Samsung S9 in the USA - it can be done

If you’re in the USA, here are a couple of tips to get a Galaxy S9 working.

  • Make sure you have either of these versions of the phone: SM-G960F or SM-G960F/DS - the chip/hardware for US versions of the S9 will not run it, i.e. /e/ OS is more of an EU focused product as far as I can tell.
  • Whether or not the phone’s IMEI will be compatible with your carrier is something you should check beforehand if possible.
  • If your goal is to de-Google yourself, make sure you do not rely on apps that need Google Services, Play, etc (thank you Capt. Obvious)
  • The Easy Installer did not work as expected for me, YMMV. Documentation is spotty, even within the installer, so I found a couple of threads in the forums from other S9 users and cross referenced their walk-thru posts to install /e/ successfully.
  • IIRC I used a combination of the Easy Installer and Odin to flash into TWRP, from there I was able to flash the vendor files, etc. and flash /e/ OS.
  • Carrier: Confirmed to work on T-Mobile or an MVNO that uses them. (*see below)

*I use a MVNO called Ting, which uses two networks - Verizon and T-Mobile. I was previously using the Verizon side (which as of Dec. 2020 is a mix of both GSM + CDMA), so after I swapped my existing SIM into the S9 I could not make calls/texts. The APN profile for Ting/Verizon was not able to be edited either. I talked to Ting support - one guy didn’t want anything to do with me because I was using a non-standard OS, but the next lady I talked to was completely open minded and very helpful with troubleshooting, so I had Ting send me a SIM for their other network, and got my number switched to the T-Mobile GSM network side - after that went through, I was able pop in the SIM and edit the APN profile easily, and now have a fully functioning S9 running /e/ in the USA.

The whole process was a bit of a struggle, mostly because the S9 took a long time to arrive. Even though I bought it from a US seller, it was delayed almost a month due to the unprecedented load the US Postal service was dealing with over the holidays. Installation was a headache for sure, but if you’re experienced with flashing/rooting phones (I’m a relative novice) it shouldn’t be too bad for you.


Thanks for taking the time to write this!

Just to clarify, that’s not the reason. Due to patents, Samsung doesn’t sell their phones with their own Exynos SoC in the US but with Qualcomm chipset.

And the bootloader of Qualcomm chips isn’t unlockable, so the installation of custom ROMs is impossible.

Interesting… I was under the impression that the whole operation was only suited for the European market, seeing how the phones on offer, or most of them, were EU only devices.

Before I obtained the S9 I had attempted to install /e/ on an Essential Ph-1, and the OS build for that phone was very buggy, let alone the network incompatibility issue. I ended up with Lineage on that phone, but obviously came back to /e/ because at least they have an integrated ecosystem.

Hi @cornfarmer thanks for the write-up! Glad to hear Ting got you hooked up with T-Mobile without any further issue. What version of /e/ OS did you end of installing? Any of those pesky “echo” gremlins lingering when using the phone?

I’m running e-0.13-o-2020120889191-dev-starlte. There is no echo as far as I can tell!

The only thing that has come up so far is a sync issue with photos. Only a few are actually sync’d up to the /e/ web-cloud-portal for some reason. Looking into it…