Samsung is going to release OTAs for its new Galaxy S9+ for at least another year (the official support should go for around 2 years) so it’s important to know how to apply the official updates both manually and automatically. Additionally, custom updates are already made available for this device, so if you want to improve the overall Android experience that runs on your phone you should also know how to install such custom ROMs on your S9 Plus.
Bottom line, it’s more than recommended to learn the basic update operations that can be applied on your new device as you can successfully use your smartphone without experiencing software related issues only as long as you keep its core system updated all the time.
That’s why we developed this dedicated step by step guide. Among the lines that’s available below you will be able to review three different update operations and the ways in which these processes can be successfully applied on the new Samsung Galaxy S9+. So, this is a general and complete update tutorial which can help you better understand the Android OS and the ways in which updates can be applied and tweaks can be performed.
During each update section that will be detailed we will insist in describing all the aspects that are important: we will review the risks and the advantages implied, we will discuss about essential pre-requisites and we will explain the methods that can be followed for resuming these three different update operations: installing OTAs, manually applying the official full firmware package and manually replacing the stock Android OS with a custom ROM software.
Of course, all the lines mentioned during this step by step guide are compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S9+, so try not to mess things up – you can follow other similar tutorials and Android related tips and tricks by using our ‘how to’ section.
How to Install OTAs on Samsung Galaxy S9+
An OTA is an official Android update that’s released by Samsung and by Google and which is going to be released for your device. OTAs are pushed out regularly and we can discuss about minor OS improvements (for example monthly security patches) or about major updates, when an OS switch is being offered by Google. Either way, an OTA is launched ‘over the air’ so you really don’t have to do anything – the firmware will be received automatically on your Galaxy S9 Plus in form of a new notification and for applying it you only have to follow on-screen prompts.
But, the downside about OTAs is that such updates are released gradually and usually for limited markets only. Thus, in most situations some users will receive their notifications sooner than others even though the same device is being used. Moreover, by default an OTA can be automatically received on your smartphone only if tweaks weren’t previously performed – if the stock Android OS is already running and if root isn’t ensured.
Shortly, there are situations when a better idea is to manually install the very same update, though in that case the full firmware package must be used – we will discuss more about these aspects during the next section of this tutorial.
Now, an OTA is an official update. So, when applying such software you don’t have to worry about anything – you don’t need to use third party flashing apps, Samsung KNOX won’t get tripped and a backup isn’t required. Charging your Galaxy S9+ is the only thing that might be implied – you should plug in the charger before starting the update operation if the power left on your phone is currently lower than 50%.
Anyhow, during the following guidelines we will check how the OTA can be applied in different instances:
Try to force down a new OTA
- Switch on your device and enable a WiFi connection.
- Go to Settings and from there switch to Software Update – for some versions you might have to choose About Device followed by Software Updates.
- Use the search engine that’s available and search for new updates.
- If an OTA is available you should automatically receive the notification on your smartphone.
- So, follow on-screen prompts and resume the flashing process.
Install the OTA manually through stock recovery mode
- You first have to download the OTA file on a computer.
- Then, you need to connect your SGS9+ with your computer; just plug in the USB cable in that matter.
- Transfer the OTA package that was previously downloaded on your computer and place it on your smartphone.
- When done, disconnect your devices by unplugging the USB cord.
- Put your Android device into recovery mode.
- From recovery select ‘install zip from SD card’ and ‘choose zip from SD card’.
- Pick up the OTA file and install it on your phone.
- When that flashing process is completed from main menu of recovery choose ‘reboot system now’.
Install the OTA through adb
- Download the OTA package on a computer.
- On that computer your Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus drivers must be installed – you can do that by using Samsung KIES.
- Also, on the same PC you must set up ADB: learn how to install Android SDK on Windows or how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux.
- Rename the OTA file into ‘update.zip’ and transfer the renamed file inside the Android SDK folder.
- From that path open a command prompt window: press and hold the Shift keyboard key, right click on any blank space and then select ‘open command prompt window here’.
