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How To Downgrade Samsung Galaxy S3 Easily: We Found The Answer

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.

ALSO READ: 10 Best Custom ROMs for Samsung Galaxy S3 to Modify Your Mobile

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.

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

zip file

Step 3

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.

build number

developer mode

debugging

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

firmware versions

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.

download firmware

Step 6

After you have downloaded the firmware file, you can extract it on your PC. The file should have an extension like .tar.md5.

Step 7

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.

odin

Step 8

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.

pda

Step 9

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.

download mode

Step 10

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.

device connected

Step 11

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.

start

Step 12

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.

pass

Step 13

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.

Step 1

First, download and install the Mobile Odin Pro app on your Galaxy S3. You can download the app through the Google Play button below.

Download on Google Play

Step 2

Next, download your preferred firmware version. You can follow step 5 from method 1 in order to download your desired firmware file.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

Remember to make a full backup of the data in your phone as flashing a firmware can erase everything off your internal storage.

Step 5

Now, open the Mobile Odin Pro app on your device that you installed earlier.

Step 6

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.

open file

Step 7

If you want a fresh install, you can wipe the data off your device by checking the Wipe data option.

wipe data

Step 8

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.

flash firmware

Step 9

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.


Conclusion

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.

WHAT NEXT: How to Unlock Samsung Galaxy S3 for Roaming Power

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!

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60 Comments

    1. Hi. If you’re stuck at the logo, you need to wipe data / factory reset and wipe cache. Turn off your device. Now go into Recovery mode. Do this by pressing volume down button, home button and the power button, all at the same time. Release only after you see the logo. Now in the Recovery mode, you need to navigate to the part where it says wipe data / factory reset. Click the power button to confirm your choice. Select yes. After that, go to wipe cache option and again select yes to confirm. Then choose reboot system now. This will give you a fresh install of the rom you flashed. Which should start up without issues. Good luck!

  1. I tried to down grade from 4.3 to 4.0.4 and i lost ..do i have to downgrade to first 4.1.2 then to 4.1.1 then to 4.0.4 ??? is this will solve the network thing / lost signal ? thanks.

    1. I think you need to retry once again. The method instructed in this blog post is tested and it worked. So it should work to you as well.

      Regards
      Martin

  2. Thank you very much for the post. I have a question,,, I have successed to finish the step 9, but am stuck at the step 10. When I connected the USB to the computer, the secion in ID:COM doensn’t turn into blue on Odin. What do you think the problem? Thank you.

    1. Please make sure that USB debugging is ticked, before you go into download mode. If it is already and you’re still not getting the blue confirmation, that only means that you have a loose connection on the USB port. I should know, coz that happens to me. If that were to happen while flashing the ROM, your S3 could get bricked. So for me, it would be best to use Mobile Odin. Just a suggestion. Good luck!

  3. Mine also keeps failing in step 12 – Please someone help!
    Added!!
    Enter CS for MD5..
    Check MD5.. Do not unplug the cable..
    Please wait..
    T999UVDMD5_T999TMBDMD5_T999UVDMD5_HOME.tar.md5 is valid.
    Checking MD5 finished Sucessfully..
    Leave CS..
    Odin v.3 engine (ID:7)..
    File analysis..
    SetupConnection..
    Initialzation..
    Get PIT for mapping..
    Firmware update start..
    aboot.mbn
    NAND Write Start!!

    Complete(Write) operation failed.
    Added!!
    All threads completed. (succeed 0 / failed 1)

        1. Hi Kelvin,
          What is the current firmware on the phone? With the introduction of Knox, downgrading not possible. You can only flash what is currently on the phone or higher. Highest version for T999 is OH1.

    1. Najib,

      We have received such feedback for this first time!
      I would recommend you to upgrade and downgrade once again. Let us know the feedback.

      Regards
      Martin

  4. Can i directly downgrade from 4.3 to 4.0.4 ? (i already downloaded 4.0.4 firmware from sammobile)
    or
    First I need to downgrade 4.3 to 4.1.2 then, 4.1.2 to 4.1.1 and then, 4.1.1 to 4.0.4.
    And my phone is not rooted this is first time i’m trying…… because 4.3 very laggy slowww…… auto restarting etc. etc.
    reply ASAP.
    Thanks
    Raj

      1. after downgrading it’ll again ask me for android update ? what if i dont upgrade it’ll cause anything ????
        i m little scared about this 😛
        Thanks
        Raj

  5. Please help my wife upgraded the firmware on samsung s3 it worked for a while but now its stuck on the samsung screen where it shows you phone name and stuff ive done the data reset and the cache butt it still dont work please help im getting fustrated now thanx

