The Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update for the Verizon Galaxy S3 was rumored to be set for a rollout by November 16th, but unfortunately, that day came and went without any word on the update from either Samsung or Verizon. But then again, Verizon isn’t exactly known for being timely with such major updates, so it isn’t really surprising that people are still waiting for Jelly Bean.
However, we’ve seen multiple pre-final firmware get leaked for the phone which have let people get a taste of what’s coming in Android 4.1, and now a newer firmware has come out, with build number VRBLK1. This is the latest in the string of leaked firmware, and since it is an official firmware, it won’t increase the flash counter on the device either.
Keep in mind that since this is a pre-release firmware, there can be some bugs and issues present, so you shouldn’t be flashing the firmware if you aren’t okay with testing out beta software. Also, you might need to wipe the data on the phone in order to make the firmware boot up, though chances of that are highly unlikely and the data can be backed and restored if necessary.
Read the step-by-step guide below to flash the new VRBLK1 Android 4.1.1 firmware on your Verizon Galaxy S3.
The procedure described below is only for the Verizon Galaxy S3. Do not try it on any other device, not even on other variants of the same device.
The methods and procedures discussed here are considered risky, so try them out at your own risk, and make sure to read each step carefully before attempting anything. We will not be held responsible if anything goes wrong.
How to Update Verizon Galaxy S3 to VRBLK1 Android 4.1.1 Firmware
- [Important] You might need to wipe the data on the phone to make the firmware boot up properly. Hence, to be sure you do not lose any data, backup your Apps and important data — bookmarks, contacts, SMS, APNs (internet settings), etc. This Android backup guide would help you. The SD card contents are always safe, so there is no need to back up those. Only backup apps and personal data.
- You need to have the drivers for the phone installed on your computer. You can download Samsung’s Kies software and install it, which will install the drivers as well (skip this step if Kies is already installed on your computer).
You can also download the drivers directly — download from here: 32 bit (x86) Windows | 64-bit (x64) Windows
- Download the firmware.
Download VRBLK1 | Filename: COMBINATION_I535VRBLK1_I535VZWBLK1_381038_REV09_user_low_ship_NOWIPE.tar.md5
- Download Odin. Odin is Samsung’s PC tool for flashing firmware, and we’ll use it to flash the firmware file obtained in step 3.
Download Odin3 v3.04 | Filename: Odin3_v3.04.zip
- Extract the contents of the Odin3_v3.04.zip file to a folder on your computer.
- Turn off your phone and wait for it to shut down completely.
- Then, put the phone into download mode. To do so, press and hold these keys together: Volume Down + Home + Power till the phone turns on and shows a Warning!! screen. Then press Volume Up to enter download mode.
- Open Odin by double-clicking on the Odin3 v3.04.exe file obtained in step 5 after extracting Odin3_v3.04.zip.
Important! Connect your phone to PC now. You should get the message “Added !!” under Odin’s message box in the bottom left.
- If you don’t get this message, make sure you installed drivers correctly (using Kies or directly) as given in step 2. If it still doesn’t work, try changing to another USB port on the computer and also use the USB ports on the back if you have a desktop PC.
- Click on the PDA button in Odin, then browse to and select the COMBINATION_I535VRBLK1_I535VZWBLK1_381038_REV09_user_low_ship_NOWIPE.tar.md5 file obtained in step 3 above.
- Important! Do not make any other changes in Odin except selecting the required files as given in step 10. Leave all other options as they are. Make sure Re-Partition check box is not selected.
- Now, make sure you took a backup as explained in step 1 before continuing, then click the Start button in Odin to start flashing the firmware on your phone. When the flashing is complete and is successful, you’ll get a PASS message (with green background) in the left-most box at the very top of the Odin, and the phone will automatically reboot. When you see the Samsung logo, you can safely unplug the cable.
- What do if Odin gets stuck or doesn’t do anything: If ODIN gets stuck on setup connection or at any stage of this process after you’ve hit the Start button, and doesn’t seem to be doing anything, or if upon completion of the process you get a FAIL message (with red background) in ODIN, do this: disconnect the phone from the PC, close ODIN, remove battery for 4-5 seconds, re-insert it, turn phone on in Download mode again, and do the procedure again from Step 8.
[Important] What to do if phone doesn’t boot: After you get the PASS message and the phone reboots, the phone might get stuck at the booting animation. If that happens, perform the following steps to make it boot. Remember that these steps will wipe your personal data like contacts, apps, messages, etc. If your phone has already booted, you can stop reading the guide here, your phone has been updated successfully:
- Boot to recovery mode — for which, first power off phone (by removing battery and reinserting it), wait for 5-6 seconds, and then press and hold Home + Volume Up + Power keys together till the screen turns on, then let them go to boot into recovery. Once you are in recovery mode, use volume keys to move the selection up and down and home/power key to select the option.
- Go to Wipe data/Factory Reset and select it. Select Yes on next screen.
- Then, select reboot system now to reboot the phone, which will now boot properly.
- If you run into any roadblocks while flashing the firmware, let us know and we’ll help you out.
Your Verizon Galaxy S3 is now running the VRBLK1 Android 4.1 firmware. Do let us know what works, what doesn’t, and what new features and improvements you notice.