How to make and flash your own rooted stock Lollipop TouchWiz ROM for the Verizon S5

If you’re reading this, you’re probably trying to solve a frustrating problem. Relax, I’m here to help.

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The following are prerequisites for this to work:

  • Rooted Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900V) with unlocked bootloader.
  • TWRP custom recovery installed.
  • 7-Zip installed on your PC.
  • SuperSU downloaded to the top level directory of a USB flash drive.
  • A USB OTG cable.

Steps:

  1. Download full stock firmware.
  2. From the above archive, extract system.img.ext4, boot.img, modem.bin, NON-HLOS.bin, into a new folder on your PC.
  3. Open 7-Zip.
  4. Navigate to the folder containing the files from Step 2.
  5. Select all files from Step 2.
  6. Click Add.
  7. In the Add to Archive window that pops up, enter a filename and desired path.
  8. Click the Archive Format dropdown.
  9. Click tar.
  10. Click OK to make the files into a .tar archive
  11. Flash the .tar archive from Step 4 in Odin using the AP slot as described here.
  12. Boot into the ROM and set it up as you would a new phone, including updating all the apps on it.
  13. Boot into TWRP.
  14. Connect the USB flash drive containing SuperSU to the S5 using the USB OTG cable.
  15. In TWRP, tap Install.
  16. Tap Select Storage.
  17. Tap USB Storage.
  18. Select the SuperSU .zip file.
  19. Swipe to flash SuperSU.

And that’s it. This will give you a fully stock, rooted Lollipop ROM you can boot right into.

If you run custom ROMs, the stock ROM is pretty useful to keep handy as some troubleshooting methods (especially advanced ones involving the baseband) work on it only. As such, it’s a pretty good idea to back it up so you can restore it as needed. Instructions found in Phase 9 here.

 

How to unlock the bootloader, install and update LineageOS on the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5

Hi, I’m here to rescue you from forum hell.

NOTE: This guide was originally written for CM 13.0 but is in the process of being updated for LineageOS. Except for OS name and version number, the steps should be exactly the same.

The following should work for rooted (instructions on how to do that) Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5s (SM-G900V, kltevzw) running stock Android 5.0 Lollipop and 15 Samsung eMMCs (see Phase 0 to determine whether your S5 satisfies the eMMC requirement). As of this writing, it does not work for S5s with 11 Toshiba eMMCs. Due to the possibility of the bootloader unlock exploit being patched in the Marshmallow update, I’d highly suggest doing this BEFORE updating to any stock Marshmallow OTA.

The steps below can also be long, hard, and frustrating. They will also wipe your phone (SD card included) except for personal files on internal eMMC storage, so make sure everything you need on the card is backed up. Also ensure this is something you really want to do and/or there’s a phone out there you’d actually feel good about buying in case you brick your S5.

The upside is you’ll be getting the latest version of Android long before the official Verizon update, you’ll no longer be trapped in Verizon’s byzantine update process, and you get adoptable storage.

If you get stuck, hit up any of the forum threads linked to at the end of the post for assistance.

Phase 0: Check to see if your phone is supported.

  1. Install Root Explorer or ES File Exploer/Manager Pro (actually, any file explorer with root access and browsing works).
  2. Launch Root Explorer and grant it root access.
  3. Tap the ROOT tab.
  4. Open the file /sys/block/mmcblk0/device/cid. If the number you see in that file starts with 15, your device is supported and you may continue. If not, you’ll have to wait for a matching exploit.
  5. Charge your S5 to 100% as some steps involve the phone being completely disconnected from USB.

Phase 1: Download everything you need, install some of them.

