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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.
Step 3. When you see a little blue letters “Recovery booting…” at top, let go of all the buttons.
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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!
First time to rooting and custom ROMs?
Please see our Galaxy S4 Root FAQ FIRST!!!