See also: GSM Radio.
Your first task is to gain root access, and the procedure varies for different phones and operating system releases. On the Galaxy S III, your subgoals are:
Replace Verizon's locked bootloader with an unlocked one that will voluntarily install a custom Recovery. Other variants of the Galaxy S III are shipped with an unlocked bootloader.
Install a version of Recovery that will install a custom system image, i.e. CyanogenMod. The CyanogenMod team recommends Koush's ClockworkMod Recovery, which is what I'm familiar with and used this time too, but there are other choices.
Revert to the stock bootloader. The author of the procedure says
issues have been seen using the bootloader from another
variant to boot the main system.
Install CyanogenMod and Google Apps using your custom Recovery. CyanogenMod is intrinsically rooted.
This is from Team Epic's instructions. As of 2012-10-26, the procedure in the official CyanogenMod instructions was not clear and I was not able to get it to work. The procedures are nearly identical for both modes, differing in whether you press volume-up or volume-down.
Disconnect the USB cable (if connected).
Turn off power from the power button menu. Long press power (hold down for 1-2 secs) and select Power Off, the last item.
Battery pull: Remove the back cover. Remove the battery, Count 20 seconds. Put the battery back in. For safety, replace the back cover every time even though you need to boot into download/recovery mode several times in succession. If the battery falls out at the wrong time you'll brick your phone. (If you don't battery pull, it seems to ignore the button presses in the next step.)
To get into Recovery, press (and don't release) volume-up, home,
and finally power. Let go when it puts tiny blue text at the top
of the screen saying
Recovery Booting. It's visible for only
To get into download mode, substitute volume-down, and the message is much more threatening. Read, and press volume-up to confirm download mode.
Now connect the USB cable, if relevant, mainly for download mode, although ADB is supposed to function (as root) in ClockworkMod Recovery.
When you're finished with Recovery there will be an option to reboot. In download (Odin) mode, normally Odin will make the booter reboot the phone, but if you un-checked the auto reboot box, you will need to disconnect the USB cable and pull the battery.
Here's a video on Youtube showing how to get into download mode by advicesmedia, 2012-07-06.
You should download the stock components in case you need to revert from your hacked state. You should download and save them as soon as you get the phone, or as soon as they become available, because files have a tendency to disappear when you most need them.
Latest Stock ROMs for VERIZON SGS3 (SCH-I535) by AdamLange, 2012-07-06. This posting has links for the latest ODIN-3.07 (flasher tool) and for image version I535VRALF2 (released 2012-07-05, built 2012-06-15). Links are to samsung-updates.com ; I'm not sure what their business model is, but they are an unofficial repo for unmodified system images for Samsung phones.
I downloaded ODIN (1Mb), the system image, and the kernel image (5Mb). Oops, download link for system image yields nothing, but the name is http://samsung-updates.com/get/1074/Samsung_Firmware_SCH-I535_VZW_I535VRALF2_Android_4_0_4.html See the VRALG2 system image in invisiblek's section.
The first job is to find ClockworkMod Recovery.
http://www.clockworkmod.com/ -- Front page, click on the Rom Manager image.
Recovery Image for
Samsung Galaxy S3 (Verizon), version 6.0.12
-- This is the
recovery.img mentioned in the instructions.
Note d2vzw in the filename; the same chassis name is used that
CyanogenMod does. You must have an exact match to your
device. Look on the index page to get the current version, rather
than following this link to possibly a back version. You can also pick
the touch-style recovery. Jimc has tried it and finds it a significant
Unfortunately a .img file is not what we're going to be using.
If we're going to use Odin to flash recovery, we need an Odin package (tar.md5). This post on XDA-Developers has links and the procedure. Some comment posters find that when you boot the stock OS it reverts to the stock recovery. Be on your toes, see the step where you flash Recovery.
They say, your bootloader must be unlocked or Odin will fail to flash this. This problem would not be seen by Team Epic because only Verizon (of North American carriers) have a locked bootloader. See Invisiblek's procedure below to get around this.
