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Should We be Worried About the Bootloader on Verizon’s Galaxy S3?

Oh boy, not the way we wanted to end a week. Not only that, but this is definitely not the conversation we wanted to have as thousands of Galaxy S3 pre-orders from Verizon are about to arrive. Unfortunately, we have to go there to make sure you all know what you are about to get yourselves into.

As you know, a handful of lucky pre-orderees received their Galaxy S3s early, and as you would expect, are putting them through the early development and rooting paces. So far though, they have had zero luck. Upon trying to use any of the previous GS3 root methods, none have been successful thus far. And when I say “previous,” I’m talking about the Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile versions, which have all been rooted. From what I have gathered, the device is unable to flash unsigned boot.img and recovery.img files. 

We could be talking about a locked bootloader here, but before we freak out, let the device get in the hands of more people. By early next week, or even the end of the weekend, we should know more on the status of rooting the Verizon Galaxy S3 and how nasty its bootloader is.

My gut tells me that everything will be fine in a short matter of time. Most devs have been down this road before with one device or another. Look how long it took the Rezound to get S-OFF? The fact is that it still got it. And also, this isn’t a Motorola phone, it’s a Samsung. Try to relax. We’ll keep you updated.

Update:  Root has been obtained.

Via:  XDA

Cheers Doron, Jason, and 

  • Chris Clancy

    Chill out we will get an unlocked bootloader…..Bunch of drama mama’s in here

  • All us Droid X folk are crying together “Not a locked bootloader again! :'(“

  • Jeremy

    Root means nothing without the unlocked boot loader. With a locked bootloader the custom ROMS will all be the same and no custom kernels or radios. I’m returning the s3 and switching from Verizon. Lost a customer big red.

    • jroc74

      Disagree big time here.

      There are many great root apps, many apps that have extra features for root users, things you can do to your phone with just root only. With root only….ppl can use Titanium Backup. With root only…ppl can under clock for better battery life.

      I rooted my RAZR ….and didnt install any ROMs on it. I went back to stock on my Droid 1…but kept it rooted. I went back to stock on my Droid X1…and kept it rooted.

      Ppl have to get out this mindset that custom ROMs; kernels is the end all be all.

  • The Wraith

    Cheerfully typing this message on my rooted Verizon Galaxy Nexus running 4.1 Jellybean, taking advantage of my grandfathered unlimited data plan that ends 06/26/2014. Now that I got that off of my chest, I can troll peacefully. Cheers, everyone!

    • blackmagick20

      Cheerfully not caring in the least bit

  • Wanting to do something about the locked bootloader on the GS3?

    File a report with the Better Business Bureau. File a complaint with the FCC as this violates their Block C mandate. Also you can call Kirtland and Packard and leave a voicemail giving your support for a case against VZW. They previously won a case in regards to the locked bootloader on the Motorola v710 against Verizon. They can be reached at (310) 536-1000. The more people that call them the better chance we have at a case being brought against them.

  • Goose306

    Root and custom recovery is out folks, BL has been bypassed for recovery at least already (which is encrypted, but with root we are able to adb in recovery and bypass)

    Lovely Sammy. Lock the kernel and recovery, leave /system wide open. We are on the route to unlocking. Bypassed .recovery signature in userspace once we got root access, next to try is the kernel. *crosses fingers* if so, we are all good. Verizon tried locking it down, but they failed miserably in the process as they’ve already bypassed signatures on one of the big two.


  • sgtguthrie

    It’s been rooted, with clockworkmod recovery, check out RootzWiki 😉

  • Kenneth Hung
  • Bionic

    Everyone saying “go nexus or nothing” its not that simple. You have to remember some people need to update their phone as soon as possible. A nexus device may not be out yet. This problem may go away though because google seems to be all about nexus devices at least once a year now.

    Also, it would be easier for me, who has always used motorola, if Nexus build quality was more consistently great. The Galaxy Nexus is only NOW a great phone after 2-3 updates to fix radios and other issues.

    Now for me personally, if Motorola makes a Nexus, i will be all about it most likely.

    • Alexander Garcia

      Even if Motorola doesn’t make the next Nexus phone, they seem to be heavily influenced by Google when you consider the way they lightly skinned their version of ICS on the RAZR/RAZR Maxx. Other than the icons and few welcome enhancements from Moto, their version of ICS is the most faithful to the essence of Stock ICS. Moto’s build quality and radio optimization and battery life is what keeps me stickin’ to Moto.

