How to Upgrade an Encrypted Samsung Android phone

If you encrypted your Samsung Android phone and later decided to upgrade its firmware, most likely you got into an issue after a new firmware has already been downloaded. You want to install a new system, but the phone warns you that it needs to be decrypted in order to get a new system installed. Even if you ignore this warning and want to proceed the phone reboots, then… nothing happens. The phone keeps working with the old system and keeps throwing you the warnings from time to time that the new update was successfully downloaded and ready to be installed.

A long search on the Internet shows you nothing that you could use. The best advice that you can probably find is to run a factory reset on your phone, install the update and then spend a very long time reconfiguring it and restoring all your custom settings. To be honest, even if the whole configuration has an up-to-date Google backup and in theory can be automatically restored, there is a number of manual steps required to get your phone looking and working as before. There is a way to create your phone backup right on your computer before you run the factory reset, but I will talk about it a little later.

Why does it happen? When you download the update, it goes to the encrypted user partition of your phone. In order to get access to the system update the phone needs to decrypt the user partition. It happens only after the system starts and you then enter your password to decrypt the user partition. Here is the problem. The update needs to be initiated before the system starts. It looks like a dead end. In most cases, you cannot decrypt your phone just because this feature is disabled in the settings regardless of all Google/Samsung promises and you get no way to decrypt your own phone. What is a solution?

After some search on the Internet, I found a simple way to upgrade my encrypted Samsung phone with no efforts from my side. It worked so well, that the phone kept all its settings, the desktop layout and everything else, but I got a brand new operating system with all new features. Wasn’t that nice?

In order to do that, search for Samsung KIES application and install it. Don’t forget that the older Samsung phones require an older version of the application. If you install the wrong KIES application it will warn you that it doesn’t support your phone. Simply install the right one.

Once you connect your phone to your computer, it will check the current firmware number and the latest firmware available on the internet. It will also ask you if you want to run a local backup of your system and will do that. Be ready that it can take 20-30 minutes or even longer depending on your phone internal size and the USB speed. Once it’s done make sure that the phone is not locked. The KIES application will download the latest update and install it on your phone. Follow the exact instructions on the screen, do not disconnect or reboot your phone or you will brick it.

After the phone is upgraded the new system will convert the installed applications and your phone book. It will take some time, but once it’s done the phone will be ready to use right away. You don’t need to change or restore any settings, the screens and the icons. Everything is preserved for your convenience.

There are some other possible troubles that you can get into after the phone system is upgraded. It is recommended to boot the phone into recovery mode and clean the cache partition to make your phone run faster and use less battery.

There is a problem with the Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other Contacts if you enable synchronization of all of them. But we’ll talk about that in the next article.