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Failed and COSTLY Ice Cream Sandwich update and Swype fix (Epic 4G Touch Samsung Galaxy S2)


Failed and COSTLY Ice Cream Sandwich update and Swype fix (Epic 4G Touch Samsung Galaxy S2)

I cannot find words strong enough to express my outrage at the havoc, expense and lost productivity that I have, so far, endured following the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) Android update on my phone.

I have been using a Sprint/Samsung Epic 4G Touch Galaxy S2 since Jan. 2012.  At that time I reluctantly made the transition from a Sprint Windows-Mobile phone that I had used for the previous 5 years, during which I experienced no major data losses nor any significant time/expense lost to system software or firmware bugs.

Yesterday morning, 16Jul12, I was prompted to click "OK" to update my phone's Android system software.  No warning was given to backup the phone's data or apps prior to performing the update.  I naively clicked “OK”.  From that moment forward my workday ground to a halt and I descended through ever-maddening levels of Sprint/Samsung/Google/Android "support" h#ll.

First the facts:

1) Following the ICS “update” the Swype app "disappeared" from my phone.

2) When attempting to do web searches via my phone (the bulk of my web searching) ALL text, in the search box and in results, displayed in a micro/nano font size that was completely, and without the slightest exaggeration, UNREADABLE.  Happily, the Google logo remained in its normal giant font as a searing taunt of my inability to perform ANY web surfing.

3) The update graciously preserved my browser bookmarks (I'm a Luddite that uses the native Google browser).  Less graciously, ALL the folders that I had setup over the last 7 months to organize my bookmarks were GONE, GONE, GONE.  I estimate that my individual bookmarks number well over a hundred and possibly in the multiple hundreds.  To stare, slack-jawed, at a single listing of this number of bookmarks is the definition of "useless".

Next, the single-user impact and costs of this "update" fiasco:

On my windows phone (the preceding 5 years) I used the wonderful NATIVE Win-Mobile handwriting recognition program for all my input.  When I moved to the Android phone I found no handwriting recognition Android software that remotely approached the functionality of the Win-Mobile counterpart, so I quickly adopted Swype as my sole keyboard input app.  In other words, for the past 7 months, my only keyboard input experience with the Android phone has been via Swype.  The loss of Swype following the ICS “update” was excruciating. 

I do much of my business communication via my phone and SMS.  I also do the bulk of my web browsing via my phone.

To suddenly find myself pecking at the Samsung keyboard at the pace of a toddler, while my work, colleagues and clients were moving at normal business warp speed, was dysfunctional.  To, further, find myself trying to surf the web without the use of ANY of my bookmarks was seriously impairing my productivity and effectiveness.  To, additionally, have to attempt to read micro/nano text in my browser's search box and in returned results put the last nail in the coffin of my workday.  After two hours of this outrage, I informed all that I would be taking a personal day to resolve these issues.  I will not detail here the havoc that my bowing out of the workday meant for others- suffice it to say that the cost to others conservatively rises into multiple person-hours of lost productivity.

From noon yesterday untill 1:00 AM today I spent my time:

1) on various phone calls to Samsung and Sprint, and

2) online (via my computer- as my phone was rendered useless):

  a) crawling through the morass of similar nightmarish experiences being related by other Sprint customers through the day and evening, and

  b) attempting, in vain, to gain some insight and/or relief from Sprint, Samsung and Google support.

The “conclusions” and “remedies” offered by Sprint, Samsung and Google following this 13 hour investment on my part were:

1) Google (when speaking with Samsung or Sprint), Samsung (when speaking with Google or Sprint) or Sprint (when speaking with Google or Samsung) were DEFINITELY AND COMPLETELY responsible for this ICS “update” debacle.

2) Google (when speaking with Google) and Samsung (when speaking with Samsung) and Sprint (when speaking with Sprint) were DEFINITELY AND COMPLETELY INNOCENT AND BLAMELESS for the ICS “update” debacle.

3) The sole and only remedy to MY problems with the infarcted update was to reset the phone to its factory defaults.  I was duly warned by all (Samsung, Sprint and Google) that such a reset would result in complete loss of all installed apps and data, and that I would need to spend yet MORE of MY time reinstalling apps and data and restoring my systems' state (bookmarks, home screens, etc.).

After a fitful night, I rose early and made further unsuccessful attempts to restore Swype to my phone- the most promising of which seemed to be downloading the latest beta test version of Swype and using it in place of the native Samsung/Sprint Swype- duly warned by Swype that there "is no support for beta Swype, and it will be deactivated every 6 months for release of a new beta version of Swype", clearly a new flavor of nightmare in the offing.

At 9AM, I cancelled a second work day to, again, attempt finding resolutions to these problems. I then Sprinted (sad pun intended) to my Sprint store for another round of pleading and cajoling.  When I arrived, I found all technicians up to their eyeballs in phones and customers reporting the same or similar problems.  From what I overheard and comments made to me by the technicians, the most expeditious path to a solution for those in line ahead of me was a factory default reset, with concomitant loss of apps and data ("Sorry for the inconvenience").

I awaited my turn at the "desk of despair" and informed the technician that I wished to forego the factory default reset "solution" in favor of finding an alternative keyboard app (end run around the Swype problem) and possibly an alternative browser app (would like to be able to read my browsing activities without having to reserve time on the atomic force microscope).  I “volunteered” to eat the loss of my bookmark folder organization if we could just achieve the preceding two goals.

The technician (Mike, Sprint Store, 266 East Travelers Trail, Burnsville, MN) graciously (under tremendous pressure and managing factory resets on several phones while serving me) offered recommendations on alternative keyboard and browser apps.  More impressively, he asked to look at my phone again to see if he could find the "missing" Swype app.  Within a couple minutes he did just that.  Apparently the ICS “update” inactivated/disabled the Swype app so that when looking under settings/applications/all tab the Swype app was not listed alphabetically in its previous location, but rather, at the bottom of the alphabetic listing of active apps.  No one at Samsung, Google or Sprint thought to have me look here the previous day for the "missing" Swype and, rather, insisted the ONLY way to "recover" Swype was to do the dreaded factory default reset.

Mike reactivated the Swype app and cleared its data and cache (apparently these two steps resolved the issue for customers that could still see Swype after the ICS update) and then attempted to set Swype as the default keyboard/input method under settings/language and input.  Surprisingly, Swype was STILL not listed/available as an input/keyboard option, even after the steps taken above.  We seemed to be back to the factory default reset or pitch-Swype-with-the-bathwater alternatives.  At this point, I thought that, perhaps, a "hard" shutdown (long press of the power button and selecting "Power Off"), and then a restart (long press of the power button until the "4G" screen appeared) might get us over the hump.  Happily, this was the case and, after performing the above, Swype was restored to its former function and glory (sans my personal dictionary- but desperation makes no good deals, and I “volunteered” to also eat the time and inconvenience to redefine my personal dictionary).  Most perplexing, following these operations, the font size displayed by my browser operations returned to normal size.  I'm sure someone can explain this.  I will, however, quote Rhett and say "Frankly my dear, I don't give a dam#!"

So, in review for those who came here for the fix to their Swype/ browser nano-font woes following their ICS “update”, these were the steps that resolved both for my phone:

1) Find a responsive, patient and knowledgeable Sprint technician that has read this post, or, do steps 2-17 below.

2) DO NOT do a factory default reset.

3) Consider backing up your apps & data before proceeding.

4) Find your "missing" Swype app by:

  a) holding menu hard key and then selecting "settings",

  b) scroll to and select "Applications",

  c) select "All" tab at upper right corner,

  d) scroll ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM of the list to find Swype as an "inactive" app,

5) press on "Swype" to open its app info,

6) press the "Enable" button to the right just beneath the Swype version number at the top of the screen,

7) press the "Clear data" button if lit/white under the "Storage" section,

😎 press the "Clear cache" button if lit/white under the "Cache" section,

9) press the back arrow key three times to return to the home screen,

10) perform a "hard" shutdown of the phone (on the Galaxy S2, long press the power button and select "Power Off"),

11) after the "hard" shutdown, wait 30 sec or more, then restart (on the Galaxy S2, long press the power button until the "4G" screen appears),

12) go again to the "Settings" screen (long press the menu key and select "Settings") and scroll to "Language and input" and select it,

13) under "Keyboards and input methods" select "Default",

14) you should now be able to see Swype listed as an option- select it,

15) on being returned to the "Language and input methods" screen you should also see Swype listed under the "Keyboards and input methods" where you can select the "bar-dot slider" icon to the right of "Swype" if you wish to change your Swype settings,

16) press return arrow twice to return to your home screen,

17) open your SMS or browser app and input some text, you should be using Swype by default.  Enjoy!

If you also experienced microscopic browser type size with the ICS “update”, you may be lucky and the procedure above may correct this.  If it does not, I throw my hands skyward and pray for you.  If you also experienced deleted personal Swype dictionary and deleted browser bookmark folders with the ICS “update”, then, like me, you will probably eat the time and labor to restore these.


1) From web traffic and from foot traffic in the one Sprint store that I observed, it is clear that many users lost many hours of productivity, and endured much stress, pain and suffering (I do not editorialize here) due to this botched "update".  A small bit of research and legal discovery process regarding market penetration of the Sprint/Samsung Galaxy S2 phone and reported frequency of these and other ICS "update"-related problems could put a limiting number on the actual total $ of productivity lost and potential $ to be recovered from responsible parties.

2) I have worked 30 years in the medical device, diagnostic and pharmaceutical industries. These are heavily regulated industries in each market/country that they serve.  If companies in these regulated industries released a software or firmware "update" or product that REMOTELY approached the shoddiness, poor quality control and destructiveness of the ICS Android/Samsung/Sprint “update”, all affected products would be immediately reported by users to regulators and all affected products would be immediately recalled and criminal and civil penalties and fines would likely follow in EACH country that the product was marketed in.

3) A cursory examination of the history of regulatory oversight in the food, pharmaceutical and medical device industries is relevant and, perhaps, prescient.  Just over a hundred years ago enough human suffering had resulted from adulterated foods, sham medical devices and poisonous "curative" concoctions that public outcry gave birth to the first governmental agency, the US Food and Drug Administration or FDA, charged with regulating the production and sales of foods, drugs and, later, medical devices.  Every major strengthening of regulatory oversight in these industries in the ensuing century has been the result of some human tragedy that raised awareness that significant additional oversight of industry was needed to protect the public from unscrupulous and/or shoddy business practices.

The results of this regulatory history are: 1) food and health care consumers today have much greater assurance of and confidence in product safety and effectiveness than their counterparts of a century ago, 2) the food and health care products industries today enjoy a much larger and more confident market than would exist had such extensive regulatory oversight not developed over the last century, 3) the "bad apples" of the food and health care products companies today run the very real risk of significant and costly financial, civil and criminal penalties for attempting to foist shoddy, half-a$$ed, harmful and destructive products on an innocent and unsuspecting public, and 4) consumers and ethical food and medical products companies have benefitted tremendously from regulatory pressures that have weeded unethical and incompetent companies out of the marketplace.

4) The mobile computing industry and its consumers are still in their infancies.  I suspect that the mobile computing industry today is no more welcoming of additional regulatory oversight than the food and medical industries were a hundred years ago when they were selling putrified "food", charlatan medical devices and poisonous pills.  I further suspect that any significant improvement in the competency and ethics of today's mobile computing industries must come from consumer outcry and financial, civil and criminal penalties being levied whenever companies subject their users/customers to damaging products and services either as a result of incompetence or unethical practices.  In other words, WAKE UP USERS, CONSUMERS AND CUSTOMERS AND DEMAND THAT YOUR MOBILE COMPUTING VENDORS FOLLOW THE FIRST RULE OF MEDICINE'S MOST SACRED OATH- "FIRST, DO NO HARM"!  Also, class action legal professionals take note: there are HUGE dollars to be made here with hundreds of millions of consumers depending on and paying dearly for mobile computing products and services the world over.

5) As a former, long-time user of a Windows Mobile smart-phone, I am appalled at the pathetic state of software and firmware quality control in the Android world (I have no experience with iphones, so have no opinions to offer regarding that platform).  Microsoft has utterly failed to gain any significant foothold in the world of mobile computing- this will likely be their undoing.  Suffice it to say that I moved to the Android platform reluctantly and with hesitation.  In fairness, until yesterday's botched ICS “update”, I was reasonably happy with my phone, and my confidence in the Android platform was growing steadily.  I leave it to the reader to guess what the last 36 hours has done to my confidence in the Android platform and in all things Samsung and Sprint.  The reader can also infer from the preceding narrative what my reply will be the next time I am prompted to "OK" an Android system "update", assuming I give a rat's rear about Android the next time an "update" is shoved down the throats of consumers.

6) To all culpable parties and all executives at Google, Samsung and Sprint (you know who you are), I ask two simple questions.  Have you no shame?  Have you no pride?  This is the 21st century.  Over-the-air firmware updates are neither rocket science nor brain surgery.  I would go so far as to say that they are not particularly difficult.  Yes, I have professional experience in developing and distributing/installing firmware updates to a widely distributed user base.  The list of ALL that is required to perform a successful firmware update is small indeed.  These are: 1) time, 2) money, 3) competent professionals, 4) firm and demanding leadership, and 5) unyielding quality controls and standards.  There, you can count those on one hand.  You can count them twice on your two hands.  Note that “luck” and “profit” are not on the list.  You make your own luck and profits by attending properly to the handful of items on the list. 

Finally, I offer the ultimate executive/management tool for ensuring a successful OTA firmware update: the output of the 5 requirements listed above must pass the “RFT” test before the update is released to your unsuspecting users.  The “RFT” test, of course, is the “Right First Time”/”Red Face Test”.  That is, it must be done “Right the First Time” or it will NOT pass the “Red Face Test”.  Or, as my mother said so eloquently all my formative years: “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, tell me when you will make time to do it right the second time.”  Should you require further assistance in implementing these requirements for future firmware/software releases I am available to help, for a nominal fee.

7) I am a professional business user and am NOT prone to exaggeration, flaming, ranting or the like.  I rarely use my time to post in product support discussion groups or fora.  In other words, it takes a great deal of inconvenience and damage to inspire me to post this type of comment. Congratulations Google, Samsung and Sprint, you succeeded in getting me to ignore my personal, professional and financial interests for almost two days- long enough to solve the problems you foisted upon me and long enough to pen this missive.  My only question for you is: to whom should I send the bill for recovery of my lost time and wages?

M. E. Collison, Ph.D.
Collison-Carr Consulting, Inc.
Eagan, MN

155 REPLIES 155

Wow hit them where it hurts,I wish I could write that good,u know I bet if sprint wanted to save some money,they mite update a few phone first to check for bugs u would think and once found info the people buy posting results,just think how much this could help everybody out or so to speak.


I hope you do realize that Sprint is not the one that updated the phone. It was Samsung, after all, they are the manufacturer.


THANK YOU for finding out and sharing how to get the Swype back. I was dead in the water. However I did not experience the font issue like you had. There were only minor deviations from my previous settings.


U right about who put out the update,but u r forgetting who get it first sprint before u do an they add to update or take out stuff they don't want u to have,this is how the bugs get there,its called bad code writing.:-)


Well I am a programmer so I know that bugs do happen because there are thousands upon thousands of lines of code and not every bug can be forseen but can only be dealt with as they occur. It is not a matter of bad code writing, these things happen. Sprint has no control over device updates cannot decide to stop one from coming out. When your device checks for an update it doesn't query a sprint server, it queries the manufacturer's update server to see if one is available.


Ur blow my @s,sprint pushes the update.period.PS nice try noob!!!


You clearly have a conceptual misunderstanding of firmware/software updates and where they come from. Please do some research before trying to insult me on something that I have done my research on.


First of all u r a NOOB.and ur shoes don't fit very well that ur trying to fill.look Samsung has no network to push the firmware.they do write it though.its then sent as file to sprint who has final say what in it.know I dont have any more time to try an school u.


Again, do your research before trying to insult me. Your poor spelling and lack of grammar speaks volumes on your ability to research an issue. Please try again later after you have taken the time to understand how software updates work.


Well this is what I did and It worked I went to play store and down loaded ICS keyboard app (Free) the installed and rebooted then I got keyboard function back The I went to Swpe web page and follow the instructions and installed the Swype beta version and it works very well now/ I like you was very frustrated and pissed off I stumbled on to this work around while I was waiting for them to send me a new phone since the update screwed it up.


I've yet to receive the update but it sounds like your actual issues were very minor. I'm sure you could have just gone on with your day rather than taking so much time out of it sitting at the sprint store as well as writing this post in the Sprint COMMUNITY forums. Since you depend so heavily on your mobile device you should absolutely be backing it up, regardless of whether or not you are receiving an update.

So you had to resort to the built in keyboard like a majority of mobile device users, I doubt your one of the users that actually types 50wpm using Swype.

I have a hard time believing the text was UNREADABLE, if I am wrong when I receive the update I will gladly recant my contradiction.

How are hundreds of bookmarks actually useful, even if they are organized into folders?

Forgive me for not reading beyond your actual issues into your legal suggestions; I too have to be productive although I felt compelled to respond. I’m sure an End User License Agreement (EULA) completely disqualifies any of your claims. You voluntarily accepted this update. Had your phone actually been issued to you by an enterprise corporation your IT department would have assumed this responsibility for you and implemented policies to prevent your phone from receiving the update until they had properly tested compatibility with all approved applications. This would have been achieved using a pilot deployment to a small user base. Swype is a third-party application and they are the ones responsible for compatibility on a new OS, not Google, Samsung and certainly not Sprint.

Stephanie, your words are not deserving of anyone’s eyes. Yes, the actually update is obtained from Sprint and there are certain applications added and settings modified for Sprint but these have nothing to do with application compatibility. They do not actually “Push” anything. An agent on the phone does periodically check for updates from Sprint and if one is detected it will download the package but the user is not required to apply it, this is not considered a “Push”.

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