Apply LifeGuard Update to Zebra TC 51 Handheld through microSD card

While troubleshooting a virtual keyboard issue, I noticed my Zebra TC51 device does not have the same LifeGuard version (or build number) as the ones out in the field. To ensure my test is consistent, I followed the steps below to update my device with the same LifeGuard version effortlessly. Let me show you how.

TC51a1.jpg ‎- Photos 2021-06-09 11.09.50

To start, you need to download the LifeGuard file. You can find various version of it along with the full version of the OS from the Zebra website in case you ever need to upgrade (or downgrade) the OS as well.

Since my device is running OS 7.1.2 with build number starting in 01-01-49, I expanded the section for Nougat and then the LifeGuard Update 20 (U20) which is the latest version for the major build number BSP 01.01.49

Besides downloading the zip file, I also downloaded the release note which describes the steps needed to apply this update in detail. I did, however, rely on another link to enter Recovery Mode properly.

Under the ‘Installation Instructions’ section of the release note, there are two options to apply this update:

  1. Using ADB Sideload
  2. Using External SD card

I chose the second option mainly because I already have a number of microSD cards laying around. I may do a separate post with the first option in the future.

To start, simply copy the zip file directly to your microSD card. There is no need to extract it. 

Then, remove the battery from the back of the TC51 device and locate the microSD card cover. Remove it and insert the microSD card pre-loaded with the zip file. Then, put the battery back in place.

TC51a4 TC51a5 TC51a3

To enter the Recovery Mode:

  • Turn on the device
  • Press and hold the POWER button until you see the power options menu box
  • Press and hold the PPT button on the left side of the device
  • Select “Reboot” option on the screen while still holding down the PPT button
  • Release the PPT button when you see the “Zebra” logo on the screen
  • Wait until the “Recovery mode” screen appears
  • You now have successfully entered the Recovery Mode

TC51a6 TC51a7 TC51a8

Then, use the Volume + and – to highlight select option to “Apply update from SD card” and press the Power Key to select it.

Next, use the Volume + and – to highlight package to be installed ( and press the Power Key to select it.

Once the update completes, “Reboot system now” is highlighted. Press the Power Key to Reboot.

Once the reboot completes, verify the build number by navigating to “Settings” > “About phone”. Scroll to the bottom and confirm the “Build number” should start with “01-01-49.00-NG-U20-STD”.

As always, stay mobile!

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