The Galaxy S4 has just been released and the developers have already put themselves to the work of custom development for this new smartphone. The device is definitely a powerhouse with best features and specs found on any existing smartphone. Samsung has left no stone untouched to load its new flagship with new features but when it comes to the design part, the company has definitely disappointed all who were expecting something new. The Galaxy S4, however, is a real standout in the smartphone market. And with its bigger screen, higher resolution camera, and lots of bells and whistles, it is likely to attract a lot of new consumers but not the owners of Galaxy S3 or Note 2.

If you have already grabbed the Galaxy S4, rooted it and now planning to install a custom ROM on it, here is an universal guide for all Galaxy S4 variants that can be used to install any custom ROM. If you are new to Android, please be informed that

Quite recently, we brought you a series of rooting tutorials for various variants of Samsung Galaxy S4. If you have not yet rooted yet and considering to toot it now, do not forget to read our easy tutorial on the topic:

How to Root and Install CWM on Samsung Galaxy S4 (All Models)

How to SIM-Unlock Samsung Galaxy S4

Getting Prepared Before Installing a ROM:

There are certain things you should and must do to ensure everything goes fine as nobody likes to get his/her device into problem. The key to safety lies in sticking to the rules and in being careful.

  • Make sure your phone is rooted and  has a custom Recovery like ClockworkMod or TWRP installed on it.
  • Download the ROM file for your Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Also download the latest Google Apps zip package. This is applicable only if you are going to install an AOSP, CM or AOKP based custom ROM. You need not flash GApps on stock TouchWiz based ROMs.
  • Copy the ROM and GApps zip files to the internal or external SD card storage on your device using a USB cable. It’ll be better if you put them on the external storage.
  • Whenever you have to install a new ROM, do not forget to charge it so that it has at least 60-70% battery level left on it. Suppose you are installing a ROM and your device turns off in the middle of things, it might put your in a troublesome situation.
  • Always backup your phones data such as contacts, messages, call-log, apps and games before setting out to flash a ROM. As a rule, you should backup everything that is stored on the internal storage. Here are some nice free apps that can help you backup everything easily.
  • Backup the EFS folder that contains your phone’s IMEI details. Sometimes, installing a new ROM can make it disappear and therefore you must backup it.  This is a very important thing because the loss of the EFS can make your device useless from connectivity point of view. The easiest way to backup the “efs” directory is by using a root file browser. Open the root file manager, copy/paste the “efs” folder on your external SD Card. You can later restore this directory to get back the lost IMEI of your Galaxy S4.

Looking for Custom ROMs?

Best Custom ROMs for Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9500

Best Custom ROMs for Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 LTE

Best Custom ROMs For Verizon Galaxy S4 SCH-I545

Steps to Install a Custom ROM on Galaxy S4:

Having taken care of all precautions and preparations, you can confidently proceed to install your preferred custom ROM on your S4. Here is a step-by-step procedure:

  1. Turn off your Galaxy S4 and boot it into ClockworkMod or TWRP recovery mode. To do this, press and hold Volume Up+Home+Power buttons simultaneously till the screen turns up and you see Samsung Galaxy S IV logo blink for 2 times. Now release the Power key but keep volume and home buttons pressed you see a screen with blue text menu with ClockworkMod Recovery written on the top.
  2. If your phone has a touch based recovery, you can use it by touching the appropriate option. But if it has the classic style CWM recovery, use the Volume keys to scroll and highlight options and Power button to select it.galaxy-s4-clockworkmod-recovery
  3. The first and most important thing after entering the recovery is to backup your phone’s current ROM. To do this, scroll to “backup and restore” option and backup the ROM to external storage of your Galaxy S4.
  4. When the backup is complete, wipe that current ROM data and apps from the device. Here is a list of wipe actions you need to perform:
    • “wipe data/factory reset”
    • “wipe cache partition”
    • Advanced> “wipe dalvik cache” and “wipe battery stats”
    • Mounts and storage> “format system”
  5. Finally, go back to main menu and scroll to “install zip from sdcard> choose zip from sdcard” and select the ROM file you want to install. Confirm the installation by selecting “yes” and wait till it is complete.
  6. Repeating the Step 5, install GApps too.
  7. Then go to “advanced” and “wipe dalvik cache” again.
  8. Then select “reboot system now” from the main menu.

After flashing any new ROM, your Galaxy S4 might take a longer time (3-5 minutes) before it boots up. Therefore, you are expected to wait patiently. If the device does not boot after 5-6 minutes, it has been caught into a bootloop. To fix it, pull out the battery and place it back after a minute. Then boot it into recovery mode and “wipe data factory reset” and “wipe cache partition”. Then reboot the device. If it is still stuck at the boot-screen, try installing the ROM again.

For a More Detailed Tutorial, Read the Following Article

Things to Do Before and After Installing a Custom ROM


      • Any suggestions on where to look for a ROM? Most of the major sites I’ve checked don’t have any listed for the S4. I’m especially curious if there’s a ROM that would do a better job of handling the external SD Card on the S4.

          • Yes, installed CWM. It’s the only one I could find that would install properly (used the Odin method I found on a site). Tried using GooManager to install TWRP but that method didn’t work. Thanks for the ROM suggestions. I’ve removed a lot of bloatware from my device and frozen many others (waiting to see if they are a problem). I’ll take a look at the ROM though, it it just removes bloatware it’s probably not worth it.

          • I used Loki method. Not sure about posting links so search for How To Install CWM Recovery on AT&T or Verizon Galaxy S4! [SGH-i337/SCH-i545]

          • The root of the device has “sdcard” which appears to be the internal SD Card and storageextSdCard which is the actual external SD card. When doing CWM backups, for example, I select backup to external and it backs up to sdcard (not my actual external one). I have a bunch of kindle books on my external card as well. In order for kindle to see them I have to copy them to sdcard from my external sd card. Does that make sense?

          • Hmm. That’s unusual and it might be due to some bug in the CWM recovery itself and i should be fixed soon. Are you able to see the files on ExtSD in CWM?

          • It’s not just with CWM though. I mean, Kindle and some other apps don’t seem to want to use the external card. Not sure if there’s some setting I missed but I couldn’t find it.

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