What is Heimdall?
Heimdall is a cross-platform open-source tool suite used to flash firmware (aka ROMs) onto Samsung mobile devices.
How does it work?
Heimdall connects to a mobile device over USB and interact with software running on device known as Loke. Loke and Heimdall communicate via the custom Samsung-developed protocol sometimes referred to as the 'Odin protocol'. Low-level USB in Heimdall is handled by the popular open-source USB library, libusb.
For internal use, Samsung developed their own firmware flashing tool known as 'Odin', named after the king of gods in Norse mythology. Loke, the software component that runs on the Samsung devices and provides the functionality necessary to flash, also seems to be named after an important character in Norse mythology (often translated as Loki). In this vein, our software was named 'Heimdall' after the Norse god and guardian of the Bifrost Bridge.
What platforms does Heimdall run on?
Officially - Linux, OS X and Windows (XP, Vista, 7 etc.)
Why use Heimdall when we can use Samsung's tool, Odin?
Aside from being slow and generally unreliable, Odin only runs on Windows systems. Furthermore, Odin is 'leaked software' that is not officially supported by Samsung, freely available, or well understood by the community at large.
Is Heimdall safe?
No matter which method you chose, flashing firmware onto your device has potential for disaster. We test Heimdall with a variety of devices by flashing each one with several different versions of appropriate firmware. As such we believe that Heimdall is extremely reliable for the devices that we have tested. However keep in mind, just like any firmware flashing software, Heimdall has the potential to brick your device if not used correctly.
How do devices get bricked when flashing?
Besides the inherent risks like power outs, accidental removal of the USB cable and the fact that some of Samsung's devices appear to be running somewhat unreliable USB control software; the most common cause is actually a bad USB hub (i.e. faulty USB ports) or a low-quality/damaged USB cable. A failed flash will typically result in a state that is known as a 'soft brick' and is totally recoverable, often by simply trying again. 'Hard bricks' on the other hand, are often the result of a user error i.e. flashing incompatible bootloaders onto a device. 'Hard bricks' are technically still recoverable by more advanced means, but your best bet is to visit a certified Samsung repair centre.
Which devices has Heimdall been tested with?
Users have reported success with a wide variety of Samsung's mobile phones and tablets from all around the world. However, we officially test on the following devices:
Enough talk, where can we get it?
The latest release can be downloaded below. Instructions to install and run Heimdall on Windows are included in README.txt, or simply README for OS X and Linux releases.
Please read it!
We distribute Windows, OS X and Linux binaries for 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. Users of other platforms will need to compile from source, or get a hold of third-party binary distribution. Keep in mind we can’t verify the integrity of third-party distributions, so only download from trusted sources.
I love you, man. Will you have my baby?
No, but we will very gladly accept donations. If you appreciate our work and would like to support future development please make a donation here. If you don’t use PayPal or would prefer to support us in a different way, then please take a look at some of our commercial offerings.