Now that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ is out you might thing that Samsung’s attention will focus especially on these two devices. Well, that’s only partially true as the company is still going to treat in the best way possible its former flagships, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. In that respect, we should notice new discounts for these smartphones and new update opportunities that will improve the overall Android experience, regardless of the Android build we are talking about.
Now, as the name of this article suggest, during the following guidelines we will discuss about the update process and the ways in which different update operations can be successfully completed on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus – for the regular Galaxy S8, do check this dedicated tutorial instead.
In order to make everything clear enough even for a newbie, I structured this guide into three different parts. Each part will detail a certain update process that can be applied on the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and the ways in which that update can be performed. Along with the steps that must be followed you will also review the risks and the advantages implied and also the essential pre-requisites that must be first followed in order to make everything happen without experiencing any problems.
Bottom line, by using this specialized tutorial you can learn how to smartly choose the perfect update for your Galaxy S8 Plus and how to apply that firmware. In a few words, we will discussing about OTAs (how to prepare your phone for a new OTA, how to force down an OTA and how to manually install a new Android notification), about how to manually install a new Android firmware on your phone by using Odin (operation that can be used if you want to downgrade your device too) and about how to flash a custom ROM software such as Paranoid Android, Lineage OS, AOKP and so on.
Perfect; so let’s get started:
How to smartly manage OTAs on the Samsung Galaxy S8+
OTAs are updates released by Google and modified by Samsung. Of course, if a carrier branded device is involved, then the OTA is customized by the carrier before the final release. Anyhow, most of OTAs are minor updates, the monthly security patches released by Samsung. However, from time to time, these official roll out will also bring a major OS switch, like it happended when the Oreo software was pushed out for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.
As you can already notice, this roll out process is quite complex. In reality, OTAs are offered gradually, in phases and for limited markets only. So, shortly, some users will receive these notifications sooner than others. Additionally, an OTA can be received on the SGS8+ only in certain conditions: the stock / official Android OS must already run on your device and tweaks mustn’t be applied (for example, if root was gained you won’t be able to receive the OTA). Now, if the official notification can’t be spotted you shouldn’t despair; you can still apply the firmware but only manually and by using Odin (so, by using the next section of this tutorial).
The OTA is of course an official update released by Google and by Samsung. So, KNOX won’t get tripped while you will apply the update – you have nothing to worry about from this perspective as there aren’t any real risks related with this particular update operation. In that respect, your data should remain safe and secured while the OTA is being installed on your phone, thus a backup isn’t required for the moment – you can do it anyway, just to be extra sure that nothing bad happens with your personal files.
Now, the OTA can be applied in different ways – you can initiate a system search and try to force it down on your Galaxy S8+, you can manually install the OTA package from stock recovery mode, or you can apply an adb command for flashing it through a computer. Well, these processes are explained below:
Oh, one last thing: before starting the steps from below verify the power that’s left on your smartphone; if the power left is lower than 50%, plug in the charger before doing anything else.
Try to force down the OTA
- Your device must be powered on and a WiFi connection should be established – the OTA package might be a big file.
- Now, from the main screen tap on the Apps icon.
- Next, search the Settings entry and select it.
- Depending on the model of your phone: choose Software Updates, or pick up About Device and select Software Updates.
- Use the search engine and look for updates.
- If an OTA is available for your Galaxy S8+ you will be automatically prompted with the Android package.
- From that point you only have to follow on-screen prompts in order to resume the installation process.
Install the OTA package from recovery mode
- A computer is required for this operation – there download the OTA file available for your Galaxy S8+ (you can download this file from any source you want).
- Save the OTA package on desktop.
- Power on your phone and connect it with your computer via USB cable.
- Select the update file from deskop and copy-paste it on your phone.
- You can remove the USB cord now as the computer is not required anymore.
- On your Android device reach recovery mode.
- From recovery mode menu select ‘Install zip from SD card’ – in recovery use Volume rocker keys to scroll up and down and Power button to select.
- Pick up the firmware package and follow on-screen prompts for starting and completing the update operation.
- When that’s done, from main menu of recovery select ‘reboot system now’.
ADB sideload the OTA on your Galaxy S8 Plus
- Once more, for this operation a computer is required – there download the OTA file that you want to flash just as you did before.
- On the same computer set up ADB: learn how to install Android SDK on Windows or set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux.
