Sunday, October 9, 2011

How to Update HTC Desire to Android 2.3

HTC has finally launched an official Desire Gingerbread update, which will update the HTC Desire to Android 2.3.3.

There's a pretty big catch, though. This is not your traditional "over the air" update that's all nice and easy. Instead, users have to download and install Android 2.3 on the HTC Desire manually.

Also, HTC has issued a lengthy disclaimer alongside the Desire 2.3.3 update, in which it claims this is a slightly hard thing to do and that it is "not for general public use" and that the company "disclaims liability" should anything go wrong.

However, don't be put off by the corporate speak. It's as simple as downloading everything you need, connecting your HTC Desire to a PC and installing the Android update over a USB connection, with the end result of a completely fresh and unbranded HTC Desire running Android 2.3.

But be warned - this is a phone-wiping update that will completely restore your HTC Desire to original factory settings and remove any files, message and apps on it, so if you're attached to your current set-up you may want to think twice about nuking it.

Also, this will effectively "debrand" your HTC Desire, so if you're a keen user of any network supplied apps like, ahem, Orange Maps or Vodafone's collection of bookmarks, you might again want to think twice about installing the update.

But if you're happy to wipe your phone in return for getting Android 2.3 on your Desire, here's how to do it.

Disclaimer: Future Publishing Limited provides the information for this project in good faith and makes no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions in this project do so at their own risk.

1. Download HTC Sync

HTC's updating tool requires its own HTC Sync software to be on your PC in order to work, so your first step should be to head off to HTC's support site to download and install Android 2.3 on your HTC Desire. It's free and will also ensure you have the required drives to enable the updater to connect to your phone.

HTC desire gingerbread 2.3 update

2. Download HTC's Gingerbread update file

The official Android 2.3.3 file for the HTC Desire can be found on HTC's developer site. It's a whopping great 161MB zip file, which contains the Android update itself, plus copies of the two HTC Sense applications HTC has removed to help the new OS fit on the phone, should you want to manually install them yourself after updating.

3. Connect phone to PC

Charge up your Desire, as the updating tool will check you have at least 30% of battery life left to make sure there's no disastrous battery failure during the process. The SD card won't be wiped, but your SMS messages will be erased, so keep any you need. There are many apps on the Android Market to help you do this, such as the clearly named SMS Backup+. Then connect your Desire to PC via USB.

And you do have all your contacts backed up via a Gmail account, yes?

HTC desire gingerbread 2.3 update

4. Unzip and run the updater

HTC's mammoth update file contains another zip called "HTC Desire Android 2.3" - inside here is a file named "RUU_HTC Desire Android 2.3 Upgrade (Gingerbread).exe" and that's the actual updater containing all the files it needs.

Unzip this file on your PC and run it. Providing you're all connected properly via USB, it should carry out a few checks, tell you to click some warnings so that if anything goes wrong it's all your fault, then begin the upgrade process. It takes a few minutes. Just be very careful not to interrupt it.

That's it! You've now installed Android 2.3 on your HTC Desire.

HTC desire gingerbread 2.3 update

5. Re-install any missing apps

HTC has taken the decision to delete the Facebook app to free up initial space, so you need to install that via the Android Market after updating if your life revolves around poking people from school you hardly remember.

Also inside HTC's zip are APK files for Flashlight and Teeter, two HTC apps it also removed from the Desire Android 2.3 update. If you want these back on your phone, pull down the Notifications menu and connect your Desire in "Disk Drive" mode and copy the APK files onto the device.

You'll need a file manager to actually open them, so download something like ES File Explorer from the Android Market, open it on your phone, then open the APK files to install the missing apps.

Or you can use HTC Sync on your PC, clicking the Application Installer option from the main screen and selecting the APKs that way. But it's not as much fun.

HTC desire gingerbread 2.3 update

Then sit back and enjoy having a marginally better telephone than before, even though it actually looks and feels pretty much the same as it did with Android 2.2 onboard.

HTC desire gingerbread 2.3 update

The changes are pretty much unnoticeable to the average user. There's a new "Fast boot" mode for quicker booting, plus the ability to turn it off if things break. You also have less memory available for installing apps, with around 120MB free after the larger OS install - a good 20MB less than under Android 2.2.

HTC desire gingerbread 2.3 update

The app management screen now gives you a little more detail about used and available memory, too. There are none of the more recent HTC Sense innovations here, sadly. It'll be a disappointing update for those expecting a completely refreshed experience, but it's still great news for the proper Android nerds.

If you've updated your Desire to Android 2.3 let us know how you got on in the comments.

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