delldude405 asks in the Samsung Galaxy S III forums,

Being new to the Samsung community, I notice that Samsung is doing their updates through Kies.

Could someone explain what this is, is it safe, and all that other jazz. I'm not one who can root because of security concerns but, is this like the Motorola feedback community (soak testers)?

Kies is a lot of things. It's a way to sync and backup your contacts and device data, it's a front end for transferring media like music and video between your computer and your phone, and as you've noticed, it's a method to update the device firmware on Samsung phones.

Using it is pretty easy. Install it on your computer (Windows or Mac), then plug your phone in with the provided USB data cable. Kies will find it, and present you with a fairly simple user interface full of things you can do with it. On Windows computers, Kies includes a set of universal device drivers so you don't have to fool with that, and it will automatically recognize your phone in case you have more than one. 

Most power users only use Kies for firmware updates, and even then only when it's required. Because all the features are available without Samsung's fancy front end, there's no real reason to install yet another software suite to your computer if you don't mind doing things the manual way. We're just glad users have a choice to use it or not to use it.

For an in-depth look at Kies, hit the break for a video from Samsung.

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Reader comments

From the Android Forums: What is Kies?


My housemate tried twice to update his AT&T SGS2 with Kies on his Mac. Both times it told him he was running the latest firmware. We finally got the phone updated to ICS with my wife's PC. That is Kies.


Do the newer Samsung devices tell you when you need to connect to Kies to update the device or do you just need to connect periodically to see if there is an update?

Does anyone know if Kies does actual transcoding or is it just a gloried front end for the equivalent of dragging and dropping in File Explore? I'm trying to find out if adding another piece of software that no doubt has a service and more crap running in the background via a TSR, is worth it. Music is a moot point, at least for me, with Google Music. Ditto with photos since I have dropbox. But movies I can see a legit use for...maybe. Sort of.

It drags and drops but keeps track of where the files are so when you sync or unsync it will be edited along with Kies. It also imports your playlist from iTunes and Windows so you will have those working in Samsungs player, Google Music and Doubletwist which is neat.

It's not too bad, kind of slow on crappy computers though. The playlist are the best thing about it IMO.

Kies is Samsung's (bad) version of iTunes. If there's one thing that I can't stand of my iPod, is iTunes.

This isn't the only method right? There must be OTA updates, too.Otherwise what would Linux users do?

That is exactly my question. Why would Samsung REQUIRE using the proprietary "Kies" for *any* type of software update? I can understand maybe for an RUU, but not for any updates- those should be OTA.

Sounds crappy to me, like being required to use proprietary iTunes to use a phone...

There are OTA's ... sometimes. The availability of OTA's varies with the specific update, the country, the network, etc. There are time when Kies is the only official option.

This is my first and last android. I have the S-3 and tried 3 times to us Kies. Nobody at the cell phone stores know how to use this, and Samsung tech support puts you on hold to read up on this so you can download this. If you get the oversea's call center they know less, and English is very poor.

Samsung really does alot of copying from Apple lol. From the one Android phone with the predominant center button to their 30 pin connector that looks just like Apples!

Interesting. I always thought it was pronounced with the long 'i' sound ... not the long 'e'. In other words I thought it rhymed with "pies", not "peas". Learn something new everyday. :)

Make sure to not confuse Kies with Kies Air. The former does sync of media and backup of data. The latter lets you control the Samsung device using a web browser.

Kies seems to be decent at media sync. It really lacks features when it comes to keeping basic data like Microsoft Outlook contacts, calendar, notes and tasks in sync. For that, you are better off buying a dedicated third-party app that's built to handle Outlook sync.

I don't know but Sprint's update has to be OTA. I connect through kies to backup my stuff and it clearly states on the front page that my phone is NOT able to be updated through kies...updates or firmware.

It's hit or miss. I've learned that it depends on whether or not the Device ID is included in the Kies software. Every type of Android device has a unique Device ID.