- Switch off your phone and reboot into recovery mode.
- From that environment select ‘apply update from adb’.
- Next, connect your smartphone with your computer via USB cable.
- In the cmd window type ‘adb sideload update.zip’ and press Enter.
- That’s all; the OTA will be automatically installed on your SGS9 Plus.
- When it’s done, remove the USB cord, close the cmd window and reboot your phone.
How to manually install official Android OS on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus using Odin
As outlined before, sometimes the best decision is to manually install the update package on your Galaxy S9+. This manual process is great when the OTA seems to skip your phone or when your device is tweaked.
However, in this case the full firmware package must be used – this is the same file as the OTA but compiled for Odin, which is the flashing program. Note: don’t worry, Odin is an official program developed by Samsung and designed to work especially on update types of procedures.
This update process is also official. Once more, the Samsung KNOX flag won’t get tripped, you won’t lose access the built-in apps and you won’t have to use any risky tools for being able to perform the steps explained below.
But, you need to know that during this particular flashing process your Galaxy S9+ will be restored back to its factory state. Shortly, if tweaks were previously applied, now every custom access will be revoked: you will lose root access, the bootloader will be relocked, the stock recovery image reinstalled, bloatware re-loaded and so on.
Anyway, from this perspective the update solution can be used as a special troubleshooting solution – the update operation will help you get rid of various reasons why there might be experienced software related issues such as boot loops, lags, hangs, screen freeze, battery drain, heating situations, signal strength problems, total blackouts and so much more.
Your data shouldn’t be lost while Odin is used, but in rare situations some files might get corrupted or a wipe might be required (we will discuss about such situations a little bit later). The main idea is that a backup is not required but it is recommended. So, you should take a few minutes for backing up your personal data, info, accounts and files that are stored on your Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. That process can be applied in several ways, though I recommend you to: use already built-in cloud storage apps, sync your data with your Google Account, or use dedicated backup and restore apps from Google Play.
A computer is needed at this point. There you will have to install Odin, but first the Galaxy S9+ drivers must be set up – you can download and install the right drivers by using Samsung KIES. Your phone and its USB cord are also required. On your handset you need to enable Developer Options by tapping repeatedly on Built Number (located within About Phone) until you receive the ‘you are a developer’ field. Then, from Developer Options (under Menu - > Settings) you should check the USB Debugging feature.
Similar as explained before, it’s important to verify the power that’s left on your phone before starting to use Odin – problems can be experienced if the Android OS gets turned off in the middle of the flashing process. So, charge your handset if the power is lower than 50%. Then, follow:
- Download Odin on your computer – use this page. Save Odin on desktop and then set up the flashing program – do so by running the executable file and follow on screen prompts.
- Download the stock Android firmware for your SGS9 Plus. You can get this file from any source you prefer – save the update package on deskto.
- Put your Galaxy S9+ into download mode: switch off your device and then press and hold the Power, Volume Down and Bixby buttons together.
- Run Odin on your computer and afterwards connect your phone with your PC via USB cable.
- Make sure that the ‘added’ message is displayed on the flashing program and that ID:COM field is turned yellow or blue; if different, close Odin, unplug the USB cable and reinstall your phone’s drivers on your computer.
- Next, on Odin click on the AP button and load the Android firmware package from your computer; don’t check the Auto Reboot and Re Partition options.
- Click on Start and wait while the installation process is performed.
- The ‘pass’ message will be displayed in the end and the ID:COM field will be turned green.
- Unplug the USB cord and reboot your S9 Plus.
- If a boot loop occurs, go to recovery mode (press and hold Power, Volume Up and Bixby buttons) and choose to make a hard reset and to clear app data cache – pick ‘wipe data factory reset’ followed by ‘wipe cache partition’.
- Also, if Odin gets stuck in the middle of the update operation: close it (force down the program through Task Manager if you cannot do it otherwise) and then unplug the USB cable, force restart your handset and reinstall your phone’s drivers on your computer before retrying the steps from above.
