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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Disclaimer: I am not responsible for what you do to your device, follow these at your own risk. I am posting this guide as an example on how to properly do a flash on your brand new GS3 so you hopefully will experience as little problems as
    possible. This is the method that I use and I haven't had any severe issues as of yet and have been using this method since my Thunderbolt days. My results don’t necessarily mean you will get the same results.


    INDEX:
    Post 1: Basic Information/Preperation
    Post 2: Flashing your ROM
    Post 3: Additional Comments


    What's a ROM and why do I need to flash it?

    Well to answer the second part first, no your don't have to. A ROM is basically another term for operating system. Right now for the Galaxy S3 there are 2 types of ROMs out there, TouchWiz and AOSP (Android Open Source Project). AOSP has popular ROMs such as CM10 or AOKP while TouchWiz ROMs include CleanROM, Synergy, or Beans.

    If you flash a TouchWiz ROM, not much will change for you. You will still have the TouchWiz style menus, home screens, and options. It will still be running Android 4.0.4 ICS. However, these ROMs usually have tweaks to them, like adding Google Now from Jelly Bean and/or tweaking the nav bar to get the WiFi toggle back and removing the pesky ongoing notification. These are just examples, there are much more tweaks which can be found in ROM threads.

    If you decide to go with an AOSP ROM you will get a stock looking OS like what came on the Galaxy Nexus. No carrier or manufacturer looks or apps. Flashing an AOSP ROM such as CM10 or AOKP JB1 will now mean you are running Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. You can get AOKP Android 4.0.4 as well. You will get what Google intended to be on the device and that's it. For those of us who like stock Google experience, this is for you. However, right now AOSP for the Verizon GS3 is in early nightly stages and there are bound to be bugs and usually these ROMs are updated nightly to hopefully squash bugs as they are found.

    So what do I need to do if I want to flash a ROM?

    There isn't that much you need to do really. All you need to do is Root your device, unlock the bootloader, and install a recovery. Yea, seems like a lot but it doesn't take that long and once you realize how it's done, it's cake. I won't be walking you through the steps to root the device since CyberWarrior has already posted a sticky about it, it's what I used to root my device and you should too. Follow the link below to root your device. I would recommend you stop there because there is an easier way to install a recovery since that post was created.

    [Guide] Root & Recovery for the Verizon Galaxy S3 (SCH-i535)

    Once you have completed the root, you will want to unlock you bootloader and install a recovery. Go to the play store and download VZW GS3 EZ-Unlock (Bootloader). Once it downloads, launch the app and grant it root access. All you need to do is hit Unlock and you should be good to go. Reboot your device to test to see if it work. If you bootloader successfully unlocked, the first screen that boots up that says only SAMSUNG should only appear for a second. If it stays on your screen for longer than a quick flash then it did not work, you will need to try again.

    Now that your bootloader is unlocked, go to the play store and download the app EZ-Recovery for VZW Galaxy S3 and launch it. It will prompt you to grant it root access, allow the root access. Scroll over to the tab that says "Recovery" and there will be 4 options. Select the option that says "Recovery" and use the drop down menu to select TWRP 2.2.0. I prefer this recovery but you can flash CWM 6.0.1.0 if you would like as well. I prefer TWRP because it seems to be a little easier to work. Once you decided on which recovery you want, hit flash. Once the process is all done, click reboot into recovery to make sure it works and profit.
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  2. Thread Author  Thread Author    #2  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    So I did all that, now what?

    I would recommend that you make a backup of all your apps using an app like Titanium Backup. This is not necessary but highly recommended incase the Google restore doesn't work for your apps. It can be downloaded from the market and just do a batch backup of all your apps.

    Now comes the fun part, now comes the flashing! After you decide if you want to flash a TouchWiz or AOSP based ROM you will need to go and download it them. If you go with a TouchWiz ROM, they usually have everything you need built into them, if you choose and AOSP ROM, you will need to download a stock Google Apps package... GAPPS.



    I would recommend that you always check MD5 checksums since this will tell you if the file is corrupted or not. If they match, you should be good to go. If not, redownload until they match. You can download many problems online that will check them, just Google MD5 check programs.

    Once you downloaded the ROM that you want and the GAPPS if necessary, place them on your external SD card. If you don't have an external SD card, you can put them on your internal storage, but I would recommend you use an external SD card. I like to put them in a separate folder so that all my ROM files are in the same place and easy to find. That just my way of organization but whatever suits you as long as you know where to find the files.

    Files are downloaded, MD5 checksums match, and I am ready to flash.... but how?

