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Updating a Note II to 4.4.2

When O2 Ireland got bought out by Three, I feared that all updates for the Note II (N7100) would stop. I was not mistaken – a number of months in, and no updates with no plan to update. The phone is also loaded down with O2 crapware that you cannot remove.

Three support the Note II without issue, and have a 4.4.2 ROM released for the device on SamMobile, so I decided I wanted to make a nice clean cut from O2 Ireland and flash my phone with Three’s ROM. To complicate matters, I’m using a Mac. After some trial and error, I figured out a way to flash the Three ROM onto my Note II and even get to keep all my data intact – i.e. it’s an in-situ upgrade just as if it was an OTA update! This method should not “trip” KNOX (thus voiding your warranty) and will not increase the KNOX counter – for all intents and purposes, it is just like doing an update using Kies or OTA!

Step 1 – Download the firmware

Find the correct firmware from SamMobile. This one worked for me without any issue. SamMobile require you to register with their site, and the download is slow – took me about 2 hours. When it has downloaded, extract the zip file. Inside you will find a tar.md5 file – rename it to be tar.gz and extract that also. You should have a few files in there, such as system.img, boot.img, recovery.img, etc. 

Step 2 -Put the phone in recovery mode

Power off your phone, and plug it into a micro USB cable connected to your laptop. Hold down the Volume Down + Home + Power buttons all at the same time, and the phone should boot up with a photo of the Android logo. Hit the Volume Up button to continue.

Step 3 – Install Heimdall

Download Heimdall from here and install it based on your platform. For OSX / Mac, you will need to restart your machine. Connect your phone to the laptop using a micro USB cable. After you restart, open the Terminal and type

sudo heimdall detect

You should get back

Device detected

Step 4 – Copy the phone’s partition table

In the terminal, type

sudo heimdall download-pit --output /tmp/note2.pit --no-reboot

and should get back something like

Heimdall v1.4.0
 
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Benjamin Dobell, Glass Echidna
http://www.glassechidna.com.au/
 
This software is provided free of charge. Copying and redistribution is
encouraged.
 
If you appreciate this software and you would like to support future
development please consider donating:
http://www.glassechidna.com.au/donate/
 
Initialising connection...
Detecting device...
Claiming interface...
Setting up interface...
 
Initialising protocol...
Protocol initialisation successful.
 
Beginning session...
 
Some devices may take up to 2 minutes to respond.
Please be patient!
 
Session begun.
 
Downloading device's PIT file...
PIT file download successful.
 
Ending session...
Releasing device interface...

If you get errors about ERROR: Claiming interface failed, run the following

sudo kextunload -b com.devguru.driver.SamsungComposite
sudo kextunload -b com.devguru.driver.SamsungACMData
sudo kextunload -b com.devguru.driver.SamsungACMControl

Re-run the PIT download. The error is usually because Kies has decided to be a bollox. You may have to reboot the phone and put it back into recovery mode.

Step 5 – Upload the firmware

This will do the in-situ upgrade. In the terminal, navigate to the folder where you extracted all the .img files, and then run

heimdall flash --pit /tmp/note2.pit --verbose --SYSTEM system.img --BOOT boot.img --RECOVERY recovery.img --CACHE cache.img --HIDDEN hidden.img --RADIO modem.bin --TZSW tz.img --BOOTLOADER sboot.bin

You should see a lot of text, and the blue progress bar will appear on your phone. This will take about 15 minutes.

Heimdall v1.4.0
 
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Benjamin Dobell, Glass Echidna
http://www.glassechidna.com.au/
 
This software is provided free of charge. Copying and redistribution is
encouraged.
 
If you appreciate this software and you would like to support future
development please consider donating:
http://www.glassechidna.com.au/donate/
 
Initialising connection...
Detecting device...
      Manufacturer: "SAMSUNG"
           Product: "Gadget Serial"
 
            length: 18
      device class: 2
               S/N: 0
           VID:PID: 04E8:685D
         bcdDevice: 021B
   iMan:iProd:iSer: 1:2:0
          nb confs: 1
 
interface[0].altsetting[0]: num endpoints = 1
   Class.SubClass.Protocol: 02.02.01
       endpoint[0].address: 83
           max packet size: 0010
          polling interval: 09
 
interface[1].altsetting[0]: num endpoints = 2
   Class.SubClass.Protocol: 0A.00.00
       endpoint[0].address: 81
           max packet size: 0200
          polling interval: 00
       endpoint[1].address: 02
           max packet size: 0200
          polling interval: 00
Claiming interface...
Setting up interface...
 
Initialising protocol...
Protocol initialisation successful.
 
Beginning session...
 
Some devices may take up to 2 minutes to respond.
Please be patient!
 
Session begun.
 
Downloading device's PIT file...
PIT file download successful.
 
Uploading SYSTEM
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Uploading BOOT
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Uploading RECOVERY
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Uploading CACHE
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CACHE upload successful
 
Uploading HIDDEN
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HIDDEN upload successful
 
Uploading RADIO
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RADIO upload successful
 
Uploading TZSW
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TZSW upload successful
 
Uploading BOOTLOADER
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BOOTLOADER upload successful
 
Ending session...
Rebooting device...
Releasing device interface...

The phone should reboot automatically, and it will be updated!

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