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For those of you who have been waiting to install custom ROM on your Verizon Galaxy S4 with ME7, ME7, MI1, MJ7, or MK2 firmware or AT&T Galaxy S4 with MF3, MK2, NB1, or NC1 firmware, there’s finally a new method using SafeStrap Recovery by XDA user Hashcode.
SafeStrap Recovery is usually used on Motorola devices but it is now implemented on Verizon and AT&T Galaxy S4 to get around Verizon’s lock on the bootloader.
First, you will need to root your Galaxy S4, so follow the Verizon Galaxy S4 ME7 root method before beginning this tutorial if you have Verizon S4 and follow the AT&T Galaxy S4 MF3 root method if you have AT&T S4. (This is for Android 4.2.2 ONLY, for Android 4.4.2 see below!)
UPDATE: If you have Android 4.4.2, you will need to follow How to Root AT&T or Verizon Galaxy S4 on Android 4.4.2 instead!
Step 2. Download latest version of SafeStrap from XDA:
Step 3. Open and Install Safestrap APK file using My Files app.
Step 4. Open Safestrap app and choose “Install Recovery” then “Reboot to Recovery”.
Step 5. Choose “Boot Options”.
Step 6. Choose “ROM-Slot-1”. You will notice you can create up to four different ROM slots. Yes, you can have 4 different custom ROMs installed if you want.
UPDATE: I no longer recommend using ROM slots as some ROMs are not compatible with ROM slots, just use Stock ROM slot after making a backup ROM!
Step 7. Choose your data partition size and choose “Create ROM slot”.
Step 8. When done, go back to main menu and choose “Wipe”.
Step 9. Swipe to do a factory reset.
Step 10. This is IMPORTANT! If you get “Unable to mount internal storage” error, you need to reboot recovery. If you don’t get that error, skip to Step 14.
Step 11. Choose “Reboot” and “System”.
Step 12. When rebooting, hit the Menu button when you see the Safestrap menu during boot. That will enter you back into Safestrap Recovery.
Step 13. Try wiping again, this time you should just get “Updating partition details”.
Step 14. Next, choose “Install” and find the ROM zip file you want to install and install it.
Step 15. When done installing ROM, reboot and you should see your new custom ROM booted! That’s it!
Anytime you want to revert back to stock ROM, it’s easy to do. Just reboot into recovery (hit Menu button during boot when you see Safestrap Recovery menu) and select Stock ROM under Boot Options.
What is a Custom ROM?
A custom ROM is a custom, modified operating system that you can install on your Android device. Basically it's like installing Windows OS on a Macbook. By installing a custom ROM, you can bypass stock factory settings like locked hotspot tether, install new Android versions early, or even convert your phone into another OS.
With a custom ROM, you can really maximize the capabilities of your smartphone by adding custom features that have been developed by open source developers.
How to Install Custom ROMs
First, you will need to root your device, if it is not rooted yet, follow our root tutorial and root your phone.
Once rooted, you should have TWRP installed on your phone. Installation of a custom ROM is easy if you learn the basic of it. If you don't know how to install custom ROMs using TWRP recovery, see our tutorial on How to Install Custom ROM using TWRP!