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Verizon is Not Releasing a Software Update to Unlock the Galaxy S3 Bootloader

We just heard back from Verizon, and they said that there will not be an update to unlock the bootloader on the Samsung Galaxy S3. The confusion with customer service reps who were telling customers that there was an update on the way, has to do with a software update that will unlock GSM roaming, making the device globally ready. This was one of the scenarios we discussed 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. It’s clear now that your option, should a fully unlockable bootloader be a must, is the dev edition which now has a landing page.

Our focus returns to the developer community and the bootloader bounty which is up to $2315.

  • Gingerhead

    Verizon Wireless has a facebook page and wall. Regular comments there can advise potential customers of the Verizon actions.
    The Verizon version of the phone has been disabled.
    The Verison model is less capable than the phone purchased from other carriers.
    The Verison model is a downgraded version of Samsung is selling on other carriers.
    Version has made features unavailable on the phone compared to other carriers.
    Customers should be advised by Verizon that the phone they offer is defective compared to other carrier offerings.
    If there is enough calling them out on this it may have some effect.

  • TechGuy21

    again only Us nerds care about bootloaders.
    same for the ifans most of them dont give a flying ass about jailbreak,
    if you tell them to jailbreak their phone most answers will be “i dont wanna break my phone”

    so yeah average android users dont really give a crap. they will buy the phone no matter what.

  • Dude, that’s exactly what Verizon WANTS you to do. Verizon and several other US carriers have already stated they would like to move past the big subsidy model they now employ. They don’t think Unlimited Data will destroy their network, they want you to buy your own phone so they don’t have to subsidize it. They don’t care about the customer experience on an unlocked bootloader device, but they know you do and will buy the developer edition and they won’t have to subsidize it. The best part? They know since the phone you just bought with no contract for $600 can only be used on their network, thus you have effectively locked yourself into a new contract with Verizon’s network and they didn’t have to pay a dime on your new phone.

    • brando56894

      But there’s one hole in your theory: why lock down all other phones that don’t have a “Developer Edition”? If I bought my Rezound at full price it doesn’t magically make it S-Off.

      If that’s truly what they want, then why don’t they just come out and say it instead of giving us the run around with double-speak? If they just came out and said “Hey if you buy your phone at full price we’ll unlock the bootloader for you and won’t install any bloatware!” I’m sure they would get more people that actually care about modding to buy a phone at full price instead of threatening to leave and spreading bad stuff about them to other people. Word of month is one of the best marketing tools. I can’t tell you how many of my friends asked me all the time “What Android phone should I get?”

  • pewpew

    folks, we only have 14 days return policy..Lets go!

  • sporttster

    Think there needs to be a bounty to unlock the BL on the Razr as well. It’s a great device with a ton of potential.

  • In other news: DUUUUHHHHHHHH

  • Salam Zebian

    I’m surprised people actually bought that, why would they unlock the boot loader and sell the `developer` edition for $600

    • brando56894

      Verizon isn’t selling it, Samsung is.

  • iNfAMOUS70702

    its stuff like this that drove me to ditch big red and go back to at&t…i get good signal and their LTE network so i aint missing VZWs coverage and i really dont miss all the BS they feed everyone…GSM is the only way to go IMO

  • MrEnglish

    Here’s a tip VZN, that whole “best cellular” service angle is only going to go so far before it’s outweighed by your BS. (yea I know, they’re shivering in their shoes)

    • brando56894

      That’s really the only thing they have going for them. My girlfriend just got the SGS3 on AT&T and just for the hell of it I did a speed test to compare with my Rezound using the same physical location (inside a TGI Friday’s) and the same server. Her ping time was 81ms while mine was 80ms; her speeds were 6Mbps up and .5 Mbps down where mine 20 Mbps up and 3 Mbps down!

