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How to downgrade Galaxy S3 back to Android 4.1.2: tutorial [Update]

androidpit samsung galaxy s3 software downgrade
© nextpit

With all the problems that S3 owners are facing with the official Android 4.3 update from Samsung, many of you are not holding out hope for a rapid fix to your problems. Neither are we. So here's how to downgrade your Galaxy S3 back to Android 4.1.2, the last firmware update prior to the current bungle. Downgrading your OS version probably never sounded so exciting. [Update: S3 owners on the AT&T network are advised NOT to try downgrading. There have been reports of this process bricking devices.]

androidpit samsung galaxy s3 software downgrade

How to downgrade Galaxy S3. / © NextPit

What you need

Downgrading your firmware is exactly the same as upgrading, you simply use an older firmware version than the one you currently have. So if you've found yourself stuck with an unworkable 4.3 update, follow the same process you normally would to manually install the new firmware, but instead use the firmware you started with before the OTA update. First of all make sure you have a full backup of your S3 because the flash procedure will wipe your data.

You'll need Odin v3.09 and the necessary USB drivers for your S3. Make sure you also have USB Debugging enabled in Developer Options.

AndroidPIT Odin3 v309
Odin is very simple to use and self-explanatory. / © NextPit/ © NextPit/Odin

Then, you'll need the relevant firmware for your device. You can find the relevant firmware for your particular model number S3 at Sam Mobile's firmware page.

What you need to do

  1. Download the appropriate firmware .zip file for your S3 (link above) and extract it on your PC. You'll see a few .tar.md5 files inside.
  2. From being powered off, start your S3 in Download Mode by pressing Volume Down + Power and Home button simultaneously.
  3. Open Odin and connect your S3 to your PC with a USB cable. Wait until Odin recognizes the device (a blue box appears in Odin). 
  4. In Odin's Files [Download] section, navigate to the relevant tar.md5 file/s in the downloaded S3 firmware. If you only have one file in the extracted firmware it goes in AP (in older versions of Odin, the AP box is called PDA). If you have multiple files, just plug them into the appropriate boxes in Odin.
  5. Make sure the repartition box is not checked
  6. Click Start and wait. Once the procedure is complete your S3 will restart and you'll be back to where you started from before your update nightmare began.
androidpit galaxy s3 jelly bean
You probably haven't been this happy to see Android 4.1.2 in a year. / © NextPit

If your S3 doesn't reboot on its own, enter Recovery Mode by pressing Volume Up + Power + Home button simultaneously and then performing a Data Wipe/Factory Reset and wipe any cache partition. Then select Reboot System Now and you should be good to go.

[Update: 8:30 PM Berlin time 26.11.13]

S3 owners on the AT&T network have reported that attempts to downgrade to 4.1.x have resulted in a bricked device. If you are on this network, please play it safe and DO NOT attempt to downgrade, just in case. At least until you've read more and are aware of the risks involved. You can read more about these bricking cases and the current status of attempts on the following XDA Developers thread. S3 owners on any other networks would be advised to search XDA for any other bricking cases before proceeding. My thanks to AndroidPIT reader Amir Y for bringing this to my attention!

Have you been suffering from the Android 4.3 update? Has it prompted you to start flashing your own firmware?

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Kris Carlon

Kris Carlon
Senior Editor

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

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  • 1
    Abdullah Jr Feb 11, 2015 Link to comment

    Hi cris karlon
    I hv a galaxy s3 I updates it to 4.3 before it was on 4.1.2.
    I upgraded it automatically from the software update
    but I want to go back to 4.1.2
    can I downgrade it by using odin since I dint update it manually through odin
    pls help thx:)

  • 1
    Aimen Hassen Jan 4, 2015 Link to comment

    hello there..I was trying to downgrade my i9300 from 4.3 to 4.1.2 and I did every thing right but it keeps saying fail. if it helps my s3 in download mode it says..
    odin mode
    product name sgh i747
    custom binary download: yes(8 counts)
    current binary : custom
    system status:cus
    Qualcomm secure boot: enable
    warranty bit: 1
    boot loader rp swrev: 2

  • 1
    nikhil goel Sep 17, 2014 Link to comment


    I have Samsung galaxy S3 purchased in December 2012 from Australia. I am not able to update the android version and it is struck on version 4.1.2. Whenever I try to update the s/w it says latest version has already been installed on your phone. I also tried updating the firmware using Kies but there also the same message :(

    Can any android czars pls help.


    • Kris Carlon 35
      Kris Carlon Sep 17, 2014 Link to comment

      Hi @Nikhil, what is the model number? If you have the standard I9300 model then you should be able to upgrade to 4.3 at least. KitKat will not be available for S3's with only 1 GB of RAM, but if you have the LTE version with 1.5 GB of RAM then you can get KitKat. I'm not sure why Kies would be telling you that you have the latest version at 4.1.2? Visit SamMobile's firmware page and enter your specific model number to see what the latest firmware is.

      • 1
        nikhil goel Sep 17, 2014 Link to comment

        Hi Kris, Thanks for your quick response.