    There have been issues reported about losing your IMEI number when flashing ROMs but there is a way to back this up to avoid losing it. Below is a post on how to properly back up your IMEI number as well as restore it just in case you find that it was lost during a flash.



    After you complete that process, you finally start the flashing process. First I would recommend that you flash a backup of the stock ROM that you are on. Reboot into whichever recovery you have chosen and use the backup function. Let the backup go, it will take some time just let it run. Once it is completed, go back to the main recovery screen and follow these steps for flashing a new ROM:

    AOSP BASED ROMS (CM10/AOKP):

    If you have TWRP:

    1. Click on wipe tab
    2. Click Factory Reset, I do this step 2-3 times but 1 usually is good enough, slide to confirm, let it run and hit back when done
    3. Click Cache, slide to confirm, let it run and hit back when done
    4. Click Dalvik Cache, slide to confirm, let it run and hit back when done
    5. Click System, I do this step 2-3 times but 1 usually is good enough, slide to confirm, let it run and hit back when done
    6. Go back to recovery home
    7. Select install tab
    8. Select where you placed your files (internal or external card) and navigate to that directory
    9. Select the ROM file (ex: cm-10-20120822-NIGHTLY-d2vzw), click add more to queue
    10. Select the GAPPS file if necessary, slide to confirm and let it run. It will take a little bit so just let it go and don't touch it.
    11. Once it finishes, select reboot and profit!

    If you have CMW 6.0.X.X

    1. Select wipe data/factory reset, click yes, I do this step 2-3 times but 1 usually is good enough, click yes, let it run and go back to home
    2. Select wipe cache partition, click yes, click yes, let it run and go back to home
    3. Select advanced, wipe dalvik cache, click yes, let it run and go back to home
    4. Select mounts and storage, click format /system, click yes, let it run and go back to home
    5. Select install zip from sdcard
    6. Select choose zip from sdcard
    7. Navigate to the directory where you placed files
    8. Select the ROM file (ex: cm-10-20120822-NIGHTLY-d2vzw), select yes to flash, let it run and when it finishes go back
    9. Select the GAPPS file if necessary, select yes to flash, let it run and when it finishes go back
    10. Go back to home, and select reboot system now and profit!

    The hard part is done, now wait for your phone to boot. IT WILL TAKE LONGER FOR THE FIRST INITIAL BOOT AFTER DOING A FULL WIPE LIKE THIS. DON'T PANIC OR FREAK OUT, JUST LET IT RUN. Once it boots up, follow the on screen prompts to activate and you can begin to set your phone back up!

    TOUCHWIZ BASED ROMS (CleanROM/Synergy ect.):

    If you have TWRP:

    1. Click on wipe tab
    2. Click Factory Reset, I do this step 2-3 times but 1 usually is good enough, slide to confirm, let it run and hit back when done
    3. Click Cache, slide to confirm, let it run and hit back when done
    4. Click Dalvik Cache, slide to confirm, let it run and hit back when done
    5. Click System, I do this step 2-3 times but 1 usually is good enough, slide to confirm, let it run and hit back when done
    6. Go back to recovery home
    7. Select install tab
    8. Select where you placed your files (internal or external card) and navigate to that directory
    9. Select the ROM file (ex: CleanROM2.0), select yes to flash
    10. Some ROMs use AROMA installer which allow you to select options, if so select the options you want, and let it install
    11. Once it finishes, select reboot and profit!

    If you have CMW 6.0.X.X

    1. Select wipe data/factory reset, click yes, I do this step 2-3 times but 1 usually is good enough, click yes, let it run and go back to home
    2. Select wipe cache partition, click yes, click yes, let it run and go back to home
    3. Select advanced, wipe dalvik cache, click yes, let it run and go back to home
    4. Select mounts and storage, click format /system, click yes, let it run and go back to home
    5. Select install zip from sdcard
    6. Select choose zip from sdcard
    7. Navigate to the directory where you placed files
    8. Select the ROM file (ex: CleanROM2.0), select yes to flash
    9. Some ROMs use AROMA installer which allow you to select options, if so select the options you want, and let it install
    10. Go back to home, and select reboot system now and profit!

    The hard part is done, now wait for your phone to boot. IT WILL TAKE LONGER FOR THE FIRST INITIAL BOOT AFTER DOING A FULL WIPE LIKE THIS. DON'T PANIC OR FREAK OUT, JUST LET IT RUN. Once it boots up, follow the on screen prompts to activate and you can begin to set your phone back up!
  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Is that all?

