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[HOW-TO][EXYNOS/SNAPDRAGON] Root S20 series and upgrade firmware

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Senior Member
Aug 11, 2008
After reading several things,
I have tried to change the file:
and change "SFR" to "XEF"

And after rebooting, I got:

So I have inserted my SIM card (not "SFR", but "Orange"), and I got:

I don't know if this method is right or not.

And how could I get rid of the last two "SFR"?

Is it working with this method?

Thanks for your help.

My phone is rooted and I I can factory reset it.


Feb 2, 2019
Thanks for this guide.
I have a problem unlocking the bootloader. Although I toggle the option "unlock bootloader" to on, the screen in download mode still shows "oem lock: on(1). When I reboot to normal, the option to unlock bottloader is still toggled on.
What can I do to make it work?
Thanks for any insight;-)


Feb 2, 2019
Thanks for helping. It's a SM-G988B, so according to instructions it should work.
When booting into download mode, after dismissung the "warning" screen, I don't see the "unlock bootloader?" screen (as described on stage 2 step 8), I immediately get this:


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Senior Member
Sep 27, 2007
Here & Now
Thanks for helping. It's a SM-G988B, so according to instructions it should work.
When booting into download mode, after dismissung the "warning" screen, I don't see the "unlock bootloader?" screen (as described on stage 2 step 8), I immediately get this:
Read the instructions again and carefully follow each and every step! You shouldn't have any "unlock bootloader" screen per say, it's rather an option which is only shown once if your bootloader is still locked AND the bootloader is unlockable - providing you correctly followed all previous steps.
Last edited:
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Feb 2, 2019
Now i’m having trouble on stage 5. I got my firmware file, which extracts to tar.md5 files. Can I somehow convert them to tar? And which program can I use to extract the boot.img.lz4 ? If possible, on a mac?


Feb 2, 2019
again, got it! I learned that I can just dldete the .md5 extension. I successfully patched the file in with magisk.
But now, Odin 3.14 hangs on "file analysis" when trying to flash the patched file. What can I do to make it work?


Senior Member
Sep 27, 2007
Here & Now
again, got it! I learned that I can just dldete the .md5 extension. I successfully patched the file in with magisk.
But now, Odin 3.14 hangs on "file analysis" when trying to flash the patched file. What can I do to make it work?
Most likely you didn't properly created the tar file. You shouldn't need to delete any .md5 extention. The original boot file extracted from the AP should be called "boot.img.lz4". This is the file that you need to extract and patch through Magisk. How you call it after Magisk patches it, doesn't matter. Follow the instructions on the first page to the letter and do not improvize!!! There is a reason for such deteiled instructions - to be followed!!!

However, instead of using 7-zip I recommend downloading MiXplorer (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mixplorer.silver), install it on your phone and create the tar file on the phone. MiXplorer gives you options to archive a file. One of them is tar format. Use that option to package the original "boot.img.lz4" as "XXXX.tar". Do not delete or change anything in the original name.
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Feb 2, 2019
Hey, thanks for the reply!
Regarding the md5 extension: I read that it's for odin to verify a checksum and can otherwise be deleted here:
And with that method, I can extract the mentioned files from the image, including the boot.img.lz4. I created a tar image from that file, it's about 21MB.
Magisk found the boot image in that image and patched it successfully to a 60MB file, so I think that file is fine. Of course, I might be wrong.

The difficulty here is that I'm on a mac and have to go to an internet cafe for using odin (jodin_casual for mac requires but does not accept any pit file), they closed for the weekend, so my next try will be in two weeks after my vacation.

I noticed afterwards that USB debugging was off, so that might have been a problem, and the pc I used had Samsung Kies or smart switch or both installed, which I can't do anything about but go to a different store.

Still, I will try your suggestion with mixplorer and report back in about two weeks. Thanks for the input, much appreciated.


Senior Member
Jun 24, 2014
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Thanks for posting this, it's the reason why I'm buying my s20fe 5G! I am coming from an S10, and the instructions are quite similar. The only thing is, i had to hold a combination of keys to boot into root. Will this just boot into root without doing this now?


