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I religiously update the firmware of my phone every few months. It generally fixes small niggles in the phone that the developers left out before the phone came into the market. There are two methods to accomplish this. You could use Nokia's PC software updater utility to update your phone's firmware via the USB data transfer cable, or you could use your Wi-Fi enabled Symbian phone to perform an over the air firmware update.
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Updating with Nokia's PC Software
To update your phone using Nokia's PC software updater. You need to download the software and have your phone and data cable ready. Here are the steps to be followed-
Step 1: Backup your phone. Generally a firmware update leaves your memory card items untouched, but its better to be safe and backup all your SMS and contacts.
Step 2: Connect your phone via USB and select the PC Suite mode. your phone will be identified and the software will search for an update for your phone. If it finds one, it will display an update button. Click it and proceed.
Step 3: The software will download the firmware and install it onto your phone. If you have a slow internet connection, it may take some time. You can do some other work while this process is being completed. It will indicate when it is finished. Restore the data back to your phone.
This method works for all Symbian phones. Its the most effective method. Do not worry about anything going wrong with your phone due to a disconnection. I've had my Internet disconnect a couple of times while updating and it is safe. The update is installed only after it is verified.
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Using the Over the Air Updater
If you phone has Wi-Fi, you may have the option of updating over the air. This is a convenient feature as you can perform an update while at your favorite coffe shop or at any Wi-Fi hotspot. This feature is only supported in Series 60 3rd FP1 or higher phones. I will demonstrate this feature on my N78.
Step 1: Press *#0000# on the main screen. It will display the version of the currently installed firmware on your phone.
Step 2: Click the center button on your phone. Select Check for Updates . It will search for a new firmware using the wireless connection.
Step 3: It will ask if you would like to install the update now or later. Select Now and accept all dialog boxes that appear. The phone will reboot and you should be able to use the latest firmware.
This feature at the time of my writing this article is supported by the N96, N78, N79 and the 5800. More phones are being introduced with this functionality and existing Symbian phones are getting this feature via the latest firmware updates.
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Both methods are effective ways to update your phone firmware, but the over the air update is more convenient. You don't have to be near a PC to do it. Hopefully all the older models of wireless enabled Symbian phones will have this feature in their latest firmware update.