What is Bricking?
“Brick” is a very familiar term among all who live in a civilized society but when it is used with reference to an electronic device it becomes one of the most misunderstood things. The term derives from the vaguely cuboid shape of many electronic devices and suggests a state when a device turns into a non-functioning and unusable thing like.
Thus, in the true sense of the word a bricked device is one that is not recoverable through normal means. A smartphone is bricked when its flash memory is completely corrupted and as a result, it is unable to boot altogether. The major reason behind “bricking” is a bad flash that damages the existing data preset present on a phone’s system that handles bootloader, radio, etc. parameters.
Now, when we talk of the term “brick” for an Android device, it is classified into two types: Hard Brick and Soft Brick. A “hard-brick” is quite unlikely with “normal operations” like rooting or flashing custom ROMs. So, it’s mostly soft brick that is referred to when someone says “Alas, my phone is bricked!” While your device cannot be recoverable if it is hard-bricked, you can bring it back to life if it is soft-bricked. If you are able to boot your Android device into bootloader, fastboot, download or recovery mode in its non-functioning state, it is rather soft-bricked.
- Hard Brick Symptoms: Dead screen, no reaction at the press of the power button.
- Soft Brick Symptoms: Device not able to boot and is stuck on the Bootanimation, the screen is turned off but it turns up when the power button or specific key combination is pressed.
Unbrick Samsung Galaxy S4
Since the present tutorial is about “unbricking” a soft-bricked Galaxy S4, I would limit the topic this device only. There are three ways to recover your Samsung Galaxy S4 if it is soft-bricked.
Recovering Galaxy S4 from a Bootloop:
Bootloop is a state when your phone is not able to boot properly and it is stuck on the Bootanimation It is the commonest thing that Android users face with their phone or tablet device and this can be fixed easily by performing certain steps by booting the device into stock or custom recovery mode. Here is our detailed guide that will help you fix bootloop on your Galaxy S4.
By Installing the Official Firmware:
If wiping the data/factory reset, and cache partition do not help you, or you are not able to boot into the Android System or ClockworkMod recovery on your Galaxy S4, you can try installing the official firmware on your phone. Read the following guide that will help you find the correct firmware for your Galaxy S4 and install it safely.
By Flashing Stock Firmware and PIT File:
In case the two methods described above do not bring your Galaxy S4 to a normal state, the problem is a little serious but still not out of control. The following method is same as installing the official firmware described above, but it also involves flashing a PIT file along with the firmware. This file is used to re-partition the corrupt partition on Galaxy devices.
To unbrick your Galaxy S4 follow the steps given below but before installing the firmware, you need to make a little preparation.
- Download Odin3 tool and unzip it on your desktop: Odin3-v3.07.zip
- Download appropriate PIT file for Galaxy S4 GT-I9500, GT-I9505, AT&T SGH-I337 or Verizon SCH-I545 (corresponding to your phone model) and extract the zip file on your desktop:
- Download and install either Samsung Kies or USB Drivers on your computer: Download
- Download latest correct firmware for your Galaxy S4 and extract the zip: Download
- Turn on USB Debugging on your Galaxy S4 from Settings> More> Developer Options. If you are unable to see “Developer options” under phone Settings, you’ll have to enable it first. See this guide to enable the Developer Options on Galaxy S4.
- Charge your phone to at least 70% battery level.
Note for Verizon S4 Users:
If you own a Verizon Galaxy S4 SCH-I545, and your phone is not booting up normally, just download the following firmware file, extract the zip, boot phone into Download mode and install the file with .tar.md5 extension by clicking the PDA button on Odin. You need not use the PIT file from above.
Download Firmware (Android 4.4.2): Click here
Having done with the prerequisites, you can now proceed. Just follow the steps given below.
- Turn off the device and boot it into Download/Odin Mode. Here is the method: press and hold the Volume Down+Home+Power buttons simultaneously for 2-3 seconds till you see a warning screen. Now press Volume Up key to enter Download Mode.
- Go to Odin folder and launch Odin3 3.07.
- Connect your device using USB cable and wait till the ID:COM port at Odin turns blue and you see “Added!!” on the message box below. This shows that the connection between Odin and your device has been established.
- Now click on PDA button, navigate to the firmware folder and select the file with .tar.md5 extension.
- Then click on the PIT button, navigate to the PIT folder and select the file with .pit extension.
- Make sure that Re-Partition and F Reset Time is selected on Odin. Also, do not forget to uncheck the Auto Reboot options.
- Your configuration on Odin should look like the following screenshot:
- When you are sure that everything has been done correctly, click the Start button on Odin.
- Doing this will start the installation and it might take about 2-4 minutes to complete.
- When you see PASS! message on Odin, disconnect the USB cable and close Odin.
- Now remove the back cover on your device and pull out the battery. Wait for about 1 minute and then place the battery back to its place.
- Boot your Galaxy S4 into Android System Recovery mode: hold Volume Up+Home+Power keys together till the screen turns up and the Samsung logo blinks twice. Just as you see a green Android bot, release the Power button but keep Volume Up and Home keys pressed till you see the recovery menu (see below). In recovery mode use the volume keys to scroll and power button to select options:
- Go to “wipe data/factory reset” option and wipe it.
- Then “wipe cache partition”.
- Finally, go to “reboot system now” and select it.
Your Galaxy S4 will boot now. Usually, it takes a longer time than usual to boot the device, so wait patiently till you see the Welcome Set Up screen. You know well what to do here.
Here ends our easy and detailed tutorial on unbricking the Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9500 and GT-I9505. If you have any questions or your are stuck at a certain step during the procedure, feel free to ask us via comments.