How to Install Custom ROM on Galaxy S4!

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Steps 1 through 3

For those of you who want to install a custom ROM on your Galaxy S4, here’s how to do it using CWM recovery. (TWRP method is nearly identical just different looking menus but I will have tutorial on that too)

Before we begin, you will need a rooted Galaxy S4 with CWM recovery installed.  If you used CWM root method, you have CWM recovery already, if not, install CWM recovery first by following Steps 1 thru 6 here.

Also, you can use Titanium Backup app to backup all of your apps before installing a new custom ROM so you can easily restore your apps.   For SMS texts, use an SMS text backup app (many available on Play Store) so you can restore them easily after installing a new ROM.

For contacts, I highly suggest using a GMail account as your contacts will be restored automatically after installing a new ROM when you sign into Google.   If you don’t have a GMail account, just make a dummy account just for your contacts!

Before installing a new ROM, make sure you have at least ONE ROM backup, which will easily restore your phone back within minutes.

Step 1. Download appropriate ROM file for your Galaxy S4.

IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE YOU’VE DOWNLOADED A COMPATIBLE ROM FOR YOUR GALAXY S4 OTHERWISE YOU CAN BRICK YOUR PHONE!!!  E.g. If you install GT-i9505 ROM on AT&T Galaxy S4 SGH-i337, you will BRICK YOUR PHONE!  I’ve had many people who DON’T FOLLOW DIRECTIONS who’ve bricked their $700 phone, please do not end up being one of these people.   Double-check the ROM and triple-check that the ROM you downloaded is COMPATIBLE with your Galaxy S4!!!

Also, if you are downloading AOSP ROM (What is AOSP?), you might need to also download Google Apps (Gapps) and install that too.

You can download these ROM files straight to your Galaxy S4 or download on your computer and copy it to your phone.  DO NOT UNZIP the files, they should be in “zip” format, exactly the way you downloaded them.  Mac computers will automatically unzip these files but copy the actual ZIP file to your phone.

Step 2. Once you have your ROM files copied/downloaded to your Galaxy S4, power off your phone then hold down Volume Up, Center Home, and Power buttons together.

howto-install-rom-galaxys4-1

Step 3. When you see a little blue letters “Recovery booting…” at top, let go of all the buttons.

howto-install-rom-galaxys4-2

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You will need a rooted Galaxy S4 to install all ROM/kernels.
NOTE: THE AUTHOR OF THIS SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU MESS UP YOUR PHONE, PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS TWICE BEFORE TRYING IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME TO ROOTING AND CUSTOM ROMS!

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52 thoughts on “How to Install Custom ROM on Galaxy S4!

  1. Viktor

    Can’t seem to find an answer to my question, so I’ll just ask you instead. Will FoxHound 2.5 work on my Galaxy s4 gt-i9505? I backed up my ROM using TWRP.

    Reply
    1. Max Lee Post author

      You mean FoxHound from Galaxy S3 GT-i9300? No, you will brick your phone, please don’t try!

      Reply
      1. Viktor

        Haha no I won’t, that’s why I asked you. I’m new to Samsung and android, and don’t really know much about it. Can you recommend a ROM for me?

        Reply
        1. Max Lee Post author

          I would suggest waiting at least 1 week until everything settles down. Right now everyone is still developing new ROMs so best if you wait a bit especially if this is your first time. But CM10.1 is solid for Tmo/Canadian variants and WanamLite is good on GT-i9500.

          Reply
  2. Scott

    Ugh, everyone says there is a Canadian cyanogenmod 10.1 for Canadian s4’s but no where can I find the files for my I337. Aren’t all Canadian S4’s modeled I337?

    Reply
  3. Don Smith

    Hi Max,

    After installing CM 10.1 on my GT-I9505 (XXUAMDE) wi-fi no longer works. I’ve tried CWM and TWRP recoveries (even though I’m not sure if this would influence it) and I’m seeing the same behaviour with the AOKP ROM. I’ve not been able to find much on the xda-developers forum and was curious if you knew of a fix or where and how I should construct my search.

    Really appreciate all you’re doing for the Android community! You’ve been a huge help in my learning.

    Cheers,
    Don

    Reply
  4. kennan

    hi just wondering i keep getting errors when trying to flash im useing twrp for i9505 and it cant mount the system and some other things how would i fix it

    Reply
  5. Muqy

    Hi max, is there a recovery for the i9505 MDM, I can’t find one. Using the normal ones run me into problems such as E://unable to mount system etc…
    I do have root.

    Reply
      1. Muqy

        I fixed the problem. Do the following before installing the rom, it may not work first time so repeat 5 or 6 times.

        Boot into recovery > Wipe > Advanced wipe > Check [Dalvik Cache, System, Data, Cache] > Head to mount > Mount system > Flash rom

        May not work first time, but try 5 or 6 times.

        Reply
        1. Michael

          No need to do the procedure 5-6 times to try to flash the ROM from the external card. Just copy the ROM to the internal memory. Delete it once you have flashed the ROM.

          Reply
      2. Harga Hp samsung Galaxy Ace 3

        You can download these ROM files straight to your Galaxy S4 or download on your computer and copy it to your phone. DO NOT UNZIP the files, they should be in “zip” format, exactly the way you downloaded them. Mac computers will automatically unzip these files but copy the actual ZIP file to your phone.

        Reply
  6. Cristiano

    I`m sorry friends, but I have a conceptual question: how can I start the installation if the Volume Up, Center Home, and Power buttons doesn`t enable the CWM recovery, since bootloader is locked? I have a AT&T model, wich bootloader is locked, as we know.

