Tips

How to Downgrade Samsung Galaxy Note 5 from Android 7.0 Nougat to Android 6.0 Marshmallow

After the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, the Note series found itself in uncharted waters, with the general public becoming skeptical of the whole Samsung branded phones in general. The Galaxy Note 5 and S7 Edge were the first to come under scrutiny due to their largely similar design and size.

However, Samsung seems to have successfully put the whole issue behind it and with its older devices like Note 5 receiving Nougat update within a comparatively respectable time frame,  the Note 5 is still a great pick if you miss your Note 7 and are not a fan of those curved edges.

That said, Samsung recently released its Nougat update for Galaxy Note 5 a few days ago — which should reach India and other markets soon too where its identified as SM-N920G — and although it feels good to know that Samsung hasn’t forgotten its older devices, there are always few users who would rather stay on Marshmallow rather than update it to Android Nougat.

Read: Galaxy S6 Nougat Issues

If you are one of them and keen on getting Android 6.0. Marshmallow back on your Galaxy Note 5 after updating it to Android 7.0 Nougat, you have come to the right place.

How to downgrade Samsung Galaxy Note 5 from 7.0 Nougat to 6.0 Marshmallow

Note: Before we move on to the process of downgrading your device, keep the following points in mind:

  • The steps below would completely wipe the data — that is, delete everything on your device, including music, videos, pictures and other files on your device’s internal storage, so create an appropriate backup of contacts, pictures, videos, songs and other important files stored on your device before proceeding with the steps below.
  • The process requires you to install the official firmware through a software called Odin. The only caveat is that although installing an official firmware through Odin doesn’t void your device’s warranty, it remains an unofficial process and thus you need to be cautious of it. In any case, you only are responsible for your device. We won’t be liable if any damage occurs to your device and/or its components.
  • Make sure you have more than 30% battery on your device.
  • Be sure to check and find the correct the model no. of your Galaxy Note 5. You can identify the model no. using an app called Droid Info, or simply check it on its packaging box, or under Settings > About. Another solid trick would be to look at the packaging box of your device (in case you can’t power on the device because it is bricked).
  • Since only Galaxy Note 5 model no. N920C has received Android Nougat update as of now, so the following method works on SM-N920C only. However, when Nougat is available for other models, you can download the Marshmallow firmware for your device model from here and follow the same below mentioned steps to downgrade back to Marshmallow from Nougat.
  • Please note flashing an incorrect file may result in a boot loop or brick your device, so be extra careful.

Step-by-step Firmware Installation Guide

Step 1. Download the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Marshmallow firmware file for model no. N920C on your PC from here.

Note: This firmware file works on Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Model no. SM-N920C only.

Step 2. Download and install Samsung USB driver from here. (To do so, follow the method 1 on the linked page and although the guide is for Samsung Galaxy S6, the steps are same for all the Samsung devices).  Once the installation is complete and the device is recognized on your PC, disconnect your Galaxy Note 5 from PC.

Step 3. Also, download Odin PC software from here. (Make sure it’s the latest version and follow the steps for download only.)

Step 4. Extract the firmware file that you download in step 1 using Zip extractor. You can use a free software like 7-zip for this. Install 7-zip, then right click on firmware file and under 7-zip, select ‘Extract here’. You should get a file in .tar.md5 format now. (You may get 4 or more files, with AP, BL, CP or CSC etc. written at the beginning of those files.) We will be loading this file into Odin, to be installed on the device (in step 9 below).

Step 5. Extract the Odin zip file. You should get the Odin .exe file (other files could be hidden, hence not visible). Keep it as it, we will use it in step 7.

Step 6. Make sure your Galaxy Note 5 is disconnected from the PC. Then, boot your device into the download mode by following the steps:

      • Power off your device. Wait for 6-7 seconds after screen goes off.
      • Press and hold the three buttons Volume down + Home + Power together until you see a warning screen.
      • Press Volume Up to continue to download mode.

      Step 7. Double-click on Odin .exe file (from step 5) to open the Odin window as shown below. Be careful with Odin, and do just as said to prevent problems.

      Step 8. Connect your device now using USB cable. Odin should recognize your device. It’s a must. When it recognizes the device, two things will happen: first, you will see Added!! message appearing in the Log box at the bottom left side and second the first box under ID:COM will show a number with the background turned to blue. Look at the pic below.

      Keep in mind: 

          • You cannot proceed until you get the “Added!!” message which confirms that Odin has recognized your device.
          • If you don’t get the “Added!!” message, you need to install/re-install the drivers again for your device, and you should use the original cable that came with your device. Mostly, drivers are the problem (look at step 2 above). You can try different USB ports on your PC too.

          Step 9. Once the device is recognized, load the firmware file that we extracted in step 4 into Odin. To do so, click the AP button on Odin and then select the .tar.md5 file from above.

          Normally you get only one file, but if you got four (or more) .tar files in step 4, do the following:

          Case 1: If you got a single .tar/.tar.md5 file, then load this into AP tab of your Odin software.

          To load the file, click on AP tab, select the single firmware file starting with AP text, wait for it to load, and then skip to step 10, ignoring the rest of the part of this step.

          Case 2: If you got more than one .tar/.tar.md5 file, then you must be having files starting with AP, CSC, Home_CSC, BL, CP, etc. stuff. In this case, choose the files as following. Select the firmware files as follows.

              • Click on BL tab, and select the file beginning with BL text.
              • Click on AP tab, and select the file beginning with AP text.
              • Click on CP tab, and select the file beginning with CP text.
              • [Different] Click on CSC tab, and select the file beginning with HOME_CSC text. If HOME_CSC file isn’t available, then select the file beginning with CSC text.

              About CSC file: Using the HOME_CSC file won’t reset your device, and data on the phone shouldn’t be deleted. However, when we select regular CSC file, and it results in CSC on the device being different than that in CSC file, your phone will be formatted automatically. You can even choose to ignore loading the CSC file, that may do alright too. But if it doesn’t work out, repeat the whole process and select CSC file this time around.

              Keep in mind: When you load files, Odin checks the md5 of firmware file, which takes time. So, simply wait until that’s done and the firmware file is loaded. Don’t worry if Odin gets unresponsive for a while, it’s normal. Binary size will also show up in Odin.

              Step 10. Click on the Options tab (next to Log), and make sure the Re-partition checkbox is NOT selected. Don’t use PIT tab, ever.

              Go back to Log tab now, as it will show the progress of firmware installation when you hit the start button in next step.

              Step 11. Verify that everything is okay as mentioned above. When satisfied, click the Start button on Odin to start flashing the firmware on your device.

              Wait till installation is finished, after which your device will reboot automatically. You’ll get PASS message as shown below upon successful installation from Odin.

              Troubleshoot:

              Some errors that you may run into with their respective solution.

              • If Odin gets stuck at setup connection, then you need to do this all again. Disconnect your device, close Odin, boot device into download mode again, open Odin, and then select the file and flash it again as said above.
              • If you get FAIL in the top left box, then also you need to flash the file again as stated just above.

              Step 12. Let the device restart automatically. The first start of the device may take time, so wait patiently again. When it has restarted, verify the installation. Check the Settings > About device to confirm new build no. based on the firmware you just installed.

              That’s it.


              Need help or feeling stuck at some step? Let us know via the comments below.