How To: Install a Custom Recovery on Your Bootloader-Locked Galaxy Note 3 (AT&T or Verizon)

Install a Custom Recovery on Your Bootloader-Locked Galaxy Note 3 (AT&T or Verizon)

The bootloaders on the AT&T and Verizon Wireless variants of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 still cannot be unlocked, despite the $1,400+ bounty that arose late last year. Nine months later and still nothing. But just because we can't "unlock" the bootloader doesn't mean we can't get around it.

For those of you not familiar with a bootloader, it's the program that loads the phones firmware on startup. With a locked bootloader, your phone is forever stuck on stock ROMs, meaning custom ROMs, kernels, and flashing ZIPs are off limits.

Safestrap Recovery bypasses the bootloader altogether and creates a virtual recovery, based on the very popular TWRP. It's incredibly easy to install on the locked down AT&T and Verizon Wireless variants, and it will let you do all of those glorious things you couldn't do before.


Step 1: Choose Which Safestrap Recovery to Install

There are different versions of Safestrap depending on what Android version you're running and your carrier. Before we get to them, though, let's first figure out what firmware you have on your Note 3.

Finding Your Firmware Version

You can find what firmware and version of Android that you're running by going into your app drawer and tapping the Settings icon. Next, navigate to General -> About device and find your firmware version under Build number—the last three characters designates your firmware version.

Now that you know your OS version, firmware build, and carrier, you can download the appropriate Safestrap version using one of the links below. Just do not attempt to install the APK yet.

AT&T Users

See here for more download links for other devices.

Verizon Wireless Users

See here for more download links for other devices.

Warning for Verizon Wireless Users

Verizon Wireless users who have "Android device encryption" turned on should stay clear of Safestrap Recovery, as it will put your device into a bootloop.

Step 2: Install BusyBox

In order to install Safestrap Recovery correctly, we need to use BusyBox, which is free on the Play Store. BusyBox is a collection of tools required by many root-capable apps, Safestrap being one of them.

After it installs, launch BusyBox and grant it superuser permissions, then tap the button for Install.

Step 3: Install Safestrap

Using BusyBox's install tool, tap on the Safestrap APK file that you downloaded in Step #1 and install it.

Step 4: Use Safestrap to Install Recovery

Now open Safestrap, grant it superuser permissions, agree to the disclaimer, then tap Install Recovery on the main screen.

To boot into your custom recovery from within Safestrap, tap the button for Reboot to Recovery. You will also see the option to boot into Safestrap when you reboot or power on your device.

Select Recovery to go into Safestrap, or Continue to boot up normally. You can ignore this message as well; after 10 seconds, your device will boot normally.

Now you're free to flash custom ROMs and any other device mods on your Note 3. That's all there is to installing Safestrap and getting a custom recovery on your bootloader-locked Note 3. If you have any questions or need some help troubleshooting, post a comment below.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image background via Shutterstock


I tried using safe strap to flash s5 rom on my att note 3. But after Applying the rom the amount of memory needed to run the operating system went from 6-7 gigs to 29 gigs. What causes this? Was it the version of safe strap? Of the rom? I tried several times with the same results.

Which S5 rom are you using?

Hi, I have a AT&T Note 3 and I Installed Safestrap 3.75 (TWRP v.

So when I try to make a Back Up I receive an message that say; Back Uo FAILED. What can I do about it? What is the solution?

My Galaxy Note 3 is stuck in the Safestrap: Enabled ....and that it....nothing moore....the screen go black and turn off.

Is the phone bricked?

Thank you very much for your help.

Sorry for my english....

I have safestrap on my version note 3. I can't upload any rom that I try, any advice, or known compatible kitkat roms. (Preferably stock based)

If you don't kno the build version from the top of your head then I would suggest looking into biggins rom for Verizon note 3. Google search how to install biggins rom for Verizon note 3 nc4. You need to download the rom and when u flash the rom you need to reboot into download mode and flash a unified kk firmware with odin on a Pc. I have the verizon note 3 nc4 and running biggins rom and it's very stable and an awesome price of artwork

Hi if your on nc4 you must flash the nc2 kernel via odin to boot custom roms. I'm using hyperdrive and once had the same issue as you...hope this helps

Hi there anyone there mind helping me out I have this motorola droid 4 verizon which had the safetrap software since I knew nothing about safwtrap I touched the wipe icon on the safetrap and my phone now just comes on and remains on thw motorola logo even when tge logo goes the screen remains blank anyone outhere can help it runs android


Seems that you've wiped the OS from your device. What carrier did you get the device from?

Ihavethe same problem but on my verizon s5

Would u guy happen 2 noe if this works for Verizon note 2 running kit Kat 4.4.2 my build # ends in nd7

Am really pissed itried to change my boot animation on my rooted s5 and it wouldnt work it would turn on and it would nt show a boot screen. I factory reset it and now it just stay on the samsung s5 screen please help i tried everything and it still wont work its just frozen on thay screen. I could turn it off put it in download mode and in recovery mode but nothing works . i had safestrap installed and when i factory reset it i was using a rom-1 from safestrap i think this is what messed up my phone please help me

I cannot install Safestrap because the link KitKat (MLG/NB4/NC2): Safestrap-HLTEATT-NC2-3.75-B03.apk does not work. Clicking on the appropriate link under "See here for more download links for other devices" does not open anything either.

From the comments, and the lack of support they get I get the awkward feeling that this procedure might be quite risky.

I have rooted my Galaxy Note 3 and am trying to get rid of AT&T and Samsung bloatware.
I hope somebody cares to advise me. Thank you.

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest