How To Delete Software Update For VZW Galaxy S4 That Blocks Root Access

Sprint, Verizon and AT&T have all pushed OTA updates for the Galaxy S4 that add Apps to SD functionality and some other enhancements. However, the update includes a new bootloader that can’t be reverted, which effectively makes it impossible to root your phone.

I started getting the alert to install the system update on July 17th, and have avoided doing so because my phone is rooted and I don’t want to lose that ability. If you’re like me and want to stop getting all the obnoxious popups (as well as freeing up some extra space on your phone), follow these instructions to delete the update and kill the popup alerts. Again, this is only for rooted users.

1. Install Root Explorer (download link)

2. Navigate all the way back to the root / parent directory

Navigate back to the root directory.

3. Go into the cache directory.

The cache directory will look like this.

4. Open the fota directory. Then click the check box next to the update.zip file and click the trash can icon at the bottom. Confirm to delete.

Delete the update.zip file.

5. Restart your phone. You’ll no longer see the obnoxious popups to install the software update, and you’ll have freed up 350-ish megabytes in the process.

6. Profit.

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  • David

    Hey Thanks for the info. I have a somewhat related question. I have a rooted verizon gs4 and I actually want to install the update. However, each time i try installing it there is some kind of an error. I think something about the root is blocking it from being updated but I don’t know what it is. Do you know how I can successfully update a rooted phone (I’m aware that I would lose root access…)?

    • Troy

      Thank you for the post on blocking this update. I have been avoiding this since I have root, and getting tired of the popups. I have also locked the folder permissions down so it cannot write to my phone again.

  • THE_Ryan

    Is there a way we can stop the phone from downloading the update again?

    • Roger

      Actually, I changed the folder permissions to disallow writing to the fota folder. You can do this with File Manager, and I imagine also with Root explorer. Now it can’t download the update again. Hope this helps.

  • Turd Ferguson

    Thanks for the info. Applied to my phone exactly as you instructed, and is working perfectly. Thanks!

  • Lauren Allen

    Hi, .. some extra info for you. I received that pushout very late, I think just yesterday Aug 15th. And the ‘reminder’ isn’t very patient..

    On my 4th round of Home-Key-Go-Away, my phone rebooted itself without asking me any further. I saw this happening, luckily, and immediately popped out the battery to interrupt it.

    It was unknown to me if a subsequent power-on would necessarily go through the update anyway before I could get it solved. That’s when I found your page, and Thanks :-)

    But just as with my previous Samsungs it does not try to continue. A failure of the update seems to delete the update and notify a failure.

    But while waiting through that inevitable power-on to see if there was going to be root-loss, it occurred to me that you could also (if ever necessary) leave the phone off until you can find a buddy with either your phone (or your battery type) who could put your battery in his phone and run the charge down to the point where an update would have to be insane to allow itself to continue.

    Then just get pop your nearly-dead battery back in your own phone, navigate to ‘fota’, and delete/change the permissions etc per your primer here. :-)

    ES File Explorer -does- allow for those permission changes.

  • Richard Real

    I will try the dead battery routine as today —-

    Hope someone can help – a nightmare as my MDK was rooted in preparation
    to install BoneStock v1.1.3 (VRUAME7) – today. The OTA update window
    kept popping up and I push home key to kill it. Was rally 5 minutes away
    from installing new rom — anyway instead of hitting home key I must
    have hit install now …. right away phone shut off and came on in
    update mode. I took out battery to stop it.

    Now cannot boot normally or into recovery or download mode as anytime
    power is on the update starts. Obviously I do now want the factory ME7
    as then will not be able to install BoneStock v1.1.3 .

    Does anyone know if it is at all possible to somehow stop the update process.

    Thanks so much for any help. I did a search and could not find any solution

  • Richard Real

    after a dozen times of taking out battery – was able to get into download and use odin. now back to normal. and have now deleted update zip

  • Caleb

    So far, this has done nothing.. I restarted my phone twice and still the update pops up just as before. There is no update.zip after I deleted it, but the update is still there. Sounds like I just wasted $4!!

    • Nate

      Use the explorer to get to System>App, and rename SDM.apk to SDM.apk.bak. The update notification should go away.

  • Andy

    You can also just force stop the service pushing out the alert to update (if rooted).

  • Kasey Cabral

    The update loaded on my phone. Is there a way to delete the update?

    • sri

      Hi.. I have already updated the latest version.. si can I go back to the previous version. Because I don’t like this version. My charge and notification icons all went to white..

  • ASHISH

    DO NOT UPDATE GALAXY S4

  • Din Jamil

    hello… already tried to find fota file in cache but it not inside cache folder… please help me. last time already finish download update software for KitKat 4.4. I want to delete the folder aorund 400MB in my internal…