Even the best phones need updates to keep their edge. Lollipop has already rolled out over-the-air, but rumor has it access to Marshmallow is right around the corner in January. Some of the things you have to look forward to with Marshmallow are an overall speed improvement, better battery life, and finer control over app permissions. You will also notice a difference in the TouchWiz user interface—it appears flatter without any 3D effects.
What’s available at this time is a public beta test that aims to improve the quality of Marshmallow by collecting user feedback. The S6 is one of the first devices eligible to participate in this program. There are a few stipulations though—it’s only available in South Korea and the UK. If you meet those requirements, you can take part in the beta test by creating a Samsung account, downloading the Galaxy Care app, and completing the Galaxy Beta Program registration.
Even if you don’t happen to live in South Korea or in the UK, the Marshmallow update is still right around the corner for the rest of us. Keep in mind that if you have a rooted phone, updates can interfere with the root, or vice versa. It is also possible to experience no issues at all. Additionally, having a rooted phone may enable you to receive the Marshmallow update even faster—check out Method 3 about custom ROMs.
Method 1: Update Over-the-Air
This method requires a little wait time. It does depend on when your carrier releases the Marshmallow update, but the leaked estimate is January. Once they do release it, you will find the following OTA method very easy to complete.
1. Ensure that you have a stable Wi-Fi connection.
- If your Wi-Fi connection is unreliable, it might be best to use Methods 2 or 3 instead.
2. Fully charge your phone.
- Or check to make sure it has at least 80% capacity.
- You will also want to be certain there’s enough space. More than 3GB is mandatory. 6+ GB is ideal.
- From Settings, select “Storage.”
3. Check the Notification bar to see if there’s an update alert.
If it is present there, simply tap on it and confirm that you want to download. If it isn’t available, proceed to Step 4.
4. From your S6’s menu, tap on “Settings.”
From now until the upgrade is finished, do not remove the battery for any reason!
5. Choose “More.”
6. Select “About Device.”
7. Choose “Software Update.”
Look for any new notifications here.
8. If available, select the update to install.
If a new update is available, it should be displayed.
9. Tap “Update Now.”
Method 2: Update Using Samsung Smart Switch
Samsung Smart Switch is the replacement for the former software utility tool Samsung Kies. In addition to updates, Samsung Smart Switch is also capable of transferring data from one device to another, performing backups, and restoring the S6 back to its official default state. There’s a version of Smart Switch available for both mobile devices and PCs, and for both Windows and Macs. You will want to backup your data prior to the update, but luckily Samsung Smart Switch affords you that option as well.
1. Go to Samsung’s website, Google Play Store, or Galaxy Apps to find the download for Samsung Smart Switch
Make your Samsung Smart Switch selection according to the country where you live and your PC’s operating system.
2. Download and install Samsung Smart Switch.
On Samsung’s website, the link titled “Get Samsung Smart Switch” is in the column to the right.
3. Connect your S6 to your computer via USB cable.
Drivers may need to be installed. This should happen automatically.
4. If necessary, allow your computer to finish installing or updating any drivers for your S6.
This should only take a few minutes.
5. Open Smart Switch on your PC.
- Accept the License Agreement and follow the directions on the Install Wizard to complete installation.
- Click on “Finish.”
- Smart Switch should detect your connected S6.
6. Press the “Update” button.
Smart Switch will automatically ask you to update, as long as there’s an update available.
7. Confirm the update by selecting “OK.”
When the update is complete, the S6 will return to its Home screen.
Method 3: Update with Odin
This method is a little more complex than the ones preceding it, but we will make it easy for you. Odin is especially useful for those who want to use the OTA function after root. Linux and Mac users will want to use Jodin3 in place of Odin, and use the appropriate PIT file. Odin can be used to flash the stock ROM or with Marshmallow, as soon as it becomes available.
1. Make sure the proper drivers are installed before using Odin.
- Usually this is an automatic installation that takes place when you plug the USB cable into the PC.
- You should also be able to find the appropriate driver for your cable by searching the Internet or we have a link below.
2. Complete a backup of your S6.
You will also want to ensure that your S6 has at least 80% charge.
