Apex ICS ROM for Nexus S and Nexus S 4G! [Best ICS ROM]

I’ve always felt Apex ICS ROM coupled with Matr1x kernel was one of the best ICS combos out there for your Nexus S and Nexus S 4G. Well, since our last overview, Apex ICS ROM has been upgraded to Android 4.0.4 with even more features and faster than ever before.

The all-new version 1.1.2 (released just two days ago) features Android 4.0.4 IMM76I base (latest), UI customizations, built-in CPU performance settings, CM9 kernel (you can use Matr1x if you want overclocking), and performance/battery improvements.

A lot of the performance and battery improvements you will have to test it for yourself to actually “feel” it but I think Apex ICS ROM has done it again, bringing you the best of many ROMs with one.

Try this ROM if you haven’t yet and let me know what you think of it.


Download Apex ICS ROM for Nexus S

Download Apex ICS ROM for Nexus S 4G

Download Google Apps for Nexus S and Nexus S 4G

Download Matr1x Kernel (Try CFS v19.5)

To install, wipe, install ROM, install Google Apps, install Matrix kernel, then reboot.

Credits – XDA

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89 Responses to Apex ICS ROM for Nexus S and Nexus S 4G! [Best ICS ROM]

  1. haralambi says:

    Must say this- this is the best ICS 4.0.4 for my nexus s. the end

    the only problem is that if I flash matr1x i lose wifi. Anyone with the same problem?

  2. roy says:


    Where should i put the ROM files in the SD?
    How do i install google Apps, any guide?
    Do you have an guide for the matrix kernel?

    p.s loved your how to root guide

  3. deden says:

    is it better than CODE NAME ANDROID??

  4. pixel says:

    Followed directions above but I’m stuck on the load screen. I’m using TWRP 2.0 for installation.

  5. charles says:

    just rooted my phone using the nexussrootICS file from this site and then tried installing this rom, also tried the codename rom but after i do a wipe and try to install the rom the zip file comes up “bad” and aborts the installation. any ideas because i would really like ics on my phone. i have an i9020a nexus s on 2.3.6 with grk39f build. phone is unlocked and have the cwm

  6. RPG27x says:

    I have been using all of the cm9 nightly roms and have been enjoying their smoothness and constant speed (slight lag from here and there) but THIS ROM is just a omg. I found my new daily driver!

  7. Alex says:

    Awsomeee!!!!!! Everythings works great!!!! Love that Rom!! BIG THANKS

  8. Jack says:

    Best ICS rom for Nexus, every rom i tried had 1 small problem, and the Cyanogen Mod i found wasn’t that customizable. For those who are having trouble with wifi i don’t know why it doesn’t work with you. I have the i9020a and everything works and no apps are missing!

    Installion guide for those newbs 🙂
    First make sure your phone is rooted and you have latest build of CWM, then boot system in CWM by either holding power and rebooting to it, or by using Rom manager to boot into it. (make sure u already copied all the files the actual rom + the Kernal CFS and Google aps [GAPS]) so do wipe data blah blah, and then install zip from sd card in this order ROM, Gaps, Kernal. I did that order and everything works.. SMS,MMS,Wifi,3G Everything. Im in love with this rom. Enjoy everyone!

  9. Charles says:

    I followed your instructions to the tee and I cant find my google apps. If I download the driver or zip file for GAPS would my phone be able to find or reinstall my apps.

  10. papasito says:

    Well, I haven’t installed gapps yet, but so far just apex alone and no wifi, and the home button just makes vibrate sound but doesn’t work anyone else on stock apex and same problems?

  11. papasito says:

    update: installing gapps fix the problems.