How to install custom ROMs on Samsung Galaxy S9+
If you think that you can obtain more from your device, you are right. By removing default restrictions and by unlocking the Android core system you can unleash the true potential of your Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Well, the best way in which you can achieve that is by replacing the stock Android firmware with a custom ROM software (such as Lineage OS, AOKP, Paranoid Android and so on).
A custom ROM represents a free aftermarket distribution of the official Android OS. Shortly, it is a ported and modified build of stock Android software, an update which is developed and offered by third party devs and which is usually pre-loaded with capabilities and functions that cannot be found on the official platform.
And if you choose a fully stable ROM you can choose to tweak your Galaxy S9+ exactly how you want to. The goal is to obtain more power, better general performance, improved results when running demanding processes and an overall upgraded battery life. And, as already outlined, with the right ROMs and with the right customizations applied you can easily obtain exactly that.
Of course, in that case the default Samsung UI will be removed and replaced by a new user interface which will be faster and smoother. After all, we are talking about an update which cannot be related with your OEM or with Google.
And that’s why we now need to talk about some risks. You see, since you are about to use an unofficial Android firmware, during the update operation Samsung KNOX will get tripped. Thus, you are about to lose your phone’s warranty and the access to built-in apps. The warranty flag can be reset only if you choose to reinstall the stock Android OS, so only if you choose to follow the steps explained during the previous section of this tutorial.
You will be able to install a custom ROM only if you first root your Samsung Galaxy S9+. The root process will unlock the Android OS that already runs on your phone, the system which will then be accessed and modified by the new custom update. Additionally, the actual flashing procedure can be performed only if a custom recovery image can be used on your phone; thus, I recommend you to install the latest version of TWRP recovery first.
A Nandroid backup should be completed on your Galaxy S9 Plus. This particular backup operation will help you save the current Android firmware that powers your phone. Thus, if the custom ROM that you choose to apply won’t run as expected, you will then be able to use the Nandroid backup package in order to go back to stock without having to follow any other update procedure.
Along with that particular backup process you should also save your contacts, call logs, texts, EFS folder, internet settings, images, videos, audio files, market apps, IMEI / NVRAM data and everything else that wasn’t there from day one. A general backup isn’t optional as during the custom ROM installation process you will have to make a hard reset and clear app data cache – and that’s when your data will be erased. A full wipe is required because the custom update must be applied on a clean system – otherwise it cannot run properly.
A computer is needed since a manual update operation is involved. On your phone Developer Options must be enabled and the USB Debugging option must be checked, just as explained during the previous section of this guide. And, of course, a charging process must be ensured if the power left on your SGS9 Plus is lower than 50%.
Perfect, now let’s see what you need to do in order to complete this particular update procedure:
- Download the custom ROM firmware you want to install on your Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus – in that respect I recommend you to use the xda-developers database.
- If needed, download compatible Google Apps – you can get this package from here.
- Save these files on your desktop.
- Then, power off your smartphone and wait while the shut down operation is completed.
- Reboot recovery mode on your Galaxy S9+.
- From recovery choose to initiate a full wipe: select ‘wipe data factory reset’ followed by ‘wipe cache partition’ and by ‘wipe dalvik cache’.
- Return to main menu of recovery when done and select ‘reboot system now’.
- Up next, connect your phone with your computer via USB cable.
- Transfer the downloaded files from desktop on your handset and in the end remove the USB cord.
- Now, reboot recovery mode on your Android device again.
- This time choose ‘install zip from SD card’ followed by ‘choose zip from SD card’ or just tap on Install if TWRP recovery is used.
- Load the custom ROM package and resume the flashing process. When done, repeat the last step and install Google Apps, if that’s needed.
- In the very end, from main menu of recovery pick ‘reboot system now’.
So, those are the update operations that can help you keep everything smooth and fast on your Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. If you have questions or if you want to learn further details related with a specific update procedure, don’t hesitate and contact us – you can share your own update experience along with your observations with our team and with other users who might want to apply a certain update solution from above. Enjoy and don’t forget that you can find similar other step by step guides on our ‘how to’ page.