You pay hundreds of dollars for the latest smartphone tech only to find that it’s not working as expected. We feel your pain. Life’s not fair, but don’t give up on your Samsung Galaxy S5 just yet. With a little tinkering you can probably find a decent workaround or a solution, in fact, that’s why we’re here. Behold our roundup of common Galaxy S5 problems and the fixes you need to get past them.
Next problem: No notifications or music controls on lock screen
Problem: No notifications or music controls on lock screen
A lot of people have been frustrated by their notifications, music controls, and other widgets disappearing from the lock screen after the update to Android 5.0 Lollipop. Thankfully it’s easy to get them back again.
Go to Settings > Sound & Notification and tap on When device is locked and then choose Show all notification content or Hide sensitive notification content. If your music controls aren’t back straight away then try restarting the phone. Unfortunately the music control notification in Lollipop is scaled down compared to some widgets that you may have been using, but Google has ditched lock screen widgets in Lollipop.
Next problem: Can’t download apps “Insufficient storage available”
This is a common problem and many people are reporting that they can see available space in the storage, but the S5 keeps returning this error for updates or when they try to install new apps. The first thing to do is go to Settings and find Storage listed under System.
If the internal storage is full and the space you have is on the microSD card then you need to move some files. Go to Apps > My Files > Local storage > Device storage and select the files and folders you want to move by ticking the boxes next to them then tap the Menu icon at the top right and tap Move then choose SD memory card. Find where you want to put them on the SD card and tap Move here.
To stop the problem cropping up as frequently in the future set the SD card as the default for your camera app. Go to Apps > Camera > Settings > Storage and select Memory card. Now photos and videos will go on the memory card by default.
If you find that the internal storage isn’t full and you’re still getting the error message about lack of space then it’s time to delete your cache. Turn your S5 off. Now press and hold the Power, Volume up, and Home buttons together. Let go when you see the Samsung logo with blue recovery text at the top. The Recovery menu will come up and you can use the Volume down button to scroll down and choose wipe cache partition then press Power to select it. When it’s done use the Volume buttons to highlight reboot system now and Power to select it and when the S5 restarts your problem should be gone.
Next problem: Echo on the speaker
Glitch: Echo on the speaker
Quite a few people have encountered an annoying echo on the Galaxy S5 speaker. For some people it’s at their end, for others the echo is bothering the other caller during a call. There are a few possible problems and solutions here.
The first thing to do is make sure it isn’t being caused by your S5 case, so remove it and see if it makes a difference.
Try blowing into the speaker and/or microphone depending what end the problem is on. Ideally use compressed air or a soft brush to make sure there’s nothing stuck in there.
Go to Settings > Accessibility > Vision and turn Talkback off. If it turns itself back on then go to Settings > Application manager and scroll over to the All tab then find the Talkback app and tap on it then tap Disable and see if that helps.
Try using a Bluetooth headset for a call to see if the problem persists. If it does then it’s probably a network issue. Contact your carrier and see what advice they offer.
Next problem: Not receiving text messages
Problem: Not receiving text messages
Some people have been having trouble receiving text messages on their Galaxy S5. There are a couple of things that could be going on here.
If your previous phone was an iPhone then you have to deregister iMessage. That link will take you to the Apple instructions. If you still have your old iPhone then it’s as easy as turning iMessage off in Settings > Messages. If you don’t then you’ll need to enter your number and have Apple send you a code.
You should double check that you have storage space available in Settings > Storage.
It could be a problem related to the Message center. Open up the Messages app and then tap Settings > Text messages > Message center. You’ll have to check with your carrier what the right number is, but it’s usually listed on their website.
If you’re using a different SMS app then you could try uninstalling it and using the default instead to see if that makes any difference. Alternatively you can check by pressing and holding the Power button and then tap and hold on Power off until you see the Reboot to Safe Mode message then lift your finger and tap Restart. The S5 should restart and say safe mode in the left bottom corner. If it works now then your problem is an app you installed. You can try uninstalling one by one or factory reset and reinstall selectively.
