Install Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich manually to bypass “Failed to fetch URL” dl-ssl error

So as we all know by now, Google has released the latest version of their mobile phone operating system Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It boasts a load of new features from its predecessor Android 3.0 and has a nice visual update too.

If you’re reading this article, I’ll bet you were looking forward to installing Ice Cream Sandwich on your computer to give it a test run. In most situations, installing the SDK and relevant components should be pretty easy. However sometimes things don’t work according to plan.

If you’re anything like me, you would have tried installing the software but come across a “Failed to fetch URL” error which looks something like this.

Android failed to fetch url error message

Essentially what this means is that for some reason, the SDK installed on your computer cannot communicate to the server where the latest version of Android is stored. It’s very likely that this is a Firewall or Proxy settings issue. Back when Android 3.0 was released, the same issue occurred and I wrote a workaround article for it. Google has since re-jigged the locations and names of the files, so I decided a new workaround article was needed.

If you have tried all of the suggestions and work arounds that Google suggest to get Android 4.0 up and running, you can try this manual installation process and you should be tinkering with Android in no time. Strap yourself in and let’s get to it.

Install the Android SDK

Android 4.0 requires version 14 of the SDK. If you don’t have this version, you will need to upgrade your SDK. The SDK is here

Locate the android-14_r01.zip file

Once you’ve downloaded, installed and run the SDK for the first time and if you get the “Failed to fetch URL” error, take a close look at the message. The SDK is trying to locate an XML file. Copy this link and paste it into your browser (or click the link) https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/repository-5.xml

You will see now in your browser a big chunk of text. Don’t worry, you don’t really need to read it. It looks like jargon, but if you scroll down, you will see that within this text is the location to every single version of Android dating all the way back to Version 1.1.

Locate the “android-14_r01.zip” file. This is what we’re after!
Location of android-14_r01_zip

If we combine “https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/repository-5.xml” and “android-14_r01.zip” we can get a direct link to the file
“https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/android-14_r01.zip” Download it now.

Install Android 4.0 SDK

Locate the root directory where you installed the SDK. It might be something like “C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk_r14-windows\” or similar. Within this folder navigate to the “Platforms” directory. Extract “android-14_r01.zip” into the “Platforms” directory. A folder called “android-14_r01” will be created. Go into this folder and you will see another folder called “android-4.0.1”. This folder needs to be in the “Platforms” directory, so cut the “android-4.0.1” folder and paste it in the “Platforms” directory. You can now delete the empty “android-14_r01” folder.

At this stage, we can try to load the SDK. You will probably notice that you still get a “Failed to fetch URL” error, but on closer inspection, you will also see that we have now installed Android 4.0.

Problem not solved yet. So we need more hints. Try to create an AVD from the Android AVD manager using Android 4.0 as the Target. You will probably see the following error;

Android armeabi-v7a error

After a bit of hunting around on the net, I found that there is another piece of the puzzle that we need to find, download and install – notably the “armeabi-v7a” files located within the “sysimg_armv7a-14_r01.zip” file.

Locate the sysimg_armv7a-14_r01.zip file

To find the “sysimg_armv7a-14_r01.zip” file, we can go back to our trusty “https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/repository-5.xml” and search for “sysimg_armv7a-14_r01.zip”. You will find it in here.

Use this direct download link for the “sysimg_armv7a-14_r01.zip” file – “https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/sysimg_armv7a-14_r01.zip“. Download this file.

Install armeabi-v7a

Go back to your root Android directory and then navigate to “Platforms > Android-4.0.1 >”
Once you are in the “Android-4.0.1” directory, create a new folder called “images”. Unzip the “sysimg_armv7a-14_r01.zip” file into the “images” directory and it should create a folder called “sysimg_armv7a-14_r01”. Go into this folder and you will see another folder called “armeabi-v7a”. This folder needs to be in the “images” directory, so cut the “armeabi-v7a” folder and paste it into the “images” directory. You can now delete the “sysimg_armv7a-14_r01” folder.

It took me for AGES to figure that one out, but I just ended up comparing file structures of previous versions of the other SDKs.

Create a new AVD and fire up Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Now with a bit of luck everything should be in place and ready to go. Create a new AVD from the AVD manager, use Android 4.0 as the Target and press start.
If you managed to follow these tricky instructions of mine, your reward should be a full working version of Android 4.0.

It would be great to hear how you went and if the installation worked for you in the comment section below.

Good luck and Enjoy!