  1. Download and install Flashfire. If that link doesn’t work for you, opt into the testing channel and then try it again.
  2. Download and install Busybox.
  3. Open Busybox, tap INSTALL and wait for the process to complete.
  4. Download SamsungUnlockerS5.apk to your device, but don’t install it yet.
  5. Download and install the latest Samsung USB drivers on your PC (scroll down to where it says Manuals & Downloads).
  6. Download the latest Odin archive to your PC and decompress the archive.
  7. Download the latest TWRP *.img file.
  8. Download the lastest CyanogenMod 13.0 (CM 13.0) nightly build to your device’s eMMC internal storage.
  9. Download Open GApps:
    1. At the webpage above, check the radio buttons for ARM under Platform, 6.0 under Android, and stock under Variant. Flashing this combination later on will give you the same stock Google apps as a Nexus device.
    2. Click the download icon.
    3. Transfer Open GApps to your S5’s internal eMMC storage.
  10. Download the latest firmware (referred to as “baseband” in Settings -> About Phone) for the S5’s radio. Use the latest *non-hlos file under the “Odin” heading here. If your baseband >= what’s listed there, skip this step. If the files are .tar.md5, you will need to extract the .bin files from them using 7-Zip or some other similar utility.

Do not run BlueStacks or any such emulation/virtualization applications on your PC during the unlocking or installation process as it may interfere with Odin’s functionality.

Though you should’t need it for this process, the entire NCG ROM (baseband, etc.) is here. Some commenters have found it useful, so there it is.

Phase 2: Disable reactivation lock.

I put this in its own phase because it’s that important. If reactivation lock is enabled you won’t be able to wipe and reset the phone as needed for this to work.

Follow the instructions for the S5 here.

Phase 3: Flash the new baseband to the S5 using Odin.

This will ensure your phone can connect properly to Verizon’s network.

  1. Follow Steps 12 to 16 here.
  2. Click the CP button and select the baseband file.
  3. Click Open.
  4. Wait for the messages in the Message window to settle on Added!!!.
  5. Click Start. Odin will update the S5’s baseband and reboot the phone.
  6. Upon rebooting, ensure the baseband installation was successful by checking Settings -> About Phone. The last 3 letters of the version number should match those of the firmware you flashed (e.g. PB1).
  7. You will need to do Steps 1 to 6 above for both modem.bin & NON-HLOS.bin files.

Phase 4: Unlock the bootloader.

This will wipe your SD card. Ensure you’ve backed up anything on it you want to keep before this. It will, however, leave the phone’s eMMC storage untouched.

  1. Disconnect your phone from any USB power or data source. Be sure to do this or the S5 will relock the bootloader upon rebooting.
  2. Install SamsungUnlockerS5.
  3. Launch the above app.
  4. Grant root access when prompted.
  5. Tap the Install SamBootloader Unlocker button.
  6. Grant root access again.
  7. Wait for the terminal to appear (it may take a minute or 2). Do not do anything else on the phone during this wait time except ensure the screen stays alive.
  8. When prompted, type Yes.
  9. Hit Enter and wait for the phone to turn off.
  10. Boot into download mode by pressing Volume Down, Power, and Home buttons simultaneously.
  11. Press Volume Up at the prompt.
  12. To confirm the bootloader is unlocked, ensure the line MODE: DEVELOPER appears on the 3rd to last line in the upper left of the screen. If it doesn’t, repeat steps 1 to 11 again as you probably missed something.
  13. Turn the phone off, then turn it on again to boot back into stock Lollipop.

This Phase can be tricky. If it doesn’t work the first time:

  1. Turn the phone off and ensure it’s disconnected from any USB or other power source.
  2. Remove the battery.
  3. Wait 30 seconds.
  4. Put battery back in.
  5. Turn phone on and boot into stock Android.
  6. Reinstall BusyBox.
  7. Reboot the phone into stock Android.
  8. Install the .apk again.
  9. Run through the unlock process again.

Phase 5: Move necessary files to root of microSD card.

  1. Move the CM 13.0 nightly build and Open GApps archives to the root of your  microSD card. Note that we didn’t move them earlier as the bootloader unlock would have wiped both files.

Phase 6: Flash the custom TWRP build.

  1. Open Flashfire (general documentation).
  2. Tap the floating action button.
  3. Tap Flash firmware package.
  4. Select the *klte.img file from Phase 1 Step 7.
  5. Tap Flash. The S5 will reboot into stock Lollipop.
  6. Turn the phone off.
  7. To check whether the recovery flash was successful, press Volume Up, Power, and Home simultaneously. This should boot the S5 into the new recovery environment (ignore any SEAndroid errors as long as booting into recovery is successful).

Phase 7: Install CM 13.0 AND Open GApps.

  1. Reconnect the phone to a USB power source to ensure there’s no power failure during the installation.
  2. While still in the recovery environment, follow Steps 7 – 9 here.
  3. Select the option to add additional zips/packages and add Open GApps to the list. This is important, as firing up CM 13.0 without Google Apps can be a very bad time.
  4. Swipe to Install both archives as indicated.

And that’s it! After both packages are installed the S5 will then boot into CM 13.0 and you can set it up from there. And because your SIM didn’t change and your baseband is the latest version, you don’t have to worry about reactivating the phone.

Phase 8: Getting started with CM 13.0.

A few pointers to get you up to speed:

  1. CM 13.0 takes significantly longer to boot than stock Lollipop, though this may be due to my having adoptable storage enabled.
  2. Root access is managed neatly from within Developer Options, which you enable by following these steps.
  3. Yes, adoptable storage works beautifully and doesn’t slow the phone down at all.
  4. Google Camera is absolutely terrible on the S5. Use Camera MX instead.
  5. Ignore any SIM card errors you see upon booting up, they usually go away once the radio is initialized, which may take a minute. Just be patient.
  6. You can access the hidden phone info app for troubleshooting by entering *#*#4636#*#* from the dialer.

Phase 9: Backup your CM installation before updating your build.

This is unfortunately tricky due to TWRP’s current tendency to corrupt adoptable storage. Option A below ensures TWRP never (phyiscally) touches your storage  – which should (note the emphasis. It’s possible a dirty flash or backup might cause the OS to “forget” the adopted storage, but so far I haven’t seen that happen) provide 100% protection against corruption – while Option B is significantly less safe but doesn’t involve physically pulling the phone apart.

Option A: Remove the microSD card before doing anything.

  1. Power off the S5.
  2. Remove microSD card.
  3. Boot into TWRP.
  4. Do all the steps below and in Phase 10 with the microSD card omitted.
  5. Power off the S5 again.
  6. Put the microSD card back in.
  7. Reboot into system.

Option B: Follow the below instructions as written instead.

Yes, this is a separate and necessary phase as nightly build bugs can be bad enough to require either restoring a full backup or a clean install to recover from. Seriously. Read the horror story at the link.

CAUTION: There is a semi-known issue with TWRP that it corrupts USB drives if they are connected while the phone is rebooted back to System and corrupts (adopted) SD cards if updates are installed from them.

The workaround for this is to simply avoid doing both: DO NOT install updates directly from the adopted SD card. Install them from Internal Storage only. Do not reboot from TWRP into System with the USB drive connected and/or selected in TWRP or with the SD card selected. ALWAYS reboot to System from TWRP with Internal Storage selected and no USB storage attached.

To backup your phone:

  1. Get a USB 2.0 OTG cable and 16+ GB USB 2.0+ flash drive with nothing else on it.
  2. (ExFAT) format the drive by 1 of:
    1. Using the PC instructions here.
    2. Connecting it to the S5 via the OTG cable and going to Settings -> Storage & USB.
    3. Tap the notification that appears when the drive is connected.
  3. Reboot into recovery.
  4. Connect the OTG cable and drive to the S5.
  5. Tap Backup.
  6. Tap Select Storage.
  7. Tap USB.
  8. Tap OK.
  9. Under the BACKUP tab, ensure BootSystem, and Data are checked.
  10. Under the OPTIONS tab, check Skip MD5 generation during backup.MD5 sounds like a nice idea, but it only checks for and doesn’t fix backup corruption. In other words, if your backup is toast, MD5 won’t actually fix the problem and you’ll find out about the corruption during restoration anyway. Besides, the official OTA updates don’t use it. The last reason not to use MD5 is it nearly doubles backup times compared to not using both it and compression.
  11. Under the BACKUP tab, Swipe to Backup.
  12. When the backup is complete, tab BACK.
    THE NEXT STEPS ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO AVOID CORRUPTION OF THE USB DRIVE. DO NOT SKIP THEM.
  13. Tap Select Storage.
  14. Tap Internal Storage.
  15. Tap OK.
  16. Disconnect the USB drive from the S5.

As an added precaution, connect the USB drive to another Android device or PC to ensure the it hasn’t been corrupted before proceeding with an update.

I don’t advise enabling compression or encryption; backing up my 200+ app installation with them disabled takes around 300 seconds (TWRP gives you time report at the end). With MD5 enabled, that jumps to around 500 seconds. With both MD5 and compression enabled, backups take a whopping 1300 seconds, which isn’t worth it for a daily operation. Just get a sufficiently large drive; they’re inexpensive enough.

Phase 10: Updating CM 13.0 in place with adoptable storage enabled.

If you have adoptable storage enabled want to update your nightly build, do this:

  1. Tap About Phone -> CyanogenMod updates.
  2. Hit the refresh icon and download the build when prompted.
  3. After the download is complete, use an explorer app with root access to move the archive (found in /cmupdater on the microSD card) to /data/Media/0/twrp (you may have to create the latter folder if it doesn’t already exist).
  4. Boot into recovery as in Phase 6 Step 7 and install the update as in Phase 7. None of your apps or data will be affected.
  5. When the update is complete, tap Wipe cache/Dalvik.
  6. Swipe to Wipe and wait for the operation to complete.
  7. Tap Reboot System.

How does it all run? Here’s my review of CM 13.0 on the S5.

Here’s how to get back to a stock rooted ROM (while leaving your unlocked bootloader and custom recovery in place) if you ever need to.

Thanks GeTex (bootloader unlock thread), jrkruse (SamsungUnlockerS5.apk), haggertk (CM 13.0 kltevzw build thread), keysoh2 (how to flash firmware/modem in ODIN), Dees_Troy (TWRP klte build thread) and M1chiel (updating CM 13.0 with adoptable storage enabled) for the methods used in this post.

If you’re having problems, comment or get back to the threads linked to above.

How to fix Google Play Store Error Code 963/907

Keep uninstalling the Play Store until the problem fixes itself.

The following method:

  • worked on a stock rooted Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900V) running Android Lollipop.
  • worked when error code: 963/error code: 907 was being thrown for updating apps installed to the SD card.

If you’re getting the above error, try these steps:

  1. Uninstall updates to the Play Store app. This will replace the app with the stock version that shipped with your current ROM.
  2. Update problematic apps in the Play Store ASAP after, before it automatically updates.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 throughout the following days if the error codes reappear due to the Play Store app automatically updating itself. After several (up to 5 to 7) days, the error codes should go away in the updated Play Store app.

How to update your Verizon S5 from KitKat to Lollipop without losing root or your apps

As usual, everything that would be routine on the desktop is infinitely harder and hacky on mobile.

As with previous guides, this one is more detailed version/composite of forum posts, which are linked to. The aim here is to make the process easily understandable for those who aren’t used to flashing or rooting. It applies to the Samsung SM-G900V only.

Phase -1 (OPTIONAL, for adventurous rooted KitKat users): Take the Lollipop OTA update

Yes, you will lose root in the process. But you’ll also get your apps and data updated in-place to Lollipop and ART, thus possibly reducing the odds of CPU/battery life/heat problems later. I haven’t tried this myself, but it’s an idea. Remember to unfreeze/restore any apps you may have disabled or frozen via Titanium Backup first, or the OTA may fail.

