Upgrading your ZTE Open to Firefox OS 1.1

ZTE Open

The US and the European versions of the ZTE Open both ship with version 1.0 of Firefox OS. Since an over the air (OTA) update is not yet available for the phone, ZTE recently posted a build and instructions on how to flash the phone with Firefox OS 1.1, the latest released version of the OS, on their website. Let’s see how to do it. (Note: the procedure requires a microSD card to store the build before you flash it on your phone.)

Download the Firmware

Depending on the version of the phone you purchased, you need either the US or the UK (European) version of the firmware. Download the files from the ZTE support site by clicking the “Downloads” tab on one of these pages: US version or UK version. The zip file you’ll download will also contain documentation for the upgrade.

Prepare Your Phone

The upgrade process will erase all user data such as contacts. At present, there is no operating system feature for backing up contacts, but if you need to retain them, try installing and running the Con Backup app in the Firefox Marketplace to back your contacts up to your microSD card.

When you are ready, follow these steps to prepare your phone:

  1. Charge your phone to at least the 50% level to insure there is plenty of power to complete the upgrade process.
  2. Extract the contents from the zip file you downloaded. At the top level, there should be a PDF file with instructions for the upgrade and another zip file with the firmware. The instructions are essentially the same as those given in this post.
  3. Power off your phone, remove the battery to access the microSD card and extract the card from its holder.
  4. Connect the microSD card to your desktop machine.
  5. Move US_DEV_FFOS_V1.1.0B04_UNFUS_SD.zip or EU_DEV_FFOS_V1.1.0B04_UNFUS_SD.zip (depending on the version you downloaded) to the root directory of your microSD card. Do not unzip the file.
  6. Disconnect the microSD card from your desktop computer and return it to your phone.

Firefox OS Recovery Mode

Upgrade to 1.1

Follow these steps:

  1. Press the volume up and the power key simultaneously. Volume up is activated by pressing the upper part of the long key on the left side of the phone. If you did it properly, you’ll enter the Firefox OS recovery mode. (Note that the Firefox OS logo may display briefly before you enter the recovery mode.)
  2. Use the volume up/down key to move from one item to the other in the menu, and chose “apply update from external storage.”
  3. Press the power key to confirm the selection. You’ll see a new screen listing the files you have on the microSD card.
  4. Again use volume up/down key to select the firmware: either US_DEV_FFOS_V1.1.0B04_UNFUS_SD.zip or EU_DEV_FFOS_V1.1.0B04_UNFUS_SD.zip (depending on the version you downloaded), and press the power key to confirm.

Install from sdcard complete

If everything went well, you’ll see a sequence of status messages, culminating with one that says, “Install from sdcard complete.” You’ll need to select “reboot system now”: your phone will reboot, and you’ll see the configuration screen you saw the first time you powered on the phone.

After the process completes, you can remove the firmware zip file from your microSD card to reclaim the space. If somehow you bricked your phone–which shouldn’t happen if you had a sufficient charge on the battery and followed these steps–use this documentation to recover.

Congratulations, your phone is now running with Firefox OS 1.1! You will now benefit from all the bug fixes, new features for users and new features for developers of the latest released build of Firefox OS.

About Frédéric Harper

As a Senior Technical Evangelist at Mozilla, Fred shares his passion about the Open Web, and help developers be successful with Firefox OS. Experienced speaker, t-shirts wearer, long-time blogger, passionate hugger, and HTML5 lover, Fred lives in Montréal, and speak Frenglish. Always conscious about the importance of unicorns, and gnomes, you can read about these topics, and other thoughts at outofcomfortzone.net.

More articles by Frédéric Harper…

About Mark Coggins

Mark is the former SVP of Engineering at Actuate, a public company in the Business Intelligence space. He is co-founder of the BIRT open source project at the Eclipse Foundation, and is the author of six crime novels set in the Silicon Valley.

More articles by Mark Coggins…


  1. Emanuel Hoogeveen

    One thing to note if you’re interested in eventually making your own builds: fastboot seems broken with the 1.1 update. It worked on 1.0 revision 2, but you needed to flash a modified boot partition and even then it didn’t work very well – so it’s no big loss, but it’s still a step back and goes against the ‘Open’ part of the phone.

    December 23rd, 2013 at 09:52

    1. Frédéric Harper

      Hi Emmanuel, thanks for the comment. We are working with ZTE to fix that.

