Need help, install on S4 failing, won't reboot into recovery

I am trying to install /e/ on a Samsung Galaxy S4, SGH-M919, but I cannot get it to reboot into recovery. I am following the steps in the guide https://doc.e.foundation/devices/jfltexx/install
I get to step 7 in the “Installing a Custom Recovery” section. Heimdall has released the device, the blue transfer bar is complete, and the device is still on but idle as far as I can see. Now the instructions say “With the device powered off, hold Home + Volume Up + Power.” But the device is on. When I try to turn it off, nothing happens for a long time, then it turns off. Then I immediately try the key combination, but the phone reboots regular, not into recovery.
Some things I’ve seen say remove the battery. When? While the phone is still on and idle? Sounds like a bad idea to me. Adb reboot recovery does not work either because the device seems to be disconnected from the pc after heimdall completes the recovery flash.
Now a couple of things that might be relevant. This phone has Android 4.4 on it. It does not have an option for OEM unlock. From what I have read, the unlock is a feature on Android 5. Is this the likely source of my problem? Do I have to upgrade to Android 5 first?
I thought I might try to do that, but when I try to get software updates, I get a message that the operating system has been modified in an unauthorized way and to try loading via Kies on a PC.

  1. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 SGH-M919 aka USA (T-Mobile) Samsung Galaxy S4 SGH-M919 LTE, Samsung Galaxy S IV latest release is Android 4.4.4

  2. OEM unlock.isn’t implemented in in Samsung’s StockROM 4.4.4 „KitKat“

  3. It can’t be the problem because this option isn’t implemented;

  4. There is no official StockROM 5.x for this device - see here …

Installing a custom recovery

  1. A blue transfer bar will appear on the device showing the recovery being transferred.

  2. Unplug the USB cable from your device.

Proposed solution

7.1 While your SGH-M919 is in Samsung Download-Mode, press and hold the VOL(-), HOME and POWER buttons until the screen goes off.

7.2 As soon as the display turns off, release the “VOL(-)” button and press the VOL (+) button while still holding down the HOME and POWER buttons to boot into TeamWin - TWRP Recovery.

7.3 When you first boot into TWRP, you will be prompted with “Unmodified System partition” warning, so make sure that you allow modifications => Swipe to Allow Modifications

Note: Be sure to reboot into recovery immediately after having installed the custom recovery. Otherwise the custom recovery will be overwritten and the device will reboot (appearing as though your custom recovery failed to install).

Now that you’ve TeamWin - TWRP Recovery installed.

Alternative from step 7.1

Remove the battery for a few seconds, then reinsert the battery and boot into TWRP recovery mode: Key combination VOL(+), HOME and POWER.

(Note: Some S4 devices only respond to the VOL(+) and POWER key combination to enter Recovery mode. This sounds strange, but it’s my experience.)

7.4 Installing /e/ from TeamWin - TWRP Recovery

  • either by adb sideload
  • or via TWRP "Install", where /e/ OS ROM e-0.7-n-2020022943260-dev-jfltexx.zip can be loaded from the Internal storage of SGH-M919
  • or from the external microSD card.

After restarting and initialization the animated /e/ logo will appear. Now you can set up and use the system.


Tip: How to use well ecloud

2 Likes

Thank you archje! 7.1 and 7.2 fixed the snag – it makes sense in a way that you turn off the phone from download mode with the same buttons you use to turn it on, but I didn’t think of that, just expected the power button to work by itself. I now have /e/ on this device.
It appears to be a slightly different in the default apps compared to the Nexus 6 that I previously flashed.
I attempted to install Firefox Klar from the Apps store, but got a message that it was incompatible with my device … hmm. Well, from one technical glitch to the next I guess.
Thanks again!

That’s great, @E.Henry.Thripshaw. Welcome to the /e/ club.

Sadly, I got duped into buying a phone that’s carrier locked – long story, never mind. I will be ruthless about checking IMEIs in the future. This leaves me with several questions

  1. How would I go about restoring the phone to stock firmware (KitKat 4.4.4)? And would the tiny “Set Warranty Bit: Kernel” message go away if I restored?

  2. A carrier I wanted to try warned that the phone did not have all the necessary features, “Your phone doesn’t support Extended Range LTE or Voice over LTE technology.” I am looking for a smaller format phone like the S4 that supports /e/ and would have the necessary technologies. Oh, and a user-replaceable battery would be nice. Any suggestions?

Thanks.

