Samsung Galaxy A41 - no XDA-Forum, no Community, no Custom ROMs

Zirila

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2015
63
24
38
What's the deal with the Samsung Galaxy A41?

For reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_A41
https://www.samsung.com/A41

👉 There is no XDA-Forum for this smartphone
👉 There also seems to be no community for this phone.
👉 Searching the internet for A41 compatible Custom ROMs ends in less than nothingness even in the darkest corners.

What's going on? The phone is on the market since March 2020. The phone is pretty good in specs (middle-class).
AND it is the ONLY phone under 200 bucks today that is NOT larger than 150mm in length and therefor usable in pockets.

I don't get it why it doesn't get the same attention as the other competitors in the same price class.

Can anybody enlighten me what's happening?
Please XDA mods and admins, if this is just a mistake, please open a samsung forum for the A41!
 
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avalanche1609

Member
Sep 20, 2016
6
1
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yepp - I have such an 'outbreak of hell' product - still struggling to root this beast. 90% of the references in the i-net are fake/copied from other Axx or just bla-bla.
Up to now odin (different versions) seems only to be able to flash Samsung CRAPROM (needed it several times after ended bricked)
- magisk patched boot img not working/ending up in boot-loop,
- magisk patching AP dies before finishing (img is 3.5GB instead 4GB)

Samsung - not a success story
 

Zirila

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2015
63
24
38
Up to now odin (different versions) seems only to be able to flash Samsung CRAPROM (needed it several times after ended bricked)
- magisk patched boot img not working/ending up in boot-loop,
- magisk patching AP dies before finishing (img is 3.5GB instead 4GB)

Samsung - not a success story
omg.. I was hoping to be able to root the phone at least with magisk.. but what you say doesn't sound well. I saw all those copy-paste tutorials for A41 on the internet too.. thought at least something gotta work.
I still don't get it. this should be a popular phone by its smaller size, low price and good super amoled display.
unbelievable there is no community, roots, custom roms, or at least discussion threads.

friends are getting a few A41 phones.. now that'll be a funny mess to root and handle. :/

@avalanche1609 just curious, you said you let magisk patch AP and it dies before finishing (3.5gb/4gb).. why did you let it patch the 4gb AP file? isn't the way to root the phone with magisk like:
-> get the same original firmware that is currently installed on the phone and extract the boot.img.tar from it.
-> copy that to you phone, let magisk patch the boot.img.tar (about 20mb in size)
-> copy patched_boot.img.tar to you pc
-> flash patched_boot.img.tar from pc with odin back to your phone in download mode (using AP(!) not BL in odin) and that file is about 20mb, not more!
shouldn't that be it?
why did you let magisk patch a 4GB AP?
also: which odin3 version did you use? 99% floating around are fake and malicious, all these 3.14.4 verisons are fake.
 
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lebigmac

Senior Member
Jan 31, 2017
385
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If you can unlock the bootloader you're already half way there. Then boot into a TWRP using fastboot boot recovery.img and flash Magisk from there. You might also have to disable DM verity somehow.
Good luck
 

Zirila

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2015
63
24
38
If you can unlock the bootloader you're already half way there. Then boot into a TWRP using fastboot boot recovery.img and flash Magisk from there. You might also have to disable DM verity somehow.
Good luck
unlocking the bootloader should be no problem as far as I heard. but I also heard there is no TWRP version that actually really supports the device (and encryption afterwards). installing twrp with fastboot could be possible, also booting TWRP with fastboot could be possible, but for what? just for installing magisk that way? Isn't the other way easier? -> installing magisk manager, patch the boot image, and flash it back? especially when there is no fitting TWRP version anyway?
 

avalanche1609

Member
Sep 20, 2016
6
1
3
unlocking the bootloader should be no problem as far as I heard. but I also heard there is no TWRP version that actually really supports the device (and encryption afterwards). installing twrp with fastboot could be possible, also booting TWRP with fastboot could be possible, but for what? just for installing magisk that way? Isn't the other way easier? -> installing magisk manager, patch the boot image, and flash it back? especially when there is no fitting TWRP version anyway?

The samsung brick is rooted now - one successful act of self defense !

- the newest magisk from github (21410) is able to do the job of patching.
(feeding magisk only with an extracted boot.img doesn't work! six different odin versions (<3.14.4) are not able to flash the created boot-image tar file)
- Magisk definitely needs the complete extracted 4GB AP file from the stock firmware - and the canary/github version of magisk is able to patch it (without crashing) and created 4GB patch.tar-file which odin accepts.


fastboot isn't an option - the device is detected but nothing else works/is implemented by samsung

If there is a suitable TWRP around - let me know.
 

