How to Install a ROM on Nexus S or Nexus S 4G!

I know some of you are having trouble with installing a new ROM on your Nexus S or Nexus S 4G, so let me go over it again.

Before we begin, copy over the ROM zip file you want install over to the internal storage of your Nexus S or Nexus S 4G.

Step 1. Install ROM Manager from the Market.

Step 2. Choose “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery” to update to the latest ClockworkMod Recovery.  You only have to do this once or whenever there’s new versions.

Step 3. Choose “Google Nexus S” for regular Nexus S and “Nexus S 4G” for Nexus S 4G.

Step 4. You should get a successful screen like above.

Step 5. Choose “Reboot into Recovery” to boot into recovery.  You can also install a new ROM using “Install ROM from SD Card” but just in case something goes wrong, let me show you how to do it manually or if you have to zip Google apps separately.

Step 6. Choose “wipe data/factory reset” using Volume keys and hit the Power button to choose.

Step 7. Choose “Yes” and hit the Power button.

Step 8. Choose “install zip from sdcard” and hit the Power button.

Step 9. Choose “choose zip from sdcard” and hit the Power button.

Step 10.  Choose the ROM zip file you copied over to your internal storage and hit the Power button.

Step 11. Choose “Yes” and hit the Power button.

Step 12. Choose “choose zip from sdcard” and hit the Power button.

Step 13. Optionally, if your ROM requires you to flash Google apps separately, go and flash the gapps zip file also.

Step 14. When everything is done, go back to main menu and choose “reboot system now”.

Step 15. Your phone should reboot and you should see the new ROM come up.

Congratulations, you’ve installed a new ROM on your Nexus S or Nexus S 4G.

If this is first time, please watch the tutorial video!

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86 Responses to How to Install a ROM on Nexus S or Nexus S 4G!

  1. rohan jit singh says:

    in which folder do u paste the roms in the sd card ?

  2. Philip says:

    Great tutorial! I do have a few questions though. Would I need to install Rom Manager everytime I flash a rom? Is it because flashing removes the app? I also noticed that you have several roms in your sd folder (saw all those zip files). Do those files get deleted upon flashing or not?

    • Nexus S Hacks says:

      You only have to run ROM Manager flashing part once and no, the files don’t get deleted, you can delete them however after ROM installation.

  3. Tom says:

    Just wanted to give a heads up…

    I have had an issue with ROM Manager being unable to grant itself super user permissions in the Flash ClockworkMod Recovery set.

    My workaround (and I don’t know enough about this process to know if this actual worked or if I got lucky) was to use the “Fix Permisions” dialog under the Utilities section of ROM Manager.

    Keep up the great site, it’s been really useful!

  4. Rustam says:

    Yesterday I rooted my phone for the first time (Nexus S) after using it for almost a year! And today installed my first ROM (MIUI)! All thanks to YOU!!

  5. AjnabiZ says:


    Thanks for the video

    Which backup program to use for backing up all the data ?

  6. AjnabiZ says:

    Thanks. ill try it

  7. Demetrius says:

    Hey Max, I have the nexus s 4g, I’ve installed the combo Trinity and cm7 that you suggested and it works great but theres two problems.. I’m now not Able to use tango or Skype, also I’ve lost the capability to use the Google wallet feature with the NFC. Any suggestions on how I can get these functions back? Thanks

  8. Daniel says:

    Thank you very much for your videos.
    I flash Cyanogenmod latest rom, but there was no way to add google account. I did not found anything about it on the net until I look your video that tell to install the google app as a separate zip !

  9. liam says:

    ive tried installing cyanogenMod on my nexus S but as i flash it comes up with

    assert failed: getprop(“ro.product.device”) == ”
    crespo” || getprop(“”) == “cresp
    o” || getprop(“ro.product.board”) == crespo
    E:Error in /sdcard/
    (status 7)
    Installation aborted.

    Any ideas is much appreciated

    • baldock says:


      try making sure to go into market and download ROM Manager, grant it SU permissions, and then install the latest version of Clockwork Recovery, which is the first option in ROM Manager, this got rid of the error for me!

  10. Soheeb says:

    on Step 4 I get the following message: An error Occurred while attempting to run privileged commands! any help would be appreciated thanks 😀

  11. nathaniel kenyon says:

    i was wondering why in the app rom maneger i try and do the flash clock work mod recovery and it says an error occurred to run privileged commands what do i do can any one help

  12. ambarish nair says:

    * i flashed my clockworkmod recovery
    * but when i reboot into reboots and gives me a forever staying YELLOW EXCLAMATION MARK!!
    have i bricked my phone>??? please reply soon ?? thankss… 🙁

    • Same thing happens with me.. Its not bricked as you can do a hard reset (remove the battery and then again put it in) But that just discourages me to install the rom because if during the process something like this happens, then my phone might be bricked :-/

  13. Ram says:

    Thanks a lot. All your videos helped me a lot. Successfully flashed and installed ICS 4.0.3 🙂 Thanks a lot

  14. Ram says:

    Thanks a lot. everything worked perfectly fine. I am new to all this but your videos helped me root and install cyanogen mod 4.0.3 on my nexus s 4g without any error. Thanks!!!!

  15. Chirag Verma says:

    I can’t find any fix for this error that shows on screen while installing the clockworkmod recovery “An error occurred while attempting to run privileged commands” please reply to the messages, i think there are others also who are facing the same issue

  16. Deepak says:

    Thanks a lot man 🙂
    Successfully rooted my phone and installed the ICS ROM.
    Thanks for such an easy step by step guide.
    Just not sure about the battery usage.
    Currently Android OS & Android system is consuming too much of battery.

  17. glenn says:

    can i use rom manager even nexus s is not rooted or a phone must be rooted in order to use rom manager….thanks any help will be greatly apprciated….

  18. Michael says:

    do i need a sd card to do the roms because i dont think my phone has one

  19. Colin Tudor says:

    Im quite new to Android but am I right in thinking, I can have numerous roms stored on in my nexus s memory and install as and when I wish?? Im ready to install a rom. Im rooted and have installed Clockwork Recovery and atm, Im looking around at roms. If I can have as many roms stored on my phone as I want, I can just change them whenever I get bored. Thanks guys

  20. P Raddy says:

    are the ROMs model specific?
    i flashed the Nexus Beam 4.0.3 ICS on my Telus i9020a and I get no reception?

  21. omar ossama says:

    assert failed: getprop(“ro.product.device”) == ”
    crespo” || getprop(“”) == “cresp
    o” || getprop(“ro.product.board”) == crespo
    E:Error in /sdcard/
    (status 7)
    Installation aborted.
    i tried to install but as you see any help note: i have rom manger ver 4.xxxx

  22. omar ossama says:

    Plzz help soooo soon

  23. omar ossama says:

    plz reply fast because im stuck

  24. Clement says:

    Will this work if I have used your “How to root Nexus S/4G ICS or Gingerbread” which makes me install the TWRP recovery?! Looks like a great tutorial, I just don’t want to flash 2 Recoveries and have phone go boom! :3

  25. Nicolas says:

    Like many others: THANKS a lot!

    easy to understand, easy to apply, perfect vid 🙂

  26. Chase says:

    Yo thanx for all the info and “how too’s”. But im a bit of a noob and i messed up big time..BRICKED.. I have a Nexus s on I9020XXKB3 i think, i cant check because its bricked atm. I was trying to install CM7 after i rooted via your method and i kept getting the “SD card error number 7” when trying to install .zip from sd card. Because of my fat fingers i miss clicked and formatted everything in fastboot thus deleting my restore to the stock firmware.
    I then tryed to flash back to the stock rom but of course i flashed the wrong rom it was a I9020T…..
    It now wont turn on, or show anything on the screen. i have tryed a few methods to no avail; Unbrickable Mod and oneclick, but both programs cannot detect my device…. help me pleas, do i need to jtag it because that would be a suckfest.

    • Nexus S Hacks says:

      Can you still access CWM? If so, get a microSD to SD converter, then format your microSD on your computer, then install a new ROM, probably the fastest way.

      • Chase says:

        No i cant get it into cwm. the phone is completely unresponsive. shows nothing on screen.

        • Chase says:

          What i did is probably the worst thing u can do to a rooted droid =[ lol. In cwm i formatted i think all the partition’s on the phone, if not most. then without a reboot and realizing the awsomeness of what i just did; i tryed to flash a new rom into the phone.. it was the wrong one x[ .. ima phone killer /cry
          Is that a Hard brick ??

  27. rokkie says:

    Thanks a lot for the explanations. Cheers

  28. Strife says:

    Guys i installed Bigxie ROM + Matr1x Kernel, after i reboot my phone, the screen just stay at the “apex”(the very beginning loading page) for a long time… can i know what happen?

  29. Tom says:

    I followed your instructions and installed the ROM you published on Jan 22nd and even though it said the installation was successful, my Nexus S seems to be stuck on the start-up animation (those colorful tiles) and won’t load my phone… It’s been like that for several minutes.

    Any ideas?


  30. Euan Wilson says:

    Whenever I try to do step 2, I get an error message saying “An error occurred while attempting to run privileged commands!”. What does this mean and how to I get it to work? I am not running any custom ROM’s yet, still the basic.

  31. Jose Rivera says:

    I am sorry, but you are not explaining the exact procedure to install the ICS Matr1x Kernel combo. I first rooted the phone, and then installed the ICS and at the same time the matr1x kernel. My phone does not work know, and I don’t know what to do. I hope you can help me before I smash it to the wall. Heeeeeeeeelp!!!!!!!

  32. luis says:

    hello i just tried doing the exact same thing you did on here but now my phone wont install anything it tells me that the installation was abortred what can i do i need help fast

  33. luis says:

    so on my Nexus S 4G i had it rooted, i was goiing to try adding a new ROM as you instructed me in the video. but it didnt work and i didnt back up and restore my stock rom. WHAT CAN I DO about this situation, pleas someone help me i need help! 🙁

  34. Wimbo says:

    could you give me link how to install ROM and kernel? Thx in advance

  35. Zaher says:

    E:faild to mount/sdcard(No such file Or directory)

    i Have big problem with My Nexus s i9020 And i need help please

    My Phone Stop Boot and stor anly Logo (Google)
    and i cant do anything i can go to bootlader but i cant go to (apply update from sdcard)
    stor .E:faild to mount/sdcard(No such file Or directory)

    i try to unlock my mobile

    i write fastboot oem unlock and i see the Q.unlock boot? i press yes but i get the msg : Faild *remote :Erase fail

    i try to go to Odin but i cant acces to my phone

    but i go to recovery and i press

    Wipe data /factory reset
    wipe cach partition
    nothing to its the samme i see only logo i try to so mush the press off on so after the phone work so i erase all data factory and the phone work good but when i restart my phone the problem go back only stop boot on *google* i try again
    wipe data and wipe cash but dont work
    how can i fix my sdcard? i know 100% my mobile dont see the sdcard derfor i cant acces to unlock phone and
    i have nexus s Ics 4,0,3
    please help me im waiting ..

  36. luffy says:

    Hello max.. i wanna ask why i cannot go to recovery after i flash new version clockworkmod recovery? Even if i select recovery option it just go back to earlier option..please somebody help me

  37. Srikanth says:

    I recently bought an unlocked Google Nexus S GT-i9020T from eBay. The Device works fine on Tmobile network and bootable screen showing the Status=UNLOCKED.
    When I got it to India and tried inserting an Airtel SIM in it. The phone shows complete Signal strength but says emergency calls only. On the lock screen it says insert SIM.
    When I search for available mobile networks it shows my network but unable to connect to it. It does not even ask for unlock code when I insert a SIM from another carrier.
    Is this because the phone is locked or is there some other problem?

  38. Anthony says:

    Hey I have a quick question.
    So I know that every time you install a ROM you have t wipe it and reset it to factory settings. This sucks Obvs. So do I really have to install all my apps again every time or is there a way have all your apps come back? I used like 4 diff ROMS and each time I just been re-installing all my apps! So annoying! Please tell me there’s a better way!

  39. Dustin says:

    thank you been a while and i forgot the important wipe stage =) sooo i have the cm9 with the kernal 19.5 is there better? cm9 acts kinda funky and i have had 3 restarts in 2 days so far

  40. Rustaam says:

    Hi guys, please say me why i can`t use the RECOVERY.. when i get in to the RECOVERY SYSTEM then it`s ERROR.. and that`s why i can`t do something as a ROM..
    please help to me for fix this problemm somebody ??
    and respond to my mail please or facebook…

    • Nexus S Hacks says:

      Try re-flashing CWM in ROM Manager, available on the Play Store.

      • Rustaam says:

        i found that place on Rom manager but it was costing with money but i am not using the money to pay something in Market, so is it not possible without payment ???
        or maybe i just confused 🙁
        please help, cuz. i can`t use recovery.. i don`t know what`s the reason

  41. Billson says:

    Hey There,

    I have rooted my Nexus s and i started searching for new ROMs via ROM manager. I then downloaded a ROM and it is completely different to the ROM i had previously. With the previous ROM, i could easily access the google play store, down load my apps and what not. Now i can’t even do any of that. There’s not even a menu button. Is there a way to retrieve the ROM I had previously? If you can, please reply. this is very urgent

  42. Jesse says:

    I tried flashing clockwork mod via rom manager and it says an error occurred while trying to run privileged command

    • Nexus S Hacks says:

      reflash the superuser zip file in root method again.

      • Ahmed Mujtaba says:

        I am also getting the same error. when I try to flash recovery in ROM manager it says an error occurred and when I try to manually boot into recovery, a green android lying on the ground with a red triangular exclamation mark is the only thing I get. Please help me! waiting for your reply…

  43. vikrant says:

    hey plz help me geting error while installing clockworkmod from rom maneger so how could i instal new roms

  44. Paul Brett says:

    Hi, I hope someone can help me. I rooted my 9023 using the method here and installed a CM9 ROM no problems everything worked fine. At a later date I tried to install an original ROM, I did a data/factory reset and a cache wipe and tried to install the new ROM I keep getting the following message when I try to install any new ROM

    assert failed: getprop(“ro.product.device”) == “crespo” || getprop(“”) == “crespo”
    E:Error in /sdcard/
    (Status 7)
    Installation Aborted.

    I can install the gapps without any issues but no actual ROM.

    I’ve read from above that I should update CWM but everytime I try to boot the phone I get the message

    “Unfortunately, Setup Wizard has stopped.” and an OK button. Pressing the OK simply brings back up the same message.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction?

  45. Kash says:

    I installed a rom directly from the SD card via the rom manager , it installed completely but now theres only Google logo ????
    It doesnt move further 🙁
    What to do?
    Please reply ASAP pls

  46. I failed says:

    i failed to install rom and now my nexus s cant turn on . Fastboot mode – no boot or not recovery img . What should i do . Please help

  47. arsalan qureshi says:

    dear nexusshacks, im so grateful to u that u helped me in rooting my phone, i rooted it by downloading the and did all the process, but now my rom manager is not letting me flash the clockworkmod recovery, when ever i click, after cmpleting its process it says “error occured and bla bla……” what should i do to flash it …… so i can install a new rom for my nexus s, and do tell me which rom should i install for the ics…….

  48. Jacob Wiebe says:

    Hey. I go to my rom manager. It says there is a update for cwm recovery. i go to recovery setup and click cwm recovery under install of update recovery. click on google nexus s. then click flash cwm recovery. error comes up saying an error occured while flashing your recovery. What do i do?

  49. pcasca says:

    Hello everybody,
    Thanks for your work in trying to improve our phones.
    I loved that someone would answer me some simple (difficult for me) questions about installing roms, I have installed a jelly beely rom on my Nexus S (I bought it like that) and I’m not sure which kernel I have installed, I have installed cwm and have already made a backup of my rom.
    If I install a rom + kernel-combo can I reinstall back to my old rom backup, even though I have installed another kernel?
    How do I know which kernel I have installed? and what are the roms that are compatible with it?
    In contrast with many roms, rom-combo available, not sure which rom install for everyday use, some suggestions??
    I have a beautiful i9023 and work well with the current rom, I already had a hardbrick with my galaxi mini (rom manager) now I have some fear, was still under warranty and came as new, then decided to install CyanogenMod 10.1 (without rom manager) on galaxy mini and everything went well, amazing rom, and would like to install on nexus s …
    excuse me for my bad English (google translator) …

  50. Qadar Khan says:

    dear sir, when i select flash rom recovery the downloading starts and when 100% complete there is an error occur clock work flash not installed

  51. Qadar Khan says:

    please help me i m new user and i followed your steps for rooting my nexus s i done all root my nexus s and super user but when i install rom manager and select flash recovery the downloading starts and when 100% downloading complete there is following error comes
    “an error occurred while flashing your recovery”

  52. says:

    Hi.I have tried jellybean ROM for my nexus s and installed then I got jellybam here.
    Iq want to install that but after click on recovery In fastboot and Google logo came on it stop there and l’ve to take my battery out.
    What am I gonna dooooo

  53. Michael says:


    the Manager looks a little different, when I choose “Recovery Setup” and try to install ClockworkMod it´s been downloaded an then an error occured. It´s not possible to flash. Don´t know what to do.
    I cannot go into any recovery system, a red mark is shown after fastboo->Recovery


    • Michael says:

      I was able to install CWM over fastboot. Now it works, I installed JellyBam 5.1.0


  54. delta says:

    Dear Max Lee,

    Thank you for your tutorial. I am nexus s i9020 users and currently have a problem with it. I wipe all the data on my device using Nexus Root Toolkit and now my devices stuck on Google screen.

    Kindly need your help on how to get back my device on.

    Thank you beforehand,

  55. Pingback: Como instalar o CyanogenMod 10.1.3 com Android 4.2 [vídeo] Leia mais em: | Mega Gospel Tecnologia

  56. Pingback: Como instalar o CyanogenMod 10.1.3 com Android 4.2 [vídeo] | GeekTrooper

  57. Peter says:

    In order to use CM11 ROM we need CWM Recovery or HIGHER. However if I try to update it, it gives me a message that the device is not supported. What to do now?

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