Quiet, will you? Root your Aussie Galaxy Note 3 to turn off the camera shutter (N-9005)

I recently got a Note 3 from Australia (Optus) and aside from the Samsung bloat and interface, am generally enjoying it.

Those of you who have been following my blog may be surprised, as I’ve been a longtime (at least in tech terms) Windows Phone fan. While I do miss the simplicity and aesthetic of my Lumia, along with the stellar MixRadio and Drive apps, it’s tough when your workplace revolves around Google’s suite of tools. Plus I’m one of the niche who would actually use the Stylus.

But enough about my divided loyalties. This is a post about turning off the ANNOYINGLY LOUD AUTO-FOCUS AND SHUTTER SOUND in the Australian version of Samsung’s last flagship. The option to switch these off is disabled in the interface, but thanks to the developer community, there is a way around it.

NOOOOOO more shutter sound please

In short:

  • Root your device. Note that this could potentially void your warranty depending on the method and extent of changes made – but as a Singaporean, an Australian warranty doesn’t matter as much to me. Other fixes have been offered, some claiming to work without rooting the device (e.g. installing the Enforcedstreamsilencer apk), but these didn’t work with my Note 3.
  • Use one of the two methods some helpful folks at XDA-Developers have provided. I used Choppiii’s method, which is to make a simple word change in one of the system files. This turns off the camera sounds when the Note 3 is on mute, and is the method I’ll talk about in this post.

FYI my Note 3 is running Android 4.3 (Yes, still! Sigh, Optus). Without further ado…

Step 1: Rooting the Device

One analogy used to explain rooting stems from the Matrix – instead of simply bending the rules like jailbreaking in iOS, rooting allows you to break them. You can actually go to the extent of replacing the OS on your Android device. Don’t fret if this sounds scary to you – for this particular fix, you just need a simple root. It is incredibly easy – the whole process took me just a few minutes, without any loss of data on the phone. I won’t go through the steps in too much detail as there are comprehensive walkthroughs around. Here are some helpful links:

  • The Australian Note 3 Thread, listing two (at time of writing) working methods. I used the easier-but-definitely-warranty-voiding Chainfire method (see the next link to skip to this).
  • The official Chainfire-method instructions. Pretty simple – install Samsung Kies 3, download the CF files, follow instructions. The developer claims 30-seconds is all you need. Just make sure you read through the thread carefully and download the right files (I had to download for Android 4.3 instead of 4.4)
  • The XDA-developers video on rooting the Note 3 via Chainfire. Basically awesome skinhead dude walking through the instructions in the previous link. If you’ll feel more secure (like me) after watching someone physically do the rooting process, check out the video.

Now that the Note 3 is at your mercy, the next step is to turn off that annoying shutter sound.

Step 2: Use ES File Explorer to change the customer.xml file

Once you’ve rooted the phone, you’ll need an app that can access and edit the system files. I used the free ES File Explorer Manager app (v3.1.1 at time of writing). Step by step:

  • Download ES File Explorer Manager.
  • Once you’ve opened the app, press the menu button and search for Tools > Root Explorer.
  • Press Root Explorer (not the On/Off button, although the order doesn’t matter), or arrow no. 1 in the screenshot below:

root explorer

  • This opens up the Root Explorer Menu. Press Mount R/W, which opens another menu as shown. Under “/system”, select RW as in the screenshot below:

root explorer R/W enabling

  • Now switch the Root Explorer to “On” (arrow no. 2 in the first screenshot) – you’ll get a pop-up from SuperSU (an app installed by the Chainfire root) to confirm access rights for ES File Explorer. Grant the access.
  • Using the file explorer, navigate to Device > System > csc > customer.xml
  • Open the XML file using the ES Note Editor.
  • Press the three dots in the top right corner and then press Edit.
  • Search for <camera> <ShutterSound>on</ShutterSound> </camera> (it’s about halfway down the file). Change the “on” to “off”, so it’s now <camera> <ShutterSound>off</ShutterSound> </camera>. Press back and save the changes.
  • Restart your phone and give the camera a try!

Hope this helped in your quest to rid the world of high-pitched beeps and loud snaps. If you’ve any questions, do drop a note in the comments below or tweet me @wasabigeek, and I’ll try to help!

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One comment

  1. Flavia · August 10, 2015

    It worked for me! Thank you very much.

    My cellphone is a SHV-E300S (South Korea Galaxy S4)

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