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Does Samsung Galaxy S4 gets android updates forever?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by spman, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. spman

    spman Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Does Samsung Galaxy S4 gets android updates forever? Will I be able to get the latest android version free forever? Thanks.

    I read that some phones expect "one operating system update": "it's up to your phone- or tablet maker whether it wants to release new operating system updates for your model, and it is under no obligation to do so. If you have a high-end, flagship phone such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 or LG G3, you can reasonably expect that your manufacturer will provide at least one operating system update." source How to update Android OS | Smartphones and tablets - PC Advisor
     



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  2. dfarrant81

    dfarrant81 Newbie

    You should get most updates in the near future but one day they will stop, the S3 has stopped at 4.2 but you can always get the the latest updates by rooting your phone.
     
    spman likes this.
  3. spman

    spman Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Can you explain more how to get update by rooting your phone? Newbie here, never done rooting. I always thought rooting is clearing the stock stuff installed by samsung, after rooting the phone no longer communicates with samsung and gets updates?

    How does the android update actually work? Does S4 communicate with samsung to check if my android is the latest version?

    Before rooting where does S4 communicate/get android latest version?

    After rooting where does S4 communicate/get android latest version?
     
  4. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
    Moderator

    No phone gets updates forever. The truth is that you are never *guaranteed* any version update. Bug fixes and security updates, sure, but you get the device with the OS installed and the warranty from the manufacturer that it will work as advertised.

    The truth is that Flagship devices generally do get at least one version update, depending where the launch is in the OS release cycle. The only promise you get is from Google to update Nexus devices as long as the hardware supports it. That's been historically 2 versions.

    Now, I've got 4 year old phones running Kit Kat because of the development community and the extended support for older devices. The likelihood of having developer support for new OS versions on old devices is directly proportional to the popularity of those devices. The more people who have them, the more likely developers will update them. That means the higher end phones of any manufacturer line.

    As for the S4, S5, M8, etc., you can reasonably expect the manufacturer to do what's in the best interest of the company and its stockholders. If that means customer retention by offering OS updates on older models, they'll do it. But, the longer old phones are in service, the few new phones get sold.
     
    CafeKampuchia and spman like this.
  5. bjacks12

    bjacks12 Android Expert

    I think you meant to say it stopped at 4.4
     
  6. CafeKampuchia

    CafeKampuchia Android Expert

    No, the international S3 (i9300) won't be getting Kit Kat.
     
  7. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
    Moderator

    Rooting is gaining administrative access to the entire file system. You have to understand that Android is pretty much a Linux OS. The administrator account that owns all the system files and has access to everything is called "root" hence "rooting".

    What rooting does is give you the ability to elevate permissions so that you may modify or replace some or all of the system. Rooting itself doesn't change the way your phone works. You can have a stock setup with root access. However, you are correct in that once rooted, Samsung updates may no longer work. The workaround is to "unroot" run the update and then re-root.

    Once rooted you have the option to replace the entire Operating System with something other than Samsung stock or, if available install the latest Samsung OS, even if not officially released for your model phone. At that point Samsung is out of the picture.

    While it's not quite this simple, you find the firmware and download it. You copy it to your phone and then install it using a recovery option. If and when you're ready to do this we can walk you through the exact procedures step by step.
     
    spman likes this.
  8. dfarrant81

    dfarrant81 Newbie

    in England the S3 only goes up to 4.2 which is very annoying :mad:
     
  9. bjacks12

    bjacks12 Android Expert

    I always forget about the international variant. You'll have to excuse my American-centric postings.

    That does suck for you guys, especially since you usually end up paying a non-subsidized price for the device.
     
  10. dynomot

    dynomot Android Expert

    Most people here in the UK actually pay nothing at all for all phones upfront. Very few people go and buy a phone outright, mostly they are given "free" (of course, it isn't) with a two year contract. For instance my contract has exactly a year to run this coming Sunday. I can upgrade from July next year though and sign up for two years again. My contract costs me
     
    spman likes this.
  11. spman

    spman Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    1. If I have rooted today, after some months then I do an unroot the phone will go back to its original state like I just bought the S4 on day 1? After unrooting, the phone warranty will still be valid?

    2. Will the settings, and stuff/data in the phone disappear when I unroot or root?

    3. "replace the entire Operating System with something other than Samsung stock" > What are the Operating Systems available? Does operating system means Android?

    4. "if available install the latest Samsung OS, even if not officially released for your model phone." > Does this mean that in future if Samsung no longer update S4, I can still get the latest Samsung OS for S4? How to do that? (What I assume is if year 2017 latest model is S8 and S4 is no longer updated, I can get the S8 latest Samsung OS and install in S4?)

    5. What is the main purpose of rooting? From my understand it seems like most apps and stuff can be done without rooting.
     
  12. lotus49

    lotus49 Android Expert

    This is not a simple question to answer but the short answer is probably not. Strictly speaking, you need to replace the bootloader not root the phone to replace the OS. However, you need to root to replace the bootloader so it amounts to the same thing. On recent versions of the S4 firmware, replacing the bootloader blows the Knox fuse and this is a real hardware fuse that cannot be unblown. Consequently, you will not be able to restore your S4 to exactly factory condition. It is unclear whether this will invalidate your warranty. That depends on numerous factors such as where you are, what your warranty claim relates to and the particular place you take it back to. It probably won't but there is no guarantee.

