Samsung Galaxy S3 is the latest addition to a famous line of smartphones. They run on Google Android mobile operating system, the latest version being v.4.1, Jelly Bean. However, S3 comes with the previous version, Ice Cream Sandwich. You may be anxious to update the operating system to the latest version.
Jelly Bean official update for Galaxy S3 should be available in the near future.
You can either get the official updates from Samsung directly or you can go for an available custom firmware. Here are the things you need to know.
Before any sort of software update, you have to back up all the important data on your phone. Otherwise, an erroneous update will render your phone useless. Samsung software, Kies could help in backing up all your data. This is the in-house solution. Also, you can go for third party backup tools such as Backup Master, Titanium Backup, etc. Also, you need to have enough battery power to complete the flashing process. At least 80 per cent of battery power is required.
After backing up the device data, connect it to the computer using the provided USB connector.
At this point of time, you should be running the Samsung Kies software that is used to download and update the phone with the Samsung official firmware. Kies is available for Windows (XP and later) and Mac (10.5 or later). Make sure you have faster than 2 GHz Intel processor and at least 512 MB RAM. Kies can be downloaded from here.
Kies not only helps in firmware update, but also for syncing contacts, wireless connection to the mobile phone, and transferring multimedia content.
Installing the Official Firmware
As the newer versions of Android get released, Samsung may develop device-specific firmware that will update your device. The demo video below shows how to update to ICS using Kies software:
After connecting the Galaxy phone to your computer, start Samsung Kies. Once your phone has been connected to the software, Kies will show you the available software update. All you need to do is device backup and download the firmware through Kies. Make sure you don’t disconnect the device during the update. You only have to follow the on screen instructions.
Custom Firmware for Galaxy S3
You can get the latest custom firmware for Galaxy S3 from Androidfirmwares.net. Of course downloading custom firmware and updating your new device should be done with extreme caution. It will obviously void the warranty of your phone and may cause little or no improvement from the factory setting. However, people continue to update to custom firmware and customize their devices for optimum performance.
As a first step, find out the firmware version you are using on your Galaxy S3. On the keypad of the phone, type ‘*#1234#’ (this code will work with other phones too). It will give the phone’s firmware in this format: ‘I9300AABB5’ (AA indicates the region of the firmware and BB indicates the release date; the number indicates the version).
Here’s the list of region codes:
BD: Cyprus, Greece
BH: Central Europe
CE: Belgium, the Netherlands
DX: Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam
DZ: Malaysia and Singapore
JA: South Africa
JC: Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia
JP: South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Morocco
XA: Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK
XE: Denmark, Sweden, Norway
XC: Portugal and Spain
XD: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
XE: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine
XF: Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania
XX: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, the UK
XP: Several European countries
XW: Australia, UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands
ZH: Hong Kong
In order to download and update the Galaxy S3 using custom firmware, you need a tool known as Odin. After installing Odin, download the required custom firmware and extract the contents to a folder (it will give you a file with ‘.tar’ extension).
Here are the steps to install custom firmware, as detailed at RootGalaxy S3iii.com (This is completely unofficial information and Samsung or publishers of either of these websites will not take any responsibility for errors):
1. Enable USB Debugging option on your phone (Go to Settings->Developers)
2. Turn off the phone and turn it back on with Volume Down key, Power button, and the Home button pressed simultaneously. Keep them pressed until you get to the Downloading Mode.
3. Now connect the phone to the computer through USB cord and open Odin. Wait till it detects the phone (indicated by a COM port number on the top left-hand side).
4. Now, point the PDA part of Odin to the firmware file downloaded earlier (.tar file).
5. Click on Start on Odin, and it will install the firmware to your phone.
Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy family in general are great smartphones available today. Google Android is a developer’s operating system with loads of features. Advanced users would love to take advantage of the features offered by this operating system through custom firmware. It is also important that you download stable firmware with good reviews.