The Android stock ROM is now considered to be as safe as the competition, according to the head of Android security.

It’s always been a rock solid operating system, being based on the same Linux kernel that centers the Linux distros that are so popular for security on desktop computers. A lot of computer servers, for example, choose to run Linux as the core operating system when security is of the utmost importance.

Android’s basic principle is to arrive on devices as a locked operating system so the user doesn’t have access to the account that holds the administrative permissions (known as root access aka access to the root file system). On the Windows operating system, it is when people use the administrators account that results in most malware being installed, and the situation is no different when it comes to Android as well. The reason, in the case of Android, is because if you were to install an application that was in fact riddled with malware, it wouldn’t be able to go anywhere, i.e., move out of its apps’ sandbox, to cause any havoc around the operating system.

That being said, there are always some Apple fans quick to point out Android’s weaknesses, such as the inability to properly protect the Google Play Store from malware, even though users are always far better off installing apps from Google Play than other sources around the Web, where the chances of installing malware are far greater due to even less security monitoring them. Scrutiny coming from Apple users also focusses on the fact that all versions of Android are yet to ship with full disk encryption, a feature that iOS software has had for a while now.

As we mentioned earlier, installing malware on an Android stock ROM that doesn’t have root access isn’t the end of the world, and there are also valid reasons for not wanting to have full disk encryption no matter your operating system as well, so it’s not just like Android doesn’t have the ability not offer it. But if you were experiencing bugs, or wanted to remove the custom software and go back to using an official Android version, you can do that by flashing the stock ROM.

Before you do go ahead with the flashing though, there are some caveats that you should know about if you have been using custom software. The act of flashing custom software in itself doesn’t prevent you from safely going back to using the stock ROM, and neither does just installing a custom recovery image to get the custom software flashed. But if you got root access, installed an application such as BusyBox, removed the system apps, or did anything else that modified the system partition, you should think twice before installing the stock ROM again because it can result in unexpected behavior if you do. Rooted users with system partition changes should instead turn their attention to future custom software builds, which generally arrive within a few days of the release of the official Android versions.

Note: You should only install the firmware flash file that is for your phone carrier network if your device is still locked to a carrier. Those with unlocked devices are always able to install firmware from other carriers, provided it’s still developed for the same model number. At times there is only one carrier for the model number, in which case it doesn’t matter what file you choose.

Download Samsung SM-N920A Firmware Flash File

File Name: N920AUCS4EQF1_7.0_USA_4file

Country: USA

Android Version: Android 7.0 (Nougat)

Firmware FileDownload flash file

File Name: N920AUCS4EQF1_ATT_7.0_USA_4file

Country: USA

Android Version: Android 7.0 (Nougat)

Firmware FileDownload flash file

File Name: N920AUCU4EQC6_7.0_USA_4file

Country: USA

Android Version: Android 7.0 (Nougat)

Firmware FileDownload flash file

Note: The guide below works if your firmware file contains the tar.md5 file. If you ever need to flash Samsung firmware using the full stock ROM files individually instead, you can learn how to flash Samsung stock firmware using all four files. (Check your firmware file after you download it to see if it is a tar.md5 or comes as 4 individual files.)

How to Install Samsung SM-N920A Flash File Using Odin

1. Firstly, you need to know that the Odin flashing tool is really easy to use, but it only works on the Windows operating system. You won’t get the flashing tool to load on a Mac or Linux computer. It doesn’t really matter what version of the Windows operating system that you’re using as long as it is something above Windows XP.

2. Download and install the Samsung USB drivers on the computer if you don’t have them already.

3. Download the Samsung SM-N920A stock firmware package from the links above directly to the computer. Extract the file by right-clicking on it and choosing the option to extract. When you do, you’ll see the tar.md5 file inside. That’s the file you’ll be using to do the flashing.

4. Download the Odin flashing tool. It doesn’t really matter what version, but the latest is the most up to date so grab that one. Extract the Odin file and then double-click on the Odin executable file (.exe) that is found from within the Odin folder after extraction. You should now have the Odin interface open on the computer and waiting for you to connect to it.

5. Boot the Samsung mobile device into the Download Mode by first powering it down and then rebooting by holding the “Volume Down + Home + Power” keys at the same time.

6. A yellow warning triangle will come up on the device’s display. At this time you need to press the “Volume Up” button. You’ll then see the device getting into the Download Mode. It’s then ready for the flashing.

7. When in Download Mode, connect the Samsung mobile device to the computer with the USB cable.

8. If you have installed the USB drivers correctly, the Odin flashing tool should detect your device. You can tell this by observing the ID: COM port lighting up with a color, usually yellow or blue. (It doesn’t matter what color, it’s the lighting up that counts.)

9. After the device is picked up by Odin, click on the “PDA” or “AP” button, depending on what button your version of the Odin flashing tool has.

10. Navigate to the stock ROM folder and upload the tar.md5 file to this location in Odin.

11. Without changing any of the default settings, click on the “Start” button in Odin, and the flashing then begins.

12. Wait until Odin shows a “Pass” message before disconnecting your device.

That’s all.

Flashing the stock ROM flash file with Odin is pretty simple business: just upload the file, and you’re away. But if you have uploaded the wrong file to flash and gone ahead with it, the device will likely be in a soft-bricked state. You can always fix this problem by following the guide again, only this time flashing the correct ROM flash file that was made for your device. Like we said earlier, anyone can flash files from other phone carrier networks if the device is unlocked, but if it is still locked to a carrier, then you can only install the ROM that was released from that carrier.

Important Notes

Back Up Your Data: You should always back up your data before you begin flashing new firmware files to your Samsung smartphone or tablet. All of your pictures, music, videos, documents, etc. should be still on your device after you have updated the firmware, but you may need to restore the contacts and applications from a backup.

Wipe Cache and Factory Reset: Some people claim that taking a factory reset isn’t necessary after updates, but at the very least you should wipe the system cache after installing new firmware. This way you can help eliminate any performance issues and battery draining bugs. Taking a factory reset is the best way of avoiding common problems many users face after applying software updates.

Additional Firmware

You can download Android ROMs for other Android devices if you have another smartphone or tablet from a different manufacturer.

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