Manually Update Your Droid To 2.1 (ESE81)


If you’ve got the 2.1 itch but  don’t want to go through all the trouble of waiting for that pesky OTA to arrive – the folks over at AndroidForums have the solution for you!


One of our Guides, Trident, has worked with a couple other users to get the ESE81 2.1 file and put together a little guide to walk you through the process.  So if waiting isn’t your thing (or you’re sick and tired of waiting at this point) and you’re up for the challenge – check it out!

As usual – do this at your own risk.  With that said, it’s a pretty straight forward guide and getting a lot of positive feedback.  If you have any questions, it looks like he’s stayin’ on top of the thread and answering them.

Side note: The guide is wrote with Windows as the OS in mind, but you should be able to figure it out if you’re on anything else.  Also, he explains how to do it without the use of a computer.

[Thanks Trident! | Guide ]


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  1. Just before I read this, I used Astro file manager to download and install and it works fine!

  2. Quick and easy.

  3. Thanks phandroid. I’m at 2.1 and still looking for all the neat new stuff. Any list out there with the “feature enhancements”?

  4. This isn’t rooting????

  5. no not rooting.. you are simply taking out the middle man aka the verizon push of the update.. in the future you will be fine. Even if you were rooted and you installed the update it would simply un-root your phone. NO worries.. I have seen many people saying they did this and their phone is fine so take a chance and do it.. I am! :)

  6. That was really, really easy…A little scary, but definitely easy. New update is pretty nice…I’m seeing a slight speed increase as well. Live Wallpapers pwn me.

  7. is this for motorola droid only or will this work on my htc eris too?

  8. You can also do this from your phone. Click one of the download links from Opera Mini. it will download to the SD Card. Once the download is complete turn the phone off. Hold down the “X” key and then hold down the power button while still holding the X key down. keep them down until the triangle and exclamation come up. Now hit the volume up button and the camera button at the same time. Select the update.zip file that you have downloaded by using the D-pad. It will open and install to your phone.

  9. I can’t get the “update.zip” folder to move using ASTRO FILE MANAGER. Every time I click “edit” and select “move” it just sits there for a delayed period and I’m never able to paste or move it to the root folder. Any ideas or am I doing something wrong here?

  10. Yay! I made the front page! Enjoy guys!

  11. @ryan- Motorola Droid only!
    @Jason- head on over to the thread that has the instructions so we can help you out

  12. It works great. This is off topic now but it seems to me that this DROID update was pushed with too many things missing. It seems as though Verizon and Motorola released it simply because people were tired of waiting. If you notice, when you go to about this phone, it tells you that this is 2.1-update 1? Why does it say update one? Does this mean that there will be more 2.1 updates? Also, weren’t we supposed to be able to dictate SMS messages? What do you’ll think?

  13. If you’ve rooted your droid, will you still get the OTA?

  14. Ugh! I have tried to update using the computer method and the astro method! Neither work for me I get a error and then it stops updating.. this sucks! FML

  15. Trident – no one has responded to me over on that thread. I posted #127. Any advice?

  16. Manually updated and appear to be running fine. I did have to delete a couple of my shortcuts and then put them back on to get them to work. gallery was one.

  17. OMG yes thank you so much this makes me the happiest boy in the world

  18. ok wait.. we are updating now :) Here was my problem.. I used the computer method and renamed the file update.zip at first… this gave me error. After simply renaming the file update I went and booted in to recovery to see what the file name appeared as.. low and behold it showed apply update.zip. (My computer operating system is vista and I think that was why I had confusion naming the file..bc stupid vista included .zip in the file name automatically) I am a newb when it comes to android so maybe I was just the problem lol. :) My droid is booting now..though it is a slow boot. Hopefully all is well and I actually learned how to do something. Still have my husbands droid to push the update to when he gets home. Anddd everything booted and looks good.

  19. All is well here also. Very nice. Thanks.

  20. Just dd it – no rooting required, and it’s working like a champ! Phone seems more responsive to me. I know that was a concern of some folks around here.

