Rooting and flashing custom software on the Galaxy Note 3 causes hardware damage. Say what?

Well, it looks Samsung is following in HTC’s footsteps and finding ways to make it hard for users to root and flash custom software on its devices. According to well-known developer Chainfire, the Galaxy Note 3 comes with eFUSE technology for the KNOX security suite. What is eFUSE? Well, it’s a technology that allows reprogramming a read-only memory chip in real-time, even though such chips come with hard-coded code that cannot be generally changed after manufacturing.

When flashing unofficial software on the device, the status of the system and KNOX is switched to CUSTOM while increasing a binary flash counter, which helps Samsung find out whether the device has been tampered with. However, while Chainfire’s TriangleAway app has let users switch the status back to official and reset the flash counter until now, the KNOX status is based on eFUSE – basically, once you flash custom kernels or root the Note 3, the KNOX code gets rewritten, and this constitutes hardware damage.

Apparently, Samsung service centers have been instructed to check the KNOX status, which if tripped will void all warranty. Chainfire mentions there is a “possible hack to reset the write protection on the flash storage so we can reset some values,” but says that it will be difficult to write and has little chance of working even if it gets written, so it looks like those wanting to tinker with their Galaxy Note 3 will have to void all warranty at this point, or stick to Samsung’s official software.

After the region lock (which has been bypassed by Chainfire), this is yet another stupid stunt Samsung has pulled off, one that is going to make things difficult for the development community and for everyone wanting to get more out of the Galaxy Note 3. We’re sure Chainfire or another developer will find a way to get around the KNOX status issue, but for now, it’s best to stick to the default software.

Hit the source link for more details on Chainfire’s findings.


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3 years 6 months ago

Here is Samsung UK’s official stand on the matter:


Dear ******,

Thank you for contacting Samsung Customer Support.

I am very sorry to hear that you are not clear on our Warranty Terms. I fear that you are jumping to conclusions based on what you have read on the internet.

I can confirm that you have a Warranty on your S4 for 2 years from the date of purchase. This can only be made void only for the below reasons:

1) If there is any physical damage to the handset caused by the user.
2) If the device has been exposed to liquid
3) If the device has been rooted(by installing your own custom ROM)

If there are any issues with your handset that don’t fall into one of those categories above, you need not worry, especially from news received online, as this can be miss interpreted.

If there is anything else we can help with, please let us know.

Our Customer Support Team love feedback! Share your thoughts on this response by completing the survey at the bottom of this page.

Kind regards,

Basically they are saying if your screen fails, then your still in warranty, if your battery plays up then again your in warranty, however if the phone should stop working due to rooting or flashing custom firmware and can be fixed by restoring official firmware they will charge you for the repair.

I hope this finally put to rest everyone’s fears here in the UK.


3 years 6 months ago

if you flash it and need to use the warranty just microwave the phone for 4 5 seconds then wish them good luck to check the counter or any thing on the phone and you just say you charged it, it got hot and now it wont turn on.

And they will give you a new one.

easy as one two three..

3 years 6 months ago

another stupid movement from samsung… i’ll never buy note III, it’s been for nine months since i bought note II… i’m using it for my own sake… because you know i own it… with root or without root… after I paid million bucks i want to have all rights to change or develop it… well android is open source… after i flash the prerooted 4.3 leak, i deleted Knox thing all of them… no problem happened… rom is stable… it’s condition custom but i can use now on my note 2

* Shealth
* STranslate
* SNote of Note III
* SFinder

Yeah I’M NOT GONNA BUY A NOTE III with region lock or KNOX…

I have freedom…!

3 years 6 months ago

it is an awsome phone i’m playign with it atm!

3 years 6 months ago

This and the region lock will only help sales of the Nexus 5.

Samsung is making a lot of bad decisions alienating the people that buy their devices or looking to switch brands.

How will they shoot themselves in the foot next week?

I’ve been living in Seoul for a number of years and sometimes need to scratch my head and ask where’s the common sense and logic to that using my western educated mind.

3 years 6 months ago

I am using stock firmware and allways suppose, that this remains the best choice. But even in this case I think that we had heard enough to think twice before byuing another Samsung’s product.

3 years 6 months ago

i think samsung should know, not everyone like stock theme..always the same, from low end ’till high end device..many android user gain root access to change this, not just theme also apps doesn’t use full for some user can’t be remove without root access..’cause it’s installed in system apps..not user app so user can uninstalling without root access..from pass 3 years i see many app is push to system app..some crapp apps..

