So I hate Rogers, and all the crippleware they insist on putting on the phones they sell, and let's not forget to mention all the built-in vulnerabilities Samsung insists on installing as well. It took me a while to eventually get done, but I managed to flash my Samsung Galaxy S3 with Cyanogenmod 10.2, and it has never been better. I will go over all the headaches I encountered, as well as how I went about getting it flashed. While I did this all from a Linux desktop, the instructions are there for Windows as well.
To start things off, I had a stock Samsung Galaxy S3 as provided by Rogers, complete with the stock Samsung apps. For me, this was a MAJOR problem... Here are a few site going over why:
While I am unsure that the exact article I had read to spark my interest is here, these just quickly point out some reasons I wanted to flash my phone. The short of it: Samsung apps are themselves very weak, security-wise, and are full of vulnerabilities. So when you get a Samsung phone, it has built-in vulnerabilities which can effectvely grant full-access to an attacker, and you would be none-the-wiser.
So on to the research. While Paranoid Android was (and still is) an alternative, I'm not quite at the Paranoid stage quite yet, and found that, based on descriptions, Cyanogenmod was what I was looking for. Going to the website, it was rather simple to find the basics on how to flash the phone. In fact, it seemed almost a little too easy... Here are the instructions I had wound up following:
I downloaded Heimdall and the recovery software, and got to work. After what appeared to be a successful flash, I booted into the recovery firmware. I saw the little loading screen breifly, then the screen went black. Fearing I had just messed something up, I tried rebooting, which did not work. In a panic, I pulled the battery. When I put it back in, I just turned on the phone, and let it boot normally. At this point, the stock Android booted just fine. So fine, it was almost like I had done nothing... So I turned the phone off, and booted into the recovery firmware. Once again, same deal... I saw the little loading screen breifly, then the screen went black. I went back, flashed again, and again the same results. Then I tried flashing it several more times, each trying a slightly different command, all with the same end results. While I had seemingly pooched the recovery firmware, I was able to use the phone as I normally did, so I left it alone for a few weeks while I planned my next move.
Weeks later, I was up for trying again. Using the same software and firmware, I falshed the recovery with yet again the same results. I was frustrated at this point, and started looking at other recovery firmware to work with. AAt that point, I had stumbled across a seemingly unrelated forum post, in which the asker is asking about his Rogers phone and which carrier to use. I thought to myself "What a stupid question... Look at the options. We aren't Verizon, AT&T, Virgin, or any of the others... We are clearly using the International firmware!" Wondering what the community trolling would be like, I read on. It was only 2 or 3 responses in, when someone said that Rogers phones are the same as AT&T phones.
I downloaded the AT&T recovery firmware (rather than the International firmware I had been using this whole time), and flashed that. Rebboted in the recovery firmware, and SUCCESS!!
I could not believe it. I had literally wasted hours and hours flashing the wrong firmware, and spent weekes researching the wrong firmware. While I was supremely frustrated with the wasted time, I was far more excited and happy to now have the proper details sorted out. Giddy with excitement, I then went to download the proper Cyanogenmod firmware. Here's a link:
Flashed this firmware as per the instructions, rebooted, SUCCESS! It was SO easy at this point, I almost laughed. Booting into the new OS was as exciting as turning on a new phone for the very first time. In fact, it was just like a whole new phone, without forking out a ton of cash to Rogers! Once I got things started, I noticed there were no Google apps.. No Gmail, no Play Store... Then I found yet another link:
It turns out that Cyanogenmod does not include them by default. I followed the instructions, got the package to my phone, installed it, and rebooted. Once the phone booted back up, I saw all the Google Apps icons. I opened the play store, put in my credentials, and right away I got a popup stating that all my apps were missing (indeed they were), and it aslked me if I wanted to install them all. I said yes, and a little under 30 minutes later, I hadd all my apps installed again, with the exception of the Samsung Apps. It was awesome! The app re-installs were so simple and easily done, once I said 'yes', there was no further input required from me.
In case it is wanted, here are the links I used to get everything I needed:
Information: Samsung Galaxy S III LTE ("d2lte")
How to Install CyanogenMod on the Samsung Galaxy S III LTE ("d2lte")
Browse Files for Samsung Galaxy S III (AT&T) - d2att / stable