What you can do if Galaxy S8 Plus won’t install downloaded updates

This short article aims to educate, in a rather simplistic way, Android users who are wondering why their #GalaxyS8, #GalaxyS8Plus, or any other device fails to install updates when used in another network. Though there are a few other reasons why this is so, we want to focus on the specific situation exemplified in the case mentioned below.

Today’s problem: Galaxy Galaxy S8 Plus won’t install updates

I have Samsung 8 plus, refurbished, unlocked, but branded Verizon.  Now I have my at&t sim card inside and everything is working great. But, I have a software update that will not install, it will download, but will not install.  I was on remote control with Samsung, they tried using their Smart Switch App, and we were connected using their Smart Tudor app remotely. After everything was said and done, they say because it was a unlocked Verizon this is the reason the 8.0 will not update.  They said to take it to service center and have them flash it. Do you have any suggestions. Cant afford the cost, whatever it may be. I want contemplating trying to flash on my own on line using an app, but I am not Tech saavy and I know I would mess my phone up.  Is there any help or suggestions, besides being without my phone and having to send it to a service center. I will take it to Best Buy (Geek Squad) tomorrow, but afraid it will cost me a lot. Anyways any help for me in lamen terms, because tech knowledge I lack a lot of many thanks to you in advance.   I have tried to update 5 times all with the same results. Thank you in advance for your help. — Ron Rubberbandron

Solution: Hi Ron. The main reason why your S8 Plus is unable to install an update is this: carrier-branded smartphones can’t install updates from another carrier. In your specific case, this is due to the fact that you have a Verizon device and you’re trying to use it in a non-Verizon network (AT&T). There’s a logical reason why this is so.

Android operating system has many variants as each carrier customizes the vanilla version in order to promote or enable their own services. For example, Verizon’s Android Oreo version also includes Verizon-specific tweaks in order to work on their CDMA network. On top of that, Verizon’s own Android Oreo version usually comes preloaded with apps and services that only their subscribers can enjoy. While it’s essentially still Android Oreo, it won’t necessarily be compatible with other non-Verizon devices.


And speaking of devices, Samsung hardware are also essentially tailored to each carrier’s need. Just as software may be carrier-specific, Samsung Galaxy devices are also mostly built to cater to needs of each carrier. This means that a Verizon-branded Galaxy S8 Plus has significant number of components that differ with a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus meant to be used in an AT&T network.

While there are some cases wherein a firmware version designed for one region may be flashed or installed to a device from another region, these are few and far between. In general, you’ll be unable to install an update to a device that’s running on another network, just like in your case right now.

If you are positive though that your S8 Plus was able to download the update files but was unable to install it, there may be a chance that you’ll be able to successfully install it later on after doing any of our suggestions below.

Suggestion #1: Clear cache partition

Some update issues are caused by a bad system cache so the first thing that you can do in this case is to clear the cache partition. This partition stores your device’s system cache so clearing it will force it to build a new system cache. By clearing the old system cache, you are eliminating the possibility of a cache-related bug that may be blocking the update from being installed.

To clear the cache partition of your device, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key to highlight “wipe cache partition.”
  5. Press the Power key to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key to highlight “yes” and press the Power key to select.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, “Reboot system now” is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Suggestion #2: Factory reset

If clearing the cache partition won’t change the way your S8 Plus behaves afterwards, the next logical thing to do is to wipe the phone by performing a factory reset. This will not only clear the cache partition and restore software settings to default, but it can also potentially return all network settings to its original configuration — to that of Verizon’s. This means that your S8 may become locked to Verizon again afterwards.So, before you decide to do this step, be sure to check with Verizon and ask them if a factory reset will indeed also revert all the original network settings to its original Verizon setup.

If Verizon will give the go ahead signal, here are the steps to factory reset your S8 Plus:

  1. Back up data on the internal memory. If you have signed into a Google account on the device, you have activated Anti-theft and will need your Google credentials to finish the Master reset.
  2. Turn off the device.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  4. When the Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  5. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight “wipe data / factory reset.
  6. Press Power button to select.
  7. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  8. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  9. When the master reset is complete, “Reboot system now” is highlighted.
  10. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Suggestions #3: Flash stock Verizon firmware to your device

Flashing is the Android equivalent of “installing” the operating system or firmware to a Samsung device. In your case, this means that you have to manually install the latest Verizon firmware to your Verizon S8 Plus. Take note, this procedure will only allow you to flash firmware (the latest available Verizon Android Oreo version) that you can find for your S8 Plus at this time and you won’t be able to flash an AT&T firmware to your device. Flashing a firmware won’t magically convert your Verizon hardware into an AT&T device.

Flashing a Verizon firmware to your S8 may also lock the device again, so, you’ll still probably end up asking Verizon to unlock it again, if that’s even still possible.

More importantly, flashing is only recommended for advanced Android users. While it’s definitely not rocket science, new Android users may find the terminologies and the entire flashing process overwhelming. If you think you can manage it, we suggest that you spend more time researching about the subject first before diving head on. Flashing procedures vary by phone model so there’s no single guide that you can follow. As Android constantly evolves, exact flashing procedures also go with the flow and can change in some details from time to time. This is the main reason why a lot of inexperienced Android users end up bricking their device when flashing. Keep in mind that flashing is basically modifying core system data so one misstep can potentially make your S8 an expensive paperweight. Needless to say, it’s important to follow a good guide when flashing. Try to visit sites that provide flashing guides like XDA Developers Forum or any other Android sites of your choice. Our blog does not provide flashing guides at this time.