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Verizon Support is Telling Customers the Galaxy S3 Bootloader Will Soon be Unlocked Via Software Update? (Updated)

Update:  We just heard back from Verizon, and they said that there will not be an update to unlock the bootloader on the device. The confusion with customer service reps has to do with a software update that will unlock GSM roaming, one of the scenarios we talked about last night. To be honest, it wouldn’t have made much sense for them to release a software update to unlock this device knowing that Samsung is selling a developer edition.

By now, you all know that the bootloader on Verizon’s Galaxy S3 is locked (signed), right? And you also probably know that Samsung has plans to release a developer edition that can be unlocked, only you have to fork out $599 to get it. Well, what if Big Red’s stance has changed, all of a sudden?

On Friday afternoon, we received an email from a reader who had received a response from Verizon’s support, concerning the bootloader situation. The email is below, but it essentially says that Samsung will be releasing a software update that will allow the device to be unlocked. There isn’t a date for the release, but it could be “soon.”

Being the skeptics that we are, we emailed Verizon’s PR to see if this was true. While we have yet to receive official word back, we are seeing other signs that point to a software update as a possibility. 

Here is one of the original emails that started this whole thing:

My name is Levar and thank you for contacting Verizon Wireless about the boot loader for the Galaxy S3. I know this may be frustrating but there will be a solution soon coming. Samsung will be releasing a software update to unlock your device. Right now, we do not have a date for the release but it shall be soon.

Verizon Wireless appreciates you as a customer and your patience in this matter.

Have a great weekend!

Verizon Wireless
Customer Service

After seeing that email, we started hearing from other readers who were receiving similar responses. To make sure this wasn’t some giant conspiracy, I too jumped onto Verizon’s site and chatted with a sales rep. I asked as plain as day if the bootloader situation was ever going to change. The rep said “it’s going to be unlocked via Verizon soon.” It appears as if he checked into some sort of support system that mentioned an unlock update.

Here is a screenshot of the chat I had moments ago:

To add to that, another reader went directly to Samsung to see if they could get a response. Below is a screenshot of that response, however, it’s a tad confusing. The important part reads “There will be unlock tool that will be released for the Galaxy S III version from Verizon as of this moment.” It seems like he forgot the word “not” since he ended with “as of this moment,” or there actually is an unlock tool coming. Tough to tell, you guys decide.

Here is an email response directly from Samsung that talks about a tool:

As of now, we are under the impression that there may be a solution on the way. We aren’t sure if it’s simply poor communication about this “developer edition” of the phone, which technically hasn’t even been announced yet or if Verizon has approved a software update. Something is definitely going on, but until we hear back from Verizon with an official response, let’s try not to get too excited.

Others are also under the impression that this has to do with a global unlock, so that you can take your phone overseas, and that reps are simply confused. Again, let’s wait until we hear something official.

Cheers Peter and Chris!

  • you know its funny, my contract is up and im still undecided what to get either the GNX or the SG3, i like the SG3 but knowing samsung which there not to great on updateing there devices like lets say Asus or Acer this update push for the SG3 is not going to happen in the next 6 months or even the next year. just look at there tablets, to this date my SGT 10.1 has not been update to ics and thats been more than a year same goes for verizon. at this point im locked in my mind not know what to get or if to get any phone at all…not to mention giving up my unlimited data plan…i think at this point i need a miracle, if not bye bye verizon

  • tomn1ce

    It’s not going to happen, VZW is not going to unlock the bootloader…its a nice thought but it isn’t happening…

  • Buckoman

    Just asking, but when this supposed update is released, what would be the point of having the developer edition?

  • PC_Tool


    The way their first two statements read, they won’t be simply offering a way to manually unlock the devices, but that the update will, in fact, unlock every VZW SIII. Proof they have no idea what they are talking about and that all of this should be taken with a titanic grain of salt.

  • James_Kernicky

    “But don’t take my word for it” – Levar Burton…I didn’t know he was at Verizon now!

  • It sounds like fear of people taking their complaints to the FCC since they are in the market to buy more spectrum.

  • Stewie

    In related news, all moto users woke up this morning to find their bootloaders were unlocked via live software update that went out at midnight the 16th… In addition this update removed BLUR, overclocked their processors and cut voltages automatically, causing a 2-3x increase in overall speed and responsiveness. Furthermore, the software update changed the DPI causing all screens to now be rendered in Pentile HD.
    Lastly, the updates caused the data sharing plans to dissappear from Verizons systems for affected phones.
    Shall we continue ?

  • Pretending to be a manager, putting down our website, and just being plain rude. I can’t deal with these people anymore.

  • That’s great news for the galaxy s 3 fans. i hope Verizon unlock it for you.

  • nightscout13

    I will not sleep as of now.

  • Sorry but it will never happen
    Verizon unlocking a boot loader?
    I would bet my house against it

    • Doan

      I accept your wager.

  • a) The support rep simply confused the unlock of the GSM version with the unlock of the bootloader, or

    b) Samsung would indeed provide a software patch, but anyone paying the subsidized price will have to pay the difference to get that

    I just don’t think Verizon would be so nice to us.

  • JDub429

    If they do it I hope it’s in less than two weeks because I just ordered a Nexus from them.

  • angermeans

    I assume I’ll find out tomorrow.

  • Sith77

    I know I’m beating a dead horse buta holy hell , there more people waiting and aggravated over ICS for rezound than the unlocked boot loader on new galaxy !!!!!!!! Come on already wtf

  • Maybe the only reason Verizon locked the bootloader was to make sure everyone stayed OTA-able and once they unlock international capability, they won’t care.

    • Sky_Guy

      Hey! That makes some sense….

  • dylan84

    Gotta say I actually laughed when I read the title of this article. There’s no way Verizon is going to unlock the bootloader on this phone. The support people are definitely just talking about a global radio unlock.

  • This should be 100% proof right here…disregard ie

    • thats the best convo yet good job

    • nightscout13

      Playing the dumb customer card? LOL it worked….

      • evltwn

        I spoke to 2 customer service agents, and they were the dumb ones. 1st had no clue what a bootloader was, and the 2nd claimed there was no software update scheduled to be coming out for the S3.

    • You sir, are awesome. But seriously, get chrome.

    • michael arazan

      Remember that Verizon’s definition of “soon” is 6 months

  • Damn, got my hopes up! 🙁

  • luke
    • lol what a horrible convo. hate these brain dead people. probably talking to 50 ppl at once

  • Killer4247

    They are confusing it with unlocking the radios for global use which they stated that they would do during preorders. They are not now or ever going to unlock the bootloader.

  • J Dub

    Read this already. Was deemed bogus. I really don’t see what the big deal is. Just release a tool to do the unlock. They talk a bunch of smack about how they don’t want blah blah blah. That would make sense if all VZW phones were locked. The Incredible 4G can be unlocked and was also just released. So VZW is OK with it having an unlocked/un-signed bootloader, but not the GS3? Flatulence.

  • This is about unlocking the phone for global use, not anything to do with the bootloader. Original thread on XDA has been updated.

  • verizonkillspuppies

    Never going to happen…has the past and present not taught you anything about Verizon!? They tell half truths to keep you as a customer. Remember when moto said they would unlock. Plus they need to unencrypt not just unlock.

  • BAoxymoron

    You know it might be possible that when samsung announced the developer edition verizon wasn’t excited about losing the money/contracts and so they agreed to unlock instead… and it also may be how many people were planning on ditching the phone… who knows


  • ABerry5

    my money is on that support agent thinking about samsung releasing the developer version and it came out as a software update I’ll believe it when I see it

  • reyalP

    Too late! I left Verizon on Friday. First they screwed up the Nexus and its updates and then they lock the bootloader on S3. They are like Apple, they want to control the end user even after they purchase the products.

    • “they want to control the end user even after they purchase the products.” Name one carrier that doesn’t do that?

      • verizonkillspuppies

        Pre paid unlocked no contract carriers like Straight Talk Sim

        • k_nivesout

          Isn’t that the carrier that will, or at least can, boot you from the network if you actually use your smartphone as a smartphone? Looked at their T&C and was disappointed.

