For those of you who want to root your Galaxy S4, here’s another root method using TWRP recovery.
This root method works for Android 4.3, 4.4.2/4.4.3/4.4.4 KitKat, and 5.0.1 Lollipop!
Why another method?
Well, at the time of this video, some models do not have CWM recovery available. But TWRP recovery is just as good as CWM recovery and installation is nearly identical but using different menus.
You can always switch to CWM recovery after rooting later down the line if you prefer CWM recovery.
This root method works for the following Galaxy S4 models:
- T-Mobile Galaxy S4 SGH-M919
- Sprint Galaxy S4 SPH-L720
- Canadia Galaxy S4 (Bell, Rogers, Telus)
- US Cellular Galaxy S4 SCH-R970
For rooting Sprint S4 on MF9 firmware, see here.
Step 1. Power off your Galaxy S4 then hold down Volume Down, Center Home, and Power buttons together.
Step 2. When you see the warning screen, let go of all the buttons and hit the Volume Up button to enter ODIN download mode.
Step 3. Connect a micro-USB cable from your Galaxy S4 to your computer.
Step 4. Download TWRP recovery for your Galaxy S4.
You will also need the following tools and drivers if you don’t have them already so download them too:
Step 5. You will need to unzip the ODIN zip file and you will find two files. Run odin3 v1.85.exe file by double-clicking on it.
Step 6. If you see a yellow-highlighted box, you already have Galaxy S4 drivers installed, skip to next step. If you don’t see it, run the Samsung USB driver exe file you downloaded earlier then un-plug/re-plug your micro-USB cable to your Galaxy S4. You should see yellow-highlighted box now.
Step 7. DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING ELSE but click on PDA button and choose the TWRP recovery file you downloaded earlier. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE DOWNLOADED THE CORRECT TWRP RECOVERY FOR YOUR GALAXY S4 MODEL!!!
Step 8. Hit the Start button and this will flash TWRP recovery onto your Galaxy S4.
Step 9. Once you see “PASS!”, you have successfully flashed TWRP recovery and your phone will reboot.
Step 10. Once your phone reboots, copy the CWM SuperSU zip file you downloaded earlier to anywhere on your Galaxy S4.
Step 11. Next, we will reboot into TWRP recovery we just installed. Power off your phone then hold down Volume Up, Center Home, and Power buttons together.
Step 12. When you see “recovery booting” in blue text on the top-left hand corner of your screen, let go of all the buttons.
Step 13. Once in TWRP recovery, select “Install”.
Step 14. Choose the CWM SuperSU zip file you copied over earlier.
Step 15. Swipe to right to flash the CWM SuperSU zip file. This will root your Galaxy S4 by installing SU binaries and SuperSU superuser app.
Step 16. Reboot system.
Step 17. You should find a new app called SuperSU in your app drawer. Run it once and update the SU binaries if it asks you.
To verify you have full root, you can download and open rooted app like Titanium Backup app, you should see a Superuser request pop-up window.
Congratulations, you’ve rooted your phone!
You’ve also installed TWRP recovery, which will allow you to easily backup, restore, and install new ROMs. Make sure you make at least 1 backup ROM right after rooting.
If you don’t like TWRP, you can usually install ROM Manager from Play Store to flash CWM recovery without using ODIN again easily and also vice-versa back to TWRP by installing TWRP app from Play Store.
Q: Why are there two different recoveries CWM and TWRP?
A: Both CWM and TWRP do the same thing, allowing users to backup, restore, and install ROMs. They are built by different developers with a different interface.
Some people prefer CWM and some people prefer TWRP.
And since CWM recovery isn’t available (at the time of this post) for some S4 models, you can still get full features of CWM recovery using TWRP.
Q: After installing recovery and reboot, I don’t see TWRP recovery just stock recovery, what’s happening?
A: That’s caused by some stock firmwares writing over the TWRP recovery. To get around it, run ODIN again to flash TWRP, then pull battery out when you see “PASS!” in ODIN, then boot straight into recovery by putting the battery back on and using the buttons, you should see TWRP recovery now!
Q: Root is not working on my T-Mobile Galaxy S4 with UVUAMDL firmware!
A: T-Mobile has put a new SetUID restriction on the kernel, you can fix by flashing UVUAMDL kernel with SetUID restriction removed.
Q: Root is not working on my Sprint Galaxy S4 with MDL firmware!
A: Sprint has put a new SetUID restriction on the kernel if you have VPUAMDL build number, you can fix by flashing VPUAMDL kernel with SetUID restriction removed.
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!