    Yes and no. You are done flashing your ROM and you can begin to set up your phone the way that you like. You can let the Google Market restore run or use Titanium Backup to restore your apps. If you use Titanium Backup to restore your apps, do not restore data, only the actually app. Once you get all that setup, I would recommend that you reboot your phone just to let everything settle in. Next, you want to make sure that you didn’t loose your IMEI and your phone number is showing up. Go to Settings>About Phone>Status and make sure that your Phone Number shows up and IMEI show up.

    My phone number didn’t show up what gives???

    Don’t panic there is a way to get it back easily enough. Go to Settings>Mobile Networks and look under CDMA subscription. It should have RUIM/SIM selected, select NV and go back. Toggle airplane mode on/off and it will bring you to an activation screen. Let it run for 30 seconds or so, then hit the home key. Go back to CDMA subscription and select RUIM/SIM, go back and toggle airplane mode on/off again. Once it finishes, check your phone number again and it should be there.

    My IMEI isn’t there what do I do??

    Again, don’t panic. Follow the thread that I posted earlier for the IMEI backup and there is a way to restore your IMEI number even if you didn’t back it up.

    I want to flash a different kernel. Is there anything special I need to do?

    Not really no. You will have to follow the basic set up as before in recovery however you do not need to wipe data or system. When you flash a kernel you only need to wipe cache/dalvik. However, there are 2 different types of Kernels for this phone. One type for AOSP based ROMs and another type for TouchWiz based ROMs. You need to VERY VERY careful to pick the correct one. Picking the wrong type could result in a soft bricked device. As of right now, there is one kernel for both, LeanKernelWe are starting to see new kernels emerge, as more of them do, they will be added here. 2 new kernels have been release, one for AOSP and one for TW:

    AOSP Kernels:



    TouchWiz Kernels:





    I would not recommend picking experimental Kernels, most of these are still early kernel versions so be aware these may not be 100% stable currently. If you do decide to continue, download the one you need, check the MD5 and boot into your recovery. FOLLOW THE SAME STEPS POSTED ABOVE ON FLASHING A ROM BUT DO NOT WIPE DATA/FACTORY RESET AND DO NOT WIPE SYSTEM. ONLY WIPE CACHE/DALVIK. You can make a backup if you wish, might be a good idea since if the kernel doesn’t work out, you can go back to stock without having to reflash the ROM.

    A new nightly came out, should I follow the same steps to flash?

    You do not have to for nightly releases. If you are going from CM10 8/21 to 8/22 you do not need to wipe data/factory reset. You can make a backup, but it again isn’t necessary but couldn’t hurt. I normally have a backup of one, and update the backup every 2-3 nigthlies. However you want to manage your backups, thats up to you. So, follow the same steps as if you were going to flash a new ROM but you can ignore the step to wipe data/factory reset. You want to wipe cache, dalvik, and system.

    Something is working right!!! What do I do??!?!?

    Take a deep breath and relax. There are a couple of steps that I would prescribe to fix something misbehaving.

    App Misbehaving:
    1. Reboot your phone
    2. Try uninstalling/reinstalling
    3. Try wiping data/cache in application management in settings

    System Function Misbehaving:
    1. Reboot your phone
    2. Boot into recovery, wipe cache and wipe dalvik
    3. All else fails, backup your apps and reflash the ROM

    I want to load a backup, what should I do?

    Simple, follow the wiping steps as if you were flashing a new ROM (factory reset/wipe data, wipe cache, wipe dalvik and wipe system) and then run your restore function.

    QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS? PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LET ME KNOW. JUST REPLY TO THIS THREAD.
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  
  5. #5  
    Hovik818's Avatar

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    Awesome guide is awesome. Gets straight to the point for everyone who is new to all this flashing stuff. I'm just waiting for the perfect time to start flashing some AOSP gooooodness to my phone, once cm10 is more stable for me. Anyways great guide once again!

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Android Central Forums
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  6. #6  
    dmmarck's Avatar
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Hovik818 View Post
    Awesome guide is awesome. Gets straight to the point for everyone who is new to all this flashing stuff. I'm just waiting for the perfect time to start flashing some AOSP gooooodness to my phone, once cm10 is more stable for me. Anyways great guide once again!

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Android Central Forums
    My thoughts precisely, sans the flashing part since we all know flashing is evil .
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  8. #8  
    npo
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Thanks! Worked perfectly once I put the ROM on my internal memory rather than the external sd. Message for others trying this for the 1st time: make sure you've got the nandroid backup before you go further... here's a good tutorial:




    Help, please!

