Warning! Do NOT Update Your Verizon Galaxy S5 Firmware via OTA Update If You Want To Keep Root!

A couple months ago, I switched to Verizon prepaid from Virgin Mobile. I was a Virgin Mobile customer for many years, but I finally became fed up with the slow internet connection and limited phone availability. I did save many thousands of dollars however.

In the past year or so, the major providers started catching on and releasing prepaid services. I will never get on a contract plan again, so with the new prepaid plans it offered me the ability to switch. Verizon is the one I decided on, which for $45 per month I have 2gb of 4G data (more than I will ever use since I’m usually on WIFI), and unlimited calling and texting.

I have to say I am happy with the quality of the service and internet speed so far. With Virgin Mobile, the internet was pretty much useless because it took 10 minutes to load one page. Also, the call quality is better. With Virgin Mobile, the calls often broke up and I had to speak louder or sometimes there was an echo. However, rarely such problem on Verizon.

The first phone I got with Verizon was the Motorola Turbo 64GB. It is a phone exclusive to Verizon. I was OK with no SD card, since I could get a 64GB special edition version that wasn’t available on the website (only 32GB is available now), but there were a couple in my local store.

I was extremely happy with the phone, until, that is, I discovered I could not root it. Upon which, I promptly returned the phone for a full refund of $600 and instead got a Verizon Galaxy S5 for $300 on craigslist. So Verizon lost $600 from me right then and there due to their crummy totalitarian restrictive policies.

The reason I got an S5 instead of S6 is because I really wanted the option to upgrade storage as desired through a micro SD card. The S6 does not have a micro SD slot – a poor move on Samsung’s part as I will never buy that phone now.

galaxy s5 verizon

Then, more troubles. I discovered that it wasn’t just the Turbo that was restricted from rooting. It is a policy with Verizon for all phones. Fortunately, however, I am good with phones, and the S5 being a popular phone, I was able to bypass these restrictions by doing a downgrade to 4.4.2 (I hate 5.0 anyway), and then running towelroot (instructions here).

However, now the purpose of this post: Verizon just release a new OTA update, OE1, that prevents users from downgrading or rooting their phones. This means that once you update, you are trapped.

Per Android Central forums,

If you are at present, running the latest Verizon OE1 firmware you will be unable to downgrade your firmware at all and particularly to Android 4.4.2, to root your phone thanks to Verizon’s own new and unique bootloader. See, here.

It would appear that Verizon does not allow you to refuse an update… downgrade from an update or… want you to root their phones! – Source

So, if you care at all about rooting your phone or downgrading (or keeping your root), now or ever in the future, DO NOT run the newest OTA update! Disconnect from the internet if you have to!

The best way to prevent an OTA update is to install Titanium Backup and then force freeze any system apps causing the update.

Apps to freeze:
Knox Notification Manager
Everything beginning with “Samsung” , especially:
Samsung Push Service
Samsung Updates

Possible apps needed to freeze:
Verizon Location Agent
Verizon Support & Protection
My Verizon Mobile
Beaming Service

Also did I mention that Verizon also does not allow you to bring a device from another provider (unlocked phones)? Due to all of Verizon’s restrictive policies, I will be promptly leaving them for a more open and unrestrictive carrier whenever the time comes for a phone upgrade.

Hope this helps, and happy rooting!

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