          • verizonkillspuppies

            You can use 100mbs per day and 2gigs per month. No contract, no etfs, nexus for 350. People are even using more than 100mbs per day by leaving proxy blank in apn settings. 100mbs per day is a small price to pay to save $40-$50 per month. Tmobile’s prepaid plan let’s you use 5gigs per month for you $30 per month.

  • I love you for telling me this! I got two S3s and this is the best thing Ive heard since this phone came out.

  • interstellarmind

    i bet these reps are confusing it for the global “unlocking.”

    let’s not forget that vzw emploees are often totally ignorant when it comes to tech info about the phones (i blame vzw for their poor training, not the techs).

    HOWEVER, if this turns out to be an actual bootloader unlocking that VZW is contemplating, then, well, i’ll be the first in line to actually praise vzw for once listening to their customer (and I will reward them by continuing to pay my extremely high family plan bill every month).

  • kinfolk248

    Just get a damn Nexus!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tcali

      And pass up the s3?
      You are funny!

    • panzerapple

      I would but the gf is refuses to accept using the cloud and wants the sd card slot.

    • Sure, get a nexus, get a phone that gets super hot to the point that you need to pop off the battery for it to cool, or even better, it wont last more than 16 hours with a 3800mah battery attached to it, sure, yeah, get a nexus.

      • 16 hours with the LTE disabled, wifi off and bluetooth off.

  • chris125

    I think it will just be the unlock to global capability. I would love if it is the bootloader but doubt it.

  • David in ATL

    Smart if big red does unlock. I received an SIII email advert from them last week to which I promptly replied… “locked bootloader? NO THANKS!” Maybe every now and then the squeaky wheel does get the oil (or at least the unlock!)… fingers crossed.

  • cybik

    What about the razr?


  • Xeneize480


    • Tcali

      I have a linux & windows vista (dual-boot) & have the s3…

  • jaybar

    I’ll stay hopeful, but like many have said I’ll believe it when I see it

  • edwards311

    The email in the article is what I recieved from Samsung and then forwarded to Kellex. When I contacted Samsung I specifically mentioned the bootloader and that I wanted to install custom ROM’s and kernel’s. I would think that is hard to confuse with unlocking the phone for global roaming.

  • I just want to say, Verizon Reps dont speak Dev.

  • jspangenberger

    so not convienced (until I see it) … they are going to pull a fast on us …. give us the
    global unlock then kill any custom recovery + kexec we have now … then laugh
    at our faces ..

    • I could see that happening… Backlash would be nuts though

  • athensjohn

    It would be interesting if Verizon is confusing unlocking the bootloader on existing phones with releasing a developer phone. Verizon is saying the a bootloader unlock is coming, but Samsung is the one selling the developer phone. Unless I am mistaken, Verizon is not the one selling the developer phone – that phone comes straight from Samsung. I’m not sure why Verizon reps would inform someone of a solution from another company, but stranger things have happened.

  • Samsung’s interesting wording.

  • ddevito

    Touchwiz gets a gas face

  • Robert

    Verizon is so stupid. Dont they know that people that unlock their phones generaly consume more data than the average user. They could be making so much more money off the people who dont have unlimited data.maybe this is why thier stance is changing now.

  • I got a bridge for sale…

  • mustbepbs

    People are confusing reps and wording it incorrectly. You need to ask them about the ENCRYPTION on the bootloader, not unlocking it. By saying “unlock” they immediately think global capabilities, which is known to happen. I don’t get why people don’t understand this

    And now DL is making an article on this trash?

    • Your request has been answered.

      • verizonkillspuppies

        Nowhere does it say they will unencrypt. Goodluck with your Verizon garbage phone.

        • nhizzat

          The SGS3 is far from garbage lol…A locked/encrypted bootloader doesn’t make a phone garbage. I see little reason to complain about not being able to flash a new kernel on the phone. I’d be happy with being able to flash AOSP which can be done

          • mitRoMoney

            Try flashing AOSP on a phone with an encrypted bootloader. Good luck with that. People with the Razr and Bionic are loving their AOSP right now. You think an encrypted BL won’t bother you, but it will….I was saying the same thing a year ago, until I experienced myself.

          • nhizzat

            I’ve use my sister’s SGS3 off and on since she received it. It doesn’t bother me at all, it didn’t bother me when I had the DX, and it wouldn’t bother me if I owned the Razr Maxx. I don’t care about kernels since I’ve found they give very little benefit in terms of battery life. I don’t care about overclocking because I’ve found that gives very little benefit when it comes to day to day performance.

  • fartbubbler

    the reps confused??? naaahhhhhh…….

  • Astronomik

    For what it’s worth, I sent an email to VZW asking this a few days ago. They replied today and said they had no info on an unlock and told me to contact Samsung. Screenshot:

  • My fingers are crossed X

  • rockstar323

    I’m assuming this will be an unlock tool like HTC has. It’s probably so they can see which phones have an unlocked bootloader so they can void the warranty.

    • cobjones

      lot of rezound owners claim they send back their phones anyways for replacement and no issues after unlocking.

      • rockstar323

        I hadnt heard that. Its good to know. Thanks.

  • Jacob? …am I on the right site?

  • yes please 🙂

  • Guest

    So why lock it in the first place?

    • So when you unlock it you agree to void your warranty

  • JustAnAngryJOE

    Im smelling some Bull Sugar Honey Iced Tea. Talk is cheap i’ll believe when i see it.

  • Kutter Ross

    Good for SIII users if true but due to how hardheaded Verizon has been about the Razr staying locked I would be surprised if they allowed the SIII to bee unlocked as well. Just my 2 cents. Though if they do unlock it, there will be quite a bit of fuss from other users using other phones.

  • sounds like bs. why sell a developer edition then?

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      DEV edition isn’t even really official…. I guess it was Sammys automatic back up plan…

      • well lets hope. this will be a good win for unlocked bootloaders

    • Southrncomfortjm

      Sammy selling dev phone probably caused Verizon to do this. They didn’t want a bunch of people buying off contract phones from Sammy when those are contracts they would miss out on.

      • i’d disagree. How many people would buy one? Like 100? The dev phone isn’t a way to make money, and Verizon isn’t missing any sales to it. I think the dev phone is a way to get the unlock tool to the community, like a Trojan Horse, by staying in good legal graces with Verizon. Otherwise the next Samsung phone sold through Verizon will be a flop….now due to THAT both companies will miss out on sales.

        • Tell that to the Razr Maxx owners who had a developer edition.

      • violator702

        Verizon would not let a phone on their network without giving the ok first.

        • 700mhz rules

          in reality they are suppose to be running and open app and open device network, per the auction rules.

  • Cb3ck

    There is no way this is happening. Not with the “developer edition” announced… It is absolutely inconceivable that Samsung would tout their unlocked phone only for Verizon to release a tool that makes all the other phones the same.

    I just can’t see it.

  • ddevito

    JB Voice Search > S Voice

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Kellex Voice > Google Now > S Voice

      • They need to make a thing where you read a bunch of lines of selected text and then it uses that persons voice for the phone.
        Kind of like in Mission Impossible III.

        • droidman101

          I would so use Morgan Freeman’s voice.

          • right!? and i can see random people who happen to have great voices uploading theirs to the net.
            Also, Bastion Narrator voice ftw!

          • droidman101

            Jim Parsons

          • calculatorwatch

            Good choice. Personally I’d like to hear Samuel L. Jackson saying “Here’s your motherfuckin’ search results.”

          • nightscout13

            How about Obama?

          • calculatorwatch

            Haha well he would give the results an air of reassuredness. Honestly though I don’t wanna listen to any politician talk more than I have to.

          • michael arazan

            OMG it would pause when talking every 4th to 5 th word.

          • sc0rch3d

            nah, James Earl Jones…..

      • jspangenberger

        Kellex Voice?

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Haven’t listened to those smooth reviews lately have you?