  • MrEnglish

    This just in: Verizon says “FU” to customers, follows by saying “Meh, who need ’em?”. I’d have more respect for them if they’d come out and say hey folks, we’re totally full of sh** and all we care about is draining every penny we can from your tech addicted asses. Now pay up and go away with all your petty consumer wants.

  • Michael Quinlan

    I understand developers wanting to take on the challenge of the locked bootloader, but wouldn’t their effort be better spent working on devices from developer-friendly manufacturers and carriers? Buying locked devices from Verizon, only to turn to developers to have the device turned into what it should have been all along, and voiding the warranty in the process, only encourages Verizon to continue with their current practices. If developers publicly announce no support for such devices, some people would think twice before buying them, knowing there will be no root or custom ROMs.

    • k_nivesout

      Yes! This is basically the gist of what supercurio said, and I think he hit the nail right on the head. Refer to his tweets (@supercurio) regarding the Verizon SIII to see what I’m talking about.

  • hackthis02

    I wonder what the odds are that XDA will reverser engineer the developer edition and make the Verizon version unlockable?

  • >> The confusion with customer service reps who were telling customers that there was an update on the way, has to do with a software update that will unlock GSM roaming

    Exactly one of the two possible outcome I predicted in the original post. But it’s not difficult to predict — this kind of thing just won’t happen in Verizon.

  • They do not want to unlock the device to prevent people with unlimited data from free tethering.

    • You don’t have to unlock the device to perform free wifi tethering. You just need root access, which is already possible with this model.
      Heck, I can do it with now without even rooting the device, thanks to a free app on the Google Play store called FoxFi!

  • Looks like CM has a workaround for it, so it may not matter much… https://plus.google.com/117962666888533781522/posts/amkBtU8G9cr

  • Bruce Wayne

    0% of reps are trained on bootloaders, call any verizon and try to talk to them about a bootloader and there will definitely be confusion. On another note so mad my brothers have sprint and they keep rubbing thier unlocked GS3s in my face!

  • Ubi2447

    Just when I thought they might actually be starting to get their head on straight with this… :/

  • matt

    obviously…..It was funny to see this rumor unfolding into the tech blogs

    • matt

      same thing happens in financial markets

  • Anthony_Armando

    where is timmy from the thread last night who was swearing up and down that the CSRs had a clue? 🙂

    • Right here

      • Anthony_Armando

        well hello there. ^_^

  • Guest__Comment

    But I saw the actual email. And chat. And no one can fake those. Droid-Life even published them as if they were certain they were “real”.

    • Trevor

      They probably were real. It’s the CSRs that have no clue what’s going on; they’re the problem.

  • Mchl496

    I am going to buy the S3 at full retail and i was curious why would i need the developer edition if verizon was unlocking the bootloader.

  • frankandsimple

    this is becoming a circus.

  • Zachary F

    Duh, when did we start taking the word of CSR’s as the truth?

  • Scblack

    F*** Verizon

  • Yeah, that sounds more like it. {{-_-}}

  • Rob

    I am more annoyed that Samsung is charging $50 less than Verizon for this phone (I paid off contract price). I wonder how I should bitch to Verizon about this? What’s the return policy? 14 days? I wonder if I call in and bitch and tell them I want them to send me a shipping tag so I can return this phone and buy it from Samsung if they will just drop my price… or add a credit to my next bill.

  • HueThree

    If you have this phone and like roms, rooting and getting os updates yourself when the carrier wont give them to you, you might as well return or sell it now. I went through this BS on the Bionic/Razr…I am so glad to be away from CDMA. They have been trying to unencrypt the Droid X bootloader for years.They have been petitioning for years.They have had bounties on devices for years….it’s not happening, most of these devices with encrypted bootloaders have military grade encryption so to speak…very very hard to crack.

    • The bionic actually got (and still gets) timely updates oddly enough.