      January 6th, 2014 at 08:35

      1. Mister_W

        Hi there. I’ve just upgraded to:

        “OPEN(European Standard) SD card upgrading instruction & software package(ebay)-2376270OPEN_EU_DEV_FFOS_V1.1.0B02(for V1.1)”

        from 1.1.0B01. Has this update fixed the problem with fastboot?


        January 20th, 2014 at 14:21

        1. Mister_W

          Found it on ZTE’s site:


          January 20th, 2014 at 14:24

          1. Frédéric Harper

            To fix fastboot with Firefox OS 1.1 or even upgrade to 1.2, you can check our latest post at https://hacks.mozilla.org/2014/01/upgrading-your-zte-open-to-firefox-1-1-or-1-2-fastboot-enabled/ .

            January 31st, 2014 at 08:18

  2. elav


    With version 1.1 I spend a couple of things a little weird:

    1 – Sometimes when SMS arrive and the screen is locked, do not jump notifications. When unlocking the screen out notifications immediately. I must say that does not always happen, but it happens sometimes.

    2 – Sometimes Calendar and Usage application are running in the background when unlocking the screen. The close, lock the screen and unlock when the same thing happens.

    Otherwise all great .. I love FirefoxOS.

    December 23rd, 2013 at 10:17

  3. Mark Coggins

    Elav, thank you!

    You might consider entering a bug:

    or visiting the Mozilla Support site for Firefox OS:

    December 23rd, 2013 at 11:22

  4. Adam Harvey

    For those of us who managed to brick our ZTE Opens to the point where the recovery image is effectively non-functional (which was depressingly easy, at least with the first run of them), is there any possibility of having ZTE provide an image (that at least includes a functioning recovery mode) that can be flashed in TPT mode, please?

    December 23rd, 2013 at 13:45

    1. Mark Coggins

      Adam, we’ll pass the feedback onto ZTE, thanks.

      December 23rd, 2013 at 18:08

      1. Adam Harvey

        Thanks Mark. Fingers crossed they can deliver something.

        December 23rd, 2013 at 18:21

  5. Bob Thulfram

    Once we do this, how easy will it be to upgrade to 1.2 or 1.3 or beyond? Are there known good builds that can be used. I’m not sure 1.1 is all that great. What benefits do I get to overcome the risks of bricking?

    December 23rd, 2013 at 17:10

    1. Mark Coggins

      Bob, the links at the end of the article give a pretty good sense for the improved features in 1.1. I personally think it’s quite a bit better, especially, perhaps, from the end-user point of view.

      ZTE determines when and how the upgrades for later versions of the OS will be made available. We will be lobbying them to support the latest, of course.

      December 23rd, 2013 at 18:07

    2. M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

      There’s a fairly lengthy discussion on this at https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/980006. But the net at the moment is that once you install this update, you can’t get back to 1.0 *and* you can’t flash the device with a 1.2 or 1.3 you’ve built from Mozilla source. You’re stuck at the ZTE 1.1 until Mozilla and ZTE work things out.

      December 23rd, 2013 at 21:25

      1. Bob Thulfram

        Thanks! I feared as much. I will stick with ZTE Open 1.0.

        Made me decide to buy a Geeksphone (the bigger one). How are they at updates?

        December 23rd, 2013 at 23:14

        1. M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

          Don’t know about that – I ordered a Peak+, which got cancelled, and I’m staying for the “Revolution”. There’s no software detail on the Revolution yet but rumor has it that it will run either Android or some flavor of FxOS/Boot2Gecko modulo branding. Supposedly it will be capable of being dual-booted. I will probably run mine Android with Firefox Nightly and not mess with B2G/FxOS, since I have the ZTE already.

          December 23rd, 2013 at 23:22

        2. Frédéric Harper

          The updates for Geekphones are all available at http://downloads.geeksphone.com/, but I fear that they run out of stock at that time.

          January 6th, 2014 at 08:38

  6. Steve Ellis

    Just managed to upgrade to 1.1 but initially tried using my MacBook Pro but the installation kept failing…. then tried it on my Win 8.1 machine and it worked fine…. Don’t know why it wouldn’t work with the Mac….

    December 23rd, 2013 at 17:15

    1. Mark Coggins

      Steve, sorry you had problems on the Mac. I used a PC as well, but I know Fred tested with a Mac and it worked for him.

      December 23rd, 2013 at 18:03

      1. Frédéric Harper

        Yes, I did without any issues. If any other users have problems to upgrade to 1.1 on OS X, please let me know.

        January 6th, 2014 at 08:39

  7. aquilax

    The update went well but now I cannot update the phone. When I press Check now, I get “There was an error when checking for updates”. Then I get notification that the marketplace needs update and when I confirm, It gets downloaded and gives me an error again.