  12. P--L says:

    For my Nesus S, this Apex ROM is just a little bit faster than CynaogenMod 9 by about 10 sec at boot time,
    and is now – 45 seconds.
    Overclocking to max 1400 MHz causes over-heating and occasional freezing and needs rebooting.,
    so I’m staying at 1200 MHz max.
    After installing all my 40 usual apps, and removing about 10 redundant ROM-apps
    the size of my ClockwordMod backup of the whole Rom is now 600 MB,
    which is about 48 MB smaller than the CynaogenMod 9 ROM.
    I think ClockwordMod app should be included in all future ROMS.
    The most prominent changes in User Interface in comparison with CynaogenMod 9
    are the animated battery bar, and the option to center-locate the clock in the task bar at the top of the screen.
    All the rest User Interface details (using my favorite Apex Launcher) are pretty much the same.
    Apex has a faster and cleaner kernel than CynaogenMod 9, so I’m staying with it for the time being,
    well, untill the next one I will try from this great site.

    • P--L says:

      Benchmark Tests Results

      Quadrant = 2,137 points (50% better than other Nexus S and 4% better than Samsung Galaxy Nexus)

      AnTuTu = 3,310 points (1-2% better than other Nexus S and 4% better than Samsung Galaxy S1)

  13. Dammit_Dan says:

    All I have to say is wow! I don’t know why, but Codename and other roms just did not get a long with my phone. Was getting constant freezes and reboots with it on Codename’s kernal or matrix kernal. My quadrant scores were 1000 @ 1446 mhz on Performance. Now on Apex even with stock kernel I’m getting 1770 @ 1000 mhz Conservative.

    Thanks for Recommending the ROM and thank you APEX!!

    Only miss the 4G toggle in the drop down. Anyway to add it?

    • Ben S says:

      I looked and looked for a Rom with a 4G toggle and the only one I have ever known to have one is Cyanogen Mod 9 i think it was but that ROM had way too many problems for me to sacrifice for having the toggle. I am surprised this Great Rom does not have it since it has other toggles, I wonder if there is a way to add the Cyanogen Mod 9 4g toggle or something?

  14. lora says:

    wow ,thank u a lot , it run very fast without overclocking , this the best , love everything in it , battery icon is very nice ,thanks

  15. lora says:

    one thing in this software is wrong when u make call the volume is too loud did u Realize this ??

  16. Aaron says:

    For some reason I keep getting errors whenever I send texts… Any suggestions?

  17. Aaron says:

    For some reason I keep getting errors whenever I send texts… Any suggestions??

  18. Joseph H Swank says:

    when I use the built in teather app on 3g worksfine but when phone in 4g and start teather app it deactivates and will not teather any ideas?

  19. Cutshade says:

    Perfect rom, for the stability..but not so good for the battery life…cyanogen is much better on battery field.

  20. Tauseef says:

    Not Good (2/5)

    Initially you feel it is very good as it has lots of customization but after sometime you will observe lots of hangs while executing lots of application… performance is a real issue…

    So, I feel that CM9 is far better then Apex …

  21. Hienikenz says:

    this Rom is bad ass…but too bad wifi is not working…useless when your on the go without 4G tethering. would be the best rom on the site if wifi and wireless tethering works. Props for the nice work.

  22. Hienikenz says:

    Going back to Crossbone ICS Rom where everything works…

  23. Hienikenz says:

    Wifi Tether has error, show log “Starting softap” failed, and “Activating WiFi interface” Failed. everthing else on the show log “done” besides those 2. i would love to run this Apex Rom if Wifi Tether works. Not having WiFi tethering is like having a cig without a lighter. thanks in advance for any further help…

  24. Hienikenz says:

    I reinstalled Apex ICS Rom with Matr1x Kernel 19.5 and got wifi to work…Also Wifi Tether is working. Wifi Tether under Setting ” Change Device-Profile” to Samsung Galaxy Nexus (gsm) then “Change Setup Method” to Wext (ad-hoc) and. This is the best Rom for me on this site so far and everything is working as of now. i am back in business. Thank you for the hard work guys.

  25. Jack says:

    Best rom, everything works for me (nexus s) with matrix kernal, wifi works, sms/mms works everything. Just 1 question which cpu govenor has the best battery + fast

  26. sgo says:

    Just one question: Compared to the stock Google ICS 4.0.4 ROM, what benefits do I get from installing an aftermarket ROM? Longer battery life? Faster ROM? Something else?

