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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

How I Made My Phone Useful

So, I got this phone on my trip to the US. It's a Gal­axy SII vari­ant called the S959G. It's not a very com­mon vari­ant, and of course it was locked to a net­work that's un­avail­able here, and comes with An­droid 2.3 which is an­cien­t, so it need­ed some fix­ing.

And man, the An­droid com­mu­ni­ty is a mess about doc­u­ment­ing stuff. So here's my shot at it.

This on­ly ap­plies to THIS PHONE if you go blind do­ing this, or your dog catch­es fire, not my prob­lem.


The goal:

  • Un­locked

  • Root­ed

  • New­er An­­droid

  • Google Apps

  • Done us­ing Ubun­­tu (be­­cause I pre­fer it)

The process is a bit length­y, but sim­ple.

Install heimdall

It's in the re­pos, just use ap­t, piece of cake

Go to the XDA page for this phone be­cause that seems to be the canon­i­cal in­for­ma­tion source.

Get (from where it says "The best way to root") the CWM RE­COV­ERY v6.0.27 file. It's called CWM-Re­cov­ery.­tar.md5 be­cause ver­sion names are for the weak.

Get the recovery.bin that's inside it using tar xvf CWM-Re­cov­ery.­tar.md5

Put your phone in­to down­load mod­e. For this mod­el that's done like this:

  • Turn off

  • Plug in­­­to USB

  • Press Vol­ume Up and Vol­ume Down (keep pressed)

  • Press pow­er (keep pressed)

  • When Sam­­sung ap­­pears on screen, let go of pow­er but­­ton

  • When you see a warn­ing sign, let go of vol­ume but­­tons

  • Click Vol­ume Up

Flash the recovery.bin using heimdall: heimdall flash --re­cov­ery re­cov­ery.bin

Now you have to go in­to re­cov­ery to make back­up­s:

  • Turn off

  • Un­­plug USB

  • Press Vol­ume up and down and hold

  • Press pow­er

  • Let go of pow­er when Sam­­sung flash­es

  • There you are

In this mod­e, vol­ume up­/­down move the cur­sor up­/­down and the pow­er but­ton choos­es the se­lect­ed op­tion. Do the ob­vi­ous thing to do a back­up.

Turn on the phone and make sure it work­s.

Now copy the Cyanogen­Mod zip file from XDA (or any i777 im­age) in­to the phone's SD Card some­how (drag and drop in Nau­tilus works ;-)

Go back in­to re­cov­ery mode as above.

Clean up the phone: Clean data, cache, and in ad­vanced, clean dalvik cache.

In­stall by us­ing "In­stall zip from sd­card" and choos­ing the right one, and do­ing the ob­vi­ous thing.

Boot the phone, it should now be in Cyanogen­Mod (yay).

Try to make a phone cal­l. If you can't and/or the phone asks for a SIM PIN, it's still locked. To un­lock I used this APK which was untest­ed on this mod­el, but hey, it worked.

You may al­so need to in­stall one of the "modem" files from XDA. Just put them in the SD card, go to re­cov­ery, and in­stall one, try, if it does­n't work then try an­oth­er one.

Get gapp­s-jb-20130301-signed.zip from the XDA page.

Copy that in­to the SD card, then in­stall from re­cov­ery mod­e.

And that's it. If it fail­s, you can prob­a­bly go back to some­thing rea­son­able us­ing the stock firmware that's in the same page, but I have not done it so I don't of­fer in­truc­tion­s.

Good luck!

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