    December 23rd, 2013 at 20:36

    1. Frédéric Harper

      There is something else going on with your device as I’m not able to reproduce this problem: I updated the phone to 1.1, and was able to update the marketplace.

      You might consider entering a bug at https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/enter_bug.cgi?product=Firefox%20OS or visiting the Mozilla Support site for Firefox OS at https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/products/firefox-os .

      January 6th, 2014 at 08:41

  8. Jürgen Petry

    Hello, tried to do the update as described. Before, I did not change anything, except loading the Con Backup app as described above. When starting the update, I always end up with the following screen:

    Installation Aborted.

    – Install /sdcard …
    Finding update package…
    Opening update package…
    Verifying update package…
    Installing update…
    assert failed: getprop_new(“ro.b
    uild.display.id”) == “OPEN_US_DE
    E:Error in /tmp/sideload/package
    (Status 7)
    Installation aborted.

    Afterwards, when I reboot the phone normally, it works as usual, and I do not have any data loss. So ti seems as that the update process fails before writing any data.

    Did not find any helpful information on the web yet. Does anyone have an idea what went wrong in my case, or even better: What to do?

    December 24th, 2013 at 10:13

    1. Mark Coggins


      Maybe a dumb suggestion, but are you using the US package when you should be using the European one?

      December 24th, 2013 at 10:16

      1. Jürgen Petry


        Thank you very much for your helpful suggestion! In fact, I ordered the phone at the US eBay store, but I am not sure any more whether or not it was delivered from the UK. So, I’ll give it a try…

        December 24th, 2013 at 10:39

        1. Jürgen Petry


          You made my day :-)

          Thanks a whole lot for your helpful hint! Although I gave a rather poor showing, I hope that this may help others who face similar ‘problems’.

          December 24th, 2013 at 14:32

  9. Richard Killingsworth

    I got my ZTE Open about a month ago, and once I got it I installed the 1.0 update, Installed CWM, built my own version of 1.1, and modded my update.js file so I can install 1.2 and get nightly updates. I will be installing 1.3 once it becomes stable. I also started using straight talk wireless on this phone using a sim card.

    December 24th, 2013 at 11:28

    1. David Richardson

      Any chance you can post your images somewhere? I have CWM installed, but I haven’t been able to successfully build 1.1 or 1.2 images myself.

      Mozilla folks: It would be helpful if you guys could make these available as well.

      December 30th, 2013 at 15:43

      1. Richard Killingsworth

        https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0jVVaEWmMtFVzRieDFnS2xNRlk – Here’s my Firefox 1.1 image. There’s instructions in there for how to upgrade from 1.1 to 1.2. If you need any help you can always reply to this.

        January 1st, 2014 at 04:15

        1. ᙇᓐ M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

          I have my ZTE at 1.3 now – just change ‘1.2.0’ in the ‘updates.js’ file to ‘1.3.0’ and you get 1.3.0 nightly. There seems to be 1.4.0 on the website as well but I wasn’t *that* adventurous. ;-)

          January 17th, 2014 at 12:15

      2. Richard Killingsworth

        The image and other things are inside the .zip file. You will have to extract all of it. Don’t use the .zip file in CWM. Use adb to update to 1.1 and so on.

        January 1st, 2014 at 04:21

      3. Frédéric Harper

        Unfortunately, ZTE decided when they post new build, but we are working closely with them to have newer builds: we just published an article about 1.1 with fastboot enabled, as Firefox OS 1.2 for the ZTE Open at https://hacks.mozilla.org/2014/01/upgrading-your-zte-open-to-firefox-1-1-or-1-2-fastboot-enabled .

        January 31st, 2014 at 08:21

  10. Jonh

    You can use Contacts2XML and XML2Contacts to backup/restore your contacts without pictures.

    December 25th, 2013 at 03:21

    1. Frédéric Harper

      Note that those are Firefox OS applications you can install from the marketplace. Thanks for the suggestion Jonh.

      January 6th, 2014 at 08:46

  11. Andrew

    And what about Alcatel One Touch Fire upgrade? Where can I download it from?

    December 25th, 2013 at 16:31

    1. Frédéric Harper

      Alcatel didn’t release anything yet, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as they do.

      January 6th, 2014 at 08:47

  12. Laurens Debackere

    When will getUserMedia (microphone) finally be supported on Firefox OS? I’ve been waiting for several months now and not even your own demo (http://mozilla.github.io/webrtc-landing/gum_test.html) is working, are developers working on getUserMedia for FF OS now?