        The model number is GT-I9300. Yes I understand I can't have the Kitkat 4.4 for my phone but atleast 4.3 should be upgraded.

        I checked the samMobile's firmware page and as expected it is out of date.

        How to update the firmware now ? Tried all the steps using kies.


      • Kris Carlon 35
        Kris Carlon Sep 17, 2014 Link to comment

        You can also use Odin to push the firmware. Here's a guide I wrote a while back (it was for downgrading though, so just make the appropriate changes):
        Best of luck!

  • 1
    Tammy Jul 9, 2014 Link to comment

    Hello. I did everything like it`s written, but on my phone it says firmware not supported or something like that, when in download mode. Why is that? Does it have to be same version as 4.3 when downloading 4.1.2? Like if you have H3G version of 4.3. Than you.

  • 2
    Joseph DiDario Jun 24, 2014 Link to comment

    I'm actually looking to get CyanogenMod 11 onto my Samsung Galaxy S3 (SCH-535) Verizon. I've gotten ODIN up and running. it connects and begins transfer, but I keep getting Secure Check Fail : Recovery or Auth Fail on ODIN
    I also just read some information saying that its not possible to install CyanogenMod if you are running Android 4.3 ... the whole reason I wanted CyanogenMod was to get to 4.4.2 because the OTA update doesn't want to install, it keeps failing. So I tried to do a factory reset, but even that fails. Luckily I can still boot back up into the existing software.
    I'm now doing a software repair through the Verizon Software Repair Assistant, hoping to at least be able to take the OTA to 4.4.2 if this manages to fix everything.

    • Kris Carlon 35
      Kris Carlon Jun 24, 2014 Link to comment

      @Joseph, what was the reason your read why you can't flash CyanogenMod on Android 4.3? It shouldn't make any difference what version you're on, you simply root and ROM and that's it. Perhaps what you read was talking about Knox?

  • 32
    Deactivated Account Jun 12, 2014 Link to comment

    Downgrading from 4.3 to 4.1 will damage the EFS folder which holds the IMEI number
    you can only downgrade if you have an EFS backup of 4.1 .
    Here EFSv1 changes To EFSv2 while upgrading to 4.3.
    IF you have accidentally downgraded you can upgrade back to 4.3 to solve the problem

    • 1
      Per Nordentoft Nov 30, 2015 Link to comment

      How can i get a new EFS folder. I don't have a backup of this... Can i use one from another phone?

  • 1
    gsn May 6, 2014 Link to comment

    Hi Kris I am From India My Mobile Samsung galaxy s3 Andriod 4.3 i downgrade to 4.1.2 but my imei number crash if i upgrade again 4.3 can i get my orginal imei number plz help me how to slove the problem Thanks

    • 32
      Deactivated Account Jun 12, 2014 Link to comment

      IF you have accidentally downgraded you can upgrade to solve the problem

  • 2
    Jeferson Arante Apr 15, 2014 Link to comment

    502 Bad Gateway , onde conseguir firmware 4.1 para s3 ??? aparece esse erro na pagina que está postado. 502 Bad Gateway

  • 2
    PointyEared BowTwanger Mar 31, 2014 Link to comment

    I'm with many others here. Against my better judgement I upgraded to 4.3 and now wish I hadn't. The ONE thing I actually wanted it to do doesn't work, and I'm finding the lack of customisation and the changes to the visuals extremely annoying. I tried to follow your steps to downgrade, but I stumbled at the first hurdle - your link to the Odin program went to a notice about the site being taken down by the US courts. I have no idea where else to go to find this program or information. I keep hearing talk of rooting and ROMs but I don't actually know what these are (I'm not stupid, I was just happy with my phone as it was and obviously hadn't looked enough into customisation for it), so I really don't know what to do.

  • 1
    Timber14 Mar 25, 2014 Link to comment

    HELP! i have recently updated my samsung s3 to the latest version 4.3 but i hate it! i tried to downgrade using your steps above but it didnt downgrade. But has reset everything please help me!

  • 1
    Ge Ge Mar 16, 2014 Link to comment

    HELP!! I have S3 on T-mobile UK (factory unlocked) done step by step downgrade from 4.3 to 4.1.2 and whats happened- lost my imei its starts now 0049.... and i cant make calls. its showing signal bars but emergency call only cant register to any network. i have download software I9300XXELLA_I9300TMUELL1_TMU. please anyone can help me what can i do now to get my phone back working. ( dont have backup) :(:(:(:(:((:!!!HELP!!!!

  • 1
    viraghg Mar 5, 2014 Link to comment

    Hi there! I've read your article and i need some help. I want to downgrade my i747m (s3 canada) from 4.3 to 4.1.1 and i've done everything exactly like you said, but no matter which firmware i try (yes they are exactly for my phone and carrier) i get the failed message from odin half a minute after clicking the start button. what am i doing wrong? i'm using an original samsung cable and i tried multiple usb ports

    • My1 37
      My1 Mar 10, 2014 Link to comment

      maybe they have locked it.
      but I dont know...

  • 2
    sunny61 Mar 4, 2014 Link to comment

    Philipp I have the US version for T-Mobile model SHG-M919. thank you.

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