I've been asked recently how I hacked my phone, I'd like to post a guide with all the links here for reference. Please let me know if you see something wrong or have better suggestions!
** obviously this is only for a Galaxy S5 G900R4 model from US Cellular **
To start, using Windows, you need a Samsung USB driver:
install the driver and then plug your phone into the USB of your PC. You should be able to browse your phones files.
you also need ODIN (the program to flash software), I use version 3.12.3:
There are two other ways of booting your phone from power off, these instructions are for later:
to boot into download mode:
press and hold volume down button, press and hold the home button, and finally press and hold the power button for about a second - it should vibrate and show it booting into download mode. You can release the buttons after it vibrates. If that doesn't work, shut it off again and try again, no big deal. to get out of download mode, if you didn't actually download anything - pull the battery to power off.
to boot into recovery mode:
same as download mode but use the volume up button instead, so use vol up+home+power and wait for the vibration, it should show recovery mode booting.
Now I highly suggest you do a full system update to the latest stock ROM as this will update all the hidden partitions (with the LTE firmware and stuff):
QC2 - http://upload.teamuscellular.com/484 ~ 1.5Gb
While NOT connected to the PC, put phone in download mode (see above), run ODIN. press the AP button in ODIN and select the MD5 file you just downloaded. Plug in the phone and ODIN should see it and say ready. press start and watch it load the stock ROM. The phone will reboot, you can disconnect the USB cable now and let it set up.
Next to install TWRP, a custom recovery:
I use version 3.1.1 download the .tar file to your PC - https://dl.twrp.me/klte/
shut down and boot phone back into download mode. Start ODIN again and load the TWRP file into the "AP slot" again (press the AP button connect the cable, wait for ODIN to say ready. press start on ODIN and watch it load the custom recovery. Disconnect cable, boot back into the stock rom.
Next select a custom rom known to work with you device, I use LineageOS 14.1 ATM from here:
rom: https://download.lineageos.org/klte (download the latest nightly/weekly TO YOUR PHONE)
root (totally optional, but I use it. Can be installed/uninstalled later): https://mirrorbits.lineageos.org/su/addonsu-14.1-arm-signed.zip
Also download an OpenGapps version TO YOUR PHONE if you want to be able to download apps from the play store:
platform arm, android 7.1, select a version (I use a customized version of super, many other suggest micro or nano). I'd probably say micro if I was forced to choose.
Please make sure your phone is fully charged for the next steps, then unplug your phone. (I've had issues with the phone being plugged in while I tried to flash roms).
shut down and boot into TWRP (recovery mode). Slide right at the first screen.
do a factory reset: select wipe, then slide right. when complete, hit the little home button in TWRP. If this is your first ROM, I'd suggest a data wipe also - select wipe, then data, then type yes.
press install and browse to the download folder of your phone - select the lineage ROM zip file. load the su addon zip at the same time, and also add the opengapps zip. When all are ready to go start the install. wait for it to finish all. when it's done I always press the "wipe cache & dalvik" button for that, then press the reboot into system button.
** wait a LONG time maybe 10-15 minutes even for everything to be set up. This is the worse wait in my opinion, hoping all goes well.
hopefully you can now add your goggle account info. You should also be able download all the apps you previously had on your phone or use it as excuse for a fresh start.
more roms are here: https://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-s5/unified-development
make sure they are for g900r4 (klte)!! You can "dirty flash" a new version of the same rom by just selecting it in TWRP and writing over the older version, then wipe cache&dalvik. I also overwrite with a newer version of opengapps at the same time.
make use of TWRPs backup feature, you can back up, install a different rom, try that for a while and then restore to your previous version. Nice!
So thats it, hope it all works for you.