N900 Firmware Update

Just in case the OTA-Update does not work, here’s how I updated my n900 to PR1.2 using the Maemo Flasher tool on my Mac OS.

I expected it to totally rip everything off the phone, but I didn’t even need to backup the media files since they were untouched.

The built in backup-software does a great job, you don’t even have to reorganize your spaces after having re-importing your settings.

Sounds quite nerdy to flash your phone from the terminal? Right, but it ran very fluid & nobody got harmed ;-).

So here’s what to do:

  • Write down your n900s IMEI-Code
    • You’ll need it later for downloading the flash image
  • Use the n900 backup software to save your contacts/calendar/wireless/browser entries etc.
  • Use rsync to copy the complete content of your /home/MyDocs
    • this step also stores the backup you made, so it’s quite crucial
    • rsync --progress -avz /Volumes/Nokia\ N900/ ~/Desktop/N900/backup/
    • More sophisticated ways are described here
  • Download the desired
  • Turn off the n900
  • Enter Flash Mode

    1. Switch off the Maemo device
    2. Press and hold down the ‘u’ key
    3. Connect a USB cable between the Maemo device and host PC while holding down the ‘u’ key
    4. When the USB cable is connected, it powers the Maemo device and sets it to flashing mode
    5. When the USB icon appears in the upper right-hand corner, the Maemo device is in flashing mode
    6. Release the ‘u’ key
  • start flasher tool from the terminal
    • sudo /usr/bin/flasher-3.5 -F <firmware-image> -f -R
  • After flashing has finished, the n900 will boot into normal usage mode
  • Use the backup application to restore your saved settings
    • Great tool, even your spaces will be restored
  • The n900 will reboot
  • Restore the copied files as necessary - I don’t miss any yet

There you go - brand new Maemo release, plus all of your settings & 100 MB free space on rootfs :-).

Now, all you have to do is install your applications again. The settings are still stored, which means you don’t need to reenter your WLAN-keys, browser stored passwords or anything.

Bottom line: I cursed when the OTA-update didn’t work, but it was unexpected little to none trouble to cope with it.