Fixing up ICS on Samsung Galaxy S II

Last night, Australia's biggest telco released its Android Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Samsung Galaxy S II, but it comes out backwards and ugly. We can fix that.

After much waiting and deadline movements, Telstra finally released Android ICS to its Samsung Galaxy S II customers last night. But the process is not painless; here are the things that I wish I knew before I stayed up last night trying to get it to work.

Screencap your home pages

The ICS update will not destroy any data stored on your devices, but it will clear any home pages you have set up, and that includes all widgets and applications, and replace it with Telstra crapware.

If I'd known that was going to happen, I would have screenshotted my seven pages so that I could rebuild them quickly after the update. As it stands, I've spent all morning trying to remember what apps and widgets went where — guess it's a good time for a clean-up.

Move big apps to SD card

I tried to install over the air last night, and after downloading the update and having the phone reboot to install, all I got was a simple error that said it couldn't update the firmware. I suspect that it was because the phone's internal storage was full of apps. My hunch is based on Google Chrome refusing to install this morning after the ICS install, and complaining about lack of space.

To quickly move apps to the SD card, go to Settings > Applications > Menu button > Sort by size and then click on the app you wish to move and hit the Move to SD card button.

Big apps like AIDE need to be moved.
(Screenshot by Chris Duckett/TechRepublic)

You'll need several hundred megabytes free (~300MB). I cannot test this, since I have already updated, but if you can determine a better approximation on the amount of free space needed, leave it in the comments below.

Get Swype back on ICS

Disclaimer: I love Swype, and I hate typing in a tappy-tappy style that everyone else does.

Thankfully, you can get Swype back by visiting and registering for the beta. Sweet relief.

Fix that font

On my phone, the Touchwiz-based font was bad; really bad.

I wouldn't hit the middle option if I were you.
(Screenshot by Chris Duckett/TechRepublic)

To fix this, go to Settings > Display > Font style > Default. This will set the font to Google's Roboto.

It turns out that after I did this, the artifacts with Helvetica's rendering went away. So feel free to return to Helvetica if that's more your thing.

Install Google Chrome

Since Google Chrome is restricted to ICS, go and install the app to see what all the fuss is about.


Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...


Hello, I updated mine from Vodafone(PT) and it's a disappointment. -It uses more 200MB of RAM than it used too. -The swype keyboard "destroys" the battery, it used 49% of mine, in 7 hours, YES, 7 Hours without doing pretty much anything it the phone! -The wi-fi antenna sometimes gets frozen, cannot tur it On or Off, you have to put it in flight mode and connect all the other antennas individually and then MAYBE your wi-fi antenna will get available. -The UI...They introduced a BRAND NEW...."PHONE ICOOOOONNN" ! yeaaahhH! plus some little things like change the Recent apps look, - Removed the "Running services" widget - Plus ICS functionalities , like the lock screen shortcuts, were not considered. - It Doesn't look like nothing new besides the settings menu and the new data usage feature, very good. -GMAIL app and Youtube app changed also. The balance between performance issues and new features or GUI improvement is not positive. This was not a good update to do. As written on samsung facebook: "Galaxy S2 ICS update, Disappointing, almost nothing new. Improve the UI or I will move to the fruit market on mobiles :) I think it's obvious that if you release a new FW version you have to deliver a new GUI, at least, and not omit any update. The user MUST NOTICE that he did an upgrade, looks like this update it's just a effortless android version support. Very disappointed with you. Already considering other brands and specially other O.S. ."


I updated (OTA) last night, and yes, the whole "clear the home screens" was annoying, I'm still trying to put everything back where I think it should go, this is only annoying for a few days. Otherwise, everything went peachy. I'd recently reset my phone after a (probably bad) update to 2.3.6., so I had only installed a few apps since then.

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