  21. @Jason…If you can’t move it on your phone, mount your sd card to your computer. Open up the downloads directory, and “cut” the update.zip file. “Paste” this file in the root directory of the SD card. Hope this helps (I had the same problem).

  22. download worked pretty well. i’m a bit confused on how to get the multiple background screens. if anyone knows how to get that to work that would be appreciated.

  23. finally, thanks god

  24. Jason – I did the same thing with Astro. After you select “Move”, that’s when you click on the file. I was tapping the file and then hitting move. So tap “Move” then select the file and you should have an option on top for “Up” to get to your root.

    Works wonderfully!

  25. @Rosalvo Avila, update-1 to distinguish it from the previous push (which didn’t get to many phones).

  26. Live wallpaper keeps dying on me? Anyone else have this problem?

  27. Did the update, worked well.

    First thing I did was check out the Live Wallpapers. The Nexus One default live wallpaper is available, but instead of Google colors, the streaks of light are only red, and the background is more metallic looking. Very badass.

  28. I did it manually as well and it worked. :) But sucks there aren’t nine homescreens like the milestone 2.1. :(

  29. ok i am having some trouble i DL 2.1 and when it try’s to boot up its says sorry the application launcher has stopped unexpectedly please try again….. Please Help i dont know what to do and i cant get passed this point

  30. Just updated to 2.1!!!! YES!! Went off with out a hitch for the first time ever!!

  31. Just did this and my Droid won’t go past the eye screen now…

  32. Never mind. Finally finished booting.

  33. Ha, I see you have used my recovery screen image from my Obtaining Root guide at rootyourdroid.info.

  34. Did the manual update. Very pleased with the results. I have never really tapped into my Droid and I was a bit hesitant at first but I waned the update bad. LOL. Followed tridents instructions qnd did it via my phone without involving my PC. Love the news and weather widget. Not really had problems with it lagging as mentioned by some. At first I did but it moved right along. The wallpapers are responsive and a great addition. Also seems the browser is faster I think. Love my Droid more than very now. Everyone wanting their 2.1 should do this. Now I want yo root it next. LOL thanks Trident!!!!

  35. Drooling over txt 2 speech… anyone test it out?

  36. One note … for those on the Swype beta, installing 2.1 makes it inoperable.

  37. Idk if my voice is the problem or if its the software but everytime i use speech to text it always puts down a random sentence instead of what i actually said. Its always done this even with search or navigation.

  38. Followup on Swype. E-mailing them will fix the problem.

  39. Updating yourself is always fun.

  40. Did the update over the phone at work lol and it took me not even 5mins to do! loving it as of now.

  41. I’ve also notice that theres 2 new applications on my application list. My Question is, Do they need to be there or can i delete them? The 2 apps that i have ones i did the uptade are com.android.gallery / com.android.inputmethod.latin ive never had them on my list before so just wanted to know what they are.

  42. just updated mine using andro method. Mounting it would never work. Only 3 home screens still(lame), txt 2 speech works great, live wallpapers work, 3D gallery, pinch to zoom works in browser and gallery, news weather widget

    overall seems faster just missing a few things

  43. So since updating this way I have experienced the following:

    phone turned on by itself while the battery was removed
    lost all my contacts from my phone and in gmail
    phone is running hot and will not stop
    helix launcher refuses to run

    I’m sure there are other problems that I have yet to run into.

  44. Now can we get 2.1 on the Cliq?? Have any of the Cliq/Motorola ROMs become stable yet?

  45. I updated my droid to 2.1, but now i cant take pictures or use my gallery, it says preparing sd card for past 5 minutes,, anyone know how to fix this or what is happening?

  46. never mind, i’m stupid, its slowly coming online

  47. I just updated and now it seems like my gps is always running, used task killer to kill all my apps and its still runnning. Any ideas?

  48. i think rooted phone is better i expected a little more…
    maybe we will be getting another update soon.