    I went through all the steps in the OP, and was in CWM tying to load Bean's ROM from the external SD, and I got a message in CWM saying "can't mount /external_sd/". I suppose I should have put it on the internal memory. Next, following the advice to reboot if the system is misbehaving, I clicked "reboot system now"... hoping for the external sd to mount properly, or to be able to browse my files on my computer and move the ROM to the internal memory. Now my phone started booting and is stuck on the "Samsung Galaxy S3" graphic. Was it a no-no to reboot after wiping caches and formatting /system? Ideas on what to do next (already poured a glass of scotch)?

    Thanks to anyone who can help out!

    edit: after a battery pull, the power button just got me back to the frozen Galaxy S3 graphic, but vol up+home+power got me back into CWM. The external sd still won't mount, though, so I'm still trying to figure out what to do next. Find the nandroid backup and restore that,perhaps, if no one has a suggestion of how to get to the Bean's zip

    edit #2 - restored nandroid backup in CWM. will move the ROM file to internal memory and try again

    A little more:
    Not sure why the external sd wasn't mounting properly anyhow... I copied Bean's zip there a couple of days ago, and the card was working fine with my rooted stock ROM then. Took a while to figure out how to do nandroid and IMEI backups before proceeding, so maybe the card died or was jarred loose in the meantime.
    Last edited by npo; 09-04-2012 at 11:51 PM.
  9. #9  
    MikeNY's Avatar

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    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by npo View Post
    Thanks! Worked perfectly once I put the ROM on my internal memory rather than the external sd. Message for others trying this for the 1st time: make sure you've got the nandroid backup before you go further... here's a good tutorial:
    I think when you put it on the ext sd card it saves as file not a zip file. I could be wrong but it won't run a file folder only a zip file. If you compress those files on the ext sd card to a zip it will run correctly atleast that is what I have seen.
    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3
  10. Thread Author  Thread Author    #10  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by DieselNY View Post
    I think when you put it on the ext sd card it saves as file not a zip file. I could be wrong but it won't run a file folder only a zip file. If you compress those files on the ext sd card to a zip it will run correctly atleast that is what I have seen.
    It does not matter where you place a file. I have placed ROM files on both internal and external SD card and the zips flashed fine either way.
  11. #11  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by creccaj1 View Post
    It does not matter where you place a file. I have placed ROM files on both internal and external SD card and the zips flashed fine either way.
    hmm weird must be an issue I am having....I think maybe it has to do with backups...do back ups (nandroid) get saved as zip files in CWM? I often make a nandroid then copy it to my ext sd card as well as my laptop for extra safekeeping but I notice the file is not a zip file.

    I also wonder if it has to do with this:

    [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide-no-ext-sd-card.jpg

    Ever since I took out my sd card and stuck it in the sd reader and transferred files to my laptop I get some sort of line that mentions no sd-ext found. It never stops me from flashing roms or anything but not sure what this is all about. Or if this is unrelated could you tell me why it does this?
    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3
  12. Thread Author  Thread Author    #12  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by DieselNY View Post
    hmm weird must be an issue I am having....I think maybe it has to do with backups...do back ups (nandroid) get saved as zip files in CWM? I often make a nandroid then copy it to my ext sd card as well as my laptop for extra safekeeping but I notice the file is not a zip file.

    I also wonder if it has to do with this:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	no ext sd card.jpg 
Views:	160 
Size:	40.5 KB 
ID:	37447

    Ever since I took out my sd card and stuck it in the sd reader and transferred files to my laptop I get some sort of line that mentions no sd-ext found. It never stops me from flashing roms or anything but not sure what this is all about. Or if this is unrelated could you tell me why it does this?
    It is CWM. I have had issues with CWM 6+ with flashing files from an SD Card. Flash TWRP and it should work.
  13. #13  
    MikeNY's Avatar

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    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    So it seems like whenever I flash I ROM I have been doing what is called a dirty flash, just clear cache and davlik. All I do is keep flashing updates of the same ROM. If I decide I want to to a full wipe - wipe data, cache, davlik and I install either an update to my current rom (nightlies) or a new ROM..I lose everything?...recent call list, recent texts, apps etc etc. I know I can back up apps with Titanium back-up but pretty much everything else will be gone? I know it is easy to get all that back if I decide to just flash a backup of my current ROM (that I make before I flash anything) but with I do a full wipe to a new rom, other than getting my apps back from Titanium Backup, I can't get the rest of my stuff back sms, email accounts etc etc. or am I missing something?
    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3
  14. Thread Author  Thread Author    #14  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by DieselNY View Post
    So it seems like whenever I flash I ROM I have been doing what is called a dirty flash, just clear cache and davlik. All I do is keep flashing updates of the same ROM. If I decide I want to to a full wipe - wipe data, cache, davlik and I install either an update to my current rom (nightlies) or a new ROM..I lose everything?...recent call list, recent texts, apps etc etc. I know I can back up apps with Titanium back-up but pretty much everything else will be gone? I know it is easy to get all that back if I decide to just flash a backup of my current ROM (that I make before I flash anything) but with I do a full wipe to a new rom, other than getting my apps back from Titanium Backup, I can't get the rest of my stuff back sms, email accounts etc etc. or am I missing something?
    Dirty flash = Clear cache/dalvik/system. This will not wipe your current data off the device.
    Clean Flash = Clear Data/cache/dalvik/system. This WILL wipe your current data off the device. Everything. It will come up as if you just opened a new box and will make you go through the activation process again.

