It has been more than a week since the Google Play edition Galaxy S4 started receiving the Android 4.4 KitKat update. Since the I9505 variant of the Galaxy S4 shares the same specs as the Google Play edition, it was just a matter of time before someone ported the GPe ROM to the I9505 variant of the S4.
While the developers had some teething troubles in porting the ROM, all the issues are finally sorted and Galaxy S4 owners can enjoy the stock Android 4.4 KitKat experience on their Galaxy S4. Before you jump to the steps below, make sure you have the I9505 a.k.a Qualcomm/LTE variant of the Galaxy S4 with root access and a custom recovery installed. If not, follow our guide here to root your Galaxy S4.
Also, make sure to create backups just in case something goes wrong. The steps below will format your /data partition, which means all your contacts, messages and installed apps will be deleted.
Step 1: Head over to this XDA thread to download the KitKat GPe ROM for your Galaxy S4. Transfer the ZIP file to the root of the internal storage on your S4. If you are using SIM PIN lockn your Galaxy S4, make sure to disable it as well. If you don’t, you might just be locked out from your device when you flash the KitKat ROM.
Step 2: Reboot your Galaxy S4 into recovery mode. You can do so by using the Quick boot application from the Play Store, or manually by switching off the device, and then simultaneously pressing the Volume Up + Home + Power keys.
Step 3: Now, depending on the recovery you are using, find and select the ‘factory reset/wipe data’ option. If you are using CWM recovery, the option should be present right on the main screen. On TWRP, tap the ‘Wipe’ option and then use the slider at the bottom to wipe the data partition.
Step 4: Select the ‘Install’ option now and navigate to /sdcard/0. From there, find and select the ZIP file of the ROM that you transferred to the device in Step 1. Once the ZIP file has been installed, select the ‘Reboot system’ option to boot your Galaxy S4 for some KitKat goodness.
The first boot will take a few minutes so be patient. If for some reason your Galaxy S4 enters into a boot loop, try rebooting the device again. If that does not work, repeat the above steps again.
It is highly recommended that you don’t restore your app data from your Android 4.3 Jelly Bean ROM as it might cause some unintended side effects. If you face any issues, drop in a comment and we will be happy to help!
Update: If you are facing mobile network issues, make sure to update your modem to MK9. You will need to flash the modem using ODIN as it is not currently possible to flash a modem using a custom recovery on the Qualcomm variant of the Galaxy S4.