Anytime you root a smartphone, install TWRP, or change any system files of your device then you are not able to accept official OTA updates anymore. So if you have modded your Samsung Galaxy Note 9 then you can still install new updates, you just have to follow these steps to not lose any user data.
On some Android smartphones, it is really difficult to install a new update after you have modified any parts of the system. To apply these official OTA updates that get sent via a notification all of the files need to be as they are originally supposed to be.
And it can be difficult to get all of the files back to the way they were without going through a return to stock (AKA an unbrick) tutorial. For example, you may be able to replace TWRP with the stock recovery, but what about the changes that were made to get TWRP installed.
The same goes for root applications as well. You can uninstall Adaway but you’ve already made changes to the system once you have started to block ads. You may still get those OTA update notifications and you can try to install them, but you’ll simply be rebooted back into the same version of Android you’re currently on.
Again, thankfully with Samsung things are a bit different. If you remember back, I recently showed you how to unbrick the Galaxy Note 9. In that tutorial, I specially mentioned inserting the “CSC_OMC” file in the “CSC” slot. Doing this is what resets the phone and erases everything.
However, if we make one simple change in that CSC slot then we can update to a new version without erasing any user data.
I do want to note that this is the process for updating the stock Samsung Experience/TouchWiz firmware. I know I recently showed you how to install a Project Treble ROM on the Galaxy Note 9 but I’ll show you how to update those later.
How to Update a Rooted Galaxy Note 9 Without Losing User Data
- Download and extract Odin version 3.13.1 onto the PC
- Download the new Samsung firmware that matches your specific version of the Galaxy Note 9
- Extract the firmware files into a folder on your computer
- Boot the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 into Download Mode
- Launch the Odin EXE file and click the OK button to bypass the warning
Just in case you need another reminder, make sure you download the firmware version that matches your device
- Click the BL button, then browse to and select the firmware file that begins with BL
- Click the AP button, then browse to and select the firmware file that begins with AP
This file very big and will take a minute or two to allow Odin to fully load into the program
- Click the CP button, the browse to and select the firmware file that begins with CP
- Then click the CSC button, and browse to then select the firmware file that begins with HOME_CSC
- Once all four files are loaded into Odin, click the Start button
- Wait for the green PASS status message to appear in Odin and the Galaxy Note 9 will reboot on its own
- During this reboot you will see the screen go blue and it will say it’s erasing data (just like when you perform a factory reset)
I’m not sure why it does this of if it’s even erasing any data in the first place. But As you can see in the video below, it’s not erasing your user data so don’t get paranoid.
- After a long boot cycle you will finally be taken right back into the Android OS where all of your apps and data are right where you left them
If you have been following along with my tutorials (or simply know your way around a Samsung device), then Odin has started to become very familiar to you. You’ve either used it to install TWRP on the Galaxy Note 9. Or you’ve used it to unbrick your smartphone and start over fresh again.
Either way, being familiar with Odin is a good thing if you enjoy tinkering with Samsung devices. It’s very difficult to completely break a Samsung smartphone as long as you have Odin and can boot up into Download Mode. I do wish they hadn’t replaced Fastboot Mode with it. . .but Samsung enjoys doing things their own way.
Now, if you have gone through the process of how to unbrick the Galaxy Note 9 then today’s tutorial will, again, feel very familiar. We are still doing a lot of the steps here as we were before including downloading/extracting the firmware, loading files into Odin, and flashing them in Download Mode.
What Makes This Method Not Lose User Data?
The big difference here is Step #9. As the previous tutorial told you to insert the file that begins with CSC into the CSC slot. . .this tutorial is only very slightly different. If you put the file that begins with CSC into the CSC slot then it will erase all of your user data but go back and look at the extracted firmware files.
We actually have two different files that have the letters CSC toward the beginning. These are the only files in the official Samsung firmware downloads that are similar so you’ll always want to be careful when picking which of these files you load up into the CSC slot in Odin.
As we have gone over in the unbrick tutorial, if you load the CSC_OMC file into the CSC slot in Odin then it will erase all of your data. It will be as if you have pulled the phone out of the box and are starting with a fresh install of Android. This means you’ll be required to log into your Google/Samsung account and all of that.
But, if you follow the steps in this guide and load the Home_CSC file into the CSC slot in Odin, then your data is not going to be erased. As I noted in the step by step guide though, the phone will reboot to a blue screen and it will seem that it is doing a factory reset. Ignore this part and do not get paranoid.
Follow Along with the Video
As recommended, watch the video first and/or follow along with me as I am following the same step by step tutorial as you end up going through. You will see that blue factory reset screen once Odin shows a “Pass” message and reboots the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
That first boot cycle will take 3-4 minutes before it finally takes you back into Android. But if you’ve done everything right and you’ve been patient during this whole process then you’ll end up seeing the “updating Android,” “optimizing apps,” and finally the “Finishing Android update” messages once you finally boot back up.
Once you are back into Android though, you should see all of your applications, games, photos, videos, and settings exactly the way you left them (just like I did). The key difference here is to choose the HOME_CSC file when you want to update the Galaxy Note 9 while rooted without losing any of your user data.