      • Bionic

        Couldnt have said it better myself

  • jak_341

    This is a real shame if it is true. This phone is DOA already. Figures Verizon would go all Motorola on Samsung.

    • Diablo81588

      Do you have one post that doesn’t involve bad mouthing motorola?

    • jroc74

      DOA because of the bootloader?

      You do realize that the Droid X1 and RAZR, Maxx were/are some of their most popular phones? Maybe you meant DOA for you….but you dont speak for everyone.

  • sammy sasoon

    its been rooted over at xda

  • jarch3r

    XDA updated. it’s rooted

  • C B

    To all my fellow Androidiers, you must only choose nexus or you will succumb to BS like locked/encrypted bootloaders. Make the wise choice of going Nexus……for there is no other route!!!

    • blackmagick20

      Yea…not like you sound similar to a crApple sheep or anything…

    • jroc74

      For some….bootloaders isnt a deal breaker. It wasnt for me…and I started with a Droid 1. I have had a Droid X1, RAZR, G Nex and Rezound.

      Bootloaders doesnt make or break a phone overall…IMO. Thats just one aspect of the phone. I look at the total picture. And bootloaders is at the bottom of my deal breakers.

      Some of yall gotta remember…we all dont have the same wants n needs.

  • I think because of this I’m going to make absolutely full use of my Unlimited Data. Netflix? Hell yes. Spotify? Maximum quality. Use my phone as an intermediary between two computers moving files and movies? Sure, why the hell not?

    Because eff you verizon.

    • Beka27

      That’s what I’ve been saying. Plug the phone in, lower the volume, and stream some movies while I’m at work not even looking at the damn phone. My goal is to never toggle wifi.

  • Short answer to this post right now is “probably”

  • Troubled_Asian

    I dislike Apple’s business practices quite a bit. In most cases, Verizon’s recent business practices are just as bad.

  • Jon

    I just can’t believe this. I’ve been reading up on the custom ROM development that has already started for the other carriers Galaxy S III, and was really excited.

    This is a slap in the face. I returned my Gnex two weeks ago to order the S III. And now this. WTF!

    The Gnex has such an abysmal camera, an awful speaker phone, and I also had call problems. I don’t want to go back to the Gnex. I’m screwed.

    • jroc74

      Look at your next to last sentence….

      If the GS3 has a chance to be better in those areas….you would give up that…for an unlocked bootloader? If so….whats the problem? Decide what more important to you and go from there. Figure what you really want from a phone…and the decision should be alot easier.

  • Metfanant

    I can confirm, via Level 2 Samsung Galaxy S Support that Verizon
    SPECIFICALLY requested an ENCRYPTED (not simply locked) bootloader, and
    they are the ONLY carrier to make such a request of Samsung, and as this
    is part of the OEM/Carrier agreement between Samsung and VZW there is
    100% nothing Samsung can do to remedy the situation

    Looks like my SGS III pre-order will be canceled tomorrow and ill wait
    this out…ive dealt with the encrypted bootloader on my DX for 2 years
    (pre-ordered that as well)…if I wanted another encrypted bootloader I
    would have bought a RAZR MAXX months ago, or waited on the RAZR HD…

  • JadedVerizonUser

    And here I was finally upgrading from my rock-solid as-reliable-as-death-and-taxes OG Droid that has been running overclocked (1.1GHz) for over 2 years…I had a suspicion this was going to happen…every other carrier releases the phone in June…Verizon says “Oh it’s not ready yet, we’ll give it to you all fixed up in July.” Sure…”fixed” is right.

    And this on top of the whole Net Neutrality BS that Verizon is causing…

    If AT&T had a better network, I’d cancel my pre-order and switch in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I need reliability more than anything else, and I never had great luck with that when I was with AT&T. Or Sprint.

  • JulianZHuang

    dont give up yet, still too early. maybe someone will find an exploit or some way to do it.

  • cgalyon

    The ETF is one of the biggest deterrents for many people to switch off. A number of carriers are willing to cover ETF’s, however, to provide you with a free choice to switch to their network if you like. I’ve been eyeing a few carriers as alternatives to Verizon (due to Verizon’s increasingly anti-consumer practices): Credo Mobile, Sprint, and Republic Wireless. When the opportunity comes, I’ll likely jump onto Republic regardless because I like what they’re trying to do. However, Credo (which uses Sprint’s network) is at least outwardly advocating for change and trying to produce a somewhat consumer-friendly option. None of them are perfect, after all, they’re bound to certain market restrictions, but Sprint and it’s affiliates are more appealing than Verizon and AT&T to me. I’m giving it two weeks to see what can be done about the S3, but after that I’ll be looking into selling my phone and switching networks.

