How to make your Verizon Galaxy S 4 a Google Edition (Video)

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When Samsung announced there would be a Google Play edition Galaxy S 4 after the Google I/O conference in May, many existing owners of Galaxy S 4s  were upset, and rightly so. They purchased what they thought they had been waiting for: one of the best smartphones ever created.

It still is, don’t get me wrong, but when it was revealed that there would be a “pure Android” version available soon, many were disappointed. I’d be frustrated, too. I’ve long been an advocate of stock Android.

Fortunately, members of the development community have come to the rescue yet again!  Press play to learn how to make your very own phone a Verizon Galaxy S 4 Google edition in just a few minutes!

Prerequisites

  1. Rooting and flashing ROMs can cause damage to your device if done incorrectly. Do not continue unless you are willing to assume the risk.
  2. Download and install the Samsung Official USB Drivers.
  3. Download and extract ODIN v3.07.
  4. Download the VRUAMD2 Pre-release Kernel.
  5. Download the Stock VRUAMDK Kernel.
  6. Download and extract the Motochopper Root Exploit Tool.

Step 1: Unlock root-block

The stock ROM is root-blocked, but the pre-release VRUAMD2 kernel has a hole that we can exploit to gain root. To do so:

  1. Boot into ODIN mode by powering your phone completely off, then hold the volume-down and power button at the same time. When you phone boots up, release the buttons, read the warning, and if you accept it, press the volume-up button.
  2. Flash the VRUAMD2 Pre-release Kernel using ODIN v3.07 (in the PDA section).
  3. Boot back into Android and verify that everything is still working and the kernel was flashed successfully.

Step 2: Root your phone

  1. Enable Developer Options by going into Settings > More > About phone then tap “Build number” several times until a message shows you a message about developer mode.
  2. In Developer options, make sure “USB debugging” is checked and that “Verify apps via USB” is unchecked.
  3. In Security settings, make sure that “Unknown sources” is checked and that “Verify apps” is unchecked.
  4. Connect your phone to your computer and open “Run.bat” file from the location you have extracted Motochopper into.
  5. You will see a message on the phone asking you to accept the new computer connection, choose OK.
  6. After Motochopper runs and your phone reboots on its own, download the latest updates to SuperSU from the Play Store.
  7. Open SuperSU and let the binary update itself to the latest version, if you do not you will lose root in the next steps.

Step 3: Restore the Stock Kernel

Now that we’ve flashed the pre-release kernel, rooted, and updated the superuser files, we need to restore the stock kernel.

  1. Boot into ODIN mode.
  2. Flash the Stock VRUAMDK Kernel using ODIN v3.07 (in the PDA section only).
  3. Boot back into Android and verify that everything is still working and the kernel was flashed successfully.

Once your Galaxy S 4 boots back into Android, you should be rooted and on the stock original firmware that came on your device. Some people may be happy to stop with this step, but we want to get the full Google experience, and we’re only a few steps away from that.

Step 4: Flash a Custom Recovery Image

After you’re rooted and the stock kernel has been re-flashed, open your Play Store app and search for ROM Manager. Download and open the app, then follow the prompts to install the latest version of ClockworkMod Recovery — just make sure it’s for the Verizon version of the Galaxy S 4.

Step 5: Install the Google Play Edition ROM

  1. Download the Google Play Edition ROM that has been ported for the Verizion version of the Galaxy S 4 and copy to your phone.
  2. Open ROM Manager and backup your current ROM.
  3. Once the backup has completed and you are back in Android again, open ROM Manager again.
  4. Select Install ROM from SD Card, navigate to the directory where you placed your ROM, select it, and follow the prompts to flash it.
  5. The ROM will be flashed and the necessary cache’s will be cleared, after which your phone will reboot.
  6. This reboot will take quite some time, be patient. As soon as it boots up you’ll be experiencing Android the way Google intended it.

Known Bugs in the Verizon Galaxy S 4 Google Edition

There are a few known bugs with the version of the ROM that we showed you in this video, though none that you need to be worried about.

Specifically, the Signal bars don’t show up when you’re connected to LTE. Don’t worry, LTE should be active and working, and a quick speedtest should confirm as much, this is only an issue with the signal bars.

Also, it’s advised that you “don’t mess with the network settings”.

So, what are you waiting for? Go an enjoy a Google Play edition experience on your Verizon Galaxy S 4!

Sources: XDA-Developers (1, 2)

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.