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Install CM 11 Nightly KitKat ROM for T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S3

CyanogenMod team has released the official build of CM 11 for the T-Mobile Galaxy S3. Use this tutorial in order to learn how to successfully update your device with the new KitKat custom ROM.

This build of CM 11 Nightly is brings tons of new features and improvements which should offer you the possibility to test the KitKat OS for the first time on your TMO Galaxy S3. More info about the CyanogenMod 11 Nightlies can be found at their team’s website here.

CM 11 Nightly for T-Mobile Galaxy S3 is based on AOSP Android 4.4.2 KitKat. It packs features designed and created by the CyanogenMod team, but it also incorporates some other elements designed by various developers. There is no bloatware present in this release, so you will get one of the best and pure Android 4.4.2 KitKat experience.

Remember that this is not an official update by Samsung, but a custom build released by CM team and since it is still in its Nightly stage, then you might find some errors and bugs while testing it. If you find any major bugs, then you can report them directly to the CyanogenMod team or you can tell post them in comments for all the future users who might want to try CM 11 Nightly on their Galaxy S3 T-Mobile.

If you want to successfully flash this new custom ROM on your device, then it would be best for you to take a look at the guidelines below first:

  • Use this post only with the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S3 device.
    – do not attempt to update any other devices using the files that you will find in this post, as you will end up bricking them.
  • Your T-Mobile Galaxy S3 has to be rooted and running the latest build of CWM or TWRP Recovery.
    – we’ve tested only with the CWM Recovery, but it should work with TWRP too.
    > make sure to update whichever custom Recovery you use to its latest version for the installation to complete successfully.
  • In the tutorial you’ll find the NANDROID ROM Backup step that shouldn’t be skipped.
    – this will create a full restore point for your device, one that you can use in case the new ROM doesn’t boot in normal mode.
  • Factory Reset is required for this new ROM to work correctly, which is why you shouldn’t skip it.
    – ‘factory reset’ wipes all data stored on the system partition, while the internal and external storage space will not be deleted.
    – don’t skip the ‘factory reset’ unless your device already runs on a previous build of CM 11 Nightly.
  • Backup data from installed applications, SMS text messages and APN Internet Settings using the following tools for Android: Helium | SMS backup & restore | APN Settings Backup & Restore.
  • Sync Contacts info with your Gmail account.
    – guide here for those who don’t know how to sync such data.
  • enable the USB Debugging from Developer Options menu.
  • Note that this is a guide for advanced users, so you shouldn’t blame us in case you brick the phone or lose any important data in the process.
  • Check the phone’s battery charge level and make sure that it is over 50%, so that the device won’t switch off in the middle of the installation.

These were all the guidelines that you had to go over before getting to the interesting part of this post.

How to flash CM 11 Nightly KitKat ROM for the T-Mobile Galaxy S3:

  1. Download the CyanogenMod 11 Nightly ROM from here.
    – make sure to download the latest build available.
  2. Download Gapps for KitKat custom ROMs from here.
  3. Connect your phone to your PC, then move both zip files to its internal storage.
    – after the transfer is complete you should disconnect the phone from computer.
  4. Power off your phone now.
  5. Boot the device in CWM Recovery Mode.
    – guide here on how to boot custom Recovery, to be used by those who don’t know how to manually boot CWM or TWRP.
    > make sure that whether you use CWM or TWRP, these are updated to their latest builds.
  6. First you need to create a full NANDROID ROM Backup:
    – select ‘backup and restore’, name the file and confirm.
  7. Next you need to apply the Factory Reset:
    – select ‘wipe data/ factory reset’, confirm the process.
    > skip this step only if you already run a previous build of CM 11 Nightly ROM.
  8. Now you can flash the new ROM:
    – select ‘install zip from sdcard’, then ‘choose zip from sdcard’, find the CM 11 ROM and confirm the installation.
    > don’t press any buttons until the process is complete.
  9. After the ROM is flashed, repeat step 8 action and flash Gapps zip.
  10. When both files are installed, return to the main custom Recovery screen.
  11. Reboot your phone now.
    > note that the reboot process will take a while to complete which is why you shouldn’t press any buttons until the home screen appears.
  12. Use your Google or CyanogenMod Account in order to log into CM 11 Nightly.
    – now you can test all the new features and functions, tell us in comments if you find any major bugs.

I hope that you did manage to complete the installation. If you cannot complete the guide, then you can ask for more help in comments and we will try to come up with a solution for your problem.

If the first boot process takes more than ten minutes to load all files or the phone enters into a boot loop, then you will need to repeat the entire tutorial. Make sure that you don’t skip any steps if you decide to repeat the guide. Also, it would be best to apply the ‘format /system’ process too, it can be found in the advanced custom Recovery options.

After you’ve finished the ROM and you don’t want to use it on a daily basis, then you can choose to restore the phone to its previous ROM. Of course, this will work only if you made a NANDROID Backup for the previous installed ROM, as you were instructed in step 6. Use the same custom Recovery Mode and the ‘restore’ function in to revert the T-Mobile Galaxy S3 to its previous state. If you cannot restore the device, then you might be forced to flash a stock Android firmware.