If none of this works then it’s time to contact your carrier.
Next problem: Can’t delete photos
Glitch: Can’t delete photos
A lot of people have been annoyed by the fact they are deleting photos in the Gallery app on their Galaxy S5, but they just keep returning.
This is likely to be because they’re backed up on Google+ via Google’s Photos app. If you start up the Photos app and choose a photo you want rid of and then tap the trashcan to delete you should get an option to Delete everywhere.
If you don’t want them backed up through Google then you can tap Settings at the top right in the Photos app and turn Auto-Backup off. You can also do this in the Google+ app. Alternatively you can go to Settings > Accounts > Google, tap on your account and see a complete list of everything that is being synced. Scroll down and uncheck Google+ Photos. You may also need to go to Settings > Application manager > Gallery and tap Clear cache.
Next problem: Unfortunately, Contacts has stopped
Bug: Unfortunately, Contacts has stopped
If you’ve been getting this pop-up on your Galaxy S5 pretty frequently and apparently randomly then you are not alone. There are a couple of workarounds that have worked for some people, but sadly no permanent fix yet, it’s probably going to require an update from Samsung.
Go to Settings > Application manager and scroll down to Google+ and then tap Disable. Unfortunately you won’t be able to use Google+, but this has stopped the pop-up for some people so it you don’t use it much or at all anyway, then it might be worth trying.
Some people report temporary success by going to Settings > Application manager > Contacts and tapping Clear cache.
Next problem: Overheating
Your Galaxy S5 will get hot if you play a first-person shooter for a couple of hours, or you use it for hours on end in a hot environment, but if you’re getting serious overheating without an obvious cause then it’s time to try a fix. A lot of people have run into overheating issues after the Lollipop update.
It’s pretty likely that a third-party app is causing the problem. You can check by holding down the Power button and then tap and hold on Power off until you see Reboot to Safe Mode and then tap Restart. It should say safe mode in the lower left corner. If the problem is gone then you know it’s being caused by a third-party app. You can try uninstalling one by one to track it down or go for a factory reset.
Before you factory reset you may as well try wiping the cache partition. Turn your S5 off and then press and hold the Power, Volume up, and Home buttons together. When you see the Samsung logo with blue recovery text at the top, let go. In the Recovery menu you can use the Volume down button to scroll and highlight wipe cache partition then press Power to select it. When it’s done use the Volume buttons to highlight reboot system now and Power to select it.
If you’re using a microSD card then try removing it and see if the problem persists. If that solves the problem then backup the data that’s on it and reformat the card before reinserting it.
Next problem: Galaxy S5 won’t charge or charges slowly
Problem: Won’t charge or charges slowly
A number of owners have reported problems getting their S5 to charge up properly. It may be refusing to charge at all, or it might be charging extremely slowly.
The first thing to do is make sure that you are using the Samsung charger and cable that came with the S5. Other chargers may have different voltage ratings and they won’t always work with the S5. Give the phone a good 30 minutes plugged in before you try to turn it on.
Try changing the wall socket and using the cable and charger on a different device to make sure there are no faults there. Try a different charger and cable with the same rating.
Try plugging the S5 into a USB port on your PC or laptop. Bear in mind that it will charge more slowly from a USB port than from the charger plugged into the wall.
Take a look at the charging port, blow into it or use compressed air to make sure there’s nothing blocking it.
If it still isn’t working then you may have a dead battery or a broken charging port. Contact your retailer, carrier, or Samsung and find out what your options are. If you’re out of warranty then you can try buying a replacement battery, or even replace the charging port yourself. Here’s an iFixit guide, but it’s a complex procedure.
Next problem: Unresponsive touchscreen and ghost touches
Glitch: Touchscreen unresponsive or ghost touches
Some people have found that the touchscreen occasionally glitches and becomes unresponsive or registers ghost touches that they haven’t made. It seems to be an intermittent issue with no obvious trigger.