List of various packages mirrored/linked by Koush (ClockworkMod.com)
-- Including CyanogenMod nightly builds for CM-10 based on
Bean. This is a set of links to recent nightlies on
get.cm (CyanogenMod official download site).
CyanogenMod nightly build for d2vzw dated 2012-10-24 -- This is the one I picked. If you are reading this after 2012-10-xx this nightly will probably be gone and you will have to guess which is the best one.
stable images have started appearing for the Galaxy
CyanogenMod-10 for d2vzw dated 2012-11-13.
RomManager.apk (from Market) -- If you root the stock image or install a system image that doesn't have the Rom Manager app, get it from this direct link (follow on your phone) or use the next link instead. CyanogenMod no longer has Rom Manager installed intrinsically.
You also need the Google Apps for CyanogenMod-10. This would be the set dated 2012-07-26 (or more recent, if available). Filename: gapps-jb-20120726-signed.zip . 83Mb.
Root Recovery Bootloader Unlock SCH-I535 (d2vzw) Verizon Galaxy S III by invisiblek, 2012-07-07. Begin by downloading these files (get links from the post):
Overview of the procedure (see the post for detailed instructions which you need to follow exactly): You're going to use Odin to flash a bunch of stuff.
ROM) unless you are installing CyanogenMod or another custom image.
TriangleAway v2.10 by Chainfire, originally posted 2012-02-12 and most recently updated (to 2.10) on 2012-10-16. On (many) Samsung devices there is a counter in NVRAM that they increment when you flash custom images, and if this is nonzero a lurid warning is shown during booting, which signals carrier personnel to refuse warranty service. This app (which requires root) inspects and resets the counter. On the Android Market it's non-free, but the developer posts a free version here for those too cheap to pony up (jimc's sarcasm).
GS3DebugFSRoot: Root the Verizon GSIII without flashing by Noxious
Ninja, 2012-08-15. This is a Windows BAT file which will do whatever it
does, and install
su. If all you want is root, it's simpler than
invisiblek's method, but that's not my situation.
Verizon Galaxy S III Bootloader Unlock App Hits Play Store by Cory Gunther on AndroidCommunity.com, 2012-08-17. Once you have root, you can install the EZ-Unlock app (ad supported) and install (or revert) an unlocked bootloader.
As of 2012-10-26 this procedure does not work on the Verizon Galaxy S III because its bootloader is locked. You need to stomp that first. Sorry.
Samsung Galaxy S III: Full Update Guide dated about 2012-08-26, receives the most love from Gu1dry. They bypass the entire unlocking process.
The next step would be to flash CyanogenMod itself. You can use ROM Manager if you already have root, but I will do it through Recovery.
Team Epic have put together instructions for installing ClockworkMod Recovery on all Galaxy S III variants. Their charter is for devices supported on Sprint (not Verizon), and so you will need to use the corresponding Verizon files. You will also need to unlock the bootloader, whereas Sprint variants are shipped unlocked. The frst section [doesn't] give instructions to upgrade from an older version of ClockworkMod, which is not my situation. (Look at the very end of the page; I think someone inserted material between the headline and the content.)
The second section tells how to do a fresh install using Odin. There is also a video. This is what I will have to do. The main interest of this section is instructions how to use Odin. Jimc's summary:
Obtain Odin for Windows. They have links for Odin-3.04.
Obtain Windows driver: Sprint_L710_GSIII_Samsung_USB_Driver_v1_4_6_0.exe. I would be a lot happier with a driver named for Verizon. See Invisiblek's download list for this.
Download (to the host Windows box) a suitable Odin package which for Sprint is CWM-Recovery-LTE-SGS3-v5.tar.md5. But you need an exact match to your Verizon phone variant.
Download the Root From Recovery zip file (see further down in their instructions for a link).
Install the drivers. Install and execute Odin. Put the phone
into download mode. Connect the USB cable. On the left of Odin's
window the COM box should turn blue saying
Uncheck the Auto Reboot option. To get out of download mode you will need to pull the battery. You need to avoid booting into the stock OS too soon.
Under PDA, select the Odin package (tar.md5 file).