Jul 28, 2021
Hello, Thanks for the guide!
I finally able to unlock my bootloader.
and i know this is a stupid question but can i flash another frimware model?
cuz i have the japanese model and there is only Docomo and Au Frimware.


Recognized Contributor
Nov 22, 2011
If the hardware is IDENTICAL & you'd have to use Patched Odin to Flash it.
I'm in Canada & have often Flashed the US Beta Firmware on my devices - because Canada doesn't get any Beta Firmware.
That's my experience - But you might want to do some further research before Flashing the Firmware from another country! ⚠

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  • 59
    Applicable Models:
    All Exynos models including but not limited to:
    SM-G980F or SM-G980F/DS (S20)
    SM-G981B or SM-G981B/DS (S20)
    SM-G985F or SM-G985F/DS (S20+)
    SM-G986B or SM-G986B/DS (S20+)
    SM-G988B or SM-G988B/DS (S20 Ultra)
    All BL-unlockable Snapdragon models including but not limited to:
    SM-G9810 (S20, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China mainland)
    SM-G9860 (S20+, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China mainland)
    SM-G9880 (S20 Ultra, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China mainland)
    SM-G981N (S20, Korea)
    SM-G986N (S20+, Korea)
    SM-G988N (S20 Ultra, Korea)

    Japanese model (SC-*) also use Snapdragon but I can't not confirm that its bootloader is unlockable.
    It is known that bootloader can NOT be unlocked on U.S. models (U/U1) .

    Frequently used key combinations of S20 series:
    FORCE REBOOT: Hold "Volume Down" and "Bixby/Power" button.
    DOWNLOAD MODE: With the phone off, hold "Volume Down" and "Volume Up" button, connect your phone to a computer via a cable. Release the buttons after you see the "Warning" screen and then press "Volume Up"
    RECOVERY MODE: With the phone off, hold "Volume Up" and "Bixby/Power" button.

    Some facts:
    1. S20 series uses dynamic partition which means there is only one "super" partition (instead of "system", "vendor", "product").
    3. S20 series uses A-only partition which means there is only one set of system partition.
    3. S20 series uses 2 stage init (2SI).
    4. KNOX will be tripped after you flash a custom image. As a result, Samsung Pay and Secure Folder will become permanently (even after restore to stock firmware) unusable and your warranty may be voided. However, many jurisdictions including the European Union has law mandating manufacturer to provide hardware warranty even if user modifies the software.
    5. Samsung devices are almost impossible to hard brick (render the device unusable without a hardware-level repair) as critical sections including the bootloader are well-protected. However, if you do things incorrectly, you may soft brick your phone, but that can usually be resolved by resetting to factory settings (wipe data and cache) or restoring to stock firmware (check out Stage 4).

    Tools needed:
    On your computer:
    1. Odin 3.14.4 or newer
    2. Samsung Android USB driver
    3. SamFirm or other tools/websites to download official firmwares
    4. Android Verified Boot Metadata Image with verification disabled (vbmeta_disabled.tar)
    On your device:
    1. Magisk Manager

    Stage 1: Know your model and carrier code (CSC)
    1. Open "Settings"
    2. Go to "About phone" -> "Software information"
    3. Pay attention to "Service provider SW ver."
    4. Starting with "SM-", for example "SM-G9810", that's the model of your phone.
    5. Immediately after that, there are two 3-letter code, for example "OZL_CHC". The second 3-letter code "CHC" is your CSC.
    6. Remember your model and CSC.