          • jspangenberger

            :grins: Nope but as I was looking around the site (which I read sometimes) … i realized I was missing something. =

      • John

        Brown noser =P

        • jspangenberger


        • nightscout13

          Isn’t if funny how they brown nose even on the web? LOL

    • fartbubbler

      this is absolutely true! I want the S3, but I don’t want to give up my Google Voice on my JellyBean GNex. Svoice is not even close.

  • ddevito

    Stock Jelly Bean sure would be sweet. Kudos to Big Red for redeeming themselves (if true).

  • Tick tock tick tock…

  • WalCs

    Not sure if Verizon is serious, or just wants to trick me into buying a locked SGS3.

    • cartisdm

      I read this in Fry’s voice

  • this is not real. every time someone contacts a rep, and says “unlock my bootloader” the rep hears “i want my phone unlocked”, as in the traditional sense…..of carrier unlocking, which in this case they are referring to the coming global unlock “feature” which has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH A BOOTLOADER even though the people are saying “bootloader”. The reps are just completely ignorant and want to get you off the line. NOW, if you asked them what a bootloader is, and they gave you an intelligent response, I could have a little more faith in it. But I bet you money none of these reps even know what a bootloader is, let alone the status of any unlocker.

    • I can see where you’re coming from but it’s somewhat obvious to see the difference between a “global device unlock” and a “bootloader unlock.” Or I can be wrong and Verizon reps are too stupid to understand the difference.
      These idiots called the Galaxy S 3, the “Galaxy Nexus 3” Really Verizon?

      • they dont care….they dont know…they aren’t going to say “im sorry i dont know what a bootloader is”. they will type in the terms “unlock” & “bootloader” in a database and it will kick back information about how Verizon is going to push a global capability unlock soon……they don’t have a clue

      • Michael Quinlan

        Obvious to us, but all *they* hear is “blah blah blah unlock”.

        • nhizzat

          Seems to me that they’re reading bootloader and unlock. There’s a big difference between a SIM and bootloader unlock…

    • Anthony_Armando

      agree, i highly doubt verizon is going to do an 180 suddenly on a locked bootloader.

    • That was my first thought.

    • If you need more proof, there.

      • someone ask a rep what the bootloader is…..ask them what it means to unlock a bootloader…..then we’ll talk

        • Why do they need to know what it is? They arn’t idiots, and can read internal documents. And I’m sure the documents make it pretty clear what a bootloader is.

          • John

            You high?

          • They are sales reps. They are trained to sell, am I right? Any human can see a difference in unlocked for global and unlocking a bootloader. The internal documents probably mention nothing about global. If I am wrong, you can make fun of me later. Until then, nether of us are right.

          • NewAge

            Sorry Timmy but you give them far to much credit. They’re training is far less than most of the normal Android fanatics that frequent these blogs. I am also thinking they didn’t understand the type of unlock you are talking about. They’re response did not say they boot loader would be unlocked but that the phone would be unlocked. The ambiguity is thick and always assume worse case. You assume best

          • nhizzat

            I see no mention of a SIM unlock. Each sales rep has said the same thing, bootloader unlock. Why would Verizon allow one of their phones to run on any other network?

          • interstellarmind

            i am willing to bet a lot that they don’t

          • I have a feeling they dont…

        • jeesung

          i have a rooted phone and am not completely sure what a bootloader is. 🙂

          • Tyler Chappell

            Sometimes I just think of it as the BIOS on my phone lmao, even though I know better.

      • dude screw the S3 get that hot HTC Rhyme as advertised

        • If you were serious, I would slap you in the face. But since I know your joking, can we take our S3’s and laugh in it’s face? 😉

        • Allen Byrd

          Man, what’s with all of the negative votes?
          Is sarcasm really THIS hard to see on the internet?

  • Awesome if true.

  • jpfrasier

    Just guessing but it would appear that English is not Carlo’s native language.

  • Southrncomfortjm

    So, um, can we mount a similar rebellion against the share everything plans?

  • termiNader

    Value of the phone will surely increase now. Should I still sell it? hmmmmm

  • Well damn. You yell loud enough and eventually someone will hear you.

  • good damage control, verizon.

  • Dlongb13

    Fingers crossed.