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Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 receive Android 14, albeit unofficially

Thanks to the work of a third-party developers, enthusiasts can install an Android 14 custom ROM on these legendary phones.
By
January 2, 2024
Android 14 logo on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Damien Wilde / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • A developer has released Lineage OS 21, based on Android 14, for the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2.
  • The Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 were released in 2012 and were last updated to Android 4.4 Kitkat with Touchwiz by Samsung.

Samsung launched the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 back in 2012, and they’re legendary devices in their own right. Of course, the phones have long been discontinued, and if you are still using one 12 years later, we recommend upgrading to a newer Samsung phone. For enthusiasts and hobbyists who still have the phone in their drawer, you would be glad to know that you can now upgrade both phones to Android 14, albeit unofficially, through a custom ROM.

A third-party custom ROM developer has posted Lineage OS 21 custom ROMs for the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2. These custom ROMs are based on Android 14. Lineage OS, in particular, is known for taking the clean Android experience and making minor yet meaningful modifications.

Samsung’s last official update for these ancient devices was Android 4.4 KitKat, with the relevant TouchWiz release on top. While you won’t get One UI on these phones, it is commendable that you can install the latest Android version on them with the help of the aftermarket developer community.

Since this is an unofficial release, there are a few bugs (which you should expect on devices over a decade old). There are some stability issues, and storage encryption is not working. Needless to say, the custom ROM is considered an alpha release and should not be installed on your daily driver (and if you are still using a Galaxy S3 in 2024, then wow, color me very surprised).

Installing it on your device is also a bit more complicated than your regular official software update. You would first need to unlock your phone’s bootloader, install a custom recovery like TWRP through Odin or Heimdall, and then install (aka “flash”) this custom ROM through TWRP. The custom ROM also does not ship with any Google apps, so you will need to flash a GApps package after your custom ROM is installed.

Still, such enthusiast-driven projects show us that supporting a device for a long time is less of an engineering challenge and more of a business decision. Thankfully, Samsung offers one of the best Android update promises for its current phones, with a long software support window.