Monday, August 11, 2014

Samsung I337 Rescue

So I blew up my phone after rooting. Deleted one too many apk files trying to rid my phone of AT&T and Samsung's crapware.  Guess I deleted one file too many and I didn't have a backup. Whoo hoo, I love to live dangerously.

Everything was working but the phone icon was missing.  I couldn't make any phone calls.  Downloading Google Voice or the new Google Phone app didn't fix my issue.  Neither did the myriad of other suggestions I found on various boards: remove cached data, look for a disabled app, etc.

I must have deleted an important apk somewhere along the line.  After a couple days I figured it out and fixed my soft-bricked Samsung Galaxy S4 I337.  If you're in the same boat hopefully this guide can help.

Three problems I needed to surmount: the amount of misinformation on the Internet; the number of ad/spyware laden websites related to fixing Android problems; the lack of downloads and information via the manufacturer's website, Samsung.

First, there's a ton of junk on the Internet. Don't believe half of it.  Half the people on the Android forums don't have a clue as to what they're talking about and the other half are posting links to "solutions" which are really just ad/spyware laden websites.  Which leads us to problem number two.

Second, never, ever pay for "premium" download speed, install a "download helper" or buy into any of the other crap you'll find looking for legit ROM downloads and software.  There are a number of scammers looking to make a buck off any number of poor suckers who are simply trying to unbrick their phone, they will download anything.  Leading us to problem number three.

Samsung needs to get off its ass and make legitimate and verifiable stock ROMs available via its website. Doing otherwise is driving people to shady, secondhand sources.  People make a choice, either trust a potentially evil source or continue with a bricked or soft bricked phone.  Gee, tough decision.

I found a stock image on Mega after a bit of Googling.  Odin is the tool of choice when it comes to reflashing your device.

To fix your soft-bricked or bricked Samsung Galaxy S4 I337:

  1. I started on a "clean" Windows install without any Samsung USB drivers installed.
  2. Download Odin. http://odindownload.com/
  3. Download stock ROM for the Samsung Galaxy S4 I337 AT&T phone. https://mega.co.nz/#!bJMxgARQ!8zxUFpiXhteaLDNemgqRbBSzy6gZJHRCPRW2YndIO4g
  4. Install Odin.
  5. Place phone into download mode. Hold Volume Down, Home and Power buttons.
  6. Connect phone to Windows PC. Note: I performed this in a Windows8 VM running on VMware Fusion on a Mac and it worked just fine.
  7. Odin options: select Auto Reboot, F. Reset Time. Click "AP", select the stock ROM you downloaded.
  8. Click Start.
  9. Wait.
  10. Phone will reboot automagically.
  11. Rejoice.