3 years 6 months ago

Seems to me the time is ripe for another manufacturer to catch up with Samsung and rise. Who will it be? HTC/Lenovo, Sony… Huawei even? Samsung had better remember quickly how they got popular in the first place.

Dead Silence
3 years 6 months ago

I own 3 Samsung tablets and 4 phones. Applying eFuse crap means end of Samsung over here. I intended to buy a Note 3, but put that on hold. Better wait for the Nexus 5. Samsung has decided to commit suicide.

3 years 6 months ago

initially, region lock now software later I don’t know. fed up waiting for 4.3 update on my s3.

3 years 6 months ago

“basically, once you flash custom kernels or root the Note 3, the KNOX code gets rewritten, and this constitutes hardware damage.”

what kind of hardware damage?

2 years 4 months ago

yes! good question, what kinda damage will flashing custom ROM or rooting cause?

3 years 6 months ago

Oh my God !!!!
i feel like they don’t want to sell devices any more :\
anyway i have an s3 it is not enough it is poorly built , 5 out of 10 of my friends have problems with their s3 including me ,, so what i wanna know when the phone gets updated to 4.4 and get KNOX as said in here will be having this problem ??!.. i don’t care about warranty for sure coz my phone is more than 1 year old what concerns me will rooting it when it gets 4.4 harm my phone ,, it is rooted since the day i got the phone :D

3 years 6 months ago

Well this seems to affect only the KNOX secure mode and will not make the phone not function. However voiding the hardware warranty by changing the software sounds very similar to upgrading to a different version of Windows or switching to another OS on your PC. Why can this not be allowed?

3 years 6 months ago

Here’s the thing, rooting would allow you to overclock your phone, and if you try a BAD custom Android version on your phone, it DOES have the potential to cause damage. Now, if you want to be covered by the warranty, or insurance, you should stick with the official firmware, and if you choose to take the risk, don’t go crying to Samsung, or the carrier you bought your phone from saying that the phone is defective. If you modify your own car, you run all sorts of risks, and in the process, you basically say that anything that happens is no longer the fault of the original manufacturer, even if what went wrong has nothing to do with what YOU did.

The idea of a warranty is to certify that the product is free of MANUFACTURING defects, and installing or modifying ANYTHING about the product basically opens the door to “what else besides what you claimed to do have you actually done?”. Water damage for example…it’s hard to prove you didn’t submerge the device in 30 feet of water, compared to 2 feet of water after the fact.

This whole issue is a big part of why I have stuck with stock firmware on my Galaxy S3, because while I am under contract, I don’t want to risk screwing up my phone. If I had another phone, that might change things a bit as well, but the S3 is still a $650 device.

3 years 6 months ago

Thats no argument. A PC is rooted by default and has warranty.

3 years 6 months ago


3 years 6 months ago

Your silly to not have rooted your S3 bc of that…. Have you ever even tried to turn a phone back in that’s rooted? I think you’ve been basing your bias on speculation and fear… I don’t mean for any of that to come out rude btw I just want to let you know that I’ve had the S3 since day 1 it came out and I rooted it the 3rd day I had it… I’ve dropped and broke the charge port one and the screen before and Asurion replaced it both times without question… I EVEN LEFT THE CUSTOM AOSP OS ON THE PHONE lol I wanted to test it out and see if they even check and turns out they don’t care since your phone can honestly be perfectly fine with one scratch on say the bezel and they have to replace it… no questions asked… that’s why I pay $xx.xx/month…
The Samsung warranty doesn’t even matter tbh…
Just saying buddy your missing out on a whole nother world!!! I can get 4hrs screen time and 20hrs total uptime listening to music on 4g/3g playing games, browsing forums etc and with stock you’d be lucky to get half that… Its deff worth it…

3 years 6 months ago

Totally agree with you. There’s no reason for them to fix a phone which was modified.

3 years 6 months ago

In the UK at least (and I believe in the EU also) the warranty is:
1) provided by the retailer, not the manufacturer
2) defined by statute law, not by the retailer/manufacturer’s T&Cs

It is beyond the powers of any company to rewrite the law of the land, so they can publish all the T&Cs they like to try to void your warranty, the law of the land still stands sovereign over them and that law give you a warranty.

However, if the fault is as a result of the modifications then the retailer would have a case to say that the warranty does not cover the damage caused. That is not the same as saying “you modified the phone therefore all warranty is void.” The damage has to be shown to be aresult of the modification. So if you flash your phone and later the button falls off or the screen delaminates from the case they would have a tough time pinning that on the firmware mods.