Flashing N9

This unofficial guide recommends downloads from untrusted third party servers. Nobody knows who hosts the content and whether the software has not been altered (e.g. spyware). Use at your very own risk.


[edit] Warnings

  • Improperly using flasher could damage your phone and void your warranty. However, following these directions precisely to use flasher to install "stock" Nokia firmware images is quite safe, and can fix problems that would otherwise require warranty service. In any case, flashing your phone is at your own risk. Do not use this guide if you aren't somewhat familiar with the command prompt/terminal on your operating system. While many users have experienced success with this process, it is not officially recommended by Nokia in any way. Read the entire guide before you start.
  • Due to artificial limitations placed by Nokia, it is not possible to downgrade the installed firmware on the device using Flasher.
  • Do not modify your device's product code. It does not affect a device's ability to receive software updates, and may permanently damage your device.

[edit] Selecting a Firmware Image

Main firmware images for the Nokia N9 are divided up into "variants" by regions of the world. Except for carrier-branded variants and the 003 (China) firmware, these images are more or less the same.

001 - Europe (1), Latin/South America, South Africa
003 - China
005 - Asia/Pacific (incl. Australia/New Zealand, excl. China) 
006 - Middle East
009 - Europe (2)
2xx, 3xx, 4xx - "Country Variant" and carrier-branded images

Downgrades of firmware are blocked by the phone. Whether something is a "downgrade" is determined by comparing the entire version strings of the old and new firmware versions, which include the variant code, from left to right. As a result, the variant code must be the same or higher unless you also upgrade the firmware version at the same time. For example:

PR 1.1 variant 009 to PR 1.1 variant 003: Blocked
PR 1.1 variant 003 to PR 1.1 variant 009: Allowed
PR 1.1 variant 009 to PR 1.2 variant 001: Allowed
PR 1.1.1 variant 006 to PR 1.2 variant 005: Allowed
PR 1.2 variant 001 to PR 1.1 variant 001: Blocked

Additionally, there is a content image ("eMMC image") for most countries/regions that can be used to reset the user data on the phone and restore the wallpaper/music/map files that originally shipped with it. It is possible to "mix and match" any content image with any main firmware image, which is useful for installing your home country's maps on an imported N9. If you don't require preinstalled maps, or if Nokia doesn't produce a content image for your country (e.g. US and Canada), you can save time by using the content image for product code 059J1Z5 ("rest of world"), which doesn't include map files.

When downloading firmware images, it doesn't matter which color or capacity (16/64 GB) you select - the files are the same for all models.

Nokia recommends always using the latest firmware image for your phone's product code (printed on the SIM card tray). This is the safest option. However, you may wish to change to a different variant than what shipped with the phone for the following reasons:

  • Receiving updates sooner - new firmware versions are normally released for the 001 variant first
  • Removing carrier branding - installing 00x variant firmware makes your subsidized N9 act just like an unlocked one
  • Switching away from 003 (China) firmware - firmware images for N9s shipped in China lack Western online service integration (Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Dropbox) and include the Chinese IM service QQ instead

[edit] Download Firmware image

Use the following steps to retrieve the appropriate firmware files for your phone:

Note: The official firmware source is not currently working, skeiron.org is also gone, www.mrcrab.net answers with 404. swagman.org contains files which look interesting, this archive contains a couple of firmware files, too. But what is what? who can fill in the blanks?

[edit] Windows

Download and run NaviFirm+, a utility for downloading firmware files from Nokia's servers. Make sure Server is set to Nokia Care Suite. Find Nokia N9 (RM-696) in the Products list, then select the firmware release you wish to install.

10.2011.34.1 = PR1.0 
20.2011.40.4 = PR1.1
22.2011.44.2 = PR1.1.1 (Middle East only)
30.2012.7.1 = PR1.2
40.2012.21.3 = PR1.3

Select the appropriate product code in the Variants list. In most cases, you should use the product code printed on the SIM tray. Click Unmark All, then scroll to the bottom of the Files section. Tick the boxes for the two files starting with DFL61_HARMATTAN. Click Download. Wait for the download to complete, then close NaviFirm+.

[edit] Linux

Install WINE using your Linux distribution's package manager. Download and run NaviFirmEx, a replacement for Navifirm+ that doesn't use .NET. Select Option > Server > Nokia Care Suit [sic] in the menu. Find Nokia N9 (RM-696) in the Products list, then select the firmware release and variant you wish to install (see above). Click Add to Download Task, then Inverse Select. Tick the boxes for the two files starting with DFL61_HARMATTAN. Click Download. Wait for the download to complete, then close NaviFirmEx.

