[Wiki] Common problems with SFOS OTA upgrades (updates)

This is a collection of common issues that appear after or during SailfishOS upgrades.

Its main purpose is to have an index/starting point to quickly find posts dealing with similar problems and perhaps finding a solution.

NOTE: Many of the tools and methods here are not supported by Jolla! If you decide to deploy/follow them, you may not get further assistance from Jolla Care.

Also, verify the solution you find actually matches your problem! Do not blindly follow advice you’re not sure you understand!

Here’s some general advice to increase your chances for a smooth update:

  • Read the Release Notes, and heed the advice and notes there. Also read the Known Issues section.
  • Ensure plenty of space on the system partition
  • Use a stable and plentiful internet connection (you do not want timeouts during the download phase)
  • Disable third-party repos before starting the update
  • Don’t be an early bird: in the first couple of hours after a release, everybody seems to be updating. Try to wait a day or two.
  • Read the forum here in the mean time on what works and what seems to cause problems.
  • Battery!

Nice to have:

  • Backups!
  • Computer with USB port, proper cable, Android/Fastboot USB device drivers, and android tools (adb, fastboot), all tested and working with your phone
  • Developer mode enabled and SSH server enabled
  • downloaded flashable images from both the current installed version, AND the version to be updated to. This is to have the recovery image available that matches the installed version.
    (And by the way, if you don’t have the recovery image for the version you are currently running, it’s actually on the device under /boot/hybris-recovery.img, from the package droid-hal-XXXXXX-img-recovery, so you can copy that off the device.)

Before the update

Symptom Possible Causes Solution Links
The latest update isn’t available for me Update is in EA phase or you are using a Free version of SFOS Wait about a week or two for the proper release.
The GUI updater is only available on licensed SailfishOS installations.
Early Access, Sailfish X License, sfos-upgrade
Updater tells me to uninstall (a lot of) apps The checker isn’t perfect See release notes and these links → How to interpret the message, Why it appears
There isn’t enough space on the system partition Jolla’s partitioning scheme is from 2013 Either uninstall large native apps (games, etc.)
Programs like Space Inspector or ncdu can help finding what uses much space)

Note that removing Android apps and other stuff from the home partition will not help.

Enlarge the root partition.
LVM volume resize guide Use unused partitions
Updater is “Unable to determine update size” inconsistent repo state Article at Jolla’s Zendesk

During the update

Symptom Notes Cause Solution Links
Updater UI hangs while updating, the progress bar freezes, the process never finishes unknown Wait as long as you can, after that, power off the device and hope for the best One, Two

After the update

Boot Loops and “Black Screens of Death”

If the device doesn’t come up again after an update, reasons can be complex.See the general strategy how to proceed below.

Symptom Notes Possible Causes Solution Links
Boot Loop I device reboots after boot logo (Sony) appears
Boot Loop II device reboots after entering security code
Black Screen I device hangs after boot logo (Sony) appears often incomplete update or incompatible libraries installed
Black Screen II device hangs after entering security code on some devices this can take a couple of minutes. do not panic If appearing immediately after the update, sometimes a hard reboot fixes this. link

The general strategy would be:

  1. if there is no data valuable to you on the device, re-flash it using the latest image from http://shop.jolla.com.

  2. If the device hangs, see if you can connect to it using either SSH, or USB networking. If you can, try to gather logging information about the failure.

  3. Otherwise, obtain a recovery image and enter Recovery mode

  4. Using Recovery Mode, mount the system partition and turn on Persistant Journalling

  5. Boot your device normally again

  6. Boot into Recovery mode once more

  7. Using Recovery Mode, mount the system partition and gather the journal files from /var/log/journal

  8. Analyze the journal files and see if you can identify specific issues that cause problems.

  9. Using the information from the journal files, seek additional help, from this table, the forum, IRC etc.

General Update Issues

Symptom Notes Possible Causes Solution Links
The update was aborted, but my device shows it has the latest version WARNING do not install or update any apps while in this state!! incomplete update, inconsistent SSU state see the link → Bug ssu re
I did not start any update, but my device shows it has the latest version WARNING do not install or update any apps while in this state!! inconsistent SSU state see the link → Bug ssu re
Standard (Jolla) apps do not start Immediately after an update, refreshing and Store app updates are performed in the background. Wait a for bit, the problem might solve itself.
Many network-related apps do not start Have you messed with /etc/hosts or similar files? May be a ownership problem link
Android app support does not start Sometimes, uninstalling and re-installing it from Jolla Store helps.
Note this will remove all your Android apps!
My favourite app do not start or has problems various Check the apps issue tracker, search the forum, see OpenRepos comments section, start it from terminal and capture logs
Installing a new app fails dependencies are missing Try pkcon refresh. Check the apps issue tracker, discussion forum, or contact the developer.
Cannot use zypper or pkcon, installation of apps fails corruption of repo or cache files Clean package cache, correct repos One Two
programs complaining about missing libraries can be observed in terminal/console probably an incomplete update, OR outdated/incompatible app installed OR dangerous OpenRepos repo active Try pkcon refresh first, maybe version --dup or sfos-update --verify.
Symlinks can sometimes be a temporary(!) solution
programs complaining about undefined symbols can be observed in terminal/console likely an incomplete update, OR incompatible third-party library installed Symlinks can sometimes be a temporary(!) solution Example
My bug has not been fixed Was it announced to be fixed in the Release Notes or Change Log? Then amend the original bug report. Otherwise bump existing bug reports with new information. Wait and hope.
Contact Avatars disappear bug need to restore images from backup Contact Photos Gone
This update made my CPU load/battery usage go crazy! Media Indexing running Immediately after an update, all the media is usually re-indexed. This process is CPU-intensive and may run for a long time, depending on amount and complexity of the media to be indexed. It should resolve itself after a while though.

Really nice initiative!

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Nice, did you mention the need of an usb2-hub for some usb3-controllers?

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Good hint but this should be about OTA updates, not flashing.

I mention that PC connection infrastructure should be available and tested.


Bumping this after the release.

Please update the wiki with new information if you have some.

4.5 EA is out, let’s bumpittybump.


I hadn’t even seen this at all, so the bump was good :slight_smile: Thanks for building it!

Disable third-party repos before starting the update

Hi Nephros, could you please specify this:
I’ve installed:

  • F-Droid
  • Aurora-Store
  • Storeman
  • Chum

What should I do each before starting the update?

Actually, that advice should probably be removed.

Android stores are fine. ChumGUI/Chun repo is fine.

Storeman also, BUT OpenRepos has some repos which could cause problems. If you have any enabled which replace system/jolla packages, it would be smart to revert to the originals before updating.

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so does it makes sense to disable the repos from storeman ui ?
if not i guess i need to use terminal

Hi nephros,
perhaps one could add this to “Nice to have”:

It’s nice to have screenshots of the app order, if you care (an update can change the order a lot).

  1. This applies only to Android icons
  2. So far, it is only when updating from 4.4 to 4.5
  3. We’ll see whether it keeps happening in future updates.

IMO, this should have been a hint in the release notes, but it’s a minor annoyance after all.

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