Orange San Francisco phone handset – How to unlock, root and upgrade Android 2.1 to 2.2 FroYo


Introduction

The Orange San Francisco is a great budget Android 2.1 phone and if you wish to use it on a different network it is relatively easy to unlock. The UI is Orange branded and runs slowly so to get around this you can switch to the pre-installed Launcher alternative or as is explained below you can install a custom ROM with Android 2.1 or 2.2

I found the process relatively simple but had to pull the instructions from a few places. I have therefore created instructions here as a reference point mainly for me if I have to do it again in the future. The website http://android.modaco.com provided much of the instructions I used and is an excellent reference point. Also check back there for newer versions of the files listed below.

Please follow these instructions carefully and be aware that there is a chance that you could break or ‘brick’ your phone during an upgrade process. I take no responsibility for any issues arising from following these instructions and you follow at your own risk.

How to unlock the phone for free

You will need the IMEI number. This is behind the battery on the handset or on the original box

  • Enter your IMEI number in the empty box and in the Service field select ZTE. Ensure that ZTE BLUEBELT is the selected Model. Finally enter the displayed text and click on Order. You will instantly receive an unlock code in the field above the IMEI number
  • If your phone is not switched off already then turn it off and remove the back cover and battery. Replace the SIM with the one you wish to use
  • Turn on your and once Android has loaded you will be prompted to enter an unlock code. Enter the unlock code you generated
  • A message is displayed stating that the phone is unlocked and you should see your service provider ident on the home screen

Depending upon your service provider, at this point you may need to check network provider settings for internet, messaging and multimedia messaging configuration. It is probable that you will need to create an APN (Access Point Name) specifically for your network.

Settings > Wireless & Networks >  Mobile networks > GSM/UMTS Options > Access Point Names > Menu button and New APN

How to root the phone

When you root your phone you gain superuser privileges to the Android operating system. By default on most Android phones you have the equivalent of guest privileges limiting what you can install or add.  When you root your phone you gain access to run applications that would otherwise not run as they require elevated rights.

  • Download Universal Androot from

http://www.addictivetips.com/wp-content/uploads/android/UniversalAndroot.zip

  • Unzip the folder and take a note of the location
  • Connect your phone via USB to the computer and you should be able to see the SD card
  • Copy the extracted APK file to the SD card. I just copied to the root
  • Use a file manager like Linda File Manager or Astro Manager (I just used Filer) to install the file. If you get an error stating that the Install is blocked as the application didn’t come from the Android Market then follow the settings to allow installation of apps from non-Android market
  • Once installed launch the Universal Androot application and select the Root button to become a superuser

The original instructions I initially followed

http://www.addictivetips.com/mobile/how-to-root-android-devices-with-universal-androot-app/

How to install drivers for Windows

  • Whilst your phone is switched on connect it to a PC with the USB cable that is supplied with the phone
  • Depending upon your flavour of Windows a New Hardware wizard should start. When asked how you would like to search for driver software select Browse my computer for driver software and point it to the folder that you extracted the files to. The wizard should install 2 devices SingleAdbInterface and CompositeAdbInterface

If the hardware wizard doesn’t start then you can manually update the drivers by going to Control Panel > Device Manager and right click on the Unknown devices and select Update driver for each one

  • Unplug the phone from the USB port on the PC. We need to restart the phone in bootloader mode (this allows you to install custom system images and custom versions of the Android platform)

To start in bootloader mode power on your phone with the Volume up key pressed. The screen should only display the green Android screen

  • Connect the phone again via USB to the PC. The wizard should again detect new hardware. When asked how you would like to search for driver software select Browse my computer for driver software and point it to the folder that you extracted the files to. The wizard should install the SingleBootloader device
  • Disconnect the phone from the PC and power cycle the phone

The original instructions I initially followed

http://android.modaco.com/content/zte-blade-blade-modaco-com/319156/winxp-7-zte-blade-drivers-and-adb/

How to install the ClockworkMod application with Fastboot

The ClockworkMod application is a recovery tool which allows you to install new images and ROMS. It’s basically a ROM installation manager and is relatively easy to install.

  • Download fastboot  from here:

http://loadbalancing.modaco.com/download.php?url=paul/fastboot.zip

  • Extract the fastboot archive to a location on your PC
  • Download 2.5.0.9: ClockworkMod Recovery from here:

http://android.modaco.com/content/zte-blade-blade-modaco-com/319565/oled-tft-30-nov-2-5-1-3-clockworkmod-recovery/

  • Copy or move the recovery-clockwork-2.5.0.9-modaco-r2-blade.img file into your fastboot directory

I created a directory on my C:\ drive called SFphone and just dumped all my downloads into that.

