How to update your Samsung Galaxy smartphone and install official firmware
Samsung Galaxy smartphones are among the best Android smartphones in the market. When it comes to the software update front, the Korean OEM is doing a pretty decent job as well, keeping its average consumers on new and recent security patches through regular updates. However, one thing thats not always easy to come by on Samsung Galaxy devices is the stock flashable firmware you can flash to either downgrade, upgrade, or restore your phone.
In this tutorial, well show you how to manually locate the appropriate update package for your Samsung Galaxy smartphone, download it onto your PC, and finally flash the target device with the updated firmware.
Table of Contents:
Types of Samsung firmware
Unlike most Android devices, Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets dont have a true fastboot interface for firmware flashing. The Korean OEM developed their own firmware flashing tool known as Odin, named after the king of Gods in the Norse mythology. Odin communicates with a special software component called Loke which seems to be named after another important character in Norse mythology (often translated as Loki). Loke runs on Samsung devices while in download mode and provides the functionality necessary to perform a flashing operation.
Interface of the Odin flashing tool
Odin firmware files are like the factory images for the Google Pixel lineup, just compressed into one single archive and made easy to use via a GUI tool instead of a command line tool such as fastboot.
Samsungs FUS (Firmware Update Server) also offers incremental as well as full OTA zip files, which are meant to be installed using the stock recovery environment.
How to download Samsung firmware
Before we get started with manual download, you should check to see if the update has already been sent to your device over-the-air. An OTA update is super easy to download and install. Youll usually get a notification when an OTA update is available. If not, heres how to check for the update on your Samsung Galaxy device:
If your phone reports its software is up to date, but you know an update is available for your model, we can take advantage of the manual download methods.
Download the recovery-flashable package
Capturing the OTA package on Samsung Galaxy devices is a bit of a tricky job, as you need to set up a packet sniffing tool beforehand to extract the download URL.
Download the Odin-flashable package
Samsung maintains many region-specific and carrier-specific update channels. As a result, you have to determine the exact consumer software customization code, A.K.A. the CSC value of your device before downloading the Odin firmware. Keep in mind changing the CSC of an existing device or cross-flashing a different firmware is possible, but explaining such modifications is out of the scope of this tutorial.
Phone INFO SAM
How to install Samsung firmware
Depending on the firmware type, the installation process may require a PC. Odin, for example, requires Windows, so keep that in mind while trying to update the firmware on any Samsung phone.
Sideloading through recovery: Using Android Debug Bridge (ADB)
Sideloading through recovery: Using an SD card
Flashing via Odin
Warning: Odin isnt actually intended for regular users, but since its an official tool from Samsung, your phone will allow it to load the necessary files for flashing the firmware without unlocking the bootloader. However, using it incorrectly can still damage your device. Proceed with caution.
Grabbing the right version of Odin is the first step. Due to the fact the tool is never meant to be used by consumers, Samsung doesnt host it on a public download portal.Fortunately, XDA Senior Member realbbb maintains a repository of verified copies of the Odin tool. He also offers patched variants of Odin (known as 3B patched) that are capable of bypassing a number of stop conditions while cross-flashing.
Download Odin (both unmodified and 3B patched) XDA Thread
USB interfaces exposed by a Galaxy smartphone after installing the Samsung Android driver
The download mode interface of a Samsung Galaxy device under Windows
Once the phone boots to the home screen, open Settings from the app drawer or the gear icon in the Quick Settings menu. Then, scroll to the bottom of Settings, select About Phone and choose Software information. Next, find theBuild number entry and locate its value. It should be the same as the Odin firmware package you downloaded earlier.
Thats it. As you can see, manually updating the firmware of your Samsung Galaxy smartphone isnt that difficult, but its not a completely straightforward method either. Hopefully, this tutorial made the process easier for you to understand and follow.
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DIY enthusiast (i.e. salvager of old PC parts). An avid user of Android since the Eclair days, Skanda also likes to follow the recent development trends in the world of single-board computing.
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