  • john john

    I have considered to get this phone but will probably NOT for more reasons then one.. I don’t like Samsung phones…But there are some things to consider and think about for a moment when you feel mislead by a VZW rep

    1. If you do look at the customer agreement the part in which en-tales, “This agreement and the documents it incorporates form the entire
    agreement between us. You can’t rely on any other documents, or on
    what’s said by any sales or customer service representatives, and you
    have no other rights regarding Service or this agreement” which will let you understand that you cant hold VZW responsible based on what you hear from reps. I can admit there are some reps that I even question a lot of them..some either don’t care or some don’t take the time to learn.

    2. There hasn’t been any talk with an update that will unlock the GSM capabilities with VZW. All samsung phones I have seen and dealt with have not been global capable…IF 4g devices are different…I am still waiting for the “VZW version of the nexus” to be global capable…as of now, its only possible with the GSM Google version of the Nexus..Maybe Google will release a Google version of the GS3???

    • Habra

      I sure hope they can do this with the GNex.

  • nightscout13

    Just a thought: Verify facts before posting articles based on Verizon “experts”. These rumor articles can ruin a reputation of a website like this. Focus on FACTS ONLY.

  • nightscout13

    Well, whoever buys that developers edition GS3, can port the bootloader over to the standard GS3, and collect the bounty. I’d do it if i had the money to purchase the Dev’s GS3

    • Wow, who knew it would be easy. You are our savior.

    • moppen

      The VZW GSIII isn’t looking for ‘A’ GSIII bootloader, the VZW GSIII is looking for THE signed bootloader that shipped with the phone on boot. It sounds too easy because that would be too easy, it wouldn’t work that way.

      • nightscout13

        The “developer” edition will have the exact same hardware, the bootloader can be used from it.

        • Jason Lynch

          Not necessarily. It may have been signed with a different key, which would make it as useless as the ones on the other carriers.

          My fingers are crossed hoping that it *will* be that easy though. It pisses me off that VZW locked this phone down like this.

  • Keii Graham

    I think it’s pretty humorous now that the Unlocked, Bloatware free (mostly) Samsung version is cheaper than the Locked Down, Bloatware filled Verizon version.
    Paying a premium for crappiness? Who do they think they are, Apple?

  • Stewie

    Adn DL is just learning this now? Suckers …..

  • Bionic

    As if anyone TRULY believed them.

  • edwards311

    That’s a bunch of crap!!!! When I sent the email to Samsung is SPECIFICALLY said I wanted the bootloader unlocked so I could install custom ROM’S and Kernels. How can these idiots mistake that for unlocking global roaming!!!! WTF

  • Well, that explains why I suddenly left like I had been kicked in the nuts.

  • Turd_Ferguson

    I think there is alot of people out there eating crow right now.

  • Verizon sure knows how to piss off there costumers.

    Just under 2 years and It’s goodbye big red for me.

  • Verizon reps consist of some of the most idiotic people I’ve ever met.

  • Turn this into a PUBLIC NIGHTMARE for Samsung and Verizon, File FCC Complaints about them blocking the Open Device provisions of their block C auction win. You own the spectrum, Verizon just gets licensed to use it from you!

    • Droidzilla

      Nothing’s going to happen. People have been barking up that tree since the Droid X.

      • HueThree

        I agree. Getting a bootloader unencrypted is an uphill battle. You can use the FCC card to threaten Verizon into giving you a new device though sometimes. I did it when my Bionic was constantly dropping data connection on a service I was paying for. You need to contact a higher up at Verizon about this though.

  • Droidzilla

    The developers may find a workaround, but you’re dreaming if you think they’ll decrypt the bootloader signature. It’s never been done. Maybe if we recruit some supercomputer operators at NSA, but not the (albeit skilled) XDA devs.

    • Butters619

      I always thought it was funny how hard people worked to decrypt the Razr’s bootloader, as if Moto would be silly enough to use the same key on every phone.

      • HueThree

        Yea and the encryption is like 128 bit or even higher at this point I believe. It would take them years to decrypt that.