  • Open a command window and change the directory to the fastboot directory – for example

cd c:\sfphone\fastboot

Power off your phone and pop out the battery. Replace the battery and start in bootloader mode – power on your phone with the Volume up key pressed. The screen should only display the green Android screen

Connect the phone via USB into the PC

In the command window now type (if the image name is different amend the command line)

fastboot-windows flash recovery recovery-clockwork-2.5.0.9-modaco-r2-blade.img

When it has completed restart the phone with the following command

fastboot-windows reboot

When powering on your phone if you now hold the Volume Down button firmly you will get the ClockworkMod menu

The original instructions I initially followed

http://android.modaco.com/content/zte-blade-blade-modaco-com/319831/19-dec-installing-the-modaco-custom-rom-from-scratch-and-other-roms/

How to install a custom ROM

This is the part where you need to select a ROM that you want to install on your phone. When I purchased the phone I really wanted to be able to install and use 2.2 FroYo and as you can always go back and install the original Orange 2.1 stock ROM it’s not such a major deal. I chose to use the excellent ROM created by fibblesan which is located here: http://flibblesan.co.uk/android/blade/roms/flb-froyo-blade-r3a.zip

There are a lot of ROM’s to choose from and a good starting point is here:

http://android.modaco.com/content/zte-blade-blade-modaco-com/319831/19-dec-installing-the-modaco-custom-rom-from-scratch-and-other-roms/

  • Download the ROM that you wish to install
  • Backup anything on your phone you wish to keep just in case there are any issues
  • Copy the ROM zip file onto the root of your SD card. To do this plug your phone in and copy and paste using a file manager ie) Windows Explorer
  • Power off your phone and pop out the battery. Replace the battery and start in ClockworkMod mode – power on your phone with the Volume down key pressed. The screen will display the ClockworkMod Recovery menu. The screen is upside down which is normal

If you want to make a complete backup of your phone before making any changes then: use the backup option. This will create a full backup and save it onto the SD card in a directory called \clockwork

NB – I didn’t bother with a backup simply because the phone was new

–          Use Volume UpDown to move between options

–          To select an option use the Home key

–          To go back a screen use the Back key

  • To install, choose the “install zip fom sdcard” option

Select “choose zip from sdcard
Choose the file that you copied to the root of the SD card for example ” flb-froyo-blade-r3a.zip
Choose the various default answers
When it has completed use the back button to get back to the main menu

When I initially followed these instructions on my phone I restarted the phone at this point and it got stuck at a boot up screen and I panicked! Fortunately just a couple of extra steps are required.

  • To cure the boot up issue and staying in the ClockworkMod Recovery menu we need to reset the phone which will result in you losing your apps and data

From the clockwork menu choose: Clear Cache

From the clockwork menu choose: Factory Reset

  • Finally choose the option “reboot now“The phone reboots and should boot into the new OS. I find that the first time takes a while and subsequent boots are much quicker

    NB – Please note that the first connection to Android Market must be done through 3G and not a Wi-fi link

The original instructions I initially followed

http://android.modaco.com/content/zte-blade-blade-modaco-com/319831/19-dec-installing-the-modaco-custom-rom-from-scratch-and-other-roms/

http://android.modaco.com/content/zte-blade-blade-modaco-com/323154/oled-flb-froyo-g2-for-zte-blade-beta/

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21 thoughts on “Orange San Francisco phone handset – How to unlock, root and upgrade Android 2.1 to 2.2 FroYo

  1. Thanks a lot for this guide. Although i did encounter a few problems, mainly with the drivers, i did get this to work and it is flawless from what I can see. Thanks

  2. Thanks. Like Ali, I had a few issues with the drivers but I managed to install 2.2 okay. Having a problem with hooing up to my Google Account now and even a hard reset doesn’t seem to have worked.

  3. I must admit the drivers worked the first time after they were installed but are a bit hit and miss now. Not too sure about problem logging into Google account..just made sure like with Android market that I used 3G connection rather than wifi the first time you connect.

  4. Hi thanks – Very useful, unlocked my phone but finding that Settings > Wireless & Networks > Mobile networks > Access Point Names > APN but find that the APN screen is a blank screen with no options to set the APN. It kicks me of APN after 20 sec. Any way of setting up the APN?

    • When you are in APNs you may need to click the physical MENU button (the middle of the three push buttons)which gives you the option of ‘New APN’ which after you select will allow you to add in all your service provider settings.

  5. Hey there

    How come we select ZTE BLUEBELT instead of the Orange san Francisco? I’m sure it’s right but just wondered why we don’t select what it actually is. I’m cool with it, but it just seems a bit weird!

  6. after getting a little confused i did finally install it on phone better than the orange junk that was on it im running froyo 2.2 jap jellyfish

  7. Hi , I have just got an SF ,I have followed the instructions ,but I don’t get the pop up to enter the unlock cod . The SF just starts as normal . Does this mean it’s allready unlocked? I’m using o2 in UK and getting (no service)on the screen .
    Thanks for any help ,Keith.

  8. can anyone tell me how to connect my san francisco to my computer? when i try it asks for a cd which is not given by orange. i would appreciate any help. thanks

  9. i cant get android green screen when poweron &volume+ button.
    i get only ftm mode when vol- button.
    my phone is not working properly when i start my phone it shows force closed
    i can`t install any software,i can`t call ,
    it always reboot automaticaly

  10. Thank you for some other informative website. Where else may just I am getting that type of info written in such a perfect manner? I’ve a project that I’m simply now working on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

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