    Yes, most of it will. Your external SD card will be untouched. The internal SD card may be OK depending what you do but do not try to do any of this without fully backing up your phone first (unless you don't care about the risk of deleting everything).


    Yes, OS does mean Android. Because the source code is available, there are a lot of derivatives of stock Android. The most popular is Cyanogenmod but there are lots of others. Look in the "All things root" sub-forum here for more information about this. Whichever alternative you choose, it will be some form of Android.

    If someone continues maintaining an Android distribution that works with the S4 then yes. Realistically, the developers are likely to lose interest in the S4 in a couple of years. You will definitely not be able to get official Samsung updates for that long. I would be surprised if Samsung supports the S4 past next year.


    Most things can be done without rooting. If you don't know you need to root, then you almost certainly don't. The main benefit of rooting is that you can do whatever you like with your phone. Many apps require root to work. Ones I use regularly that fall into that category include Titanium Backup Pro, SixAxis Controller, Clocksync, Adblock, DNS Hostname Changer, Tasker, Power Toggles and FolderMount.

    However, as I said above, you need to root to replace the bootloader.
     
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  13. dynomot

    dynomot Android Expert


    1) To unroot you have to install (flash) stock ROM. Once flashed the phone will be like it had just been turned on. On a Galaxy S4 the Knox counter will have been tripped and your warranty will be invalid.

    2) rooting - no your phone will look and act the same before rooting. Unrooting yes, see 1.

    3) Yes the Operating System (OS) means Android. Samsung has its own "skin" called TouchWiz on top of Android. Pure Android is on Nexus phones and devices. You can install pure Android in the form of an AOSP (Android Open Source Project) ROM as long as it is meant for your model of device.

    4) You can get the latest firmware for your device from Samsung and flash it if it has not been released for your device in your region or country. Once again it has to be for your model of device. You cannot flash a version meant for a Samsung Galaxy S5 into Samsung Galaxy S4. So, no, in 2018 or so when the "Samsung Galaxy S7" is released (if indeed it makes it to the S7) you will not be able to use its version of TouchWiz (Samsung's "skinned" Android OS) on an S4. Samsung usually release two major updates over the lifetime of a device for it, sometimes three. There are literally hundreds of different ROMs (flashable versions of the OS) to choose from of you are rooted that you can flash.

    5) More and more apps can be used without rooting, but rooting gives you the complete control of your device. You can alter the battery icon in notifications, you can install completely different fonts, multiple different fonts. Install a custom Kernel to make your device run faster (and fry it as well if your not careful). Basically the phone can be made how you want it when rooted entirely.

    Here are some threads to read, you need to understand various concepts and methods before you even think about rooting. Rooting and flashing different ROMs and mods to your phone can render it a shiny, useless "brick" (hence "bricking") if you rush in unprepared. Here you are :

    http://androidforums.com/internatio...t/732797-rooting-galaxy-s4-dummies-guide.html

    http://androidforums.com/internatio...-bootloader-new-firmwares.html?highlight=Knox

    http://androidforums.com/samsung-galaxy-s4/760098-28-galaxy-s4-models-know-yours.html?highlight=Knox
     
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  14. lotus49

    lotus49 Android Expert

    Can I just clarify the answer to question 2, where dynomot and I appeared to disagree but in fact, I was just sloppy in my ansewr.

    What dynomot said is true, if all you do it root, then nothing much will change and you should not lose any data. If you replace the OS, you will.
     
    spman likes this.
  15. spman

    spman Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    How to do a full backup?
     
  16. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
    Moderator

    Backups ... there's a couple of thousands posts right there. ;)

    Let me try and cover some of the options.

    First ... a "full backup" in terms of everything, including the OS is called a "nandroid" and will require a custom recovery which means your phone has already been rooted and modified. What it does is save a complete system image including files settings and OS that you can move off your device. If you restore a nandroid, it is like a time machine (don't sue me, Apple) because it will put your phone back to the exact state it was at the time of the backup.

    Titanium backup does a good job of backing up apps, data and settings for those apps, but you'll need root for that, too. And Titanium, while powerful, has a bit of a learning curve.

    There is a sort of back-up option within Android itself. If you got to menu>settings>backup & reset you can check the boxes to backup apps, data and settings to Google's servers ... and check to Automatically restore. What this does is store *some* data and settings, but not all, and it doesn't really backup the apps, but maintains a list of apps installed from the play store. What it doesn't do is back up protected databases like SMS messaging and email accounts. If you sync your accounts, then contacts will already be backed up. It also doesn't back up your files, like pictures, videos, music, etc.

    If you have those settings checked and you either reset your existing device or get a new one, as soon as you login to your gmail account, Android will reinstall all the apps in the list that are available in the play store to the latest version and then restore and data and settings for those apps that could be backed up. It won't restore your home screen setups or set defaults. If you have any older apps that are no longer on play, or you want to use an older version of an app, you won't get them back. You'll need to back them up manually.