To 1.
From my point of view it is easiest to flash StockROM for Samsung devices with Odin3.

Yes, after flashing the StockROM firmware “Set Warranty Bit: kernel” is no longer displayed.

1 Like

Thanks, those links were helpful, and I downloaded Odin and the Samsung USB drivers, but the firmware itself is elusive. The Odin site linked to firmwarefile.com, and they don’t show a US version of the GT-I9505 firmware. I believe I need baseband version M919UVSFQA1. I did some searching for it, but could not determine what sites were trustworthy. Any suggestions? T-Mobile describes a procedure here that involves “Samsung Smart Switch”, but I don’t know if that would work for restoring the stock firmware.

Well, to guarantee 100% security on the Internet should be difficult in general and also in particular. Many users and I’ve had very good experiences with Samfirm. See also for example …

This is how well /e/ OS e-0.7-p can run on a “jfltexx”: e-0.7-p-20200316-UNOFFICIAL-jfltexx by argon3030

@E.Henry.Thripshaw I just checked my T-Mobile US spec SGH-M919 and it indeed has baseband M919UVSFQA1 installed as you suggested. Do you know of any method to upload the firmware out from the phone? If there is a way, I’ll gladly pull it from my phone for you.

Hej @argon3030, the firmware is freely accessible and can be downloaded more or less quickly.

This is free and very fast like with Premium Accounts or much slower with Samfrew.

Thanks again, @archje for those useful links, it looks like everything worked, though not quite as the guide described. The device booted up into normal mode and seemed like it was set good to go. One curious difference I noted was that on /e/, I did not see any “bars”, network was unknown and signal strength 0. Once flashed back to stock, it did see -94db signal and some network operators. I got a “not registered on network” error when trying to make a call, presumably because the phone is carrier locked.
Thanks too, @argon3030 for your kind offer; and congratulations on getting a Pie build running! I don’t think I’ll look for an S4 again though, because it seems to be regarded as obsolete by some US carriers, for not having voice over LTE and extended range LTE. I will have to check the lists again and see what devices might be available that meet all my criteria – work on Verizon or AT&T, preferably the first, smaller format, replaceable battery, and an /e/ supported device. I have a Nexus 6 running /e/, but it’s a big heavy thing.
I really appreciate how friendly and helpful folks are in this community!

1 Like

@E.Henry.Thripshaw one thing to consider is that T-Mobile and AT&T are both GSM networks while Verizon and Sprint are CDMA. This is true at least here in USA; networks are carriers are country dependent. Typically you cannot take a T-Mobile phone and use it on Verizon network, or vice versa, even if it’s unlocked. It may “work” for calls, but then fall back to 3G or some other such undesirable mode for data. So you do really need to select your phone carefully, with the carrier in mind, even if it’s an unlocked phone. Some of the very newest phones can do 4G LTE on both CDMA and GSM, but this is not the case with the Samsung S4.

FWIW my Samsung S4 is a T-mobile edition, but I am using T-mobile service, and I get none of the LTE error messages you mentioned; it works great.

If you’re looking for a new device, I believe the first gen Google Pixel phones are multi-band, they are well supported by /e/ and they also are inexpensive and plentiful on the used market.

@argon3030, I am also in the US, and yes, it has been rather frustrating trying to find a phone that will work because of all these carrier variations. I got an S4 from a relative and it was bootloader locked because it had been a Verizon phone. I bought an S4 that had been T-mobile, only to find it carrier locked, and besides that, Verizon’s IMEI checker said it wouldn’t work on Verizon. Same phone! Anyway, if I use T-Mobile’s BYOD page to check the IMEI, that’s where I get the message that the phone does not have necessary features (even though it was a T-Mobile phone to begin with!) What I think it means is that they want new BYOD phones to support VoLTE and ER-LTE.
I did not have any problem with the Nexus 6, so maybe the Pixel would be a good alternative – I just hate to buy an old device with a non-replaceable battery. I posted a question over on the Motorola page regarding the G4 Play, which is supported by /e/, Verizon, others, and is not too large and has a removable battery. But now I don’t know whether it might be carrier bootloader locked, and which sub-varieties might have that issue.
It is also a bit confusing about this alleged “Verizon is CDMA”. I have read that they switched over to GSM at the beginning of 2020, but maybe they are still operating in some hybrid configuration. All things being equal, I would like to use or at least test a MVNO on the Verizon backbone, as they have the best signal around here.
Steep learning curve, but I’ll keep at it.