  27. Mattia says:

    Is necessary to flash the matrix kernel or can I leave the stock kernel? Will the rom work the same?

  28. Pingback: Dubbio su installazione custom ROM - Nexus S (i9020/i9023) - Forum Android Italia - AndroidWorld.it

  29. Sandesh says:

    Thanks guys .. i just bought it some three hours ago and i already flashed this rom , i can feel it being smooth and snappy ! Is anyone else getting connection lost errors in google play ? everything else relying on net seems working flawlessly except that for me. Any ideas ?

  30. Sane says:

    I tought that CM9 was smooth and not laggy…. I was wrong, because compared to this every rom i ever tried feeled laggy 🙂 with the matr1x of course, this is just awesome! CM9 launcher is nice to have,and with this I can get 2400+ on quadrant. Thanks for the good work 🙂 The best rom for sure!!!!

  31. mariok277 says:

    I have problems instaling google play market on my nexus s phon. It instals, but when i try to open it it crashes. Someone please help me.

    • Alex says:

      have you flash the gapps.zip?

    • Nexus S Hacks says:

      Clear cache and dalvik cache in CWM Recovery then reboot, that’s it!

      • mariok277 says:

        I dont really know how to do it.

        • Nexus S Hacks says:

          power off, hold down volume down and power button to get into bootloader, choose recovery. Once in recovery, you should see some kind of “wipe cache” or “format cache” under “wipe” menu. And “clear dalvik cache” is under “advanced” menu.

          • Mario says:

            Thanks for the help, but i have a question to ask. I have some problems with my music player, it works fine when screen is on, but when i turn it off the music starts buging. Could you please tell me how to fix this problem. Thanks for the help!

  32. Dennis says:

    Very fast setup for my Nexus S. I am however, experiencing problems in the camera app. Green lines flicker in the screen constantly. The buttons on screen do not change orientation from portrait to landscape and using video face effects just fail to work. I noticed these problems on any clock speed or scaling governor except when in “Performance.” On any other governor the camera problems occur as well as freezing / crashing. Does anyone know a fix or suggestion I can do?

    Android 4.0.4
    Ape v1.1.2
    Kernel CFS v19.5 Matr1x

    • Dennis says:

      After trying out other roms, I noticed that the camera problems still persist. It occurred to me that the problem may lie in the kernel which was the only common thing among the other roms I tested. Trying to figure out the problem, I tried increasing the minimum clock speed to 400. Amazingly, a lot of problems were fixed by simply increasing the minimum clock speed from 100 to 400 (I think 100 was the default min of Matr1x). After increasing the minimum clock speed form 100 to 400, all the governors started working properly. Hope this helps anyone who has the same problem as me.

  33. P--L says:

    Just an update: overclocking to 1200 MHz was OK for all purposes except video playing.
    No matter which app (Mobo or MX), no matter which codec, they all crashed, while playing standard video clips.
    Lowering CPU to 1000 MHz (no overclocking) solved the problem,
    and I’m staying with Apex Rom for the time being.
    I guess some hardware tweaks are beyond original manufacturer’s design.

  34. Omar says:

    Great ROM again! I have one problem using Android Router 2 by martinezlabs for wireless tethering 🙁 I am a little saddened. Log for AR2 shows fails on WiFi interface, Setting ad-hoc mode, Setting essid, Setting channel, and Activating encryption (iwconfig)…..I am not sure if this tethering app is just not compatible with Matr1x kernel and/or Apex. This is my only issue. Any help will be appreciated.

    Apex v1.1.2
    Kernel CFS v19.5 Matr1x
    Nexus S 4G
    Android 4.0.4

  35. Vladimir says:

    Great Rom.. Everithing works fine on my Nexus S..

