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All,

I have the Verizon Galaxy S4 Developer Edition. I purchased this one b/c it had an unlocked bootloader and I like to install custom recoveries so I can install custom ROMs. Originally, it came with the MDK firmware on it and I was able to root it and install a custom recovery.

I applied the OTA MJ7 update. While I am able to root the device, I have not been able to install a custom recovery. After doing a ton of reading and soft bricking, everyone says that the latest firmware locks down the bootloader so that you cannot install custom recoveries.

Here lies my confusion...I bought the Developer Edition so my bootloader would never be locked and I could always install custom recoveries. Is there something I'm missing? Is it possible for me having a Developer Edition phone to install a custom recovery even though I'm on build I545VRUEMJ7?

In talking with Samsung support, they said that the bootloader will NEVER be locked with any updates on the Developer edition. Any information or help is much appreciated.

Thanks,
Jonathan
 

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Android Padawan
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Seems as if you installed the locked down Verizon OTA.

The Dev Edition is exactly the same as the stock carrier version; the difference being that yours comes with the MDK build that has an unlocked bootloader. I would try to roll back to MDK through ODIN and flash updated non-Verizon roms.
 

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I know quite some time has passed and I am sure by now you have figured it out, but the Developer Editions never receive OTA's or updates (KIES or VZW assistant). The Android version they come with is the Android version they officially will always have, You installed the OTA intended for the retail S4. You locked your bootloader (you overwrote your ABOOT and BOOT partitions). Unless you backed up your ABOOT partition and your BOOT partition before applying the OTA you are basically out of luck unless Samsung would be willing to reflash the original firmware. There are cases of Dev Editions running MDK, MJ7 and MK2. This happens because Samsung updates the Dev phone before it is sold to the latest version of Android the retail S4 is running. Only difference? They unlock the bootloader after flashing the ODIN tar to the phone. The file is flashed to the ABOOT partition and thus unlocks the phone. I have seen this 1st hand. Unfortunately, the ABOOT partition is particular to that phone and only that phone since it contains the keys/ID bound ot that phone. Also why Samsung Dev Editions have never received an update, they essentially would have to create an individual and unique update for each and every Dev Device.

Dev S4's have been sold with the following firmwares: I545OYUAMDK (original), I545OYUEMJ7, I545OYUEMK2

Retail S4's have been sold and updated with the following: I545VRUAMDK, I545VRUEMJ7, I545VRUEMK2

Note the OYU vs VRU.....this is why it can be confusing and dangerous for new users of Dev phones who overlook this subtle difference. The subtle difference in naming can lead to a huge mistake.
 
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