    Stage 2: Unlock the bootloader
    WARNING: ALL data on your device, including apps, settings and files in internal storage, will be lost. You do not need to repeat this if you didn't re-lock your bootloader.
    1. Open "Settings"
    2. Turn on "Developer mode" by going to "About phone" -> "Software information" and pressing "Build number" for several times.
    3. Go to main menu of "Settings" and at the bottom you will find "Developer options"
    4. Go to "Developer options". You will find a toggle "OEM unlocking". Turn it on.
    5. Skip to step 8 if your device reboots to "Unlock bootloader?" screen. Make sure the toggle is on and then turn off your phone.
    6. With the phone off, hold "Volume Down" and "Volume Up" button, connect your phone to a computer via a cable. (don't use charging only cables)
    7. Release the buttons after you see the "Warning" screen. Then, hold the "Volume Up" button.
    8. You will see "Unlock bootloader?" screen. Proceed and unlock your bootloader by pressing "Volume Up" button.
    9. Your device will be reset to factory settings. Proceed with the Setup Wizard. Only connect to network via Wi-Fi or cellular and skip everything else. (to save time as data will be cleared again later.)
    10. Repeat step 1-4 to validate that "OEM Unlocking" is on. If it is not, turn it on.
    11. Repeat step 6.
    12. Release the buttons after you see the "Warning" screen. This time, press (not hold) the "Volume Up" button.
    13. You will see "Downloading" screen. On the top left, there are some important info.
    14. Pay attention to "OEM LOCK" and "REACTIVATION LOCK". If both of them are "OFF", you have unlocked the bootloader.

    Stage 3: Disable Android Verified Boot
    1. Reboot to DOWNLOAD mode. If you are already in the download mode, skip to step 2.
    2. Download Odin 3.14.4 or newer and make sure Samsung USB drivers are installed.
    3. Open Odin and put the vbmeta_disabled.tar into USERDATA slot and click "Start"
    4. Your device will reboot but it will not boot into system as vbmeta signature has changed.
    5. Your device will reboot into RECOVERY mode automatically and prompt "You have to reset your device to factory settings". Use "Volume Up" or "Volume Down" button to move and "Power/Bixby" button to select. Confirm and reset the device to factory settings.
    6. This is the last time the data on the device has to be cleared. Afterwards, if you don't re-lock bootloader or re-enable the Android Verified Boot, you will not lose your data. Be aware, a stock firmware package contains a Android Verified Boot Metadata Image (vbmeta.img) with verifications enabled. You will need to flash the vbmeta_disable image (put into USERDATA slot) along with the stock firmware (use BL, AP, CP, CSC slots) to make sure AVB is not re-enabled and the data is preserved.
    View attachment 4990053

    With bootloader unlocked and AVB disabled, it is now possible to boot modified images on the device.

    If a recovery is available and you don't want to go through the process of downloading official firmware, go to #2.

    You can also download a KERNEL TAR archive of your version here:
    Exynos: https://github.com/jesec/proprietary_vendor_samsung_xyzs/releases
    Snapdragon: https://github.com/jesec/proprietary_vendor_samsung_xyzq/releases
    and then skip to Step 6.

    Stage 4: Obtain the official firmware and upgrade
    1. Open SamFirm
    2. Type in your model and your region (CSC) and click "Check Update"
    3. "Download" and you will get a zip file.
    View attachment 4990061
    4. Extract it and you will get 5 files (AP, BL, CP, CSC and HOME_CSC). All files are in tar format and can be opened by 7-Zip, WinRAR or other software.
    5. Check the version code, for example (G9810ZCU1ATD1). The last 4 letters (ATD1) indicates the version of the firmware. If the version is the same as your current firmware, skip to Stage 5.
    Your data will be preserved if you do it right but it is good to have a backup.
    6. Open Odin on your computer and reboot your device to DOWNLOAD mode.
    7. Put AP, BL, CP files in their Odin slots. It takes time to verify the firmware so be patient.
    8. Put HOME_CSC file in CSC slot. Be careful here. Unlike AP, BL, CP slots, you should NOT use CSC file for CSC slot. Instead, you should use HOME_CSC file. CSC file contains partition table (PIT) which will erase all your data.
    9. Put vbmeta_disabled file in USERDATA slot so AVB remains disabled and your data preserved.
    10. Click "Start" and wait for it to finish. Allow the device to boot into system to complete the upgrade process. Do NOT interrupt/disconnect phones/hold button. It needs to complete the process without interruption or strange BUGs may appear.
    View attachment 4990063

