Galaxy Note 3 Ultimate Guide: Features, Custom Recovery, Root, Unroot, Backup, Stock Firmware Installation & More

Samsung Galaxy Note 3, continuing the Note series, has certainly become the best smartphone of the world. Samsung introduced the might Galaxy Note 3 at the IFA event held in Berlin on 4th of September 2013. The Galaxy Note series is no doubt a trendsetter by Samsung, the series went through 5.3 to 5.5 and 5.7″ Galaxy Note. Each Galaxy Note packed up features of its own kind and got warmly welcomed by the users. Specially the S pen along with the phablet, that actually helps it to become a Note.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-3-front-back.jpg-640x488

Starting from 2011, Samsung introduced Galaxy Note 1 sporting a 5.3 inches display, 1.4 GHz Dual Core processor, 1 GB RAM, 8 MP camera at the back and 1.9 MP on the front, the device has a massive 2500 mAh battery under the hood. As this was Samsung’s mainstream series after Galaxy S series, Samsung introduced the next generation, the Galaxy Note 2 in 2012. Galaxy Note 2 sports a 5.5″ display, an improved 8 MP camera sensor at the back, while a  1.9 MP camera sensor on the front. Having `1.6 GHz Exynos 4412 Quad Core CPU inside along with a RAM of 2 GB, battery just got improved from 2500 mAh to 3100 mAh, also Samsung added a lot new features the S Pen like Air View etc. The change in the Galaxy Note 1 and Galaxy Note 2 is pretty obvious, and the big change and improvements in the Galaxy Note 3 was surely expected.

With a 5.7 inches full HD display having 386 ppi, the Galaxy Note 3 packed up a massive 1.9 GHz Exynos 5 Octa Core CPU or Snapdragon 800 Quad Core CPU clocked at 2.3 GHz. A RAM of 3 GB introduced by Samsung inside the Note 3, Battery just got increased by 100 mAh more, its 3200 mAh now. Galaxy Note 3 features the same camera at the back as that of the Galaxy S4, its 13 MP, while a 2.1 MP is installed on the front. Samsung also skipped the 16 GB internal storage and instead started the device from 32 GB and a 64 GB variant as well. Huge improvements in the build and design department as well, as Samsung was criticized because of the low quality plastic material used to build its devices, Samsung still used plastic but smartly changed the device’s design and build quality, the back gives a stitched leather look and feel.

Variation in the operating system, Galaxy Note 1 ran on Android 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box, the device received Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update and then stopped at Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update. Galaxy Note 2 ran on Android 4.1.1 out of the box and received Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update, and now the device runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Where as, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box and the device is set to receive Android 4.4 KitKat update in Q1, 2014. To know more about the Galaxy Note 3, check out the full review here.

So getting back to the topic, while hunting the different guides / methods for my Galaxy Note 3 over the web, i had some difficulties, faced issues while trying different methods, it took several attempts to verify different methods, having a recap of all the time i spent on the things to work on my Galaxy Note 3 I decided to make the Galaxy Note 3 owners’s life easy. In the following post I’ll be explaining the features that you may find and enjoy on your Galaxy Note 3, guide to root your Galaxy Note 3, installing a custom recovery to flash custom roms, mods, backup your current rom and restore, guide to unroot your Galaxy Note 3 and the guide to Install Stock / Official firmware on your Galaxy Note 3.

Let’s start from the Galaxy Note 3 Features:

Galaxy Note 3 specs are explained above, these are the newly introduced features of the hefty Note 3.

Air Command: Just take out your S Pen and the our command will pop up. In the air command you can find the following features:Techbeasts (4)

      • Pen Window – simply draw a rectangle on your phone’s screen and select the application to use it in small poped up screen.
      • S Finder – Find anything in your Galaxy Note 3 easily, doesn’t matter wherever the file is located.
      • Screen Write – Captures the screen and let’s you write on it immediately.
      • Scrap Booker – Saving memories with pictures and art work is not hard now, use Scrap Booker quickly through Air Command.
      • Action Memo – Create memos quickly by using Action Memo through Air Command.

 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-33-52 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-34-00 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-34-05 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-34-19 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-34-32

To enable Air Command head to Settings > Controls > Air Command.

Additionally, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 also features all the new controls introduced in Samsung Galaxy S IV, these include:

Air Gesture: Control your phone with Gestures.   

      • Quick Glance.
      • Air Jump.
      • Air Browse.
      • Air Call-Accept.

Air View: Let’s you view information by using either your fingers or S-Pen.