Click Start. On success the COM box should turn green saying
Pass. For me this took about 70 seconds after the phone
finished rebooting, and it's not communicating with the phone
during this time; I'm not sure what it was doing.
Unplug the cable. Battery pull to get out of downlod mode.
Now boot into recovery. Do not boot the stock system because it knows how to revert the hacked recovery you just installed. See above for the procedure.
Install the Root From Recovery tool (link is on the page). This sabotages the auto recovery reversion behavior, among other things. ClockworkMod Recovery includes the sabotaging step.
You can also install apps via recovery. Apps like
A lot of people have trouble with this method, and useful replies or help are rare. Frequently reported problems:
Reports of success on Sprint, AT&T, Rogers, US Cellular.
One person reports trying it on the Verizon version, but Odin failed (doesn't say what it failed to do). Did he unlock the bootloader?
After they boot the stock image they find it has reverted to the stock recovery. Didn't install Root From Recovery?
User's SD card, 64Gb, is formatted with EXFAT. This is a Microsoft proprietary filesystem and open-source software cannot read or write it.
Several people report
signature verification failed, but
don't say what's giving this message or why. It's the job of the
locked bootloader to refuse to flash images unless they are signed
with a key they know.
You can be sure that CyanogenMod was not signed by your carrier.
Having downloaded your files, your next problem is to get some of them onto the SD card. In Jelly Bean, or at least in the Samsung stock image, both SD cards' root directories have mode 775 root:media_rw, and the individual files are 775 system:media_rw. The ADB agent is not in group media_rw and I don't see an official way (before rooting the phone) to turn that on. Thus you can't use ADB to load the images to be flashed.
Can't Write to SDcard , 2012-10-26, OP is Muuhmann, reply by danger-rat.
OP was prevented from making backups. Danger-rat says, boot into ClockworkMod
Recovery, plug in USB, start adb shell, and it will work; Recovery of course
runs as root. Change whatever
permissions you need -- OP needed
chown -R media_rw.media_rw /data/media/*
Of course you need to have deposited the ClockworkMod recovery.img file on
the SDcard first…
I'm going to take the easy way out: remove the SD card and copy the files on the big computer. This will be the CM-10 nightly image and, Google Apps.
When you finish installing CyanogenMod you will end up in the Setup Wizard, which will ask for your Google identity. Create one ahead of time, or if you already have one, be sure you know your e-mail address and password.
The following notes are documenting what I did using Odin for Windows (Win7) to install CyanogenMod on the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S III, using Invisiblek's procedure. See the section about this, for a link to the post, which you should have open in a web browser window so you can follow his instructions closely and error-free. It would be much more sanitary to use Heimdall on Linux, assuming it had achieved support for the Galaxy S III, which it hadn't as of 2012-10-26.
Do any user level backups that you're going to, since you will wipe your /data partition. I'm relying on backups from before the Droid-3 died. The CyanogenMod instructions also recommending copying your SD card to the host machine, against the remote chance that you have to reformat it.
Get all the files ready. CM-10, Google Apps, root.zip and the VRALE6 bootloader have to be on the SD card. The recovery image, the VRALEC boot chain and its various friends have to be on the host computer. See InvisibleK's procedure for what goes where.
On a forum someone asked
how do you guys brick your phones?
One person said that while he was flashing a new image his cat knocked the
phone off the table, disconnecting the USB cable. Remove cats and similar
chaos generators from the room.
Install the Windows drivers for the Galaxy S III device. It is likely, but not confirmed by me, that they are not version specific; but be safe and use the link specifically for the Verizon variant that is shown in Invisiblek's post.
The zip file for Odin is not a Windows installer package, it's the exe itself. Unzip the file contents into a folder where you can find it; I put it directly on my desktop. I used Odin-3.07 which Invisiblek has a link to. Start it up.
Click the PDA button. After a moment a file browser appears. Select the tar.img file you're going to flash (VRALEC.bootchain.tar.md5 is first) and hit Open.
Boot the phone into download (Odin) mode following the instructions in an earlier section. Remember, the first step is to power off the phone and pull the battery. The USB cable should not be connected.