Hold down the Power key for a few seconds until it vibrates and turns off and then turn it back on. This might temporarily relieve the problem.
It may be worth mentioning that the S5 screen is not designed to work underwater, it’s a water resistant phone, but the touchscreen won’t work properly when wet, so if that’s when you encounter the glitch then dry it off first.
There’s a chance that your case or screen protector is causing the problem. If you’re using either then try removing them and see if that resolves it.
You could check in Settings > Display and see if enabling Increase touch sensitivity
It may be caused by an app or widget that’s misbehaving. You could try uninstalling apps and testing to see if the problem is gone, or you could factory reset and selectively install.
If you’ve done a factory reset as a last resort and it’s happening without any new apps installed then you might have a hardware fault. It’s time to go to your retailer, carrier, or Samsung.
Next problem: Galaxy S5 Wi-Fi won’t connect, or is very slow
Problem: Wi-Fi won’t connect or is very slow
We see a lot of Wi-Fi issues with smartphones and the Galaxy S5 is no exception. There are loads of possible causes. Make sure that your Wi-Fi is working with another device before you begin to work on a Galaxy S5 related solution.
Always start by turning your S5 and your router off and on again. Sometimes that does the trick.
Make sure that you haven’t set Wi-Fi restrictions related to the power saving mode in Settings > Power saving mode.
Head into Settings > Wi-Fi and choose your router, then tap Forget and set up the connection again from scratch.
You can also choose your router in Settings > Wi-Fi and scroll down to tap Edit > Show advanced options and try changing IP settings to Static.
Take a look in Wi-Fi > Settings > Advanced and make sure Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep is set to Always and that Always allow scanning is checked.
Download the free Wifi Analyzer app and take a look at how busy your channels are. Too many devices on one channel can impact on speeds, so switch to a less crowded channel.
Check MAC filtering on your router and make sure it’s off or that the S5 is listed (you’ll find the S5 MAC address listed in Wi-Fi > Settings > Advanced).
You could also try updating the firmware on your router.
Next problem: Bluetooth won’t connect
Issue: Bluetooth won’t connect
A lot of people have run into issues trying to get the Galaxy S5 to connect with their cars and sometimes other devices via Bluetooth. The solution is liable to be slightly different for different cars and devices, but there are some obvious starting places.
Try resetting your Bluetooth car system or device so it forgets all pairings. Do the same thing on the S5 via Settings > Bluetooth. Refer to your car or device manual or look for instructions online, you may have to enter a pairing mode to get it to work, sometimes there’s a button for this. Make sure you read the dialog box that pops up on the Galaxy S5 and check the box to automatically connect in future.
If you’re having trouble with it partially working, check the profile for your device in Settings > Bluetooth by tapping on the gear icon next to it and make sure that the boxes next to Call audio and Media audio are ticked.
Next problem: Music stutters over Bluetooth
Bug: Music stutters over Bluetooth
A few people have been complaining that the music stutters when they stream using Bluetooth.
Make sure you’re up to date first by going to Settings > About device > Software update because some people have suggested this is a bug in Android and it has been fixed in a recent update.
If you’re up to date and still suffering then try wiping your cache. Hold down the Power button until you feel a vibration and the S5 turns off. Press and hold Volume up, Home, and the Power key together. When the S5 vibrates, let go of Power. When you see the Android recovery screen, let go of the other two and use Volume down to highlight the wipe cache partition option, then Power to select it.
If you’re using the music player then go into the Settings and make sure Adapt Sound is off.
Next problem: Galaxy S5 screen won’t turn on
Bug: Screen won’t turn on
Quite a few people have been having issues with the Galaxy S5 screen refusing to turn on. The capacitive buttons light up as expected, but the screen remains black. This seems to occur at different times for different people, but the common issue is that the screen fails to wake up, even though you might be able to hear that the phone is working and feel vibrations. There are lots of things you can try to solve this issue.
To begin with, try turning it off by holding down the Power key for at least seven seconds until you feel a vibration, then let go, and press the Power key again to turn it back on.