3. Download this Odin file, and then install it. (waiting on Author for link)
Extract or unzip the contents.
4. Enter download mode.
- With the device turned off, hold the Power, Volume Down, and Home buttons simultaneously.
- When a warning message pops up, release all of the buttons.
- Immediately press Volume Up.
5. Download your update to your computer.
- Official updates can found on this Samsung update site.
- Be sure that you are using firmware that matches your model, or you could risk your phone being bricked.
6. Run Odin as an Administrator.
The ID:COM section should now turn blue and an “Added” message should display.
7. Press the “AP” button.
The button could also say “PDA” if you are using Odin 3.07.
8. Select the file you downloaded earlier to use for your update.
Browse your computer for the firmware .tar.md5 update and load it to Odin.
9. Click on “Start.”
- It’s usually unnecessary to make any other changes because the options that are ticked by default are best.
- Do not select Re-Partition. However, Auto Reboot and F . Reset Time are okay.
10. When you are done a Pass message will display.
You will also get a green light from the ID:COM section, meaning that you are ready to go. The Galaxy S6 should reboot automatically.
Method 4: Update by Installing CyanogenMod 13 with Marshmallow (For Rooted Devices with a Custom Recovery)
If you can’t stand the suspense, installing CyanogenMod 13 is one way that you can get Marshmallow ahead of the rest. Keep in mind, however, that this is a custom ROM that was only recently released. Therefore, you will be taking on the risk of installing a custom ROM, which can void the warranty or at worst, brick your phone. You could also encounter some bugs until the release of a more stable build.
WARNING: This is an unofficial, third-party build! Currently, the S6 is not supported by CyanogenMod. Users have reported possible issues with the camera, GPS, 3D graphics, and more.
1. Download Cyanogenmod 13 ROM for the Samsung Galaxy S6 to the internal storage of your S6.
2. Complete a backup of your S6.
- Completely backing up of your Galaxy S6 should include your messages, contacts, photos, and anything else you wish to save.
- You will also want to ensure that your S6 has at least 80% charge.
3. Enable “USB Debugging” in “Developer Options.”
Also, select “OEM Unlocking Options.”
4. Download Google Apps (Gapps zip file) to your SD card.
- If it makes you feel more comfortable, you can first place the files on your computer and then transfer via USB cable.
- Ensure that the proper USB drivers are installed first.
5. Turn off the power to your S6.
Hold down the Power button.
6. Boot into “Recovery Mode.”
- Press the Power, Volume Up, and Home buttons simultaneously until the Recovery Mode
- Now you can navigate by using the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons.
7. Wipe the /data and /system partitions.
- For CWM Recovery, press “Wipe Data/Factory Reset” and confirm.
- For TWRP, use the “Wipe” option.
8. Install CyanogenMod by tapping on “Install” and locating the CM ROM zip file that you downloaded in Step 1.
It should be located inside your SD card sub-directory.
9. Now install the Google Apps (Gapps) package.
- Go back to the main menu of the custom recovery and tap “Install” again.
- Navigate to the Gapps zip file that you transferred to your Samsung in Step 5.
10. Reboot your S6.
From the main menu of the custom recovery, select “Reboot System Now.”
If you go with the CyanogenMod ROM you will have the advantage of built-in battery improvement due to a lack of bloatware; nearly doubled by the battery advantage that Marshmallow brings. However, since there are only a few devices on which CyanogenMod 13 is officially available to use, you might have to deal with some disadvantages as well. It is a trade-off. But, it is currently the only way to get Marshmallow on the Samsung S6.
Waiting on OTA updates is not only the easiest option but is also the safest. It doesn’t provide you with immediate gratification, but January is near. Samsung Smart Switch is also very easy to use and is also capable of transferring, backing up, and restoring data. Odin is your best bet for a rooted phone once an official update is released, especially if you rooted using a custom recovery. To learn more about Marshmallow’s best features, click on the link below.
Tell us how you like your new update in the comments section below. If you are still having difficulty installing the update, tell us about your troubles. Problems with Marshmallow?