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Updating G1 Phone To RC29 Without Waiting?

Disclaimer - This G1 updating process, as reported from the Android community, has the potential to “brick” your phone if you don’t do it right. It is imperative that you follow the directions exactly, or you run the risk of screwing your phone up for good. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Additional Note Of Interest – As reported in the comments below, it seems that the method below DOES work fine, as long as you use a different MicroSD card then the one that came with the G1 phone. Thanks to our readers for picking up on this – great information!

Further Developments……

According to “Will”, who is a T-Mobile forum moderator, there is some new information on this “manual” updating process that you need to be aware of (here is the original post):

I’ve checked with our Product Development staff and they have informed that this is definitely not what we want people doing.  The Updates are intended to be distributed to everyone via an Over-The-Air Update.  While I understand that many of you have downloaded this update and seem to have it working, T-Mobile cannot support you in doing so.  If you download and attempt to install this or any other update (regardless whether its from Google or not) to your device, and it is rendered unusable, you are out of luck.  Even if we do exchange it, you will be without a device for several days (or possibly even weeks).

The updates are being sent out to everyone.  We didn’t plan the OTA updates to be installed on a phone which had already been updated manually.  Hopefully the OTA installer is smart enough to realize the update is present, but who knows.  If your phone is ‘bricked’ due to the offical OTA being installed on a manually updated phone, once again, you are out of luck.


So, you’re tired of waiting for the RC28 RC29 update for your T-Mobile G1 phone? Do you have a MicroSD card laying around?

Apparently, a lot of people were tired of waiting. The update was scheduled to take place over the air over the period of a few weeks, as reported by official T-Mobile sources. But like any good tech savvy gadget head, someone got cranky and decided to figure out how to do it on their own, and here’s the deal.

  • Rename the file you just downloaded to
  • Copy the file to the root of your micro sd card.
  • Now turn off your phone and turn it back on while holding the home key.
  • When you see a triangle with a exclamation sign and a phone, slide open your keyboard and press ALT-L to display the menu and then ALT-S to start the update process.
  • Wait for the update to finish. If prompted, press Home + Back to restart your phone.
  • Wait a little bit more and done!

After reading the comments of folks that tried it, they all pretty much said the same thing “Thanks, it worked great!”. But there were also plenty of people who were more content on waiting for the update to be delivered safely OTA. Updating via your MicroSD card, as stated in the disclaimer at the beginning of this post, should be approached with extreme caution, and plenty of bravery!

If you did attempt this G1 update – please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear what happened!

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  • JR said:

    Hey, I just tried the update and is not working. I put the new file in the microSDcard and did everything, but when I press the Alt+S to start the update, Its says “aborted, can’t recognize file” I did it 3 times already and giving up so I dont damage my G1.

  • Ryan said:

    Thanks for the feedback JR.

    Like I said, over at the Android community, apparently people are having success with it…but I imagine some people (including yourself) aren’t among the lucky ones :(

    Again – thanks for your feedback, very helpful.

    Best of luck dude!

  • Adil Siraj said:

    Thanks a lot, I did exactly as per your instructions and it worked fine, it is showing RC29 under Build number.

    Thanks again.


  • Ryan said:

    Adil – BIG thanks for letting us know that the update worked for you. It just goes to show that it’s working for some, and not for others.

    The good thing though is that it IS working, and I guess it’s kind of a “luck of the draw” kind of deal.

    Thanks again for posting, and we hope to see you back soon!


  • Joe Burgess said:

    T-mobile rep told me yesterday that the OTA update release time frame had been extended through Nov 10. So dont be discouraged if you havn’t recieved it yet. I decided not to wait and found that the update would not work at all using the 1 gb chip that came with the G1. Used another microsd I had and the install worked perfectly.

  • Adil Siraj said:

    I have also used my other microSD (from my old TMO-Dash) not the one which came with my G1, so I guess update worked because I have used my other microSD.


