Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Downgrade Firmware on Samsung Galaxy Devices

7:38 AM

We are always eager to upgrade our phone to the latest version so that we might enjoy the new features and apps that come with a new update. Ask a Galaxy S2 user how keen he is get the Jelly Bean firmware update. While most of times we are happy with the new things introduced in an update, it also happens sometimes all our hopes are undone when we have to face a bug or lack of a favorite  feature that we used to enjoy on an older firmware.

It happened to me a couple of weeks ago when I updated my Galaxy Note 2 to the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean firmware. For some days I remained busy with exploring the new features and enjoying them. It was later that realized that there was something wrong with the WiFi connectivity. Everything else was just fine but this issue was great enough to make me think again. “What should I do now?”- I kept thinking. Then I decided to try another firmware in a hope that it might solve the problem. But again the same WiFi bug! With Android 4.1.1 on my Note 2, I was happier, so I downloaded the Android 4.1.1 firmware and flashed it.

How many of you ever wished to downgrade the firmware of your Android phone? Only a few. The present article is for those fews who are looking a way to go back to Gingerbread from Ice Cream Sandwich,  to Ice Cream Sandwich from Jelly Bean, or from Android 4.1.2 to Android 4.1.1. The tips described below will also be helpful to even those who want to downgrade their Samsung Galaxy device to Gingerbread from Ice Cream Sandwich.

Before you Actually Downgrade, Try a Few Workarounds

In most cases, the wish to downgrade the firmware of one’s Android device’s firmware is a rash judgement. I say this because I have heard a lot of people saying, “I upgraded my phone’s software yesterday…Now it is very slow and battery is draining fast…I want to downgrade.”  Is it really worthwhile to think of downgrading just a few hours/days  after installing a new update you waited for long to get? Think again!

Our OEMs release an update after testing it and when its performance is found satisfactory. I wonder why new updates aggravate to our worry rather than pleasing us. The most common issues why we consider downgrading are:
  • Slow and laggy performance
  • Battery drain
  • Connectivity issues: WiFi or data connection
  • Absence of an important feature found in the previous firmware.

Here are a few workarounds that you can try to fix the above-mentioned issues.

  • Try a data factory reset a couple of times after upgrading your phone’s software. Follow the Step# 10-14 from below.
  • The Lithium-ion battery used on your device requires a proper synchronization with the new software, it ‘s normal that you face issues like fast battery drain and battery heat up after upgrading. You must have seen the same battery problems for a week when you bought the new device. Usually the sync requires 3-4 charge and discharge cycles to complete. I would recommend you to avoid plugging charger into your device frequently. Charge the device after turning it off, let it charge fully. Then use the device until the battery discharges completely out of use and then turn off phone and charge it. Repeating this for a week will certainly improve the battery performance.
  • As for WiFi or internet connectivity issues trying a data/factory reset might help fixing this. You can also try rebooting your device a couple of times.
  • As for the absence of a feature you liked in the previous firmware, you can find an alternative among the more than 7 million apps found at the Google Play Store
In case, the above troubleshooting measures does not yield any positive results, your decision to downgrade was right.

Disclaimer & Warning: Please note that the method described here has been tested (by me, more than once) on Galaxy S4 (Android 4.2.2), Galaxy S3 (Android 4.1.2 to ICS), Note 2 (Android 4.1.2 to 4.1.1) and Galaxy S2 (ICS to GB). I have not been able to test for downgrading to GB from JB. All the same, I would like to warn you that the procedure is considered risky. Proceed only if you understand the gravity of such things and make sure you are not drunk while following up the steps. We’ll not be responsible for any data loss or damage done to your device.

Downgrade to Gingerbread from ICS or JB: Those willing to downgrade their Galaxy device to Gingerbread from Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean should not follow the method given here unless you have the firmware files with Bootloader or PIT. In case you have a PIT file for your device model, select it while installing the firmware and do not forget to check “Re-Partition” on Odin.  We warn you against proceeding with the single file installation method as described below.

