The wifey and I just recently upgraded our phones at AT&T to the new Samsung Galaxy SIII. The phones we bought had the new Android Jellybean goodness on them, but they also came with a lot of bloatware.
To rid ourselves of these added useless apps, my first idea was to root the phones, which would then allow us to use an app like Titanium Backup to remove this crapware. I had rooted my previous HTC Inspire (which took a swim in 2011) and my most recent Samsung Infuse 4G, and it was a pretty simple process using the Linux using the command line program Heimdall. Unfortunately, for the SIII the process was more difficult.
After lots of research, trial and error (and fortunately no bricks!), I was finally able to come up with a process that worked!
First thing you need to know is that the most current binaries of heimdall are still at version 1.3.2, and this version actually had issues. When trying to use this or previous versions, I would get the error “Failed to initialize protocol.” The author is working on a more up to date version that will address these issues, and heimdall 1.4 RC2 is currently in the testing phase. However, in order to get this most recent version, you have to build the binaries from scratch, and the build instructions are not very accurate and helpful. Doing a Google search on a hunch, I was able to come across these binaries of heimdall 1.4RC1. Using these binaries, I was able to create a pit output file to read the partitions of the phone, which means that I should be able to flash the recovery file no problem.
Ok, so which recovery file should you flash? My main goal is to get CWM and SuperSU installed on my phones.
I came across this article which details how to achieve just this for the GALAXY S3 GT-I9300, but this is not the same model that I have, and there is a warning about using this recovery to flash to your phone if the models don’t match. However, later in the article, it does have the CWM+SuperSu that I was looking for. I went ahead and downloaded the zip and only copied the CWM-SuperSU-v0.87.zip file to the sdcard on my phone for later use. Update: On second thought (especially since the original link is no longer active), you should probably (and more wisely) be using the SuperSU zip found on this XDA thread. This is the line you are looking for: “CWM / TWRP / MobileODIN installable ZIP: UPDATE-SuperSU-vx,x.zip”
After more Googling, I came across this XDA Thread which details how to use the Windows based Odin tool to root my version of the SIII via flash. However, Odin was not playing well with my Windows machine, which is why I resorted to heimdall on Linux 😉
I went ahead and downloaded the file from the Third option, the AT&T CWM 126.96.36.199 recovery image and opened up my terminal. Flashing this file will allow me to get access to CWM, which I can then use to flash the CWM and SuperSu image.
- Put your phone into download mode
- Make sure your phone is unplugged turned off with a full battery
- Hold down volume down, Home, and Power buttons for ten plus seconds until you feel the vibrate (may have to try several times, but be patient).
- When you see the warning, press the volume up button.
- In a terminal window, type `sudo ./heimdall flash –recovery path/to/file/recovery-clockwork-188.8.131.52-d2att.img –no-reboot’
- Be sure you are using heimdall version 1.4!!
- Wait for the command to finish sucessfully.
- Unplug your phone, and remove the battery
- Put your battery back in, and boot into recovery mode
- Hold down volume up, Home, and Power buttons for ten plus seconds until you feel the vibrate and see the blue text at the top indicating the boot into recovery (may have to try several times).
- Inside CWM, use the volume keys to scroll down to “install zip from sdcard”, and press the power button to select the option.
- Select “choose zip from sdcard”, and scroll down to select the CWM+SuperSu zip file you copied to your sdcard.
- Scroll down and select to confirm your flash
- Select to reboot your phone
- Wait for the phone to reboot
- You will notice that you now have the SuperSu app available, and can install apps like TitaniumBackup that require root access!
As as an additional option, I came across this thread which helps streamline the process of removing the bloatware crap. Simply download the file referenced, add it to your sdcard and flash it using CWM like you did in the steps above. The program will run, and take you through the process of accepting notices that they are not responsible for breaking anything on your phone. Tap the option to do a Custom run, and select the apps you want to remove. Its a pretty simple process, takes 20 secs or so. Upon reboot, your phone will indicate it is upgrading the apps. Wait another couple of minutes, and then your phone will be golden 🙂