    January 6th, 2014 at 11:23

    1. Maire Reavy

      Hi Laurens, getUserMedia (gUM) microphone support is in v1.2 (the next FxOS release). The gUM microphone/audio feature is sometimes referred to as the “Microphone API” (see Bug 894848 in our bugzilla database for more details).

      The audio button on the gum_test.html page should work if you are using v1.2 or later. If the audio demo doesn’t work for you on your phone, please file a bug and copy me (mreavy at mozilla.com) on the bug ticket.

      Thanks for your interest in FxOS and gUM!

      January 10th, 2014 at 12:34

      1. Maire Reavy

        Also, please check out our roadmap wiki for the latest info about our releases and schedule: https://wiki.mozilla.org/B2G/Roadmap .

        January 10th, 2014 at 12:40

        1. ᙇᓐ M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

          N.B.: Mozilla’s road map != ZTE’s road map! ZTE just got around to shipping 1.1 on 10 December 2013, and a fair number of people, including myself, managed to brick the phones doing things that previously worked, like flashing from a source build.

          January 10th, 2014 at 13:23

  13. Sean Silva

    Just followed these instructions and they worked like a charm. FxOS 1.1 is a lot more responsive (especially the keyboard) than the 1.0 version that shipped with the phone. I’m looking forward to future developments.

    However, it’s disappointing that ZTE only has a 1.1 update and not 1.2 which has been out for over a month! If you work at Mozilla please try to find the right person who can put pressure on ZTE to provide updates for this device and ask them to do so.

    I’m especially looking forward to 1.2 because I read that the clock app has been updated to have a countdown timer, which is one of the biggest things that was keeping me from using the ZTE Open as my primary phone.

    January 12th, 2014 at 14:14

  14. Mark Coggins

    Sean, I’m glad the upgrade worked smoothly for you. We will definitely pass on the feedback.

    January 12th, 2014 at 16:34

  15. Patrick H. Lauke

    Would Mozilla consider hosting a mirror for the ZTE files? Download speed from the official site is dire (hosted in China?) and quite often fails…

    January 14th, 2014 at 01:34

    1. Mister_W

      I’m on the brink of returning my phone to ZTE. They sent me this:


      I was expecting something more user friendly, but… What do you lot make of it?


      January 15th, 2014 at 08:12

      1. ᙇᓐ M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

        Binary files with *no* documentation on how to install them? ZTE is out of their minds!

        January 15th, 2014 at 12:43

        1. Mister_W

          I was expecting a friendly .zip to stick on my SD card to undo the damage they’ve done with their 1.1 update.

          I’ve asked for instructions, so ever the optimist…

          January 15th, 2014 at 12:50

          1. ᙇᓐ M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

            Well, between ZTE and Geeksphone it looks like US-based Firefox phone users are getting the short end of the stick. I’m glad things are going well in Latin America and Europe for Mozilla, the carriers and the device makers, but I’m probably going to go Android in the very near future. Doing a port yourself is probably easier than getting a vendor without a major US presence to support you.

            January 15th, 2014 at 14:51

          2. Frédéric Harper

            ZTE sent us official release to upgrade to 1.1 with fastboot enabled, and to Firefox 1.2 https://hacks.mozilla.org/2014/01/upgrading-your-zte-open-to-firefox-1-1-or-1-2-fastboot-enabled/ .

            January 31st, 2014 at 08:23

  16. Mister_W

    I’m UK based, and support is zilch.

    January 15th, 2014 at 15:04

  17. Bob Thulfram

    Closer … closer …

    I can almost taste it!

    But I really want 1.3 the most.

    January 15th, 2014 at 19:08

    1. ᙇᓐ M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

      I have my ZTE Open at 1.3 now. Use the instructions here (https://hacks.mozilla.org/2013/12/upgrading-your-zte-open-to-firefox-os-1-1/comment-page-1/#comment-2156531) but change ‘1.2.0’ in the ‘updates.js’ file in directory ‘1.1’ to ‘1.3.0’ and it will update you to 1.3.0 pre-release instead of 1.2.0 pre-release.

      January 17th, 2014 at 12:13

  18. Mister_W

    Has anyone managed to do anything useful with the ZTE link I posted?


    I’m unlikely to have time to look at it until Sunday, at the earliest.

    January 16th, 2014 at 06:02

    1. ᙇᓐ M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

      I downloaded the files to my Linux box and unpacked them with Archive Manager. But since there’s no documentation on how to use them, how they were created, who created them, what their features and benefits are, or what licenses they are created under they are absolutely useless.