How's this for confusing: if the Device ID isn't included in Kies, it may still work (this is what you're probably witnessing) because the device you are using may be similar an older device whose Device ID is included in Kies. Argh! That's what happens when there's a new Android device every three days.


But what's really, REALLY confusing is that this is a Samsung E4GT connecting to Samsung software and your saying that it's hit or miss if it's own software is compatible with itself?? ....I'm going back to rotary dialed much

Whats great is Samsung Kies does not support Galaxy Note on 64bit...

So i have an International Galaxy Note, i am in USA, it will not push me the ICS update, and i cannot connect to Kies to get it.

how am i supposed to update my phone samsung?

the USA NOTE now got 4.0>?

but my IT NOTE in USA? Will not get any updates?

good job.

I do not like Kies. And for all the people that are okay kies and rag apple for itunes for the same thing, are nothing more but a bunch of hypocrites. I have had 2 other Android phones and 1 iphone and I always liked how android sent OTA's for upgrades. Kies is cumbersome and annoying. One time Kies said my device wasn't eligible for an update. I got so frustrated with Kies and Touch Wiz that I took control of my phone and rooted it with Blazer rom ff18 ICS. No more waiting for my epic 4g to get ics, no more stupid kies, and no more bullsh!t.

i absolutely hate kies..i have a crappy computer (notebook) and this crappy samsung software is so shitty on it, it takes 15 minutes to detect my galaxy note(internatrional) if it detects it at all...then when trying to import stuff it sometimes freezes or takes another 20 min just to get whatever task done. two weeks ago i plugged in my note, was prompted to update to XXlCA1 or some shit like that. whole downloading of firmware went ok till it was being pushed into the note. the phone says do not touch,do not disconnect(this was my first ever update using kies) and guess what....kies rebooted my netbook and my galaxy note was basically a piece of shit after that...tried emergency recovery ..nothing..had to take it back...fortunately i got it back within 5 days...

who knows wha else will happen if i get prompted to move from GB to ICS....maybe it'll be better not to in south africa waiting for ics..doubt we will get it


rant aside, kies is a piece of shitty software..whats this cyanogen guy doing over at samsung if he is not addressing these concerns, he knows better , shouldnt he be making some sort of change instead of just bringing brightness control on the notification tab


100% agree man

i cant update my phone cuz it wont run on 64bit, and i have no 32 bit computers.

its like.. really? your own software does not work with your own phones.

Everyone knows Samsung has the worst support of all the manufacturers, but at least

make your own software work with your own phones

Anyone know the drives for the Samsung Replenish :\.. Its not supported, and Samsung wont even release a update for it or anything. -_-

I have installed ICS on my Samsung Galaxy SII and would like to know how do I revert back to my old version. ICS runs fine and really isn;t that much different from my old version however there are a few changes that i do not like. For instances when you now plug in the phone (while off) to charge it turns the phone back on. If I wanted the phone on then I would have left it on to charge. Plus there are a few other quirks that I would rather not have.

I tried following the video on this thread to download Kies and when I went to try it I couldn't find it. After about three tries I finally contacted Samsung support using on line chat. The service tech gave me the link I needed to install Kies on my computer and it was completely different than the one shown here in this thread on the video. If you want to install Kies here is the web site that should get you up and running,

Help; when transferring music file, either drag and drop or by using the + functionality in Kies to select the album, one track will not transfer. I even tried to manually drag and drop the one specific track by itself...with no luck.

Has anyone encountered this and more importantly, figured out a work around?

how do I get the BS kies off my S4?
There is an update in limbo because the effing download WILL NOT FUCKING download over a mobile network, yet I have unlimited data and 4g. First Samsung sells a flimsy ass phone that will be destroyed if it falls or is hit with ANYTHING, the battery life is mediocre at best and now a bs samsung app I couldnt care less for wont uodate because its too large for a non wifi connection or has to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the mobile?
Who comes up with this shit?