If the screen doesn’t come back, then try removing the back and taking the battery out. Wait for ten seconds, then put the battery back in, and try turning the S5 on again.
Some people found that going to Settings > Device > Lock screen > Additional information and turning it off seemed to help.
A few people have reported success after disabling the S Health app and/or the Smart remote app.
Try going to Settings > Accessibility > Vision > Dark screen and make sure this is turned off.
This issue might be related to your case or cover. Try removing it and see if the problem still occurs.
It could be your microSD card that’s causing the problem. Try removing it for a while and see if that makes a difference.
It’s possible an app is causing the problem, so try booting into safe mode. Turn the S5 off, then tap the Power key to turn it back on. When you see the Samsung logo press and hold the Volume down key. The S5 should start up and it will say Safe mode at the bottom right. If you don’t have the problem anymore, then it must be an app that’s causing it, you can try uninstalling apps one by one to identify the culprit, or do a factory reset and be selective about your reinstall. You can turn Safe mode off again via the notification shade.
Back up your files and go to Settings > Backup and reset > Factory data reset.
If you’re still having issues, then it’s time to contact your retailer, carrier, or Samsung and try to get a replacement handset.
Next problem: Can’t hear caller, or be heard
Problem: Can’t hear caller or can’t be heard
Some Galaxy S5 owners have encountered a problem with the audio during calls. They either can’t hear the caller or, more commonly, the caller can’t hear them.
Hold down the Power key and tap Restart from the menu that appears. The problem might reoccur.
Hold down the Power key and select Power off from the menu. Remove the battery and SIM card and replace them, then turn the S5 back on again to see if the problem is gone.
If people are struggling to hear you, check the microphone. The microphone is a pin hole on the bottom of the S5. Blow on it or use compressed air to ensure there’s nothing caught in there.
This might be related to Bluetooth. If you have a Bluetooth accessory that’s paired within range of the phone then maybe it’s trying to connect. Pull down the notification shade and turn Bluetooth off to check. You might have to go to Settings > Bluetooth and tell it to forget paired devices.
Some people found that wiping the cache partition helped. If you want to try it, then turn the S5 off via the Power key and the Power off option. Press and hold Volume up, Home, and the Power key together. When the S5 vibrates, let go of Power. When you see the Android recovery screen, let go of the other two and use Volume down to highlight the wipe cache partition option, then Power to select it.
Next problem: How do I find the menu button?
Problem: Where’s the menu button?
If you’re wondering what happened to the Menu key that used to be bottom left, it has been turned into the Multitasking button now. The problem is that some older apps don’t have a menu option on screen and you need that button to access the settings.
All you have to do is press and hold the Multitasking button at the bottom left and it will work just like the old menu key and bring the settings up.
Next problem: Download booster is missing
Problem: No Download Booster
In our Galaxy S5 tips article we highlighted the Download Booster feature which allows you to download files really fast by using Wi-Fi and LTE together. A number of new S5 owners are reporting the feature missing in action and that’s because AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have removed it.
Switch to T-Mobile or U.S. Cellular and you’ll find that Download Booster is present and correct.
Keep an eye on XDA Developers for a rooting solution that gets it working again.
Next problem: Galaxy S5 lagging and stuttering
Annoyance: Lag or stutter
A casual scan of forums and article comments reveals that lag is the subject of much debate when it comes to the Galaxy S5. A significant number of owners feel that the Galaxy S5 lags when compared to the competition and the blame is generally leveled at Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface and bloatware. What we’re talking about here is perceived delays when you load up or exit an app, when you unlock the phone, when you tap the Home button, or perhaps when you’re typing.
Use a different launcher. There are lots of options out there, Nova Launcher is good, or you could sideload the Google Now launcher.
It may be the animations that are giving you the feeling of lag, so why not turn them off? Tap and hold on a blank space on your home screen and select Home screen settings > Transition effect > None. Go to Settings > Lock screen > Unlock effect and set it to None.