      • Information Preview.
      • Progress Preview.
      • Speed Dial Preview.
      • Icon Labels
      • List Scrolling

Motions, Palm Motion are also there in the Galaxy Note 3.

Smart Alert helps you to catch up all the missed calls, text messages by giving you a lighter vibration. Check out the motions under Settings > Control > Motions.

Smart Screen:  Control your phone’s screen smartly.

        • Smart Stay.
        • Smart Rotation.
        • Smart Pause.
        • Smart Scroll.

Once Handed Mode:

Samsung previously introduced one handed mode for Keyboard in the Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy S4, this time Samsung has introduced a new kind of One Handed Operation that allows the users to control the whole screen one handedly.

The one handed mode may be either used for full screen or for different features, find it in Settings > Control > One Handed Operation.

Hands-free Mode:

The new hands free mode allows you to control your device while you’re are driving. It reads our caller’s information when someone is calling, let’s you accept calls with the help of Air call-accept, reads out the message sender’s information as soon as a new message arrives, reads out alarm information when the alarm begins to sound and also reads out the schedule information for what you’ve settled the alarms.

Enable it from Settings > Control > Hands-free mode.

Use your Galaxy Note 3 while wearing Gloves:

Increase touch sensitivity under Settings > Control tab increase the sensitivity of your phone and lets you use your phone while you are wearing gloves.

Voice Control

Samsung’s Voice features helps the users to control their device by just speaking to it. The Voice control includes answering the incoming calls or cancelling them, as soon as you accept the call using Voice command the speaker will turn on. You can stop or snooze alarms, You can take pictures using voice commands and you can also control the music player’s behavior using voice commands. Find it under Settings > Control > Voice Control.

S-Voice now works with the Screen – Off:

Samsung’s popular app S-Voice that let’s the users interact with their device by speaking to it, now works while the phone’s screen is off. Previous Galaxy Series smartphones need to be touched in order to activate the S-Voice once the screen is off, but the new Galaxy Note 3 just needs to be reminded by saying “Hi Galaxy” and the S-Voice will turn on even if the phone’s screen is off.  Using S-Voice you can make calls, text messages, open apps, or search something.

Find the S-Voice’s options by opening S-Voice app, tap the menu key and scroll down and find “Screen Wake Up” option and check it, then say “Hi Galaxy” and the feature will start working.

All Settings Toggle with 2 Fingers Pull in the Notification Bar:Techbeasts (5)

You can turn on or off most of the used features of your device like WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS etc by pulling down the notification bar and going through the settings toggles. The front end horizontal scroller only features a few settings toggles, while you can access all of them by pressing the small button on the top right corner.

In the new Galaxy Note 3, pulling down the notification bar using 2 fingers will do the job for you and display all the settings toggle. Also by pressing and holding that specific toggle will take you to the settings page of that option.

 

Using Flash as Call Alert:

The popular feature in the iPhone, Samsung has also pulled it out on their Galaxy Note 3. You can select this option and turn on your device’s Flash as a call alert, as soon as someone calls you the Flash starts blinking.

To enable this feature head to Settings > Device> Accessibility > Check Flash Notification.

Search option in Settings:

The Galaxy Note 3’s settings have a search option. The hefty and advanced Note 3 packs up tons of features that can be enabled / disabled through settings, while going through each and every single feature may become quiet hard. To save the time Samsung has introduced the search in settings. Find the search option on top of any screen under settings, write whatever you want to find and access it.

Reading Mode:

It looks like that Samsung wants to take care of the user’s eyes and has introduced the Reading Mode, which helps you to treat your eyes in a better way. The reading mode enhances the quality of the readable text. You can add your favorite apps to work with the Reading Mode.

In order to enable reading mode, pull down the notification bar and long press the Reading Mode to access its settings. In Reading Mode, tap the small pencil on the top right corner and select the apps that you want to make work with the Reading Mode.

Galaxy Note 3 Camera:

Galaxy Note 3 features a same camera sensor as that of the Samsung Galaxy S4, but Samsung has just improved the quality a little more. There is a number of features in camera to try out, that can help you to become a better photographer – jk. Let’s have a look at the feature offered by Samsung Galaxy Note 3’s Camera.

      • Dual Shot – Use front and back cam at the same time.
      • Burst Mode  – Capture 20 photos at the same time by pressing and holding the capture button.
      • Best Photo and Best Face feature in Camera.
      • HDR mode.
      • Slow and Fast Motion.
      • Drama Shot and more.

Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-33-05Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-33-11 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-33-18 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-33-38 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-35-46 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-35-41Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-33-32 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-33-28 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-34-52 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-34-39 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-35-11 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-35-27 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-35-50 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-36-35 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-36-26 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-36-31 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-36-09 Screenshot_2013-11-27-01-35-55

 

The list of features doesn’t stop here, I may have not mentioned a number of features, you can explore the features by messing up with your device, or check out the our full review here.

 

So, It’s time to move forward and learn how to flash a Custom Recovery, and Root your phone. But before we begin, you need to know something important about the Galaxy Note 3:

 

The Galaxy Note 3 has a Knox implementation, Knox is a new security system introduced by Samsung that focuses on security of the device.  Users can create a new profile in their phone, that has everything different from the main user, you can install apps that are compatible with the Knox mode, Samsung has added Knox store in order to allow the users to find Knox compatible apps easily. The Knox profile requires a password to be accessed.

 

Dealing with the Samsung Knox.

 

Samsung has also implemented Knox Warranty Void on the bootloader of Samsung Galaxy Note 3 that cannot be erased using Triangle away or any other method. So, as off now, if once you flash a custom recovery or root your device, you will raise the Knox Warranty Void to 1 and you will never be able to avail the free repair services offered in device warranty. Also upon rooting your device, Knox will cause problems and may not let some apps to work properly, In order to over come this drawback you’ll need to disable Knox completely. You can do so by using the freeze option in the titanium backup.

Before moving forward, you may be interested in to know what is root access, and what are the advantages of having custom recovery, here’s the answer for you:

Rooting your phone gives you complete access over all the data which is apparently locked by the manufacturers. This includes removal of the factory restrictions and making changes to the internal system and the operating system. Gaining the root access gives you the privileges to install various applications to enhance the performance of your device, allows you to remove the built-in applications/programs, helps you to upgrade the battery life of your device & install the apps which require the root access for the proper functionality and modify your device in so many other ways e.g using mods and custom roms. By installing custom recovery, you can flash custom roms in the phone easily. Custom recovery also let’s you backup your current rom and restore it in case of any mishap. There is a laundry list of things you can do after having your device rooted and installed the custom recovery, now once you’re rooted and have installed custom recovery, go ahead and enjoy it on your phone. Here’s our collection of 10 Best Root Apps.

Disclaimer: The methods involved in flashing custom roms and rooting your phone is highly custom and may result in bricking your device, and has nothing to do with Google or the device manufacturer that is Samsung in our case. Also rooting your device will void its warranty and you will be no longer eligible for any kind of free device services by the manufacturers/warranty providers. In case of any mishap we may not be held responsible. Follow these instructions to the letter to avoid any mishap or bricking. Make sure that whatever you do, you are doing it at your own responsibility.

 

Here are some pre-requisites that you need to have before moving towards the recovery, root and other processes.

 

      1. Make sure that your Galaxy Note 3 is charged at least over 60%. It is highly recommended in order to prevent any mishap during the flashing process.
      2. Make sure that you use the original data cable in order to connect your device to your PC.
      3. Make sure that you’ve backed up all your important media content, contacts, call logs and text messages. It is highly recommend as you may have to wipe your device during any process.
      4. Make sure that your device is Galaxy Note 3, do not try this on any other device. Also use this method only on the model numbers that are listed below.
      5. Make sure that you read everything about the Knox Warranty void, follow the guides to the letter in order to get all the processes done properly.

Must have installed these:

How to Install Custom Recovery (CWM) on Galaxy Note 3:

      1. First off all, turn of the reactivation lock on your Galaxy Note 3, find it under Settings > General > Security > Uncheck Reactivation Lock.
      2. Put your phone in download mode. In order to do so turn it off by pressing power key for a few seconds or by pulling out the battery, wait for 30 seconds. Turn it on by pressing and holding Volume Down + Home Button + Power Key, as soon as it shows you the warning press Volume Up to  continue. You are in the download mode now.
      3. Techbeasts (1)
      4. Open Odin, you installed in the step 1 above.
      5. Connect your Galaxy Note 3 to your PC using the original data cable. The ID:COM box should now turn blue, and Odin shows ”Added” in the log box below.
      6. Hit the PDA tab and select the downloaded CWM Recovery file, it should be a .tar file.
      7. Make sure that the options selected in your Odin screen are exactly as shown below.
      8. Alright! hit start and let the process begin, as soon as your device restarts, you can check the recovery by booting into it. In order to do so, turn off your device and then turn it on by pressing and holding Volume Up + Home Button + Power Key simultaneously, your phone should now boot into the ClockworkMod recovery.
  1. odin_explained

Backing up your current ROM:

The most useful feature, Backup in the custom recovery. Backing up your current system/ROM is much useful in case something goes wrong while you are playing with your device. Most of the times flashing custom ROMS /MODS messes up the phone, and irritates with several issues, in such state restoring your device to the previous working state is the best choice.