  • absurdhero

    so let me get this straight …you made me wait so you can put a lock on my phone?

  • droidftw

    I bought the GNex 3 days ago. I lost unlimted data but doesn’t really make much different to me. The 8 GB shared plan is cheaper than what I had before. I have 4 smart phones and 2 tablets and this ends up being 30 bucks cheaper/month.

    • I am glad it works out for you but for the individual with one phone the shared plans do not add up…

  • cb2000a

    LOL…so glad I dumped Verizon a year ago.

  • TheDK10

    the only reason they did this is because a lot of ppl jumped to this phone to keep unlimited data and verizon hates that. they know they could root it and do wireless tether and such without paying. So they said fine we will encrypt it.

  • CUSTOMER: Argh! Verizon is trying to force me into a shared data package? I will fight back! I will out-think Verizon! Ha, ha! The rootable Galaxy S3 is launching! I can pre-order before June 28 to keep my unlimited data and get one final phone at subsidized pricing! I win! My phone is in the mail and will arrive on Monday, July 9. Screw you, Verizon!

    VERIZON: Gotcha! We knew the geeks with their grandfathered unlimited plans would rush to get the Galaxy S3, thinking it was rootable. We hope you enjoy your new phone with its locked and encrypted bootloader. No? Well, you can return it. Just remember that you won’t be able to get another phone at subsidized pricing unless you switch to our new shared data plans. You see, June 28 has come and gone. Oh, you didn’t get to use your upgrade like you wanted? We’re sorry, but really meant it when we said that eventually everyone would move to shared data. Consider this just another little nudge. Muwahahahaaa!

    CUSTOMER: Screw you, Verizon!

  • sgtguthrie

    Looking like the bootloader is encrypted per request of Verizon.! Read this!


  • According to the XDA thread someone heard from Samsung that Verizon requested a signed and encrypted bootloader. Damn it.

    • theyseemetrolling


  • lmao nice ….lovin my nexus even more now.

    • yellowcanary73

      Your G/N still sucks with its half ass radios and lousy battery life.

  • What a downer after just getting my shipment notice from Verizon today…

  • JumboMcNasty

    My xperia play w/Verizon STILL has a locked bootloader, on every other network its unlocked. This is such a Verizon being a pain in the ash to its customers.

    • jroc74

      Thanks for this post….

      See….everybody was sooo hung up on hating on Moto and bootloaders.

  • so that’s why verizon waited to release the sg3. they took counter measures against the root methods for the gsm models

  • God DAMMIT Verizon

  • rayray

    if its not rootable i wont buy it

  • Tim Buchanan

    Definitely switching to Sprint when my contract is up. VZW has got to be the least technophile friendly carrier.

    • If I had one bar of service where I lived I would too. Unfortunately I know I don’t as my company phone is sprint so Verizon has me by the nads.

  • Ken Bosse

    I’m not a developer by any means, but if I was I would work extra hard to cracks the bootloader just to stick it to vzw

  • whoa what happened there to my comment? it disappeared !

  • we don’t know for sure what it is yet, but this guy may be holding the answer….

  • Derek Gelinas

    This is why you buy Nexus phones, people. Android = Nexus.

    • Suralin

      If a recall correctly, we didn’t normally have to worry about bootloaders on Samsung devices, even for Verizon. Now it looks like we’ll be waiting for the Nexus phones from here on out.

      • Lavoisier1794

        What do you think the odds of vzw selling another nexus are? Will/can Google sell unlocked phones from the play store that use vzw bands? Or can VZW block this?

        • MrSteve920

          One option someone mentioned is that they can sell a phone that is 4G only. But as far as 3G is concerned Verizon can block them.

          • Johnson

            Would that work? A friend of mine that works for them says 4g is data voice is still different so you need more than the sim?

          • MrSteve920

            The people behind 4G have been working on doing Voice over 4G, but I don’t know how far away we are from that.

    • Android = freedom of choice, Mr. G. Sheep.

    • jroc74


  • KennyVeltre

    I have faith that the developer community will crack the bootloader. This isn’t Motorola we’re dealing with.