You can go further in Settings > About device by tapping the Build number seven times to turn Developer mode on. Now go to Settings > Developer options > Windows animation scale and set it to Animation is off. You can do the same thing in Settings > Developer options > Transition animation scale and Animator duration scale.
If the delay on the Home button is annoying you, then double tap it to fire up S Voice and choose Settings from the menu at the top right then make sure that Open via the home key is not ticked.
You may want to turn off some background data syncing. You can do this via Settings > Accounts or within the settings menus of individual apps.
To reduce the impact of bloatware go to Settings > Application manager and look at the All tab. Any app you don’t want to use, you can tap on it and choose Disable. All disabled apps will be listed in a separate tab, so you can always turn them back on again in the future.
Next problem: Galaxy S5 gets water damage
Problem: Water damage
Unfortunately a lot of people read water resistant as waterproof and there’s definitely a difference. We’ve seen lots or reports cropping up about people with water damaged Galaxy S5 handsets. That IP67 rating means that it can be submerged in water up to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. It isn’t designed to deal with high pressure water jets, and that could mean the water coming out of your faucet.
Don’t deliberately dunk your Galaxy S5; the feature is a safeguard against the dreaded toilet drop, or a sudden downpour.
Don’t try to turn it on. Open it up and dry it off with a towel as best you can, then place it in a bowl of rice. You can also find dry bag kits online, using silica crystals or isopropyl alcohol, but if you don’t already have one, you won’t want to wait for delivery, so rice is a good solution. Resist the temptation to turn the phone on for as long as possible (at least 24 hours) to give it a good chance to dry out.
If you’re not keen on self-repair you’ll find a lot of services and repair shops out there that will get your Galaxy S5 ticking again for a fee. Make sure you choose one that offers a money-back guarantee if they can’t fix it.
Next problem: Slow camera
Annoyance: Slow camera
Are you finding that the camera takes a long time to focus and capture your photo? The Galaxy S5 should have a snappy shooter, so this may be down to your camera settings.
Fire up the camera and tap on the gear icon at the bottom left then turn Picture stabilization off. It’s designed to improve the quality of low light pictures by extending the shutter speed. If your lighting is good then you don’t need it turned on, as it’s only going to slow the camera down.
Next problem: Camera fail
Bug: Camera failed
Some people are reporting that they get a pop-up when they try to start the camera which says “Warning: Camera failed” and the camera won’t load up at all.
Updated on 4-25-2014 by Jeffrey Van Camp: Samsung has acknowledged the camera bug and advises anyone who suffers from it to call 1-888-897-4357. Verizon users can also contact @vzwsupport on Twitter.
You might find that a simple restart does the trick. Hold down the Power button and select the Restart option. The problem may return.
Try going to Settings > Application manager and select the camera app. Tap on Force stop, Clear cache, and Clear data.
Try clearing the cache partition. Hold the power button and choose Power off then press and hold the Volume up key, the Home button, and the Power button. When the phone vibrates, release the Power button, but keep holding the other two. When you see the Android System Recovery screen you can let go. Use Volume down to choose wipe cache partition and press Power to select it then, when it’s done, press Power again to Reboot System Now.
There’s a chance that an app is causing the problem. Any app that uses camera functions, including flashlight apps, could be the culprit. The fast way to check this is to reboot in safe mode. Hold down the power button and select Power off then hold down the power button to turn it on again and when you see the Samsung screen come up, release the power button and press and hold the Volume down key. You’ll know it worked if it says Safe mode in the bottom left corner. If the camera works then it’s definitely a problem with an app you installed. Hold down the power button and choose Restart to get back out of Safe mode.
If you’re using a microSD card to save photos try removing it, save them elsewhere, and see if that makes a difference.
Back up anything important and try a factory reset via Settings > Backup and reset > Factory data reset.
If nothing works then you may have a faulty camera and you’ll need to contact your carrier, retailer, or Samsung about a replacement.