Phase 0: Back up all your apps and data

  1. Ensure you have a 32+ GB microSD card installed. The entire update process relies on external storage, and the last thing you want is run out of space.
  2. Back up your apps and data. This guide uses Titanium Backup Pro (TBP), which is the most widely used and thus has the most community support. Unfortunately, it requires root in the first place, which means unrooted users on Lollipop will have to try an alternative such as Helium.* The basic process should still be the same, however: backup your apps and data initially, then restore your data only (if coming from KitKat, to avoid ART & Dalvik conflicts) afterwards.
    1. Install TBP.
    2. Open TBP.
    3. Set the location of the backup folder:
      1. Tap MENU.
      2. Tap Preferences …
      3. Ensure Auto-sync TB settings is checked.
      4. Under Backup settings, tap Backup folder location.
      5. Select (or create if one doesn’t already exist) a folder on your SD card.
      6. Tap Use the current folder to save your setting.
    4. Return to the app’s front page and tap the batch ✔ icon to the left of MENU.
    5. Under Backup, tap RUN for Backup all user apps.
    6. Tap SELECT ALL. If you have Microsoft Office installed, uncheck it. For some reason TBP chokes when attempting to restore data for it, so just omit it.
    7. Ensure the Pause active apps radio button is engaged. This will ensure all your apps get backed up even if they’re currently running.
    8. Tap the ✔ icon and wait for the backup process to complete. It may take a while depending on how many apps you have, so be patient. When that process completes, head to Phase 1.

Phase 1: Download the rooted Lollipop ROM and the recovery environment needed to install it

  1. Download G900V_OC4_100%_Stock_Rooted_ROM.zip to the top level directory of your SD card. A top level location makes the file easier to find in Safestrap, whose UI is extremely basic.
  2. Download Safestrap-G900V-3.75-KitKat.apk to your SD card.
  3. If you’re on Lollipop, proceed to Phase 2. If you’re on KitKat, proceed to Phase 3.

Phase 2 (unrooted Lollipop only): Downgrade to the KitKat NK2 build

  1. Follow the steps here.
  2. Proceed to Phase 3.

Phase 3: Install Safestrap

  1. Follow the HOW DO I INSTALL SAFESTRAP? instructions here.

Phase 4: Update to the rooted Lollipop ROM

  1. Follow the instructions here.
  2. Upon booting into Lollipop, the OS will ask if you’d like to restore your apps from your previous device. Accept the offer. Note that this will NOT restore the data associated with these apps, despite the prompt’s claim. You’ll do actual data restoration in a later phase. If you’re on a metered data plan, be sure to connect to Wi-Fi as soon as you can to prevent your data being used for app downloads. Wait for the reinstallation process to complete.

Phase 5: Restore your app data

  1. Reinstall TBP.
  2. Set TBP’s backup folder to be the same one you selected in Phase 0 above. This should load not only the backups you made but your previous settings also.
  3. Return to the app’s front page and tap the batch ✔ icon to the left of MENU.
  4. Under Restore, tap RUN for Restore all apps with data.
  5. Tap SELECT ALL.
  6. Ensure the Data only radio button is engaged.
  7. Ensure Exclude system APKs is checked.
  8. Tap the ✔ icon and wait for the restore process to complete. Note that some system apps, such as Smart Remote, won’t be restored and so you’ll have to set them up from scratch instead. If you are coming from rooted KitKat originally, I would not suggest you try to restore them either as they could have been under the hood changes that may not play well with the restored data.

Phase 6 (Optional): Wipe your system cache

  1. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s useful in case you have CPU usage/battery drain/heat issues after the update. Follow these instructions.

* Having never used Helium before, I can’t provide or verify any instructions for it. Sorry.