1. AC Question's Avatar
    Several years ago when flashing was necessary, I flashed my 4G Samsung Galaxy to 3G in order to work with 3rd party providers. I've recently been having problems with it and have been told I need to "unflash" the phone. Several technicians have been VERY clear that this is not as simple as a factory reset and unless I find someone who knows exactly how to do this, I could easily render my phone permanently unusable. Is there anyone out there who was well versed in flashing phones that can please guide me on how to unflash my phone? As much as I'd really prefer it, I simply can't afford to buy a new one.

    In case any of this matters:

    Model: SCH-1545
    Android version: 4.4.2
    Hardware version: 1545.06
    Security software version: MDF v1.0 Release 2

    I can get you any other information you need from the phone (I might need a little guidance on some)

    Thank you in advance for anyone who can help me!
    01-31-2017 10:40 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! Moved to the Verizon S4 forum.

    Flashing means installing firmware (i.e., the system software) onto the phone. I'm assuming that someone flashed a firmware intended for a different S4 variant (or perhaps a custom firmware designed by a hobbyist/enthusiast) in order for the phone to be compatible with the carrier you were using. But there's no such thing as "unflashing," unless they mean you need to reflash the stock firmware (i.e., the firmware that was intended for that particular variant).

    I don't have the expertise for this, but someone in this specific forum may be able to help.
    ironass likes this.
    02-01-2017 02:14 AM
  3. WhitneySmile's Avatar
    Thanks B. Diddy! It's Allie. I just created an account so I could respond to you.

    Actually, you're 1/2 way right. It's a Verizon phone but I didn't want to renew my Verizon account. So a business flashed the phone so it would work on Verizon towers with service provided by Page Plus. In order to do that, they had to change it from 4G to 3G bc PagePlus could not accommodate 4G technology yet.

    I don't know much about how he did it except that he tapped into some flashing software via the Internet and it took about 30 min total to complete as I sat there an watched lines and lines and lines of Greek on a green screen (the GUI was minimal).

    I just need my phone to work properly and PagePlus is recommending I have the phone unflashed. However, I've been to countless stores in town and either no one knows how to do it since the technique was abandoned nearly 3 years ago or they won't touch it because they are not sure if it will permanently disable the phone.

    So I thought I'd try and reach out here to see if anyone is familiar with it.
    02-01-2017 10:32 AM
  4. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Hmm. Let me see if our resident Samsung guru, ironass, can help. Hang tight.
    02-01-2017 11:53 AM
  5. ironass's Avatar
    Hmm. Let me see if our resident Samsung guru, ironass, can help. Hang tight.
    Just once B. Diddy... couldn't you throw me an easy one old son!

    OK. So the handset hardware is the Samsung Galaxy S4 carrier minority variant for the U.S.A. network Verizon. Model number SCH-i545 and is a CDMA phone and not a worldwide GSM model.

    At some stage, it would seem, a custom ROM, Kitkat, Android 4.4.2, (of unknown origin), was flashed to the phone in an effort to make it compatible with Page Plus Cellular. This custom ROM may, or may not, have contained a customised modem.

    Now, WhitneySmile would like to, or needs to, update to Lollipop, Android 5.0.1 and still use Page Plus Cellular?

    It is correct that a Factory Data Reset will not help in this instance.

    Without knowing the custom ROM that was initially used, I cannot say if this has been updated to Lollipop in the meantime.

    Therefore, the only other option is to back everything up to the hilt as a precautionary measure, and download and flash the latest stock Verizon firmware for 5.0.1...

    Model SCH-I545
    Model name GALAXY S4
    Country USA (Verizon)
    Version Android 5.0.1
    Changelist 4584173
    Build date Wed, 15 Jul 2015 07:39:01 +0000
    Security Patch Level N/A
    Product code VZW

    ... by carefully reading and following the instructions and video contained in the links of #1.5 of 29 Galaxy S4 models - know yours?.

    According to Will My Phone Work, this stock Verizon firmware for Lollipop is fully compatible with Page Plus Cellular on 2G and 3G and is partially compatible on 4G on Bands 13 & 4.

    This sort of flashing, as we do not know exactly what was done to the phone originally, is for competent and experienced users.

    PLAN B. Take it back to the company that originally flashed it.
    B. Diddy likes this.
    02-01-2017 01:08 PM
  6. WhitneySmile's Avatar
    OMG I LOVE having an ironass to my rescue! Thank you for answering my call for help.

    I did take it back to the place that flashed it. The guy who flashed their phones is now long gone and <sadly!> no one there knows how to unflash one. They said it's ancient technology and I was like "um, dude...you guys just did this for me 3 years ago. So please don't feed me that "ancient" sh**. ha! Anyway, obviously they could not help.

    I am obviously not a "competent and experienced user." But I'm smart, pretty handy with DIY power tools, and can follow directions. So if it's clear and doable, there's a good chance I can do it. But if the directions use specific jargon, I'm as good as lost.

    I took 3 screencaps of my phone for you but the image upload window here does not produce any kind of OK/Save/Submit/Attach, etc. button. So you can select a file but not save it. Can I PM or email them to you?

    02-01-2017 03:23 PM
  7. WhitneySmile's Avatar
    02-01-2017 03:43 PM
  8. ironass's Avatar
    As we say in my country, (in a Jason Statham accent), "Are they havin a larf?"

    Those 3 screenshots all appear to show the stock Verizon firmware for the Android 4.4.2 release, NC5!!!

