Upgrading Android on your Samsung GALAXY Note II

By Your Mobile Life on at

Upgrading your GALAXY Note II is very easy, and well worth doing to ensure that you are taking advantage off all the latest updates and features for the Android operating system your phone uses.

Below we are going to take you through the Samsung Kies update process step by step, and back up the contents of our phone along the way.


Why upgrade?

Samsung has recently released a firmware update for the Samsung GALAXY Note II operating system called Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean.

Jelly Bean itself was a major upgrade to the operating system, but this latest update gives it a final polish, providing a faster Android browsing experience, updates to the TouchWiz interface so that you have full control over the notifications bar and a range of minor bug fixes.

Add to this the features already provided to the Note II by Jelly Bean - most noteworthy being the ability to use split screen multitasking to allow you to run two full apps at the same time (so you could for example, browse websites while also keeping one eye on your Twitter feed) enabling you to make full use of the generous amount of screen estate available on the Note II.

Jelly Bean also offers multi-user support, gesture typing, a lock-screen widget and a new camera app. If you do not already have it, it is well worth upgrading your phone to the latest version.


How to upgrade

You have two choices on how you actually install available updates to your GALAXY Note II: over the air (OTA) or via a USB connection using Samsung Kies on your Mac or PC. Here, we are going to look at the Samsung Kies option.

Samsung Kies is Samsung's own proprietary software allowing you to manage your phone via your PC. You can upload content such as non-DRM music, video, pictures and ringtones to your phone direct from your PC or Mac, and back up your phone’s contacts, calendar, SMS and notes to your computer.

In a nutshell Samsung Kies lets you sync your entire digital life across all your computing devices. It will also let you stay as up-to-date as possible on any new upgrades available to you to ensure you are getting the best use out of your Samsung GALAXY Note II.

The first thing to do before upgrading is to fully charge your phone, this ensures there will be no problems in the upgrade process caused by the phone switching off halfway through.


Installing Samsung Kies

If you have not already installed Samsung Kies on your computer, now is the time to do it. Your PC or Mac needs to have an internet connection as we will be downloading software (both Kies itself and the Android update).

Firstly, pop along to http://www.samsung.com/uk/support/usefulsoftware/SWUP/JSP and click on the ‘download Kies’ button. Once it’s downloaded, double-click the .exe file to install Samsung Kies on your computer. Open up Samsung Kies and then once the phone is fully charged you need to connect it to your PC or Mac with the USB to MicroUSB cable provided with your GALAXY Note II.

Kies should automatically detect that your phone is attached. Kies should also automatically tell you by pop up if there are any updates available for your phone. Although you can just click ‘update’ now to start the process, it’s a very good idea to back up all the info on your phone before doing so. This means that you can recover your data in the unlikely situation that something goes wrong with the install.


Back up your phone

Click on the tab that says ‘Back up/Restore’ and you can choose what aspects of your phone you want to back up. If you are unsure what’s important then just choose ‘Select all items’ at the top to choose to back up everything. Now click on the ‘Back up’ button.

This will launch a ‘data back up’ window which shows you the progress of your back up and once it’s finished will say ‘Back up complete’. Click on the ‘Complete’ button and we are ready to upgrade the phone.

We can now go back to the main ‘Basic info’ tab on Kies where under the heading ‘Firmware information’ you should see an orange ‘Firmware upgrade’ button. Press that and a warning will pop up telling you to charge up and back up your phone, which we’ve already done, but also not to attach any other devices to your PC/Mac while you are upgrading the Note II and not to disconnect the phone during the process. Click the checkbox to say you’ve read all the information and you can click ‘Start upgrade’.

The upgrade process (depending on your internet connection) should take anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes (usually at the faster end of that scale). As it’s advisable not to use the phone or your computer while this is going on, it’s best to just leave both phone and computer to their own devices while they complete the firmware upgrade. You can follow the progress of the upgrade in the ‘Firmware upgrade’ pop ups which appear on the computer screen.

Once complete you will see a final pop up describing what version of Android you have and the name of your phone. Click ‘OK’ and once your phone reboots you are done.

You can check which version of Android your phone is now running by going to ‘Settings’ on your phone, clicking ‘About phone’ and seeing what it says under ‘Android version.