So, you want to root your U.S. or Canadian Galaxy S3 with the Qualcomm dual-core 1.5Ghz CPU?
UPDATE: Please see updated root method here instead!
If your Galaxy S3 model started with SGH-T999, SGH-I747, or SPH-L710, you can follow this step-by-step guide and root your phone within about 5 minutes. No, this will not erase any apps or settings on your phone and does not affect your phone in any way other than install ClockworkMod Recovery and give you root. (So if you have problems after rooting, don’t just assume it’s from rooting, it’s not.)
Works for all Gingerbread, Android 4.0.3/4.0.4 ICS, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and Android 4.4.2 KitKat! (For 4.3 and 4.4.2 please use the other SuperSU zip provided in Step 3.)
For Android 4.3 or 4.4.2 KitKat, you can also use Towelroot, which does not require a computer!
UPDATE: Users have verified this root method also works for U.S. Cellular Galaxy S3, BootMobile.
If you have an international Galaxy S3 (non U.S. and Canada) with model number starting with GT-i9300, DO NOT FOLLOW THIS GUIDE but see How to Root Galaxy S3! instead.
This guide is for Windows, for Mac and Linux, please see this root method here.
Step 1. Connect your Galaxy S3 to your computer via a micro-USB cable and make sure USB PC connection is set to “Media device(MTP)”. If you didn’t change it, that’s the default settings on your Galaxy S3.
Step 3. Copy SuperUser.zip in the unzipped folder to anywhere on your phone’s internal storage. This is the file that gives your phone root and SuperSU app when you flash it in ClockworkMod Recovery. We will use this file later on so note where you copied this file to on your phone.
For Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or 4.4.2 KitKat, please download and use this SuperUser zip file instead!!!
*Note – This file is also compatible across any Android device. If you have custom recovery on any Android device, flash this in custom recovery to give your Android device root.
Step 4. Next, go to your Galaxy S3 and take the micro-USB cable out.
Then hold down Volume Down, Home Center, and Power buttons together.
Step 5. When your Galaxy S3 reboots, the screen will turn off, keep holding down Volume Down and Center Home buttons while letting go of the Power button.
Step 6. When you see the warning screen, hit Volume Up button.
Step 7. Your screen should now say “Downloading…”, re-connect micro-USB cable to your phone from computer.
Step 8. Double-click on Odin3 v1.85.exe to run the ODIN program. This ODIN program allows you to flash ClockworkMod Recovery into the recovery partition on your phone.
*Note – You can also use ODIN program to flash kernels, stock ROMs, and more.
Step 9. Click on “PDA” and choose “RecoveryGalaxyS3USCanada.tar”.
Step 10. You should see a yellow highlighted box with a COM and random number. If you don’t, download and install Samsung Kies. After installation, DO NOT RUN Samsung Kies. We are only installing Samsung Kies which will automatically install drivers for your Galaxy S3. After installing Samsung Kies, simply unplug and plug your phone back to your computer, you should see the yellow highlighted box now.
Next, un-check “Auto-Reboot”.
Step 11. Hit the “Start” button. In about 5 seconds, the ClockworkMod Recovery should be flashed and you should see a green box with “PASS!” on it like shown below.
Step 12. Take the battery out of your Galaxy S3. This is because newer stock software updates overwrite your Custom Recovery upon reboot. We can get away from losing our newly-flashed custom recovery (ClockworkMod Recovery) simply pulling the battery out and booting straight into our new custom recovery.
Step 13. Put the battery back in and immediately hold down Volume Up, Center Home, and Power buttons together.
Step 14. Keep holding down Volume Up and Center Home buttons while letting go of the Power button after 2 seconds.
Step 15. Once in ClockworkMod Recovery, use the Volume buttons to choose “install zip from sdcard” then hit the Power button to select. (Same thing from here on.)
Step 16. Next choose “choose zip from internal sdcard”.
Step 17. Next choose “SuperUser.zip”.
Step 18. Next choose “Yes – Install SuperUser.zip”.
Step 19. You should get “Install from sdcard complete” message.
Step 20. Choose “+++++Go Back+++++”.
Step 21. Choose “Reboot system now” to reboot your Galaxy S3.
Step 22. You should now find an app called SuperSU in your app drawer. Congratulations! You’ve rooted your Galaxy S3! Pat yourself on the back if you did this in about 5 minutes, the beauty of Samsung Android smartphones.
Step 23. You can verify that you have full root by downloading root apps like Titanium Backup app and opening it, you should see “Superuser request” window pop up.
Q: Does this root method erase my settings and apps?
A: No, it doesn’t touch a thing, very safe to do.
Q: ODIN does not start on my computer, what do I do?
A: Sometimes various Windows programs and drivers interfere with ODIN, try closing/killing any programs before running the program. If that does’t work, just use another computer.
Q: I ended up in Kernel panic mode, what do I do?
A: Relax, that’s same as ODIN download mode, simply run ODIN again and flash the files again, it will work.
Q: Does rooting break my phone in any way?
A: No, this root method actually does not change your Galaxy S3 except install custom recovery and give you root. Everything else on your phone will stay the same.
Q: Will this root method work on newer updates?
A: Yes, this root method will work regardless of new updates.
Q: I keep getting stock Android recovery instead of ClockworkMod Recovery!
A: After rooting, erase /system/recovery-from-boot.p and /system/etc/install-recovery.sh using ES File Explorer with Root and Write enabled. That will make CWM stick. This is due to newer software versions overwriting your stock recovery on reboot.
More questions? Please leave in the comment section below for help from author and other users.
More on this Root Method
This root method simply installs ClockworkMod Recovery to the recovery partition and installs Superuser zip file, very safe to do. With Galaxy S2, recovery partition was part of the kernel and was a bit dangerous but with Galaxy S3, Samsung has made recovery parition separate from the kernel, making it much safer just like how Galaxy Nexus works.