One of the great things about the Android OS is that Google constantly works on software updates for various Android smartphones in order to improve the user experience. These software updates are then released by device manufacturers after adding their own goodies on top. The Samsung Galaxy S3 was 2012’s phone of the year and the device has received several major updates after it was released. However, not everyone likes the latest updates and some users still prefer to downgrade their Galaxy S3 firmware back to the previous version.
If you face bugs from the latest updates, your device feels slower or you just prefer the overall experience of a previous firmware, you can easily downgrade your device to any previous version
Why You Might Want To Downgrade
- If the update has a poor battery life compared to the previous firmware version
- Your device lags all the time and feels really slow
- A previous feature lost in the update
- Connectivity issues
Versions I Can Downgrade To?
The Samsung Galaxy S3 has gone through numerous versions, making it tricky to decide on which version to downgrade to. The methods outlined in this article allow you to downgrade your Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone to the following versions.
- Downgrade the Samsung Galaxy S3 from 4.3 to 4.1.2
- Downgrade the Samsung Galaxy S3 from 4.1.2 to 4.1.1
- Downgrade the Samsung Galaxy S3 from 4.1.1 to 4.0.4
A Few Tips
Here are some tips that might help resolve your problem and avoid the need for a downgrade.
- You can factory reset your device. This will not downgrade the device but will bring it to factory condition of the firmware installed.
- If you lost a feature in the new update, you might be able to find an alternative on the Google Play Store, which already has millions of apps available for download.
- Try to recharge and then completely discharge your device to improve battery performance. This might strengthen the battery cycle and the battery life might improve.
If you are unable to solve any issues from the latest update or you still want to restore stock firmware on Samsung Galaxy S3, you can use one of the two methods below. These methods are not free of risk and Joy Of Android takes no responsibility if you end up bricking your phone. If you follow the instructions properly and everything goes fine, then you will successfully be downgraded to your preferred firmware. Here is how you can downgrade Galaxy S3 firmware.
Method 1: Odin
This is probably the most reliable way of downgrading your Galaxy S3 as Odin is widely used to flash firmwares on Samsung devices. You don’t need root access in order to use the app, however, you will need a PC to use the Odin software.
Firstly, install the Samsung drivers on your PC if you don’t already have them installed. You can get the drivers here. The file is around 25 MB and you can simply install it like any other Windows software.
Next, download the Odin software for your PC. This is the software which will flash the previous firmware version on your device. It is preferable that you get Odin v3.04 for newer firmware versions and Odin v1.85 for older firmwares. You can download Odin v3.04 here and Odin V1.85 here. Once downloaded, simply extract the zip file anywhere on your PC.
Now, enable Debugging mode on your Galaxy S3. If you don’t have developer options enabled, simply go to Settings/About Phone and keep tapping on Build Number until you see a popup saying Developer mode has been enabled. Now, you’ll have Developer Options in the settings app. Next, click on Developer Options in Settings and make sure that USB Debugging is checked.
Next, make a backup of everything on the internal storage of your device including contacts, messages, settings, apps and files. This is a very important step as all your data might be lost after you downgrade your Galaxy S3.
Now, download the specific firmware that you want to downgrade your Galaxy S3 to. There are several sources for downloading firmware files for the S3. Sammobile and Samsung-updates are two great sources. For the Samsung-updates site, you can easily get your desired firmware from the list of firmwares according to your device’s number. For example, if you’re on version 4.3 and you want to downgrade to a specific 4.1.2 version, you’ll need to download one of the files in the screenshot below.
The great thing about the Sammobile website is that it lets you search for firmwares based on your device model and country etc. However, the site does require you to register first, which takes about 2 minutes. The firmware files are usually quite large so you may want to do something else while the file downloads.
After you have downloaded the firmware file, you can extract it on your PC. The file should have an extension like .tar.md5.
Now, Click on the Odin3 v3.04.exe file from the folder that you extracted earlier. This should start the Odin application. Make sure that you do not change any settings after you open Odin.
Next, click on the PDA button to select the firmware you want to flash while in Odin. You will need to select the .tar.md5 firmware file that you downloaded earlier.
Switch off your device completely. After that, turn your device on in download or Odin mode. This can be done by simultaneously holding the power button, the volume down button and the home button on your Galaxy S3. Your device should now be in download mode.
Now, connect your Galaxy S3 to your PC via a micro USB cable. Once connected, the ID:COM section in Odin should turn to light blue. This means that the device has been connected and is ready for flashing.
To start the flashing process, simply click on Start in Odin. It might take a while before the flashing process begins and the process should take a couple of minutes. Make sure that you don’t disconnect the device during this process. If, however, Odin hangs while the device is connected, simply unplug your device and plug it in again.
Once the flashing process in complete, Odin should display a PASS! message on the top left hand corner. Your device will now reboot automatically and you can unplug it from your PC.
Once the phone reboots, it should feel like you’re using the phone for the very first time as you’ll need to set up the device. You should now be downgraded to your desired Android firmware. After set up, you can restore the backup you made earlier.
Method 2: Mobile Odin Pro (Root)
This method is an alternative to Odin and doesn’t require a PC. This is the perfect method for people who don’t have a Windows PC or just want to flash firmwares directly on their device. However, this is a paid app and costs a little over $5. You will also need root access in order to use this method.
First, download and install the Mobile Odin Pro app on your Galaxy S3. You can download the app through the Google Play button below.
Next, download your preferred firmware version. You can follow step 5 from method 1 in order to download your desired firmware file.
If the downloaded firmware file is a zipped file, you can simply extract the .tar.md5 file on your PC. You will then need to place this file on your Galaxy S3’s internal or external memory. You can copy this file using a micro USB cable connected to your PC.
Remember to make a full backup of the data in your phone as flashing a firmware can erase everything off your internal storage.
Now, open the Mobile Odin Pro app on your device that you installed earlier.
Click on Open File. This will let you choose the firmware that you want to flash. Make sure that you select the .tar.md5 file that you placed on your device.
If you want a fresh install, you can wipe the data off your device by checking the Wipe data option.
After that, click on Flash Firmware. Your device should now boot in recovery and the flashing process should start. The process should take a couple of minutes after which the device will reboot automatically. The first boot after flashing should take a longer time, which is normal. You might also see a loading screen with the Android is upgrading message, which might also take a couple of minutes.
After your Galaxy S3 reboots, your device will have your preferred downgraded firmware version. You can now restore any backup that you created before flashing.
Updating your Galaxy S3 will bring some additional features from Google and from Samsung. However, if you don’t like the newer firmware version and want to downgrade your device, then you can follow one of the methods above. If you want to downgrade due to a minor issue, try some workarounds before you actually downgrade because even rebooting your device might solve the problem rather than downgrading the device to a previous firmware.
As mentioned earlier, downgrading does have some risk of bricking the phone and you should only do it if you take full responsibility. Make sure that you follow all the steps properly for whichever method you use. You can shoot any questions below and we’ll be happy to assist you further!