        • trophynuts

          agreed. I don’t see it happening.

        • MicroNix

          Well at least at that time it would extend the life for those going off contract with it 🙂 New life after 2 would be cool!

    • sporttster

      Need to find a workaround that bypasses it altogether then. There’s more than one way to skin this cat. If it’s a dead chip, bypass the thing and take another route!

  • Havoc70

    You mean a Verizon Customer support agent was incorrect in their knowledge, you must be mistaken Verizon reps are always right……/S

  • David


  • bikerbill

    I bought it to keep it stock I have my nexus I can play with when I want . So I don’t care . I knew it would be locked down tighter than a 14yr old romni gypsy. Goidbthingnut has the same SIM card as my nexus so I can flip between them

  • Knlegend1

    Dear Verizon I only want your reliable service! That is all.

  • This suckssssssssss.

  • ddevito

    Verizon gets a gas face

  • Wow, this is really a surprise…

  • SK

    like it was going to happen

  • Jakemerrell

    Lets just hope that they can find a permanent way to unlock the bootloader using the system dump from the developer edition.

  • Sakina Solomon

    Is this shocking?……….*wait for it*……..NO! *exits*

  • JustAnAngryJOE

    This also yet again proves just how incompetent VZW employees have become. Rather that take to the time to learn what the hell they are talking about, its been made ok for them by the Higher Ups to be stupid and misleading. Get ready folks lol eventually VZW customer service will be in the same douche category as some of AT&T customer service. Damn shame that back in the day they were somewhat held to a higher standard, now its been made ok for them to be …well no other way of saying this retarded. Oh well on to the nxt episode.

  • asfdasd223432

    No S3 for me until there is unlock tool out there.

  • Npompei

    Let me show you my shocked face :O

    • Doan

      Let me show you how shocked I am 😐

  • Brian

    Well anyone that actually thought VZW would unlock this phone, is crazy. They’d lock any/ever phone if it was up to them.

  • Synaptic13

    Durrrr! But seriously did we think they would!?!? However being that there are several thousand ppl that bought it thinking it would be unlocked there should be a “tool” available like HTC to

  • Tim Swann

    Yet another reason why I will only buy Nexus devices going forward…even if I have to buy the device at full retail-I will only buy a Nexus (so long as it has CDMA radios)

    • Mchl496

      You could just get the developer edition.

      • brando56894

        But that doesn’t guarantee timely updates.

        • thajack

          Neither does having a Nexus, apparently… at least not a Nexus that requires Verizon to write their own software for.

          • michael arazan

            Anyone’s guess on how long verizon will take to update the nexus to 4.1? I want to flash to 4.1 but i’ve been reading a lot of apps won’t work with 4.1 and i have had only 4 apps in my downloaded ones that have been updated for JB. Plus I don’t want to lose flash video, because of hulu and tv stations and other websites I can frequent.

  • jeesung

    Unlocked bootloaders will take down their network!! Run away!!!!

  • Pardon my ignorance, but is it still possible to see an unlock on the Non-Dev version? It just means it’s more unlikely?

    • JustAnAngryJOE

      Well there was an article i think on XDA where TeamEpic is potentially working on a bypass method like what was used on the Razr that will get past the bootloader , not sure though.

      • Droidzilla

        I’m sure they’ll get a workaround, but I wouldn’t hold out for full custom kernels or anything.

  • netPIMP

    yup… and they’ll still sell a crap-ton of `em to a lot of people who either don’t care or don’t know better… for all our whining, nothing will change… yup, I got a case of the Mondays…

    • Fort4004

      Didn’t you get the memo?

      • ArrowCool

        He was busy with TPS reports.

        • Chris H.

          I hope he put covers on them.

          • MicroNix

            He’s still pissed after having been asked to come in Saturday for a little “catch up”

  • Joe

    So, one of their excuses for not unlocking it in the first place is to provide better service, yet, their customer service reps have no clue what the f they’re talking about.