      January 16th, 2014 at 12:22

      1. Abhiram


        It looks like its the v1.2 update from Zte. You have to copy the image to the sd-card. Once thats done you should be able to flash it from by booting into recovery mode. (vol up + power)

        Good Luck!

        January 17th, 2014 at 13:06

        1. ᙇᓐ M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

          IMHO we the users and Mozilla the organization need to keep putting the pressure on ZTE and those that are selling the ZTE Open in the US, UK, etc., to step up their documentation and support games to the level people here expect. Many of us like myself are used to Github repos, broken English in documentation and email, or even heading to an IRC channel to get stuff working, but just posting some binary files to a Dropbox link is *woefully* inadequate!

          January 17th, 2014 at 13:28

  19. Jeff Johnson

    Mark/Frederic: I’ve followed the FFOS project for a while now in the background, but last week jumped in by purchasing a ZTE Open from zte_us. Before even putting my SIM card in, I stuck my micro SD card in and ran the 1.1 update. It was quick, easy, flawless. I’m truly impressed at what FFOS has accomplished at only version 1.1. Very usable OS even at this early stage. What an amazing project. I have shown my Open to a number of people, several of whom are now interested in jumping in also. Keep up the good work and ignore the naysayers that don’t get what FFOS is all about.

    January 17th, 2014 at 11:56

    1. Frédéric Harper

      Jeff, I’m really glad you like Firefox OS as your ZTE device. It’s with people like you, educating people about open technologies like this OS that the web is even more open!

      January 20th, 2014 at 12:09

  20. Nino

    The file from Richard Killingsworth (in Google Doc) is no more available…

    Can anyone tell me how to upgrade the ZTE Open to the last release of Firefox OS (1.2 or 1.3) ?

    January 19th, 2014 at 07:37

    1. Richard Killingsworth

      Follow the instructions on this website below and you should be able to update your phone to 1.2 or 1.3 and you’ll also be able to get updates every day after that. I broke my phone and I’m not doing anything related to Firefox OS anymore. I’m gonna get a Moto G next week. Sorry for deleting those files, but the instructions on the website below should work: http://sl.edujose.org/2013/11/enabling-nightly-updates-of-b2g-on.html

      January 21st, 2014 at 01:37

  21. Gerry Ferdinandus

    New version available V1.1:Date: 2014-01-20

    January 20th, 2014 at 14:41

    1. Gerry Ferdinandus


      fastboot looks ok


      sending ‘boot’ (3424 KB)…
      OKAY [ 0.287s]
      writing ‘boot’…
      OKAY [ 0.631s]
      finished. total time: 0.919s
      sending ‘userdata’ (4 KB)…
      OKAY [ 0.004s]
      writing ‘userdata’…
      OKAY [ 1.425s]
      finished. total time: 1.429s
      sending ‘system’ (147002 KB)…
      OKAY [ 12.253s]
      writing ‘system’…
      OKAY [ 25.153s]
      finished. total time: 37.406s
      erasing ‘cache’…
      OKAY [ 0.531s]
      finished. total time: 0.531s

      finished. total time: 0.001s

      … but it wont start up the phone
      So I have to reinstall V1.1.0B02. And just upload de update.js
      I am now on V1.3 pre-release. Good enough for me.

      January 20th, 2014 at 16:53

    2. Paul Hannington

      Do we know what the changes are between B01 and B02 ?? Is the bootloader now unlocked ?

      January 22nd, 2014 at 06:39

      1. Paul Hannington

        wow … the actual update zip in the B01 download was labelled as B04 and the update in the B02 download is labelled as B06 ??

        I assume ZTE enjoy confusing people, but maybe my question should be what’s the difference between 1.1B04 and 1.1B06 instead.

        … and I presume it would be insane of me to ask if people know why there is a different update for those on 1.1 compared with 1.0 – I thought it was just performing a complete flash and shouldn’t matter what you currently are running ?

        January 22nd, 2014 at 07:44

  22. Jude A

    Just tried to do this on my new ZTE Firefox OS and all seemed to be going well – then message comes up that this was aborted. At a bit of a loss – can anyone help? Thanks. Feel like I’ve over-stretched myself with this phone!

    January 21st, 2014 at 12:34

  23. Mark Coggins


    You might see if the message you got was similar to Jürgen’s above. He found he had to install the package for Europe rather than the US.

    January 21st, 2014 at 15:48

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