apply file from SD card”.
  • Load the firmware package.
  • Wait while the ROM is being installed.
  • When done, go back to recovery mode and select “Reboot system now”.

ADB sideload the OTA:

  • Save the OTA package on your computer; on this computer your Nokia 3 drivers must be already installed.
  • Moreover, on your computer install Android SDK: learn how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux or how to flash Android SDK on Windows.
  • Transfer the OTA file inside the Android SDK folder.
  • Reboot your Nokia 3 into recovery mode.
  • From there choose “Apply Sideload from Fastboot”.
  • Connect your smartphone with your computer with the help of the USB cord.
  • Navigate towards the Android SDK folder (where you placed the OTA package) and open a cmd window: press and hold the Shift keyboard key while right clicking on any blank space.
  • Next, in the cmd window type: adb sideload update.zip.
  • That should be all; when done, from main menu of recovery pick “reboot system now”.

How to Manually install the stock / default Android OS on the Nokia 3

If the full firmware package can be downloaded from online, then you can also install the official Android update manually. This process is recommended for those who are using a rooted device, or a phone which was tweaked in any other ways.

Be careful as flashing the official ROM will revoke the tweaking methods. Shortly, after completing the steps from this section, you will notice that root access was revoked, the stock recovery was reinstalled, the bootloader was relocked and the bloatware re-applied.

Manually updating or downgrading your Nokia 3 with the official Android OS can help you solve different Android malfunctions such as boot loops, lags, hangs, bugs, screen freeze, alerts, battery drain, heating problems, total blackouts and more. That’s possible because you will manage to restore your device back to its initial state which means that you will manage, among others, to stop unresponsive programs, remove malware, uninstall inappropriate tools and get rid of anything else that might cause problems within the Android core system.

Of course, manually installing the official OS is also a safe and secured procedure, so you have nothing to worry about – unlike the OTA process, during the steps from below you will have to use a flashing program. This program is not risky and complex and will not make you lose your phone’s warranty. However, a backup is recommended as during the update operation your data might get corrupted or even wiped out.

For the backup initiative you can just apply the backup and restore services which are featured by default on your Nokia 3. Alternatively you can choose to sync your personal data, info, accounts and files with your Google Account, or you can download and use backup and restore apps from Google Play.

A manual update operation can be completed only if a computer, or a similar device, can be used. The ROM file will be downloaded on the PC where you will also have to install and run the flashing program. Additionally, on your Nokia 3 you must verify a few things: the USB Debugging Option must be checked, this field being located under Developer Options. If Developer Options cannot be accessed, first of all go to About Phone and tap repeatedly, for about 7 or 10 times, on Built Number – the ‘you are a developer’ message will have to be displayed.

Once more, make sure that there is enough power left. If the power is currently lower than 50% you must plug in the charger first – a sudden turn off during the update operation might cause malfunctions on your Nokia 3.

Good; now, here are the steps that must be followed in this update situation:

  1. The SP Flash Tool is required; you can download this program from here.
  2. Unzip the downloaded package and install the flashing program on your computer.
  3. Also download the stock / default Android OS for your Nokia 3. Just use any source you prefer – Nokia’s official website, xda-developers.com, etc.
  4. When done, run the SP Flash Tool program on your PC.
  5. From the main window that will be opened choose the Download field.
  6. Select Download Agent and load the MTL_AllInOneDA.bin file – you can get this file from the SP Flashtool folder.
  7. Then click on the Scatter-loading field and load the Scatter file that comes along with the Android update package.
  8. Perfect; now click on the Download button.
  9. Afterwards, power off your phone and then reboot into fastboot mode.
  10. Also connect your Nokia 3 with your computer – establish the connection by using your phone’s official USB cable.
  11. Now the flashing operation will be automatically completed.
  12. In the end, close the flashing program, unplug the USB cord and just reboot your Nokia 3.
  13. That should be all you have to do.

How to Flash a custom ROM firmware on the Nokia 3

If you’re not satisfied with how your Nokia 3 runs during different situations and if you want to improve the general performance of your smartphone, you should try to complete this update procedure.

During this section I am going to show you how to install a custom ROM firmware on your Nokia 3 – when I talk about custom ROMs I refer about platforms such as Lineage OS, AOKP, Paranoid Android and so on.

A custom ROM is powered by the stock Android software but it is in fact a modified version of the pure system. Third party devs are developing these ROMs, so these updates aren’t related with Nokia or with Google, so we are not talking about an official operation – yes, in this case the warranty of your Nokia 3 will get void, so be careful and don’t resume the steps from below if you are not an advanced Android user.

With a custom ROM installed (a fully stable one) your Nokia 3 should run better and also faster. Usually, these updates are pre-loaded with features, apps and capabilities which cannot be used on the stock Android software. The ROMs are meant to be light and bootloader-free. Moreover, you should be able to choose from different customization options just for making the Android system better in every way.

The custom ROM can be installed only if the internal storage system of your Nokia 3 is wiped out. That’s why during the flashing operation you will have to make a hard reset and clear app data cache. Also, that’s why a fully backup process is required – otherwise you will just lose everything that was not there from day one.

In order to avoid any sort of problems you should make a Nandroid backup before anything else. This process is saving the current Android OS that runs on your device. So, if the new custom ROM will not run properly you can then choose to go back to stock by using the Nandroid backup package.

Replacing the stock Android OS with a custom ROM will be possible only if your Nokia 3 is rooted. Therefore, first of all you need to root your smartphone – do note that for the root access an unlocked bootloader might be required. The custom ROM will be offered in form of a .zip package, which can be flashed on your device only through a custom recovery image. Therefore, I recommend you to install a custom recovery platform before taking care of anything else – a good idea will be to use the TWRP recovery software for getting the best results.

This is a manual installation operation. So, the essential pre-requisites are similar with the ones already explained during the previous process – shortly, you have to charge your Nokia 3 if that’s required, you need to check the USB Debugging option, you have to use a computer and your phone and its USB cable must be there too. Good; when you feel prepared, follow:

  1. Get the custom ROM that you want to flash – I recommend you to use the xda-developers database in order to choose the best custom updates for your Nokia 3.
  2. If the update package isn’t including Google Apps, you have to flash it separately; so, if implied, download compatible Google Apps from here.
  3. Save these files on your computer; you can just place everything on desktop.
  4. Switch off your smartphone and afterwards enter recovery mode.
  5. From recovery initiate a full wipe – you can do that by choosing the following options: “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
  6. When the wiping process is completed, from main menu of recovery choose “Reboot system now”.
  7. Next, connect your Nokia 3 with your computer via USB cable and transfer the downloaded files from your PC to your phone.
  8. When the copy-paste operation is performed, disconnect the USB cord because the computer is no longer required.
  9. Reboot recovery mode once more on your Android device.
  10. Tap on Install and pick the custom ROM file.
  11. Swipe in order to begin the flashing process. Don’t forget to repeat the last step in order to install Google Apps if that’s required.
  12. When everything’s done, go to main menu of recovery and pick “Reboot system now”.

Final thoughts

Did you manage to successfully update your Nokia 3? If you had problems or if you don’t know how to complete a certain step, contact us and we will try to assist you as soon as possible. Also, check out our ‘how to’ section if you also want to learn other Android related tips and tricks available for your device. And, in the end, don’t forget to tell everything about your experience by using the comments field from below – only in this way you can help other users who might require an extra advice or an experienced opinion.