How to update your rooted Android phone with CM Updater

September 8, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka

Android Hacks, Android Tutorials, Video Tutorials

How to update your rooted Android phone with CM Updater

The one-click root method encouraged plenty of novice Android users to embrace the more advanced features of Android. Thankfully, updating the CyanogenMod is just as easy. If you used the one-click root method, you probably have Cyanogen’s version of Android. It’s a great build with some amazing features, including some from Donut, and it’s updated often thanks to the CM app. The CM updater notifies users when a new ROM is released; it then downloads the “” file over the air and makes it easy to apply.

UPDATE: Google sent Cyanogen a cease-and-desist letter that required him to change the way that he distributes updates to his ROM. For the time being, you cannot use this information as the CM updater will not be updated. Anyone wishing to update CyanogenMod will have to follow the directions available in this thread.

Here is a tutorial – both written and video – for how to update the ROM.

Before we go any further, you will need to root your phone for this to work. For the 1,000th time, THIS IS RISKY, CAN DESTORY YOUR PHONE, AND CAN VOID YOUR WARRANTY. accepts absolutely no responsibility if problems arise from rooting your phone; you root at your own risk. If you need instructions on how to root, AndroidAndMe has an excellent explanation.

1. Download CM updater from Android Market


Notice the two icons below “Select a ROM”? Stable releases are generally strong and have limited bugs while Experimental ones tend to be testing out new features/approaches. Novice users are better off sticking with stable releases. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, go to Menu > Configuration and check “Experimental Builds” to search for updates. While you’re there, also change “Update Checking Frequency” to every day rather than every boot.

2. Decide if you wish to update


Click on select download button and choose the most recent update. Then press the “Changelog of selected update” button. This will tell you what’s new in that version and will help you decide which version to get. For instance, if you know 4.0.1 had camera button issues, you’d opt to download 4.0.3. or higher because those versions have addressed the issue according to the changelog.

3. Download and apply ROM

  • Select the update version that most interests you and once it has downloaded, select “Apply Now.” The phone will then turn off and reboot into Recovery mode. Note: If you want to perform a backup, select Apply Later and install the update in recovery mode afterwards.
  • In recovery mode, select “[Alt+S] apply” (to get into recovery mode, turn off your phone and reboot by pressing Home and Power buttons at the same time)
  • Once the update completes (usually takes a few minutes), select “Reboot now” and you’re good to go.

Note: If you have installed a theme to change the appearance, you may need to reinstall it after updating to a new ROM.

Be sure to read our introductory article for more tips!