- Finally, on your computer install your Galaxy S8 Plus drivers and on your phone enable USB Debugging option (it’s located under Menu – > Settings – > Developer Options).
- Now, rename the OTA package that’s saved on your computer into ‘update.zip’.
- Transfer the renamed file inside the Android SDK folder and from that path open a command prompt window: press and hold the Shift keyboard key and right click on any blank space; then select ‘open command prompt window here’.
- Switch on your smartphone, reboot its system into recovery mode and connect it with your computer.
- From recovery choose ‘apply from ADB’.
- In the cmd window type ‘adb sideload update.zip’ and press Enter.
- The update operation will be now automatically resumed.
- In the end, close cmd, remove the USB cable and reboot your phone.
How to Update / Downgrade the Galaxy S8+ with official Android firmware using Odin
If the OTA cannot be received, if you are tired of waiting for the Android notification or for any other reason, you should consider the manual update solution. This method is great as it can be applied anytime as long as you can use the full firmware package available for the model of your Samsung Galaxy S8+. It can be the latest Android build, or a previous Android software if you want to make a downgrade. It won’t matter as the steps from below will show you how to manually update or downgrade your device.
As mentioned in the sub-title from above, Odin will be the flashing program that will be used. This is an official program developed and offered by Samsung and used especially on update operations. So, you won’t have to use third party apps or risky tools during this update process. Moreover, the stock / official Android OS will be used so Samsung KNOX won’t get tripped – shortly, you won’t void the warranty of your Galaxy S8 Plus and you won’t lose access to built-in apps while you take care of the following steps.
If your smartphone is tweaked now you are going to lose your tweaks – that’s happening because by flashing the full firmware file you will manage to restore your phone back to factory state. Shortly, in the end root access will be revoked, the bootloader relocked, the stock recovery reinstalled, bloatware re-applied and so on.
Now, restoring everything to default state is a good thing, especially if you want to get rid of software related problems. From this perspective this particular update solution can be used as a dedicated troubleshooting solution that can help you address the most common problems that can cause malfunctions on your Samsung Galaxy S8+ – I’m talking about general issues such as boot loops, lags, hangs, bugs, screen freeze, battery drain, heating problems, signal strength issues, total blackouts and lot more.
Your data shouldn’t be wiped out while Odin is used. However, in rare situations problems might appear (we will discuss about these problems a little bit later) and then your files might be in danger. So, a backup is more than recommended at this point – you should, at least, save the essential stuffs such as: your contacts, call logs and texts, the EFS folder, IMEI / NVRAM data and internet settings, general images, videos and audio files, market apps, calendar info, saved passwords and basically everything else that might be still required afterwards.
A computer is required for this update operation. On that computer the Galaxy S8+ drivers must be installed – you can get the right drivers by using Samsung KIES. Also, on your smartphone the Developer Options field must be enabled – if it isn’t, go to About Phone and tap repeatedly on Built Number until you receive the ‘you are a developer’ message. Next, from Developer Options you must check the USB Debugging feature.
Again, don’t forget to verify the power that’s left on your handset. It’s more than recommended to plug in the charger if this power is currently lower than 50% – otherwise you can skip this additional task.
Perfect; now, follow:
- Open your computer and from this page download Odin – set up the program on your computer by running its executable file and by following on-screen prompts.
- On desktop save the full firmware package you want to flash on your Galaxy S8+ (download the firmware version from anywhere you prefer).
- Run the flashing program on your computer when you are ready.
- Switch off your Android device and afterwards reboot it into download mode: press and hold the Power, Volume Down and Bixby buttons for a few seconds.
- Connect your handset with your computer – just plug in the USB cable.
- The flashing program must recognize your device – the ‘added’ message should show up and the ID:COM field should be colored in blue or in yellow; if not, unplug the USB cable, close Odin and reinstall your phone’s drivers before retrying the steps explained above.
- On Odin click on the AP option and select the update package that’s saved on your computer.
- If asked, don’t check the Re Partition and Auto Reboot options.
- Click on Start and wait while the update process is completed – the ‘pass’ message will be displayed in the end when the ID:COM field will be turned green.
- Close Odin, remove the USB cable and reboot your Galaxy S8 Plus.
If Odin, somehow, gets stuck try to: close the program (go to Task Manager if that cannot be completed otherwise), disconnect your phone from your computer, force restart your Samsung branded device, reinstall your phone’s drivers on your computer and repeat the installation process from the beginning.