However, if you are to downgrade to a lower version of Gingerbread from a higher version of GB ( from Android 2.3.7  to 2.3.3, for example), you can follow this tutorial.

Getting Prepared:The firmware downgrade drill for the Samsung Galaxy devices is not much complicated as compared to the phones manufactured by other brands. It requires you to boot the device first into Download/Odin Mode, and then into Android Recovery Mode. I hope many of you would be acquainted with both the methods. Even if you are not, it doesn’t matter.
  • Download the downgrade firmware for your Samsung Galaxy device and extract it on your computer. A good source to download Samsung firmwares is Samsung-Updates. Type your device name in the search box at the sidebar, you would find it hopefully. If you do not get it, let me know (your device and country). To find out the correct firmware you can Use CSC Codes.
  • Download and install Samsung USB Drivers on your computer. Skip this step if you already have it.
  • Download Odin Firmware flasher and unzip it (if you get any error with Odin3 1.85, try the greater version): Odin3_v1.85.Zip   or   Odin3_v3.04.Zip
  • Since the downgrading procedure will delete all data stored on the internal SD Card of your Galaxy device it will be better to backup your messages, contacts and installed apps. These Nice Free Apps will help you backup your data easily.
  • Charge your device’s battery to the full
  • Make sure that you have turned on USB Debugging from Settings> Developer Options>.

Installing the Downgrade Firmware:

Installing a firmware version that is lower than the current one is just the same as installing a higher one, but you have to one more thing that you do not usually do. I assume that you have already done as described above, so let’s go ahead.
  1. Turn off your Samsung Galaxy device whether it a phone or tablet and boot into Download/Odin Mode. If it is a phone, you can enter the Download Mode doing this: Press and hold the Volume Down+Home buttons together and then long press the Power Button till the screen turns up. Now press the Volume Up key to enter the Download Mode. In case you have a Galaxy Tab device, do this: Press and hold the Volume Up+Power buttons together, and then press the Volume Up key when prompted.
  2. Now go to the Odin folder and run the .exe file there.
  3. This is the time, you have to connect you device to the computer using a compatible USB cable.
  4. When the connection between the device and computer is established, the ID:COM port at Odin will turn to Yellow or light Blue (depending on the Odin version you are using) and you’ll see “Added!!“ text in the message box below.
  5. Make sure that only “F. Reset Time” option is checked on Odin. The “Auto Reboot” option is checked by default, so please uncheck it.
  6. Okay, now click on the PDA button on Odin and select the firmware file in tar.md5 format.
  7. Now click the “Start” button on Odin. This will initiate the firmware installation. Wait till it finishes. 
  8. Finally when you get a “PASS!” message on Odin, remove the USB Cable from your device.
  9. Now open the back panel of your device and pull out the battery. Wait for about 60 seconds and reinsert the battery back to its place.
  10. Now reboot your phone into Android Recovery mode. If you have a smartphone, you can do it this way: press and hold the Volume Up+Home buttons together and then hold the Power button till the screen turns up and the Samsung logo blinks for two times. Release the Power button but keep the other two keys pressed till you see a black screen with green Android bot and Blue text. In case you got  a  Galaxy Tab or Note 10.1, press and hold the Volume Down+Power keys together for a few seconds till you see the yellow triangle with Android bot followed by a black screen with blue text. 
  11. In the Recovery mode you will have to use the Volume Up/Down keys to scroll up or down, and the Power button to select an option.
  12. So, scroll down to “wipe data/factory reset” option and select “yes” to confirm your choice.
  13. Now go to “wipe cache partition” and confirm the choice.
  14. Finally, go to the “reboot system now” option and select it.
Your device will boot now and it might take a longer time than it does usually. When it completely boots up, it should be on the downgraded firmware you installed. Cheers!

Note: If this tutorial worked for you (and it should work), please leave a comment below. Thanks.

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