    Stage 5: Extract boot (kernel) image from firmware
    If you are having trouble creating tar file, you can skip to Stage 6. (NOT RECOMMENDED as AP is basically full system image. It is huge (takes long time to flash/process) and Magisk may misbehave.)
    1. Extract boot.img.lz4 from the AP file.
    2. Use 7-Zip to create a tar archive which contains boot.img.lz4 only. (or "tar cvf boot.tar boot.img.lz4")
    View attachment 4990065View attachment 4990067View attachment 4990069View attachment 4990071

    Stage 6: Patch the boot (Kernel) image via Magisk
    1. Transfer the tar archive (or the AP file if you skipped stage 5) to your phone.
    2. Open Magisk Manager.
    3. Click top-right "Install" button
    4. Make sure "Recovery Mode" is off in Options.
    5. Click "Next" and select "Select and Patch a File" in Method.
    6. Select the file you transferred to your phone in step 1.
    7. Click "Next" and "LET'S GO".
    8. Transfer the patched file (in Download/magisk_patched.tar) to your computer
    9. Reboot the device to DOWNLOAD mode.
    10. Open Odin, put patched file to AP slot and then click "Start".
    11. After reboot, Magisk is installed and you will have the root access.

    HOW TO upgrade the firmware
    Repeat stage 4-6.

    XDA:DevDB Information
    Root S20 series and upgrade firmware, Tool/Utility for the Samsung Galaxy S20


    Version Information
    Status: Stable

    Created 2020-04-08
    Last Updated 2020-04-08
    Other Methods:

    You still need to unlock bootloader and disable AVB. (check Stage 2-3)

    Recovery Magisk installation:
    1. Open Odin on your computer.
    2. Reboot your device to DOWNLOAD mode.
    3. Put the recovery TAR flashable into AP slot.
    4. Click start.
    5. Use Volume Up + Power to reboot into recovery mode.
    6. Install Magisk via recovery.
    My recovery usually includes Magisk in "Select from root" -> ".builtin" folder. Or you can sideload the ZIP flashable of your choice via adb or https://flash.jesec.io/.

    Flash pre-patched boot (Kernel) image:
    Basically others have done stage 4-6 for you. Be aware that it is always safer to DIY.
    You are welcomed to share your patched image to the community by replying to this thread.
    Naming convention: model + firmware version (last four letters of build number) + magisk version .tar
    1. Make sure that the model and firmware version of the pre-patched image is the exact SAME as yours.
    2. Open Odin on your computer.
    3. Reboot your device to DOWNLOAD mode.
    4. Put pre-patched image into AP slot.
    5. "Start"

    Some Interesting Things:

    Change your CSC (carrier code):
    You have to root your device. There might be some secret codes to trigger the menu without root, though.
    Note that you can only change it to carrier configurations already included in your firmware.
    WARNING: Your device will be reset to factory settings.

    In a local terminal, type:
    am start -n com.samsung.android.cidmanager/.preconfig.PreconfigActivity

    The situation in US:
    As long as the model is shared with Verizon and ATT, it is highly unlikely that it will be BL unlockable. Verizon and ATT have strong desire to keep the phone BL locked. Samsung wants unlockable by default but they don't argue with Verizon/ATT on this. T mobile and Sprint are OK with unlock but they don't have strong desire to make it unlockable.

    Anyways, for Snapdragon users, now the Lineage Recovery is available. You can now root your device without downloading the full firmware.

    I will also take a look into Exynos devices if there are enough interest. (however i can only do blind development)

    I am also working on TWRP Android 10 branch. It is still early stage, though.
    Anyone tried on Android 11?
    Working here (s20+ exynos), stock android 11, plus twrp and edxposed (y)
    AP patched with latest magisk canary, which will also patch the vbmeta (to disable Android Verified Boot).

    Screenshot_20201206-134109[1].jpg Screenshot_20201206-134117[1].jpg Screenshot_20201206-134126[1].jpg Screenshot_20201206-134134_EdXposed_Manager[1].jpg