    • My thoughts exactly. How do you mistake “bootloader” with “GSM roaming”?

      • JoshGroff

        They can both be unlocked, I’m surprised Verizon even knows what unlocked means.

    • jaxxmjd

      Don’t forget, we’re paying additional upgrade fees now to cover the expert training that the Verizon employees receive!

    • Justin

      Exactly. VZW customer support is the last place us tinkerers turn to for help. Partly because they don’t know what they’re talking about, and partly because I don’t want VZW knowing that I’m hacking on my phone.

      • JoshGroff

        I don’t use their insurance so it doesn’t matter what they do and do not know. Plus if need be, you could always return to stock for them to troubleshoot it.

        • thajack

          For an insurance claim, I don’t believe it matters if you are using custom firmware.

          • JoshGroff

            Yep, probably not, not quite sure why I said insurance.

          • thajack

            If it’s warranty, and you take in to store, they probably wouldn’t be too thrilled with your custom ROM. But, like I said, I don’t think insurance cares.

            If you’re worried that insurance might care, just stick the phone in the microwave for two seconds before you send it in.

            Now you’re filing a claim because it doesn’t work at all.

          • JoshGroff

            I don’t have insurance because it’s overpriced for lower-mid range phones. No point in insuring a Thunderbolt or Bionic for $x/month when you can buy one off eBay for less than the additional $99 insurance claim. Now a brand new mid-top tier device, I would definitely insure.

    • rockstar323

      They also use the excuse that you can flash “unauthorized software” to a device with an unlocked bootloader and it could “negatively impact” their network. If that’s the case why allow an unlocked GS3 on the network, or the Nexus for that matter? They just need to tell the truth: “We don’t want you removing bloatware that companies pay us good money to cripple your phone with.”

      • thajack

        One of the rules with the FCC and the spectrum, I believe, is that they have to allow any compatible phone.

      • MicroNix

        That’s exactly it. Though I don’t know ANYONE that uses the VZW crapware that comes on any phone. I mean really. Can’t they just preload it for the one customer that uses it and let the rest of us have a breathe of fresh air?

  • deadsix

    Scumbag Verizon Wireless strikes back.

  • Hypebeastin’ like a champ

  • John

    You’re an idiot if you actually thought they would 😉

    • Doan

      Easy for you to say, after the fact.

      • John

        Go gander in the original post from yesterday. You’ll see me saying the exact same thing Timmy.

        • Doan

          The difference is, at that time, you didn’t know it as fact, therefore you were talking out of your ass. Timmy.

          • John

            Relax spaz. I made it pretty clear. What idiot would actually think VZW would do that? Obviously, you were duped into believing that. Sorry man. It does happen.

          • Doan

            I don’t buy into rumors; I buy into reliable sources.

            It does irritate me when people look back on hindsight to insult people without provocation, acting like you had the facts all along. Spaz.

          • John

            Ah, so you believed it all along. Sorry man.

          • Doan

            Your immaturity is showing.

          • John

            Prob. It’s just pointless bickering that’s going to go nowhere. Enjoy the rest of our day.

          • Doan

            On a positive note, if you’re following this article, you may be interested in:

            Not the crack we’re hoping for, but may be the best we get.

          • Let’s try not to confuse “idiot” with “desperately holding onto hope against all odds”.

        • Oh hey.

          • John

            Aw, I see what you did there. lol

          • 🙂

      • MichaelWolfe

        NERD FIGHT!!!!!!!

        • Doan

          You missed it; we kissed and made up.

          With tongue.

          • MichaelWolfe

            Hahahahaha! I spit my water all over my monitors at work when I read that reply.

          • John


  • Verizon can go straight to hell.

  • Tweekex

    Welp, back to hugging my GNex.

  • SirSoloDolo

    I never understood why they would anyways. Not what VZW does and we all know this