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Alexander Cherepanov

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How to root Samsung Galaxy S3 on Mac OS X

In this post I’ll describe all that I knew while rooting my Android device. There are many tutorials in Internet, but some of that use old software, another doesn’t answer to errors and doesn’t describe what you really do. I like use latest versions of applications, so in this tutorial latest apps are used. Also some errors, which I met, are described. And obviously this tutorial is made for Mac OS X. Let’s get started.


First of all let’s understand some things.

What is root?

You know Android is based on Linux, and if you used Linux you know about root user. Basically, root has full access to all functions of operating system. In Linux you have su command to switch from normal user to superuser (root). But in Android you don’t have such ability, you always work as a normal user with restricted permissions. So let’s change this.

Additional Android modes

Every Android phone has two additional modes: Download and Recovery.

Download mode, also known as ODIN mode, is used to flash ROMs from computer. You can put your Galaxy S3 into Download mode by holding down Volume Down, Center Home, and Power buttons together for about 10 seconds. When you see the warning screen, hit Volume Up to enter ODIN Download mode. To exit from Download mode hold Power button about 10 seconds.

Download mode warning screen and ODIN download mode.

Recovery mode is usefull for reseting your Android device to factory state, or cleaning cache, and etc. You can load into Recovery mode by holding down Volume Up, Center Home, and Power buttons together for about 10 seconds. You will see such screen.

Stock Recovery mode

What is a ROM and a stock ROM?

ROM is a package that includes Android operating system and additional applications. Stock ROM is a ROM that developed by smartphone manufacturer, and, in Samsung case, includes such additional apps as TouchWiz launcher, S Memo, S Planner, and etc. You can download stock ROM’s for Samsung Galaxy S3 from

How to define that device has stock ROM installed? When you bought Samsung Galaxy S3 you have a stock ROM. In Setting -> About device -> Status -> Device Status you will see Normal. Screen of Recovery mode will be the same as on screenshot above. In Download mode you will see such text:

CURRENT BINARY: Samsung Official

Rooting device

OK, we have Galaxy S3 (i9300) with stock ROM on it, and we want to root it. First we must change stock recovery to something more powerfull. After that counter of custom ROM’s will be increased, and warranty may be broken. So think twice before flashing your device.

This root method doesn’t erase your settings and apps. It only overwrite recovery partition. Samsung has made recovery partition separate from the kernel, making rooting much safer.

If you decided to flash your phone you need to download some applications:

  1. Heimdall - application to flash recovery image to your phone. Now the latest version is 1.4.0.
  2. ClockworkMod Recovery - recovery image with abilities to install apps, backup whole system, and etc. Download Recovery image for you device. The latest version for Samsung Galaxy S3 (GT-I9300) was I use it in this tutorial.
  3. SuperSU - analog of command su in Linux. It gives root access to other applications. The latest version is 1.94. You must download CWM / TWRP / MobileODIN installable ZIP

Check that your device has at least 50% of battery power. Better use fully charged devices.

Step 1

Now install Heimdall on your Mac. It also install custom kext, so reboot your computer after installation is complete.

Step 2

Put your Galaxy S3 into Download mode as described above and connect it to your Mac OS X computer/laptop using a microUSB cable.

###Step 3

Now run Heimdall-frontend app in your Application folder. You need to get .pit file for your phone. On tab Utilities click Save As…, and select destination for s3.pit file. Then click Download button.

Download PIT file

If Samsung Kies is installed on your Mac, and you get such error ERROR: Claiming interface failed! type in terminal this commands:

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

They will unload Samsung kexts for only this session. When you restart Mac they will be loaded again.

After downloading .pit file shutdown Galaxy S3 by holding Power button about 10 seconds. Then again load Download mode and connect to computer. Else you will get errors on next step.

Step 4

If you downloaded .pit file in preceding step, reenter your phone to Download mode. On tab Flash of Heimdall-frontend application choose Browse and then choose the file s3.pit you saved in previous step. Click on Add, change Partition Name to RECOVERY. Then choose Browse and select the ClockworkMod Recovery image recovery-clockwork-, that you downloaded earlier. Hit Start to begin the process. After flashing your phone will then reboot.

Flash ClockworkMod Recovery

If you get errors try type terminal commands from previous step, and reboot Download mode.

Step 5

Connect your Galaxy S3 as a disk drive and copy SuperSU zip ( to anywhere on your Galaxy S3 (for example, on external sdcard).

Step 6

Reboot into Recovery mode by holding down Volume Up, Center Home, and Power button together for about 10 seconds. You must see ClockworkMod Recovery screen. Choose install zip. Next choose choose zip from /sdcard or choose zip from /storage/sdcard1 depending on where you put the file.

ClockworkMod Recovery install from sdcard

Choose Then choose Yes - install

ClockworkMod Recovery install from sdcard

Step 7

Once it’s done flashing the file (the Superuser zip file), simply reboot and enjoy a fully rooted Galaxy S3. You will find SuperSU app once rebooted. You can now run rooted apps!

P.S. After this tutorial you will find your phone is customized. In Setting -> About device -> Status -> Device Status you will see Modified. In Download mode you will see such text: