There are many reasons to want to downgrade a device, all of them valid. There could be features included in the new Android OS that you don’t like, features you liked in an older Android OS could have been removed, and some apps that you had previously may not mesh with the shiniest new update.
For these scenarios, downgrading is an option, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 is no exception to the rule. However, there are only two options available, and for one, you’ll need a rooted device. For those that haven’t rooted their Samsung Galaxy S6, let’s start with the method that doesn’t need rooting first.
Method 1: Odin (PC) and Samsung Kies / Smart Switch (No Root Required)
If you’re familiar with the Norse god of the same name, that knowledge won’t help you much with this computer program. We’ll be using Odin in conjunction with older Samsung firmware files to downgrade your device. Make sure you have a USB cable on hand to connect your phone to a PC.
This could take the better part of an hour, so make sure you have time on hand.
The download links for Smart Switch in the middle of the linked home page. There you can download either, so make sure to install whichever application is appropriate for your needs.
Using either Samsung Smart Switch, or Samsung Kies, backup your device. You’ll need these files in case you ever want to restore your phone using either of these programs. Even if you have a backup using another service, it’s recommended to perform the backup with either of these programs as well.
Now comes what may be the most confusing step of this method, and that’s getting the correct firmware file.
- You’ll first want to visit Sam Mobile’s Firmware section with either your model number on hand or the code for your desired firmware, ex: SM-G388F.
- Next, you should create a free account so you can download the file you need. Creating an account doesn’t take very long, and may be useful in the future. Additionally, you can purchase a membership for faster download speeds on-site.
- After signing up, download the firmware you need for your model and desired Android OS you wish to downgrade to.
Now there’s just one more thing we need to download.
The final program you’ll need to download for this method is Odin. If you have an older version of Odin this method could still work, but it’s always a better option to use the most recent version of the program.
Now that we have all the materials we need, power off your phone completely. If it’s currently connected to your computer, disconnect it. You’ll be connecting it again later, but for now it needs to be powered off and left alone.
Alright, it’s time to open up Odin and take a look at what we’re working with.
- First things first, move over to your Options tab as you should be on Log by default.
- In Options, make sure that Auto Reboot and Reset Time are the only boxes checked. They should be checked by default, but if they aren’t, it’s easy enough to set them straight.
- Next, click the box labeled AP or PDA in some cases. This should open up a directory.
- In the directory, locate the firmware file you downloaded previously, and then select it.
Now we can leave Odin as it is for a moment or two and go back to the S6.
Next, we’re going to put your phone into Odin Mode. Sadly, this does not give your phone the power to summon lightning, but it does allow you to flash in older firmware.
To put your phone into Odin Mode, you’ll need to hold down.
- Volume Down
That’s the order you need to press the buttons until you see a warning message appear on your screen.
Once on the warning screen, you’ll need to do a few things with your S6.
- First, hit Volume Up to progress.
- Once you’ve done this, you should see the Android logo on screen, and the words “ODIN MODE” in the top left.
- Now you can connect your phone to your PC via the USB cable. If it doesn’t show up, make sure USB debugging is enabled.
It’s back to Odin now to finalize the process.
Once you’re focusing on Odin again, you’ll want to narrow your focus on the top leftmost box.
- When the first box from the left has the word “COM” followed by a colon and a number, that’s your OK to proceed with the process.
- In Odin’s message box you should see a few lines. These lines don’t necessarily matter, but they’re another sign that you’re ready to start.
- You’re now good to go, hit Start on the bottom of the Odin window.
- You’ll know the process has begun once you see a download bar filling.
- This could take a little while, but make sure to not disconnect your phone until Odin gives you the “All threads completed” message.
Your phone should begin rebooting automatically, and at this point, it’s safe to disconnect. Once your phone has rebooted, you should be back to Android version of your choice. If you had removed a micro SD card, you can now reinsert it.
You can expect to get notifications asking you if you want to update, but as long as you want to stick with your downgraded S6, feel free to ignore them.
Method 2: Odin Pro ($4.99) (Requires Root)
For those that don’t have an available PC to flash older firmware, or for users who are rooted and don’t mind dropping a little cash on a useful app, Odin Pro is sure to suit your needs. As said above, Odin Pro requires your phone to be rooted, so don’t attempt this if your Galaxy S6 is not currently rooted.
Additionally, you still need an older firmware file to downgrade your phone.
The process will not work if the file is inside a RAR or ZIP, so it will need to be extracted. To do this, you will either need the assistance of PC or an Android application for unpacking RAR or ZIP files.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised that the first step to this method is to purchase and download Odin Pro, so I won’t feign surprise either.
However, you can download it here:
You’ll need to download the proper firmware file for your Samsung Galaxy S6 for this step. I covered this in Method 1, under Step 3. However, if you already know what to look for, all you need is a link in the right direction.
If the file is in a RAR or ZIP file, you’ll need to extract it. You can do this with an application, like RAR for Android that I mentioned before, or with an available PC. However, if you use a PC, make sure the extracted file is still placed on your phone.
If you haven’t already, make a backup of all your data. There’s always the possibility that flashing anything on to your phone could alter anything in your internal storage.
Now that you have everything you need, open Odin Pro.
- You’ll want to navigate to Open File on Odin Pro’s main screen.
- Select Open File, and then locate the appropriate firmware file you want to flash.
- With the file opened, you can select Wipe data and Wipe dalvik cache if you want to remove any data present in your storage and start fresh, but otherwise you can leave this unchecked.
- Now scroll down to Flash firmware and give it a tap.
Your phone will now start the process, so you can just leave it be and wait for it to boot fully again for the process to be completed. The process could take anywhere from a few minutes to a solid ten or twenty, but after it has finished, you’re good to go.
There are really only two options when it comes to downgrading your Samsung Galaxy S6, but thankfully, the free option doesn’t require a root, and is mostly hassle-free. However, either option is fortunately beginner friendly.
Now that you’ve downgraded your S6, why not tell us why you did? There are as many reasons to downgrade as there are to upgrade, so please let us know in the comments below why you decided to dive back into the past.