[edit] Any OS

Go to Nokia Firmwares (unofficial firmware download site) and search for Nokia N9. Click CHECK! toward the right-hand side. Click the link for the firmware release you wish to install (see above). Click the link for the file starting with DFL61_HARMATTAN. Unlike NaviFirm+, this website cannot retrieve content/eMMC images.

[edit] Back up your data

All of the procedures described below will destroy some or all of the data on your phone, so you should be sure to back up anything you care about first. This includes contacts, messages, game saves, music, .deb packages, etc. You can do this either through the built-in backup feature, or manually using tools in developer mode.

[edit] Prepare to Flash

If your phone has a low battery charge (less than 50%), plug it in and let it charge for a while. Then, make sure your phone is disconnected from any USB cables (including USB chargers). Power off the phone.

You need the flasher program: with Nokia gone, skeiron also off-line, hopefully this deb link still works. Do not use Flasher 3.5 - it isn't compatible with the N9/N950. You can skip this step if you've already installed Flasher.

On Windows, open a Command Prompt with Administrator permissions (with UAC, right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator). On Linux, open a root shell (sudo -i/su). Change to the directory containing the firmware images you downloaded.

On Windows, run the following command in order to add Flasher to the system path:

set PATH="C:\Program Files\Nokia\Flasher;%PATH%" 

Note: In the following the main firmware image is called "main.bin" and the eMMC image is called "emmc.bin". You must replace main.bin and emmc.bin in the commands with the actual names of the image files you are flashing or rename the downloaded files like this (e.g. under linux)

 mv DFL61_HARMATTAN_40.2012.21-3_PR_LEGACY_001-OEM1-958_ARM.bin main.bin
 mv DFL61_HARMATTAN_40.2012.13-7.ALPS_EMMC_ALPS.bin emmc.bin

[edit] Flash the phone

Run the following command, then connect the phone to your PC.

flasher -i

The current firmware version of your phone should appear. It is now time to flash.

Use the following list to determine which of the steps below you need to use to accomplish a particular task:

  • Upgrade operating system: Replace operating system
  • Recover from damaged OS install: Replace operating system
  • "Unbrick" phone: Replace operating system or Comprehensive reset
  • Reset back to a "clean slate": Comprehensive reset
  • De-brand phone: Comprehensive reset
  • Prepare for enabling open mode: Comprehensive reset
  • Disable open mode: Comprehensive reset
  • Prepare for selling, recycling, or destroying phone: Zeroize device
  • Clear data before returning phone for warranty service (if possible): Zeroize device
  • Reset device lock code: Zeroize device

[edit] Replace operating system (preserves user data)

The following command will replace your phone's operating system with the supplied firmware image. All applications will be removed, but music/documents/maps/etc. will be kept. This is equivalent to updating/restoring your phone using the Nokia Software Updater (NSU) utility.

flasher -f -F main.bin

[edit] Comprehensive reset (destroys user data)

The following commands will remove all data from your phone and restore it to factory state. The provided content files (sample music, wallpaper, etc.) will be restored.

flasher -f -F main.bin
flasher -f -F main.bin -F emmc.bin --flash-only=mmc

[edit] Zeroize device (destroys user data)

The following commands will securely erase your phone such that no data can be recovered later, then restore the operating system and provided content.

The secure erase feature has not been audited by a 3rd party. Do not rely on it to protect all traces of highly sensitive information from a well-funded attacker. The first part will take a very long time - let it run overnight.
flasher -f -F main.bin --erase-user-data=secure
flasher -f -F main.bin -F emmc.bin --flash-only=mmc

[edit] Recovering from flash errors

Note: If you did not receive any errors, you can skip this section.

In some cases, the new firmware image includes cellular modem (CMT) firmware that is older than what is already installed. This has typically happened when flashing N9s running 003 (China) firmware with other firmware variants. If you received an error about flashing the CMT, obtain the image for the firmware that was previously installed, then run:

flasher -f -F old_main.bin --flash-only=cmt

If you previously upgraded your phone "over the air" (through SSU) and now receive a Downgrade disallowed error when flashing, try flashing an image with a higher variant code. For example, if you experienced the error with variant 001, try using variant 005 instead.

[edit] Reboot into the new operating system

The phone is now ready to leave flashing mode:

flasher -R

Use the power/lock button to boot your phone into the new system. Your N9 is now ready to use!

[edit] Tutorial

[edit] References

HOWTO Comprehensive Firmware Flashing Guide for N9 by itsnotabigtruck