Zirila

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2015
63
24
38
The samsung brick is rooted now - one successful act of self defense !
- the newest magisk from github (21410) is able to do the job of patching.
(feeding magisk only with an extracted boot.img doesn't work! six different odin versions (<3.14.4) are not able to flash the created boot-image tar file)
- Magisk definitely needs the complete extracted 4GB AP file from the stock firmware - and the canary/github version of magisk is able to patch it (without crashing) and created 4GB patch.tar-file which odin accepts.


fastboot isn't an option - the device is detected but nothing else works/is implemented by samsung

If there is a suitable TWRP around - let me know.
That's great news! So there actually is a way to get root on A41 and I'm glad it worked out fine for you so far.
I'm eager looking forward to root one of them for myself, I guess in a few days I'll have the chance to do so (I'll report then).
I'll take your advice and look for the latest magisk build from github.
It still looks very strange to me that magisk requires more than the boot image to patch. maybe it has something to do with dynamic partitions/ram disk the phone might use or the like. idk. maybe it then needs these files also. or probably the firmware is a little bit different from the one installed on the phone. I'm just guessing, not knowing. At least it works and when it takes to patch a 4gb file, well, then let it take that much.

That's the point where it'd be fine to have a XDA A41 forum with community and already people with experience, since it's a phone almost 1 year old now..

regarding the suppported TWRP version.. idk.. I would just trial and error things out. maybe it works with the latest version already. But better check it out before you plan to use the phone regularly..

I also don't know much about the fastboot options, I thought it works like usual as long as the bootloader is unlocked.. but flashing TWRP with odin or the twrp app itself could work too.

oh and the original question from the opening thread still remains open:
where is the community? where are the custom roms? :)
 
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korpenkraxar

Senior Member
Jun 25, 2009
84
9
28
Hi all!

I have one of these since a couple of days and I have to say it is a really nice phone with a really bad issue: the jpg compression is super aggressive and photos that should look great given the lens and sensor look bland and smudgy. As far as I understand, there is no camera api2 exposed at all by default. All camera apps that I have tried produce worse images and gcam does not work (I have tried about 20 different ones, for Mediatek and otherwise). If Samsung could just let me bump up JPEG quality to 95% I would be completely satisfied with this phone, but I guess that would never happen.

I therefore wonder, is there any chance that your success rooting the phone could lead to bumping up the JPEG quality of the stock camera app, eventually expose camera api2 or somehow allow us to install a version of gcam down the line?

Cheers!
 
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Zirila

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2015
63
24
38
I bought a new Galaxy A41 for 180€ and I'm just setting it up.
I want to share my thoughts so far about:
the hardware, the software, things like rooting.

The Installation and Software:
The phone starts and already wants to trick you into signing data collection agreements (Terms of Service (not optional), marketing, analytics, 3rd party shares (3 optional)).
If you select by common sense and only check ToS you'll get fooled when you check the last radio button which says "I've read all of the above and agree (..)" which enabled all optional radio buttons again right before you click next. What a dirty play.
Also it is not possible to skip the WiFi selection screen ("skip" is greyed out) making it impossible to setup the phone without internet access. This has nothing to do with FRP, this is before anything google related is setup. Samsung clearly states it requires internet to setup the phone and install necessary provider software. Once it gets internet it gets activated and the "skip" option becomes clickable after the next factory reset. This practice makes me really angry. It's obviously the price you pay when you buy a low- to mid-range class phone - you'll pay the rest with your personal data.
I setup the phone without creating google and samsung accounts (I never got one of these anyways) and got to the home screen. If you havent enabled WiFi yet, there aren't many apps at all pre-installed, just a few useful and a few bloatware apps (like Facebook, MS Office, etc).
If you give it WiFi however, it kinda explodes with leeching, loading and updating Apps you never asked for. Only some of these can be "disabled" and only some of them can be "uninstalled" the normal way. Some of the unwanted you can't uninstall nor disable. (This is where you wish you had root access)
The phone had Security Patch Level installed from August 2020. Making OTA firmware updates 3x (about 1-3gb) will get you to Sec.Patch Level November 2020 which is the latest available OTA (we have February 2021 now). That's not a good sign IMO.. so it's already a few month behind the patch cycle..
So, software wise there aren't many useful apps for me installed, really just the utter basics and much more 3rd party bloatware and Samsung nonsense apps. It's not as much as with the Poco X3, but still much...