    You can also backup using kies, but I have never had much luck with kies, so I don't know all the "gotcha's" there. maybe someone else could fill in that blank.

    Here's what I do when resetting or getting new devices.

    I back up my SMS messages using SMS Backup & Restore and copy the file off the phone. I don't worry about email as I connect using IMAP accounts so all my messages are on the server. I sync my apps and contacts to Google and I copy my photos and media files off the phone to a PC for safekeeping. I use Apex launcher so I back up my launcher settings as well and copy them off the phone.

    I don't play games so I don't really worry about losing settings or levels or whatever they call them (Yeah, I'm and old fart).

    New phone scenario... charge it up, log in to my Google account and the play store and let Automatic restore do it's thing (connected to WiFi as there will be a lot of downloads ... I have well over 100 apps now :rolleyes:). When done, I restore my messages, setup my email accounts and restore my launcher settings. Then I'm back in business.
     
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  17. jj14x

    jj14x Android Expert

    To add to what @lunatic59 wrote, there really is no need to back up the OS itself. What you really need are backups of the app data (not just the apps, because those are easily downloaded from the app store when you choose the restore option)

    Don't get me wrong - Nandroids are very useful, but only for folks who root, and are changing system files/settings or the ROM, and could risk ending up with a non-functioning phone. Restoring a nandroid to get back to the previous stable software state is easy. Plus, it is a one step restore of everything.

    For folks who don't root, Helium is another backup app to consider that can backup all your apps. If you want to do it the hard way, you can always use ADB Backup to backup all the apps with data. Again, these options are not as easy as a nandroid of course, but don't require root.
     
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  18. spman

    spman Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for all replies.

    My phone is not rooted, so I guess these steps I summarised below are the all the steps to backup and restore to a new phone. (correct me if I am wrong)

    Backup Steps:
    a. go to menu>settings>backup & reset you can check the boxes to backup apps, data and settings to Google's servers ... and check to Automatically restore.
    b. back up your files, like pictures, videos, music, etc by manually copy and paste to PC.
    c. back up my SMS messages using SMS Backup & Restore and copy the file off the phone save into PC.
    d. sync my apps and contacts to Google
    e. back up my launcher settings as well and copy them off the phone.
    f. backup apps using Helium

    Restore Steps:
    a. Do this: "New phone scenario... charge it up, log in to my Google account and the play store and let Automatic restore do it's thing (connected to WiFi as there will be a lot of downloads ... I have well over 100 apps now ). When done, I restore my messages, setup my email accounts and restore my launcher settings. Then I'm back in business."
    b. copy and paste the files, like pictures, videos, music, etc by manually copy and paste from PC.
    c. Restore SMS messages using SMS Backup & Restore from PC.
    d. sync my apps and contacts from Google.
    e. restore my launcher settings.
    f. restore apps using Helium. (not sure because Google Account seems to have done a restore of app already)
     
  19. spman

    spman Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Some questions:

    Q1) What about backup app settings and data/files created by the app? I assume Helium is the best backup for unrooted Android, does Helium backup app settings and data/files created by the apps?

    Q2) It seems like apps are installed from the app author/playstore directly and the app file is already extracted when inside the phone. When Heilum is doing the app backup, where did it backup from, does Heilum get the app latest version from the app author/playstore location?

    Q3) Are apps that you downloaded/purchased all stored inside Google account? If not, where are the apps that stored?

    Q4) Once you purchase an app, can you redownload unlimited times and get unlimited updates?

    Q5) Is there anything that can schedule automatic backups daily or once a week? So for example if I lost my phone, I can buy a new phone and get back to the state that I was using in the old phone.
     
  20. dynomot

    dynomot Android Expert

    Helium will back up your apps from your phone and their data. it can be configured to make scheduled backups if you so wish I believe, I have only messed with it in the past as as a rooted user I use Titanium backup. So if made, before you log in Google account restore that to a new phone. That way you'll get all your saved levels and scores etc in apps restored. Logging into Google will just restore them as new. Helium will back up the app from your device so whatever version you have on your device will restore, if it was set in Google play to automatically update an app when a new version comes out then it will update. I personally have thus turned off for all my apps and update them manually from the Play Store. This is just a matter of personal preference.

    Any apps download from Google Play store are "owned" buy the Google account used to access the Play store, not the specific device they were first installed on. You can download them on any Android device again, and separately and repeatedly, I belive there is a large limit to how many devices an app can be installed on though. You will get any updates for apps as long as the developer keeps updating then and they remain available in the Play Store. When you install an app from the Play store the Android installer file for it (an .Apk file) gets stored to (on my Note 3 anyway) to the "data>app" folder, that you can only access with a 3rd party file manager and root access (I use rootexplorer). Google has only a record of what you have installed using your Google account.
     
    spman likes this.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Forum

The Samsung Galaxy S4 release date was April 2013. Features and Specs include a 5.0" inch screen, 13MP camera, 2GB RAM, Exynos 5410 Octa processor, and 2600mAh battery.

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