  49. if i use the computer or astro update will i still be able to receive future ota updates?

  50. Will this work on the mytouch 3g? Has anyone that has updated tried any sites like hulu.com? This update includes flash right?

  51. any way to go back to the old update for firmware?
    I manually did this seems like it works fine just got a few force closes about the system. How can i uninstall this update?

  52. Any way to go back to my old update which I was on b4 I manually updqated to 2.1 I am stock. Runs ok noticed a few force closes for phone that I’ve never seen like not responding. Hasn’t done it since but id feel more comfortable waiting for vzw to send me update notification? So how can I uninstall this?

  53. dont install if you want to lose your custom rom but if you want the best of both worlds ( 2.1 full update and root access) then you need to click this


  54. For people receiving error messages. When you copy file from computer to sd card. You do not transfer between 2 folders. Just drag all the files over to the SD card, it will show up as an zippered file folder. When you see the zippered file folder you know you have the file on your sd card correctly. Hope this helps.

  55. Installed the new os and working great! Did the phone method, worked quick, wallpapers work and look great, internet seems a bit faster, pinch to zoom nothing new was using dolphin browser, text 2 speech is cool, love the new gallery, all in all not bad moto/vzw!

  56. @Patrick are you high?

  57. live wall papers are cool and i’m seeing faster overall response. speech2txt working pretty well. little disappointed we didn’t get extra home screens or 3D app scroll.

  58. Why are people posting mid-boot!?

    Can’t you wait?

  59. I just finished the install. I downloaded the update to the phone using the instructions provided. The update worked flawlessly, in fact i’m using the speech input to write this.

  60. Manual update thank u astro zip took ten min and so easy thank you

  61. Curious, am I the only one with a problem? Update seemed to go flawlessly but now the phone thinks I’m in the wrong time zone. I’m in Central and it appears to believe I’m in Eastern. I can turn off automatic time sync and change it back to central but I’ve never had an issue before.

  62. I updated without any problems, but I can’t get it to recognize any zip code I put in for the weather widget. Anyone else having trouble with the weather widget or have any ideas?

  63. Yay! They fixed the browser scroll lag issue.

  64. any way to go back to the old update for firmware?
    I manually did this seems like it works fine just got a few force closes about the system. How can i uninstall this update?

  65. Did this yesterday and am loving the new update – the only variation i had on the instructions is that my dpad was unusable and i had to use the volume rocker to highlight and the camera button to select – otherwise hassle free way to download and install the newest OS.

  66. Why would you want to uninstall? 2.1 rocks versus 2.0.1!

  67. @DroidDev346. why would you ask if im high? Did you not understand my SIMPLE questions? Are you RETARTED??

  68. Hmm…long reboot you say? How long is too long? Updating went fine. Now all it does is bounce back and forth between the DROID logo and the “Eye”.

    I’ve rebooted, re-updated a few times.


  70. So I did the manual update and it has the build ESE81. But the firmware version is 2.1-update1

    Is this the same update that the ota people are getting?

    does the update1 mean that we are going to get another update soon?

  71. Hey thanks it works great as far I as I can see. Awesome ! Much better than waiting haha.

  72. I thought I bricked this baby! Had to do a factory reset. I’m back running!

  73. @ Matt, had same issue had to do the factory reset!

  74. any changes to home screen and where is the new weather and news app?

  75. factory reset meaning i will lose everything?

  76. Factory Reset fixed it. Came out on the other side with ESE81 and it’s looking sweet. Had to reactivate and re-download the apps, but I had a bunch I didn’t use anyway, so it worked out either way.

    Worth the trouble.

  77. After a day of having this, I notice that the live wallpaper will just close every once in a while. Somewhat annoying.

  78. I’m having the same problem: seems like after ten minutes or so the live wallpapers on the Droid are turning off or automatically resetting to the previous static wallpaper. Other than that I’m definitely seeing a marked performance improvement (speed mostly).

