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What Is Binary And What Is Its Importance?

What is Binary and What is the Importance of Knowing the Binary Version of Your Device's Build Number?

In order to upgrade or downgrade your Samsung device (smartphone/tablet), you need to know about some of the important signs and information written on your device's Official firmware so that you will be able to find the exact official firmware file for your device and you would not waste your time and internet data by downloading wrong files!


A few questions might arise regarding this, such as;

What ROM do I need to download?

How do I know if my device supports upgrading or downgrading?

Let's start from the beginning. Since a few years ago (since 2014, to be exact), when Samsung decided to apply an anti-downgrading security called Binary lock on official/stock ROMs of their devices, users are not allowed to downgrade their devices to whatever ROM they like!


What is Binary and how does it work?

Binary lock is a new security system applied on the Bootloader of Samsung devices which were introduced in 2014 when Samsung unveiled the new flagship of the time, Galaxy Note4! Binary was introduced to increase the security of devices (Notice; devices produced in 2013 and earlier does not have Binary) and it is in the form of numerical characters;

for example, U1, U2, U3, U4, U5, and … or S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, and … it shows the Binary characteristics of Official/Stock ROM.

When the Binary version goes up, you will not be able to flash lower binary files!

For example, if the current Binary of your device is U5, you cannot flash Official/stock ROMs or combination files which have U4, U3, U2, or U1 Binary; you will only be able to flash a ROM or combination file with U5, U6, or higher Binary!!! It means you won't have the permission to downgrade (ROM of) your device and if you try to flash it, you will see "Failed!!!" error like in the pictures below;


Why did Samsung, unlike other companies, devise and apply Binary lock on their devices?

There are a couple of reasons for doing this. The first one is increasing the security of their products; since newly produced devices are more secure than old one, not allowing users to downgrade the ROM, will result in increased security. The second reason is users' dissatisfaction of devices that run with CPU Exynos (CPU Exynos is developed by Samsung). Users frequently faced with IMEI disappearing and lost Serial Number problem; the common reason of this was downgrading the ROM to older versions by users. Missing IMEI and Serial Number was among the very common problems of Samsung products during 2010 to 2014. Samsung has reduced this problem to the lowest level possible by designing Binary lock and now we rarely see a Samsung device whose IMEI or Serial Number disappears after flashing.

How to know the current Binary of my device?

To learn about the binary version of your device, first you need to know your device's Build Number.

To find the Build Number you have two options;

1. If your device is turned ON, go to the following address in the Settings of your device and write down the Build Number;

Menu → Settings → About → Software Information → More

Write down the Build Number of your device. For example, the Build Number of a SM-G955F can be R16NW.G955FXXU1CRD7.

2. If your device is turned OFF or it is stuck at reboot loop, you need to learn about the Build Number by entering Recovery Mode of your device. Read this article to learn how to enter Recovery Mode! 

when the device is in Recovery Mode, you'll see the Build Number and Android version of your device on top the screen;

Write down the Build Number somewhere. As you see in the picture above, this device's Build Number is R16NW.G955FXXU1CRD7.


Now that you have Build Number, the next question is:

How to find the Binary version?

Please keep in mind that Binary version is something like UX or SX in Build Number. For example, U1, U2, U3, U4, U5, or S1, S2, S3, S4, S5 and … Thus, the Binary version in Build Number "R16NW.G955FXXU1CRD7", is U1.

How to find the proper Official/Stock ROM for this model in order to upgrade or downgrade the device?

In order to downgrade, you need to pay attention to some points in order to prevent wasting time and energy (and internet data!).

The first point is to pay attention to the Binary version of the official/stock ROM of your device. For example, let's say that the Build Number of a device is G955FXXU1CRD7. U1 in this Build Number is the Binary version. This means that you can upgrade this device to Build Numbers with the same or higher Binary version but you can't downgrade it to lower Binary versions!!!

So, if the Binary version of this device was U2, you couldn't flash a ROM with Binary version 1 (U1). In such case, you need to look for a ROM with the same Binary version).


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