      1. Thanx for the reply but the problem is i cant get the phone on to get to the apps and setting and i did try the hard reset option and still nothing

      2. hi,
        martin actually this downgrade not worked for me 🙁 everything’s worked fine but i m having “no signal” problem and was unable to upgrade again then i’ve just downloaded kies and upgraded again and now its working fine on 4.3 little bit laggy but it’s fine.
        thanks for your help but not worked for me 🙁
        Thanks
        Raj

  6. Worked like a charm
    everything is ok
    i just got the logo issue
    i wiped the cach and it is ok 😀
    thank u very much man
    keep awsome work

  7. I got a Samsung galaxy S3 and I can’t make or receive calls or messages I have credit and reception it just automatically says ‘call ended 0:00’ please help I can’t find a solution anywhere

      1. And what do i do if the sim works on another phone, and resetting the phone with all 3 methods isn’t effective (I still don’t have signal from my network)?

  8. hi my phone has been acting up such as the screen flickering on and off and its been turning off and on its own, and when i try to turn it back on it will sometimes come back on for a couple minutes and then shut right back off on its own and i have the android jelly bean version and before i upgraded to that at t wasint doing that ans its realy annoying now.

  9. Hello, I just want to downgrade my samsung GS3 from 4.3 to 4.2.1
    But I’m little afraid to do this. Bcoz so much of peoples are saying it will brick the fone.
    Are u sure that we can do it?

  10. Downgrade went OK, but now my sim network is not recognized and the IMEI is some generic number that can’t be unlocked. Help please!

  11. Please help,i bought my s3 runing on 4.3 in germany from swisscom on a business trip but currently now im in nigeria.when i checked for upgarde i saw it was available for s3 users in nigeria but im a lil scared and confused of upgrading it due to its branded with swisscom logo on startup,i dont know if it will affect or brick the phone if i upgrade it please i need help

  12. hello there..I was trying to downgrade my i9300 from 4.3 to 4.1.2
    and I did every thing right but it keeps saying fail. if it helps my
    s3 in download mode it says..
    odin mode
    product name sgh i747
    custom binary download: yes(8 counts)
    current binary : custom
    system status:cus
    Qualcomm secure boot: enable
    warranty bit: 1
    boot loader rp swrev: 2

  13. Hello Martin,

    I have a S3 that was from a Fido Carrier and now using a Telus SIM which is my carrier.

    In order to unlock it, I need to downgrade to 4.1.1

    I have downloaded firmware

    1) I747MVLDLK4_I747MOYADLK4_FMC (Fido Mobile Carrier)
    2) I747MVLDMF1_I747MOYBDMF1_TLS (Telus Carrier)

    Followed instructions as you said and it’s still giving me the FAIL result.

    Can you please help? Not sure what I’m doing wrong.

    Thank you

    Lex

  14. i bought galaxy note 3 sm-n900 model.
    the problem is that it gets charged using usb cable but my pc didn’t recognise it therefore I can’t update it using odin. any help.
    also it doesn’t get update ota what shall I do to update it to 4.4.2 …?

  15. Hey guys
    I have upgraded my galaxy s3 sgh-t999 to 5.1 lollipop. Now I want to downgrade my phone to previous version plz help me.

  16. I am in fact delighted to rezd this blog posts which carries
    lots oof valuable data, thaks for providing thee information.

  17. I followed your instructions and installed Samsung USB driver no problem. When I installed the newer version of Odin, my system was flooded with spyware and it actually disabled Chrome and replaced it with another browser. It took me over an hour to clean it all out.
    Thanks for nothing!!

    1. Hi Gregg,
      How unfortunate to hear about what happened to you and we will definitely look into this to see that it does not happen again. Apologies for the inconvenience.

  18. Hi There, thanks for all the valuable information provided there. Can I downgrade from 4.4.2 to 4.1.1, so that i can carrier unlock the mobile.

    Various users have reported that the imei becomes invalid. Please advise

    1. Hi Kamlesh,
      I have also read about users having the same problem of downgrading from 4.3 to 4.1 will damage the EFS folder which holds the IMEI number , but you can only downgrade if you have an EFS backup of 4.1 . Hopefully, this fixes the issue. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  19. What should I do? The message “Unfortunately, the android.process.acore has stopped.” always appear. Can anyone help me? I know most of you might have stop responding. You might even got a new phone right now. But please help. Any help will highly be appreciated. Thanks a lot in advance.

    1. Hi Marianne,
      To fix that error you can try clearing data of contacts, Resetting app preferences, Clear data of Google Play, Google Play Services and Google Play Frameworks. If that doesn´t work, please try turning on your facebook account or app, just in case you have turned it off. Many users have reported this type of problem after they turned the app off. Hope this helps. =-)

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