    No you will not be able to get you SMS/call logs/emails (unless its gmail) back. If you use Titanium Backup DO NOT RESTORE DATA ON SYSTEM APPLICATIONS. If you do that, bad things will happen. Last time I did it, I had to reflash the ROM because I lost data service and couldn't get it back. That was on my Nexus and haven't dont it since.
  15. #15  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    I just rooted my s3 last night (first time rooter) and think I am going to try out cm10. Do I need to get cm10 kernel to install along with the cm10 Rom?
  16. Thread Author  Thread Author    #16  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by droid747 View Post
    I just rooted my s3 last night (first time rooter) and think I am going to try out cm10. Do I need to get cm10 kernel to install along with the cm10 Rom?
    No, CM10 kernel is built in with the ROM.
  17. #17  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by creccaj1 View Post
    No, CM10 kernel is built in with the ROM.
    If I flash cm10 then later want to restore my stock touch wiz nandroid backup, will I have to download a stock kernel or is the stock kernel included in my nandroid backup.
  18. Thread Author  Thread Author    #18  
  19. #19  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by creccaj1 View Post
    No stock kernel will be part of the nandroid backup. Whenever you flash a new ROM, you get a kernel.
    Thanks for all your help!
  20. #20  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Great guide. I really appreciate your work. Is there something special I need to do to Flash another ROM after I've flashed CM10? Or is there a thread where this is addressed? Having trouble finding it.

    Specifically, I'm trying to get CleanRom 2.1 instead of CM10
  21. Thread Author  Thread Author    #21  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Kjennings15 View Post
    Great guide. I really appreciate your work. Is there something special I need to do to Flash another ROM after I've flashed CM10? Or is there a thread where this is addressed? Having trouble finding it.

    Specifically, I'm trying to get CleanRom 2.1 instead of CM10
    Don't need to do anything special, just follow this guide again. All you are going to need to do is clean wipe your phone (data/cache/dalvik/system) and then flash away.
  22. #22  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    I flashed a ROM last week and all went well. I just attempted to flash a CMW 10 nightly and I got the notice that Unauthorized Software or whatever has been found by Verizon. Go to the nearest store for help. Please let me know what to do to successfully flash this ROM.
  23. Thread Author  Thread Author    #23  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by bigguh View Post
    I flashed a ROM last week and all went well. I just attempted to flash a CMW 10 nightly and I got the notice that Unauthorized Software or whatever has been found by Verizon. Go to the nearest store for help. Please let me know what to do to successfully flash this ROM.
    You have a locked bootloader. You tried to flash something without unlocking the bootloader. Some ROMs don't require an unlocked bootloader like the early versions of CleanROM but if you flashed something like CM then you need to unlock your bootloader. You are going to need follow to get yourself back working.
  24. #24  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    I just discovered that the EZ Unlock app version 1.3 does not actually unlock the bootloader even though it says it does!!! I am trying to find the Casual unlock by Adam Outler as I hear that is easy, but I am not sure if it is actually an app or not...or just some script which I am not versed enough to use at this stage.

    Quote Originally Posted by creccaj1 View Post
    You have a locked bootloader. You tried to flash something without unlocking the bootloader. Some ROMs don't require an unlocked bootloader like the early versions of CleanROM but if you flashed something like CM then you need to unlock your bootloader. You are going to need follow to get yourself back working.
  25. #25  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] VZW Galaxy S3 Flashing Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by bigguh View Post
    I just discovered that the EZ Unlock app version 1.3 does not actually unlock the bootloader even though it says it does!!! I am trying to find the Casual unlock by Adam Outler as I hear that is easy, but I am not sure if it is actually an app or not...or just some script which I am not versed enough to use at this stage.
    I just dl'd EZ Unlock. When the app opened, it said the device was unlocked..so I hit Lock..it gave me a successful message.. opened the app again and said I was unlocked.. rebooted and said I was unlocked...
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