During the last reboot, in rare situations, a boot loop might be experienced. In that unfortunate situation you will have to make a hard reset and clear app data cache. So, on your device go to recovery mode and from there choose ‘wipe data factory reset’ followed by ‘wipe cache partition’. In the end, from main menu of recovery choose ‘reboot system now’.
How to Update Samsung Galaxy S8+ using a custom ROM firmware
There is another way in which you can update your Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. But, this time we’re not going to use the official / stock firmware anymore. Instead, we will discuss about custom ROMs, free aftermarket distributions of the official Android platforms.
A custom ROM is developed by third party devs and represents a ported and modified version of the official firmware. So, the update will bring a different Android experience to your device. However, this experience, if you choose a stable and a smooth software, will be better than the default Samsung UI.
A custom ROM will be pre-loaded with stuffs that cannot be found on the default Android system and you will be able to customize, optimize and personalize the Android functionality. Overall, with the right tweaks applied you will be able to bump speeds, upgrade battery life, improve general performance and unleash the true potential of your Samsung Galaxy S8+. But, once more, for being able to do so you need to choose a ROM that’s stable and smooth – the most popular platforms are Lineage OS, AOKP and Paranoid Android.
Anyway, such update is no longer official as it cannot be associated with your OEM or with Google. Thus, in this case you are going to lose your phone’s warranty and possible, the access to built-in apps. Anyway, the warranty can be restored but only if you choose to reinstall the stock Android OS – so, by using the previous section of this tutorial.
A backup is a must in this case – as you will see, during the steps from below, making a hard reset isn’t optional. Thus, if you’re not careful enough you can end up in losing everything that’s important (note that if you don’t complete the hard reset, you might not be able to run the new custom ROM). On your S8+ you can use built-in cloud storage platforms, you can choose to sync your data with your Google Account or you can just go to Google Play and download compatible and already tested backup and restore apps.
In order to make sure that you aren’t risking anything, the best will be to save the current Android OS that runs on your smartphone. That can be applied by making a Nandroid backup. So, if after testing the new custom ROM you decide that the old firmware was better, you can use the Nandroid backup package for going back to stock without dealing with any other additional flashing procedures.
Make sure your Galaxy S8 Plus is rooted as only on a rooted Android OS you can install a custom ROM firmware (the Android system must be unlocked as the new OS will have to access and modify it). Additionally, on your smartphone install a custom recovery image as from that environment you will complete the actual flashing process – in that respect I recommend you to use the latest built of TWRP recovery.
A computer is required for this update operation; on your phone Developer Options must be enabled and USB Debugging feature must be checked, as already discussed during the previous section of this tutorial. Of course, if the power left is lower than 50% you shouldn’t do anything else before charging your device. Afterwards, you can follow:
- On the computer you are using download the custom ROM you want to flash – I recommend you to get the ROM from xda-developers but only after ensuring that it is fully stable and functional.
- If required, download compatible Google Apps for your Galaxy S8+.
- Save these files on desktop.
- Switch off your smartphone and reboot the Android device into recovery mode – press and hold Power, Volume Up and Bixby buttons for a few moments.
- In recovery choose to initiate a full wipe: select ‘wipe data factory reset’, followed by ‘wipe dalvik cache’ and by ‘wipe cache partition’.
- Afterwards, go back to main menu of recovery and choose ‘reboot system now’.
- Connect your smartphone with your computer via USB cable and transfer the downloaded files from desktop to your phone.
- Unplug the USB cord when you are done as the computer is no longer required.
- On your Galaxy S8 Plus reboot recovery mode again.
- From recovery select ‘install zip from SD card’ followed by ‘choose zip from SD card’; if TWRP recovery is used just tap on Install and load the firmware package.
- Resume the update operation by following on-screen prompts and repeat the last step for install Google Apps, if that’s needed.
- When done, from main menu of recovery choose ‘reboot system now’ and enjoy.
The three update operations that were described and detailed during the guidelines from above are the most common ways in which you can keep your Samsung Galaxy S8+ up to date all the time, even after Samsung will end its official support. Now, if you have questions don’t hesitate and contact us – based on the info you provide we will try to assist you as soon as possible. You can also use the comments field available below if you want to share your update experience with us and with other users who are trying to learn what ROMs to use or what update opportunities to choose for their own Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Enjoy.