  • Keith said:

    I tried it just as listed above (though user’s should note that you have to hold the alt button while your pressing L and S for it to work) but then it prompted me to press the home and back button and it said it was writing something else then it rebooted and it had a micro chip with an arrow going to it.. I thought I was in trouble but just wait and it will reboot again with a updating screen and then it will reboot again and it will take a long time to reboot like 3-5 minutes. Once that was done it was all good to go running RC29. Thanks!

  • Ryan said:

    @ Joe – VERY good information to know. As a matter of fact, I’m going to add that to the post, so that it may save some time and trouble for everyone else. I also wonder if that was the problem that JR had. Good stuff!

    @ Adil – Thanks for confirming that! It will definitely be added to the post!

    @ Keith – I’m glad you’re up and running! Thanks for the helpful hints, and best of luck!

  • Keith said:

    Also I would like to add that I did not use the 1GB micro SD card that came with the phone I used a 16GB San Disk micro SD card I bought from Best buy for $100…very worth it, someone else noted that the update will not work with the factory card. Thanks again!

  • Adil said:

    after updating to RC29, battery life/performance increased tremendously, battery is showing 75%, otherwise I had to charge after regular use/talk/browse with 3G on, after mid day/evening.
    So I guess this is the main advantage of RC29 other than security updates.


  • William D Lewis  said:

    Updated mine worked fine> don’t use the supplied sd card

  • gc said:

    It works just fine… I was worried about destroying me g1, but follow the steps exactly and you will be fine.

  • meatrocket said:

    It worked fine for me AFTER I realized that when I did the rename of super long download file name in windows it was… I went over to the SD card opened a command prompt and did … rename

    The error coming up with after before I did the rename was… “error, cannot find /sdcard/

    I may be stating the obvious… but worth a try..

  • Niel said:

    The download link is not available anymore.
    But, a quick google search will reveil severel rapidshare mirrors ;)
    Cant get the phone in this country (DK) yet, but I will definitely get one ASAP when I get the possibility.
    Wonder if its possible to “downgrade” this way.

  • scott8357 said:

    After waiting til nov 12 for any update (was on rc19). Woke up happy to see update availabe the morning of the 12th. About 45 sec into update my phone displayed a triangle with an exclamation point. No matter what it was bricked for the next few days. I d/l manual updates and try to force past recovery but to no avail cannot mount sd card / error out. Tried all tmo advice in addition to countless resets and factory reset but alas my new g1 remained bricked. Finally tmo saying we do not have any way to manually update software agreed to send me a new g1. Impessively it arrived in two days. Howevever I am pretty sure it was a refurb (not sure how they had these available already) but the new handset worked so within minutes I was signed into google and all was well. After a few minutes I noticed the refurb had a sd in it so I looked to see if they had mistakenly shipped it with on root. Nope plain jane factory card w/bloatware and mp3s anyway had already tried 3 diff sd cards in my brick but thought why not so I tried num 4 and presto up to 29 then on to 30 works like a champ…not sure how they distinguish between sd cards but it is apperent that they do btw the one that worked was 1 gb sandisk that came in refurb my orig was transcend and also tried 8 gb kingston and old 1 gb sandisk that I had. I did have jailbreak root access before my phone bricked so everyone shoulld ensure they have a working sd card that can do manual updates before exploring g1 features and ota updates. Jmho

    - Scott

  • Ruthie said:

    how come my update skipped RC28 & RC29 and went directly to RC30 is that good or bad?

    and what is the diff between them or what is it do exactly?

  • hr said:

    I am just waiting for the update to come. I dsont want to take any risk on my g1.

  • nash said:

    how do you find the root on the sdcard

  • army said:

    can any one let me know when we are geting flashplayer

  • karen paulus said:

    I did not receive rc 28 or 29. Its october of 2009 and under my build number it says rcd38. What is up with that?

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This entry was posted by Ryan on 1 November 2008 at 13:28 and filed under G1 Updates category.

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