    Where I can get a s4 custom rom, like the samsung original?

    Now, Max please: when you finished the process, you saw the 16 gbs?? Thank you! Appreciated,

    Cristiano, Rio, Brasil

    Reply
  7. masi

    hey does wannalite come with kernel or do i have to use the at&t method to intall the kernel. i have s4 at&t

    Reply
  8. Rob

    I would like to know if task650 would be okay to install on canadian i337m teus s4? I have also seen clean rom but they said I require a kernel to my phone to use…suggestions?

    Reply
  9. j papa

    Hey so I flashed the t-mobile aws band qcn file on my sgh-i337 without being rooted. I could access recovery and tried witusing odin and kies with still the same results. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Reply
  10. Mr. Chow

    I don’t know what is going on with CWM recovery but it keeps telling me it can’t mount my SD card. I’ve tried using 2 different sd cards already. And I’m about to smash this damn pile of junk, then claim insurance on it.

    Reply
  11. Henry

    I held the buttons as above and all it says its downloading something do not turn off i cant get to the options to select a rom

    Reply
  12. Bob L

    I have an unlocked AT&T SGH-i337 which I’m using on TMobile. I rooted the phone using Motochopper per the tutorial and everything works great. Now I’m looking at custom ROMs but am a little confused. Going through the FAQ you say

    “Compatibility Notes on S4 Models

    You can install any GT-i9505 or T-Mobile SGH-M919 ROMs on your AT&T Galaxy S4.”

    but in the “How to Install Custom ROM” you warn

    “Step 1. Download appropriate ROM file for your Galaxy S4.

    IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE YOU’VE DOWNLOADED A COMPATIBLE ROM FOR YOUR GALAXY S4 OTHERWISE YOU CAN BRICK YOUR PHONE!!! E.g. If you install GT-i9505 ROM on AT&T Galaxy S4 SGH-i337, you will BRICK YOUR PHONE! ”

    Can you help with my confusion?

    Reply
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  18. Cesc Henry

    Hi!
    Max,

    I have a Question, i just installed BobCatRom on my Galaxy S4 i9505 but i wont boot.
    I am stuck on boot animation so what i want to ask is if there’s any way i can boot image like the HTC method so i want to know if there is for Samsung Galaxy S4.

    Reply
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  20. carol

    I tried volume up + home button + power up button to get into the recovery mode, but somehow my screen is just completely different from yours. It says Android System Recovery 3e on the top follows with the option to reboot system and to apply updates. Can I still install ROM with this kind of recovery mode, and how?

    Reply
      1. Peter

        I just installed Ozcan Rom on my GT-I9500, it has failed to go pass the welcoming screen….am stuck in a boot loop, tried format/system and the reinstall several times but no LUCK…is there anyway i can fix it???

        Reply
  21. Brendon H

    I want to install a custom rom on my Galaxy S4 (1337M) but had a question before I go through the process

    I had the phone unlocked and reprogrammed when I switched from Rogers Wireless to Wind Mobile
    will the custom rom alter those changes or will they still be the same

    Reply
  22. Arun

    Hi,

    I am currently having I9500 with Lollipop5.0.1 update. I want to install new ROM. How i need to do it? Can you please help me.?
    Regards
    Arun

    Reply
  23. Vignesh

    I need to install MIUI rom into my Galaxy s4 running on lollipop 5.0.1 samsung version. I tried to install MIUI official rom. It showed sign in verification error in whole-file. Please help me. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  24. Ryan

    I WAS GOING TO FLASH LIQUIDSMOOTH ROM 4.4.4. IM ROOTED VIA ODIN.. BUT ON YOUR LINK TO DOWNLOAD ZIP. I DONT SEE L720T FROM SPRINT JUST L720. S4. I SURE WISH I WAS AS SMART AS YOU.

    Reply
  25. ralph

    Hi

    Thanks for the tutorial!

    I have downloaded the Triforce 5.4 for Sprint SPH-L720, but when I unzip the file with my mac I don’t get a md5, I get a folder…And my TWRP recovery won’t flash the .zip file (I didn’t try with the whole folder…).

    it says checking for MD5>no MD5 file found
    verifying zip signature>zip signature verification failed
    error
    (i checked verify zip signature, I feel it might work if i uncheck that, but maybe that’s not a good idea…I downloaded the rom following links indicated in this post)

    I also tried with the triforce 3.0, same problem

    Reply
  26. Matthijs Hollanders

    Hi, thanks for the good videos.

    I have rooted my GT-I9505, which is currently on Lollipop 5.1. I have downloaded CWM from the Play Store and everything is updated within the app. I have also placed the zip for Cyanogen 12.1 along with the GApps zip on the external SD card. When I reboot into Recovery, I get into the “standard” Samsung recovery mode, instead of CWM. This also happens when I go into the ROM Manager app and tell it to reboot into recovery. I think this is the crucial thing going wrong when trying to flash Cyanogen 12.1.

    Does anyone know how I can get CWM to work? Is it because the phone is already upgraded to Lollipop 5.1?

    Any help is much appreciated.

    Reply
  27. jj

    Please, on my galaxy s4 mini hardware model is GT-I9195 but the OS stock inside is SGH-I257 AT&T. can I update the phone using GT-I9195 android 4.4.2 kitkat ROM? Please help me

    Reply
  28. Joshua

    is the process thru twrp recovery will be the same as this? cause this is thru cwm recovery. any reply will be appreciated thanks!

    Reply
  29. Joseph

    I have Samsung Galaxy duos gt-i9082 verision 4.2.2.
    The phone did not bring network signal. Hence I can’t call mor browse. What can I do?

    Reply

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