  79. Maybe everyone will manualy get the 2.1update and waiting for it to be sent to me will be easy! With my luck? Yeah right!

  80. i downloaded this update with astro w/o a computer and it works great, But i want to go back to 2.0.1 how can i do this? i dont know how to do this so if anybody knows how please please please email me the instructions @ [email protected]

  81. I am kind of hesitant to wether or not I should download manualy. Is it the same as the one verizon sends you? And if I do this will verizon still send me the update? If these two questions are answered I might try it.

  82. Did not work for me. I keep getting ‘signature verification failed’ and ‘Installation Aborted’. Anybody?

  83. Hey can somebody please tell me how to uninstall this I want to go back to 2.0.1 send directions to [email protected] plz thank you

  84. awesome just in relation to your gallery u have to remove the original shortcut and just make a shortcut to the new gallery the 3d is phenomenal.

  85. I updated successfully yesterday afternoon. It was simple & seamless. The only thing that takes a while (which was noted) is the reboot after installation.
    Live wallpapers are cool, but I like the new gallery. It’s unbelievable & really the biggest change in appearance.

    I noticed I don’t have access to Google Earth?? Anyone else? I checked on the market and it’s not there. I hope it appears soon, I’m kind of bummed I don’t have it.

    Also, VZW mentioned Yahoo Mail new account options? I don’t see anything specific for Yahoo–(although, I manually installed my yahoo email on my Droid as an IMAP acct when I first bought it & that works fine for me)– but I was curious about these new so-called Yahoo options I don’t see anywhere.

    @Joey, based on what I’ve read, it sounds like everyone who updated manually has version 2.1-update 1 (and I’ve yet to see a solid answer to the question of what does “update 1” mean?) Anyone out there get the official update from VZW and see the same thing?

  86. cant figure the test to speech out how do you use it or get it to turn on I dont see it any where?

  87. To reverse the update you need to find a 2.0.1 update.zip file and follow the same path as you used to update to v2.1

    For speech to text, try talking like a robot for better voice recognition.

  88. Mike18435 – On messaging, open up a new message and on the bottom of your keyboard you’ll see a microphone. Push that and you’re on your way.

  89. i got the OTA over the air…and i was connected to wifi and im still not a verizon customer…i put restart and install and it suddenly stopped and it didnt do nothing so i just rebooted and nothing ever happend? anybody can help me?

  90. What does 2.1update1 mean and will there be a part 2?

  91. 2.1 messed up my keyboard slowed down my phone freeze the phone an d messed up my faccebook touch and facebook for android … then you will take it to the verzion store and they will tell you you have to get it flashed and when you get it flashed it may delete your info in your phone.. they said our phones waasnt capable for the 2.1 update SO DONT DO IT OR YOU WILL REGRET IT PLUS ITS NOTHING DIFFERENT I ACTUALLY LIKE THE 2.0 BETTER SO STICK BY MY SIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  92. Need help! I installed rom manager to install cyanogen mod on my rooted moto droid but it just keeps going back and forth on the droid and droid eye? Don’t know what I did wrong. Anyone have any solutions to this nightmare? Please let me know… Thanks!

  93. I have the original droid. My phone kept bugging me to update. So finally I did and now my phone is super slow and I don’t like the new stuff it did to it. Is there anyway I can switch back to the original version… my phone is super super slow and a lot of my apps don’t work now, and did work before this update. Please help me switch it back.. I HATE THIS NEW UPDATE

  94. i completely agree, i hate the new update! super super super slow!!! and it freezes up, and a lot of the time i click on one name to send a message and it sends it to someone else…pretttty gheyyy. i want the original version back.

  95. i have a motorola milestone xt720. its now at android 2.1. i wana upgrade it to 2.2. can i use this for my xt720? and when it rebooted, will i lose everything in my phone, inc contacts??

  96. actually i just want a flash player on my milestone. but with android 2.1, i just cant get flash player in. if any of u have any ideas, pleaseeeee…
    thanks guys!!

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