Plug in USB cable. On subsequent repetitions you will promptly hear
bloink for new hardware, but the first time you do this, Windows
screws around for about 2 minutes installing drivers for quite a variety of
devices that the phone can act as. If you click on the notification pop-up
you can click the option to skip searching the Windows Update site for
updated drivers, which it definitely will not have but will spend a lot of
time searching for.
Finally the ID:COM box says (for me) 0:[COM3] on a cyan background. After the first time, 0:[COM3] appears much quicker.
Hit Start. You see a progress bar above ID::COM.
When flashing is finished, Odin says RESET! (in blue) above ID;COM. The phone reboots (assuming you didn't clear the auto-reboot checkbox). I was lucky; I encountered no error messages.
After the reboot, give it some time. It took over 60 secs starting from when the phone had finished rebooting. You should eventually get PASS! (in green) above ID:COM.
Disconnect the USB cable.
Repeat these steps with VRALF2 kernel, called stock.kernel.tar. This time going into download mode, it took a lot longer than before. Battery pull helps.
Similarly, flash your custom recovery (ClockworkMod).
Similarly revert to the VRALF2 bootchain.
Now boot into Recovery, similar procedure to getting into download mode except you hold Volume-Up.
Flash root.zip. Here is the procedure to flash a zip file using ClockworkMod Recovery. In the touch version, to select a row you just touch it. In the non-touch version, use Volume-Up or Volume-Down to move the highlight to the desired row, then press Power (briefly) to select it.
Install Zip from SD Card.
Choose Zip from SD Card, or from External SD Card in my case.
Yes Install (filename).
Go Backto go back to the main menu which has the Reboot item, unless you want to install another file, which you do.
Stay in Recovery and install the VRALE6 bootloader.
At this point I rebooted into the stock system, just for paranoia.
Important: Recovery says
ROM may flash stock recovery on boot.
Fix? I said yes.
It's alive and seems to be functioning normally. Very quick checkout
(you don't want it to get any ideas about OTA updates), then power off.
The image (*.zip) should already be on your SD card for the version of CyanogenMod you want to use. Also Google Apps. If not, copy them on.
Boot into Recovery, see the procedure above. Do these steps:
Choosestep but select Google Apps; takes about 15-20 secs.
The first boot takes about 60 secs. It deposits you in the welcome screen, actually the Setup Wizard. See the next page for what to do there.
Google Wallet - Everything you need to know before you flash or root. By sekigah84, 2012-08-06. It's easy to mess up the way Google Wallet authenticates to the bank, and if you can't authenticate, your money is unreachable. This guide tells you how to bypass the problem areas.
SIII AOSP Camera
by TheUnkn0wn, 2012-10-09. This is version 1.63 for CM-10
only. It's a replacement camera app, different from the one that comes with
CM-10, that can set just about any feature.
Note, CM-10 has a bug so the first time (after what?) you take a picture
with flash, the app crashes.
Enable UMS Mode for External SD Card by open1your1eyes0, 2012-07-25. UMS means USB Mass Storage. He gives you two scripts to turn on UMS mode and to revert to MTP mode. There's a shell-like app to run this kind of script. He doesn't say whether the SD card has to be unmounted to use UMS mode.
Invoke Self Hardware Test by das7982, 2012-07-14. Just dial *#SELF# or *#0*# . You can get battery info by *#228# . These are nondestructive.
Repair Your IMEI with QPST by PureMotive, 2012-08-30. It's rather long; hope you never need to do this. See the next item which explains why QPST repairs are often ineffective.
Comprehensive IMEI/EFS Backup by WildZontar, 2012-09-03. Upon certain errors while booting, the bootloader overwrites supposedly trashed IMEI (etc.) info with a backup. But the backup never gets populated, and so the IMEI is guaranteed to be/stay trashed. The author shows how to copy your good IMEI data to the backup blocks, plus a secondary backup strategy.
Set up Verizon Galaxy S3 as World GSM Phone (confirmed working). By lair12, 2012-09-04. If you're going to use a foreign SIM abroad, here's the procedure to get it out of Verizon LTE mode and using your foreign carrier.