    Looks like a stock Verizon modem/radio/baseband and a stock Verizon kernel and stock Verizon firmware Build number, as shown in this download...

    Model SCH-I545
    Model name GALAXY S4
    Country USA (Verizon)
    Version Android 4.4.2
    Changelist 1151670
    Build date Fri, 28 Mar 2014 04:44:25 +0000
    Security Patch Level N/A
    Product code VZW

    As far as I can tell, the last guy just downloaded and flashed the stock Verizon firmware on your phone.

    I can see no reason that you cannot flash the latest Lollipop firmware I mention in my previous post. One last check though... switch phone off and remove battery and ensure the sticker in the battery compartment states... SCH-i545, also.

    Alternatively, unless there is a compelling reason you could just leave it the way it is.
    B. Diddy likes this.
    02-01-2017 04:32 PM
  9. WhitneySmile's Avatar
    Thanks ironass. I downloaded the recommended software in your original post and uploaded screencaps of all the screens the app recommended. Can you see them too? Do they help any? If you can't see them, I will send you direct links.

    So I could leave it as is but that leaves me with increasing problems that the stores are saying *should* be rectified by "unflashing" the phone. Plus, PagePlus has assured me they can provide 4G speed to my phone if I can manage to do it correctly.

    So I'm a little lost on what to do from here. I read your instructions and specifically clause 1.5. I don't have Odin3 software (nor do I have any clue how to use it) and I'm not sure if "If your current firmware is Knox enabled, Android 4.3 onwards, you cannot downgrade to 4.2.2 or from 4.4.2 to 4.3. " is true for my phone. ???

    I'm really trying, I promise. I just don't speak Android. :-(
    02-01-2017 04:46 PM
  10. ironass's Avatar
    All the software, including Odin, and a, "How to", video are in the links I referred you to. Also, you are not downgrading... in fact, the opposite. As for Knox, that is already on your firmware as 4.4.2 is later than 4.3.

    If you are uncertain, is there not a Verizon store that could update the firmware for you... although, as it is out of warranty, you may have to pay.
    02-01-2017 04:54 PM
  11. WhitneySmile's Avatar
    Okay, I will try my best. Thank you for all your help!

    (P.S. When I went to Verizon, they told me they don't work on phones that are not registered with Verizon service. It was a good suggestion though! I know another 3rd Party dealer not too far from me. I will pop in with the information you sent me and see if they can help. Thank you, again. You really gave me some hope.)
    ironass likes this.
    02-01-2017 05:28 PM
  12. ironass's Avatar
    Bonne chance Allie!

    Let me know how you get on.
    02-01-2017 06:23 PM
  13. WhitneySmile's Avatar
    I will!!

    If I may ask one last quick question please...can the memory and storage on my phone handle Lollipop or do you recommend me upgrading to the earliest OS for an S4? Also, what is your recommended tool for backing up data? I have a Mac and it's pathetic for backing up anything from an android. <geesh>
    02-01-2017 07:16 PM
  14. ironass's Avatar
    I will!!

    If I may ask one last quick question please...can the memory and storage on my phone handle Lollipop or do you recommend me upgrading to the earliest OS for an S4?
    Since Verizon has released the Lollipop firmware for its model of Galaxy S4, they seem to think it's OK.

    Also, what is your recommended tool for backing up data? I have a Mac and it's pathetic for backing up anything from an android. <geesh>
    Mac's are a pain in the derriere to use with Android. For instance, you will need a PC to use Odin to flash firmware. As for backing up, I have posted several suggestions in Backup! Backup! Backup! NOW! which, although written for the Galaxy S5, can also be applied to the S4 with the exception that you should substitute Samsung Kies PC suite for Smart Switch.

    (P.S. That was 2 questions! )
    B. Diddy likes this.
    02-01-2017 08:22 PM
  15. WhitneySmile's Avatar
    HA! I *knew* you would say that!!! Thank you for humoring me and answering them both though.

    Heads up...I installed Kies when I first got the phone. Something in that software breaks the Android File Transfer app (on a Mac) and there is no way to undo it without doing a clean install of the OS. A total PITA and quite unethical if you ask me. So of course from that point forward, I stopped trusting Verizon. Android 2.0 never had a problem with Mac. It tapped right into Finder (aka Windows Explorer on a PC) and you could access any file on the phone you wanted. But the next upgrade changed all that and it broke my heart. I thought it was an LG thing but I was terribly wrong. It's an OS thing. Anyway, I've used Kies, Android File Transfer, and AirDroid. I seem to do best with Air Droid but it is far from a solution. Plus it limits you on how much you can transfer so I mostly stick to Bluetoothing thrings over to my PC and also try to keep as much as I can stored on my external memory card so I can pop it into a sleeve and just plug it in. I know there's a backup feature with the phone but I've never used it. So I guess I was wondering more about something like that or backup to the cloud than through an app to my Mac.

    You are a doll for helping me. I have to figure out WTH to do about getting Odin AND a laptop! Wow. I think for now I'm just screwed.

    If anyone is in Charlotte, NC that can help, please lemme know! ))

    Take good care ironass. You will always be a hero to me!
    B. Diddy and ironass like this.
    02-01-2017 08:38 PM
  16. Sgooter's Avatar
    It's been around 6 weeks since your last post. Were you able to get the problem fixed?
    03-13-2017 05:40 PM

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