So I searched around & finally got the courage to try again...
Here's what I found
First, answer to the question: Kernel is part of AP image, not BL.
Here's what I finally did (and it worked)
1. Update Jesse's Kernel to R5 semi-stock via TWRP
2. Reflash 'disable encryption + dm-verity' patch again
3. Reflash Magisk
4. Reboot.. Success
Backup everything (Titanium, Pictures, etc) and move off the phone on a micro-SD
Reboot into TWRP, full TWRP backup again off the phone on a micro-SD
(Thankfully I didn't need either this time)
Now go to Odin, add the AP, CP & HOME_CSC (I lost my CSC after I did this one, so maybe skip it) and UNTICK AUTO REBOOT, VERY IMPORTANT
Reboot into Download Mode (Vol Down, Bixby, Power then Vol Up)
Flash, once done, don't reboot, instead Reboot Download Mode again... HOW?
Press Power + VOL DOWN, once the phone vibrates, Press Bixby as well and keep holding all three
The phone will go again to Download mode, now Press VOL UP
Then go to Odin, add TWRP into AP & Flash while Holding VOL UP, Bixby + Power
Keep holding until the phone boots into TWRP
Now flash the 'no-encryption + dm-verity patch' again from Internal Storage (it's not encrypted & TWRP can read it)
Then flash Jesse's Kernel again (just in case)
Then Magisk again
Now clear Dalvik + Cache & Reboot System, wait a few minutes (the boot will take ~5 mins)
Voila.. into System, upgraded & no data loss..
The only thing I lost is my CSC, which is not a big deal but I'll try to find how to get it back without wipe.
Sorry if I'm gonna ask a stupid question...
So far I have been running stock rom with TWRP, this Kernel Semi-stock Rel4) & Magisk 12.0, with a only a minor problem that makes me have to reboot every day..
I wanted to update to Semi stock R5 hoping this will fix the minor problem, but I also want to update the System image to corresponding AQF7..
I don't really want to try a custom rom, I'm happy with stock..
I did the stupid mistake of flashing everything through Odin from a custom ROM, long story short, I was lucky enough to have a TWRP backup and now I'm back where I started..
My questions are, if I update the Kernel to R5 (AQE7), then flash only AP, CP & HOME_CSC from Samsung Stock Firmware
1. Is force encryption part of the BL (Kernel) or AP (System)?
2. If it's part of BL, and I don't flash it and use Jesse's R5 instead, will the phone try to encrypt again at reboot (this is what f*&d me up last time)
3. If it's part of BL, do I have to re-apply the patch after flashing AP, CP & HOME_CSC
4. I understand I must re-flash Magisk and any of its modules again..
Last question, if it's part of AP, can I untick Reboot in Odin, then manually boot into recovery, flash the decrypt + dm-verity patch then boot?
Alternatively, if all I'm suggesting above is crap...
Is there a way to update to Samsung Stock (like the good old days of Note 5) without having to factory reset every time?
1. Flash updated Custom Kernel via TWRP
2. Flash AP, CP & HOME_CSC (no reboot)
3. Flash Decryption + dm-verity patch
4. Flash Magisk
Maybe some reboots needed in the middle...
Appreciate your help & sorry for the stupid question again..