  36. Ark.Bishop says:

    I am not able to get wifi tether to work. Any suggestions? I have tried using the WiFi Tether from Google Play (from Mueller, Lemons and Buxton) but I am not able to connect any devices to it. Help!!!!

  37. Ark.Bishop says:

    Nevermind, I followed Zedomax youtube instructions and tether is working perfectly. Thanks!

  38. Dan says:

    This ROM is, by far, the best out there. It has everything that I was looking for in a ROM. I have had no issues with 3g, wifi, tethering, battery life or any other issues listed above. I followed the instructions on installing everything and everything was perfect. I have it OC’d to1200 and have not had any issues. I have noticed a significant increase on battery life ( I am using Wheatley). I have not installed any app killers or battery optimizers, I have not needed them. Great work, every involved in Apex and matrix. I will be installing this on my wives phone and my parents phones.

  39. Noam says:

    Hi, that ROM is still charging on the boot screen and i can’t do anything about that, really, if someone know how to help for that type of thing, i am still waiting but nothing happend.

  40. deden says:

    Apex ICS ROM for Nexus S and Nexus S 4G! [Best ICS ROM]
    AOKP ICS ROM for Nexus S and Nexus S 4G! [Milestone 5] [Best ROM]

    so, which one is best rom?
    I am currently using AOKP rom, had apex

  41. dharma says:

    I have been using this rom with matrix kernel for a few weeks now and it has been working great.

  42. Hansi says:


    sorry if the question is silly but are all the Custom Roms only in English ? Or can I change the language to e.g. Germany like in the stock Android ?


  43. Ken says:

    This is my first custom ROM installation, been using it for a few weeks now – everything works on my i9023. I really like the customisation of the notification area with the power controls for wifi, bt & other things especially the flashlight on/off without installing 3rd party apps!
    Thank you Max! great site, great review & simple instructions!

  44. kingstof says:

    Great Rom. Everything works like a charm (OC 1300) This is the fastest setup I have ever used: apex 1.1.2. + Matr1x_cfs20 + Nova launcher
    (cause I like Nova)

  45. Sven says:

    Hey, I use this rom now for about a month and i have to say it works pretty good, BUT there is on singe problem i noticed …. the app ‘power amp’ does not work. If i choose a song the phone stuck into the screens an makes a reboot oO

  46. layri says:

    work fine 4 me and i think its the best for naw tns man

  47. Alan says:

    I have flashed about 6 roms off this site, every one gave me bug reports which I noticed wasted space on my NS4G, but with this rom I have never gotten one and I flashed this Apex Rom a day after it came out. I also have matr1x 19.5 installed and it works great only minor problems i have are wifi or gps might act up and cut off at times and my call volume is always at max when I reboot my phone or its done charging. Great rom though the best for me out of the 6 before this I installed only question is there a description anywhere on how wheatly lulzactive and the other governors actually work??

  48. Alan says:

    I know lulz active and wheatly are the more popular ones and my phone stays at 1000 max and is always on wheatley governor is this the smartest choice also?

  49. Alan says:

    Thanks that helped me understand a lot better!

  50. Dennis says:

    I noticed a bug when using this rom. Upon waking the phone from sleep, pressing the soft menu button bypasses the lockscreen. Hope this gets fixed on the next update.

  51. Sam says:

    Tried this rom very fast and responsive. Only thing for me was i had a number of calls go directly to voice mail. I noticed that when they did this the notification bar was missing and calls would not work properly until it was restored any thoughts on this issue

  52. mike says:

    The best ICS combos is APEX and AIR KERNEL!!!!!!!

  53. gauvyadviper says:

    ICS CYBERGR is best one about 2263 in qudrant score & 250 mb ram free

  54. Deden says:

    on JB rom, Code Name Android is the best!!

  55. Nimfa says:

    Hi, tonight , all of a sudden every app crashes, I can not even start messages or calling anyone, everything crashes. Im not sure what is happening, so can smn tell is there a way to reset or smth like that. I bought the Nexus S from my friend with this custom ROM and im not to familiar with it. Thx

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