Installing ROMs onto the Samsung Galaxy S4

Whether your want Kit Kat or any other upcoming version of Android on the Samsung Galaxy S4, here's how to load it up. 

If you absolutely need to have the latest software on your Samsung Galaxy S4, we can show you how to get the latest OS update. These updates often include new features and performance improvements, so it’s worth your while to have the latest version of Android that’s available.

Generally you’ll get a notification when an update is ready to download, but if you’re particularly antsy or you know there’s an update and you have received a notification, you can check manually.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen of your phone to get the notification tray
  2. Tap the settings gear icon in the top-right
  3. Tap the More tab at the top
  4. Down at the bottom, tap About device
  5. Tap Software Update and tap Update after that.

Now, that’s just the official way of installing updates. If you’re not getting the update that way and are feeling adventurous, you can manually install a new version of Android on your Samsung Galaxy S4. Keep in mind this sort of thing is pretty advanced. It's always prudent to back up your device data before starting. If you've unlocked the bootloader, you'll want to stay away from this method. 

First off, you'll need to figure out the specific model number for your Samsung Galaxy S4. Swipe down from the top of the screen of your phone to get the notification tray, tap the settings gear icon in the top-right. Tap the More tab at the top. Down at the bottom, tap About device and make note of the model number.

Now do a search for that model number at this site to find the latest available firmware for your device. You'll need to register for an account there to get downloading, so go ahead and do that. xda-developers is also a reputable source for device firmware. Once the firmware is downloaded, you'll need some software for PC to load it up onto your phone. Odin is the tool used to load up official Samsung firmware. Download and install the latest version from over here. You may also need to download the Samsung USB drivers to your PC, also available at the same link. With that, you're ready to start by putting your Samsung Galaxy S4 into download mode.  

How to put the Samsung Galaxy S4 into download mode

  1. Power down the Samsung Galaxy S4 by holding down the power button on the right side and tapping "Power off". 
  2. Hold down the volume down button and home button, then, while still holding the other two, hold down the power button. 
  3. A warning message will pop up about the dangers of loading outside firmware. Nuts to that. Hit volume up to proceed into download mode. 

Installing new firmware with Odin

How to use Odin to install ROMs on the Samsung Galaxy S4

  1. Once your Samsung Galaxy S4 is in download mode, plug it into your computer with a USB cable
  2. Unzip the ROM you wish to load to somewhere accessible. Double-check to make sure the file is for your specific model of phone and that it is in a .tar.md5 format.
  3. Make sure Samsung's Kies software is not running. Open Odin and click the AP button. Browse to and select the unzipped ROM file. If there are multiple files, they should each be added individually to the corresponding sections,  Make sure the re-partition option is un-checked.
  4. Click the start button, and let it do its thing. Don't unplug your phone until the whole process is finished.

If at any point you encounter problems, you can initiate a factory reset by rebooting and holding down volume up, home, and power, then releasing the power button as the boot screen appears. Also be sure to leave a comment here if you need any help!