      1. In order to backup your ROM boot into recovery mode. To do so, turn off your phone and then turn it on by pressing and holding Volume Up + Home Button + Power Key, you should now boot into the recover mode.
      2. Select Backup.
      3. Select Backup to External or Internal sd card, depending upon your storage space.
      4. Confirm the backup process.
      5. The backup process should start now, you will see the backup logs in the CWM screen, it will take some time to backup your current system completely.

Restoring the Operating System.

      1. If something goes wrong with your device and you’ve taken the backup previously, then restoring may be of much use.
      2. Simply boot into recovery mode, select Backup & Restore.
      3. Select Restore from External or Internal SD card and select the backup file.
      4. It will take some time to restore your system.
      5. Techbeasts (2) Techbeasts (3)

That’s all with the Backup & Restore process.

How to Root your Samsung Galaxy Note 3:

      1. Place the downloaded SuperSu.zip file on your phone’s external SDcard. 
      2. Boot into the recovery mode. In order to do so, turn off your device and then turn it on by pressing and holding Volume Up + Home Button + Power Key simultaneously, your phone should now boot into the ClockworkMod recovery.
      3. You can move between the options by using volume up and down keys, to make a selection press home button or power key.
      4. Select install zip > choose zip and then select the SuperSu.zip file you placed on the external SdCard.
      5. Let it flash the SuperSu.zip, as soon as it ends, restart your device.
      6. Congrats! Now you have rooted your phone, and already installed CWM recovery. Find the SuperSu.zip application in your applications.

In case you device’s CWM recovery is not listed above, you may root it by finding the method from HERE.

Unrooting your Galaxy Note 3:

The simplest and easiest way to unroot your Galaxy Note 3 is to flash a stock firmware and wipe data. Follow the method explained below for flashing the Stock/Official firmware in your Galaxy Note 3 and get your device unrooted. Flashing an official firmware will also remove the custom recovery from your device and restore it to the stock recovery. But keep in mind that flashing stock firmware will not erase the knox warranty void, it will just restore your device to the factory state.

How to Install a Stock/Official Firmware on your Samsung Galaxy Note 3:

Download the latest firmware for your Samsung Galaxy Note 3 depending on your model number:

Please keep in mind that always download the latest firmware for your device. Do not flash an older firmware, and do not ever try to downgrade your device. It may result in bricking it or malfunctioning it.

Flashing the Stock Firmware:

      • Extract the downloaded zip file on your desktop, it should be in .tar.md5* format. If you get the other files like PIT, CSC and Phone you may use them otherwise you just need to put the MD5 file which has the firmware in the PDA tab in Odin.
      • Open Odin, select PDA tab and select the extracted .tar.md5 file that has the firmware.
      • Put your device in download mode. In order to do so press and hold Volume Down + Home Button + Power Key simultaneously until you see the warning to continue. Press Volume Up to continue.
      • In case your device doesn’t go into the download mode using this method, search for the method for your device on Google.
      • Connect your phone to your PC using the original data cable. As soon as your phone is detected by Odin, the ID:COM box on the top left corner should turn blue or yellow depending upon your Odin version.
      • Hit the PDA tab in odin, and select the extracted file that is in [MD5.tar.md5 format.
      •  Most probably you have the .tar.md5 only for the PDA tab so make sure that only Auto Reboot and F. Reset Time are selected in Odin, In case you got the other files like CSC and Phone, put them in their respective tabs.In case you’ve got the PIT file you need to select the re-partition tab as well (remember PIT is only needed in some special cases, ignore this file for normal upgrading / flashing of the stock firmware).
      • odin_explained
      • Hit start – It should take a few seconds while the firmware flashing gets completed.
      • As soon as it gets finished, your device will restart. As soon as it restarts, get  it into the recovery mode by pressing and holding Volume Up + Home Button + Power Key simultaneously. You should get the recovery mode now. Reset Factory Data and Cache here – Restart your phone.
      • That’s all! You’ve successfully installed stock / factory firmware on your device and have it in the factory state now. Your device is just like a new device out of the box now.

That’s All! I hope that this guide helped you. We would love to listen from you about this, also if you face any difficulties or have any queries regarding your Samsung Galaxy Note 3, feel free to leave us a comment below. We will try our best to help you out. Thanks All.

 


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+Usama M: Ex Farmviller | Android Fanatic | Software Engineer,Founder - TechBeasts.com
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