The Hardware:
The super amoled display is the biggest feature of the phone. and it's really great, the colors, the viewing angle, the brightness.. all top notch.
Battery is with only 3500mA/h not that big, but it's astonishing strong and it holds up the uptime it promises so far. I can only hope it stays like that even after a few years.
The size of the phone is what actually made me buy this phone. its the only phone under 6.5" under 200€ and not older than a year. all newer phones are bigger. The size is great, it's slim, but long. (6,1" ~15cm long)
I didn't expect it to be that heavy, though. well, the weight is not really heavy, but compared to older phones it is a good bit heavier.
The Camera is just Mediocre, I already knew this from reviews before but playing around with it and seeing the results underscores it. The final pics alltogether look always a bit washen out if you zoom in. There aren't enough professional advanced settings in the camera settings compared to open camera or mx camera. you have to stick with what you get. The Sensor of the camera is despite 48mpixels only mediocre. the widescreen lens is a nice feature but quality wise not that good either. Selfie cam is subjectively good enough though.
HDR setting and results are a joke compared to mx camera.

Rooting:
I actually planned to root the phone with magisk and installing TWRP. However, I ended up not rooting or installing TWRP at all. The reasons are various.
First, It's possible to unlock the bootloader in developer settings (after the phone called home..). You'll get a nagscreen every time you boot the phone up after it's unlocked. From this point on you might be able to root the phone with Magisk (following the advices a few posts above), but it'll probably trigger and brick KNOX status.
I decided to NOT do that and relocked the bootloader, because there seems to be no lively community for this phone, there are no Custom ROMs available nor any custom bootloaders. And I might want to sell the phone again if it doesn't fit my likings and that'll be more difficult with broken KNOX status. Also that way I can get OTA stock updates as long as the phone is supported.
There is also no supported version of TWRP for the A41. And TWRP on phones like this is tricky as you can read at the A40 TWRP page: TWRP A40 read chapter "This device uses system-as-root in an A-only partition configuration." Also the device is using File Based Encryption and not Full Disc Encryption. I don't know if TWRP works with that environment at all yet.
So currently the only benefits of getting root would be to be able to completely uninstall some bloatware. The rest (firewall, adblocker, backups, etc) is pretty much possible without root access.
I really hope this phone is able to get custom ROMs and community in the future, though.


Hi all!

I have one of these since a couple of days and I have to say it is a really nice phone with a really bad issue: the jpg compression is super aggressive
and photos that should look great given the lens and sensor look bland and smudgy. As far as I understand, there is no camera api2 exposed at all by default. All camera apps that I have tried produce worse images and gcam does not work (I have tried about 20 different ones, for Mediatek and otherwise). If Samsung could just let me bump up JPEG quality to 95% I would be completely satisfied with this phone, but I guess that would never happen.

I therefore wonder, is there any chance that your success rooting the phone could lead to bumping up the JPEG quality of the stock camera app, eventually expose camera api2 or somehow allow us to install a version of gcam down the line?

Cheers!
I exactly know what you mean as I watch the pics I just made with the same phone. I don't know if you could change anything in this regard after rooting but it actually looks to me like it's rather the built in camera sensor that makes the quality not that good and not so much the jpeg compression. It doesn't really look like jpeg artifacts, it's more like a washen out painting. I doubt you'll get anything better by rooting the phone, but thats just guessing. Also: did you check out the Image format options? "4:3" vs "4:3 48mpixels"?
 
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korpenkraxar

Senior Member
Jun 25, 2009
84
9
28
Hi!

I checked out all the various formats and played around with the ISO settings grabbing some indoor pics in a relatively poorly lit environment.

First, it is a shame that the HDR is inactivated when using the "4:3 48mpixels" mode or PRO mode because I kind of like that HDR effect otherwise. It seems to me like the aggressive compression automatically kicks in on ISO levels 400 and above, while levels 100 and 200 look alright to me: edges with high contrast look more natural and I find the "natural" pixel noise more tolerable than the washed out smudge effect from the compression.

A "4:3 48mpixels" photo with ISO 200 looks acceptable IMHO and with a little bit of tweaking in Snapseed, I was quite pleased with the result. More grain and a bit darker than what I get from a Zenfone 5 with GCam, but tolerable for a modern phone.

With "4:3 48mpixels" ISO 200 we get quite large file sizes and there is no pixel binning or HDR, but for those random pics that I would like to share with friends in social media, this mode is ok.

Overall, the screen and form factor of the phone is great and it is a fun and comfortable one to use, aside from the camera snafu. I suspect there are some artificial configuration restraints here put in by Samsung. I stand by my original remark that a higher JPEG compression ratio would be great. No idea if it can be configured via root.

As a side note, coming from a Pixel 1 and then a Zenfone 5, it is amazing how well GCam captures photos...
 

hkjo

Member
Mar 24, 2013
34
2
28
Has anyone rooted successfully?
Reading elsewhere, it's hinted people managed to do it.

the ONLY phone under 200 bucks today that is NOT larger than 150mm in length
The A40 is even better in this regard, but is sadly underspeced.

currently the only benefits of getting root would be to be able to completely uninstall some bloatware.
And call recording, I believe?