Next problem: Galaxy S5 keeps beeping
Problem: Galaxy S5 keeps beeping
Quite a few people have been getting irritated by the S5 emitting beeping sounds, seemingly at random. There is always a reason for the beeps, but it’s often not entirely clear what the reason is. Here are a few things worth checking:
If your battery is running low then the Galaxy S5 will beep to inform you. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way (other than charging it up) to turn this beeping off.
It might be the alert to tell you that NFC has found another device or card to connect with. This can happen if you keep your credit card or NFC tags close to your Galaxy S5. You shouldn’t have NFC turned on all the time anyway, so go to Settings > NFC and toggle it off.
Take a look in Settings > Accessibility > Vision and make sure that Notification reminder is off.
If the problem only occurs during calls, then go to Settings > Call > Call alerts and make sure that Minute minder is turned off.
If you have roaming turned on, that could be the source of your beep. Roaming guard will notify you whenever you use voice, data, or messaging services while roaming. Go to Settings > Network connections > More networks > Roaming > Roaming guard and uncheck the boxes.
Next problem: Battery life is poor
Issue: Battery life is poor
There have been many complaints about poor battery life since the S5 was released, but a number of people have noticed a serious downturn since the Android 5.0 Lollipop update. Much depends on how you use your phone, but there are several things you can do to make that battery last a bit longer.
Try rebooting the phone. Just turn it off and on again.
If you’re noticing a major drop in battery life after an update then it’s worth starting with a cache partition wipe. Turn your S5 off. Now press and hold the Power, Volume up, and Home buttons together. You can let go when you see the Samsung logo and then the Recovery screen. Use Volume down to highlight wipe cache partition and Power to select it. When it’s done, use the Volume keys to highlight reboot system now and Power to select it.
If you’re still having an issue, take a look in Settings > Battery to see if you can find an obvious culprit. Is there a specific app that draining the power? You can confirm that an app is to blame by testing in Safe mode. Turn the S5 off, press and hold Power until you see the Samsung logo, let go of Power and press and hold Volume down. Keep holding it until you see Safe mode in the bottom left corner. Now test your phone and see what the battery life is like. If it’s much better, then the problem is being caused by an app and you just need to track it down.
Try disabling or uninstalling every app or game you don’t use.
Some people have suggested that this is being caused by Wi-Fi scanning. You could try switching Smart Network Switch off in Settings > Wi-Fi.
The screen is always the biggest drain on battery so turn Brightness down and reduce Screen timeout in Settings > Display.
It could be worth trying a factory reset, but it will wipe your phone clean, so back up precious files first. If you want to try it, then take a look at how to factory reset a Galaxy S5. Be careful about what you restore and install after the factory reset and watch for problems returning.
You could try using the Power saving or Ultra power saving modes in Settings.
Some people are suffering with a glitch where they press the Home button and instead of going home it brings up Google search.
Try turning your S5 off and on again.
If that doesn’t work then pull the battery. Press and hold Power. Put the battery back in and turn it on.
If it’s still happening then try wiping your cache partition. Turn your S5 off. Now press and hold the Power, Volume up, and Home buttons together. You can let go when you see the Samsung logo and then the Recovery screen. Use Volume down to highlight wipe cache partition and Power to select it. When it’s done, use the Volume keys to highlight reboot system now and Power to select it.
Next problem: Update won’t install
Problem: Update won’t install
A number of Galaxy S5 owners have run into a problem with installing updates. The update may continually fail, usually with the error message “Install interrupted. The software update could not be installed.”
This might be down to the size of the update. Make sure that you have a good Wi-Fi connection when you try to download it.
Try using the Samsung Kies software on your computer or laptop and plug your Galaxy S5 in for the update.
Next problem: Background data disabled, Google Play Store
Issue: Background data disabled, Google Play Store needs background data to be enabled.
A few people have run into an issue with using the Play Store where they get a message popping up that says “Background data disabled, Google Play Store needs background data to be enabled.”
Go to Settings > Power saving > Power saving mode and turn Block background data
How go to Settings > Data usage and make sure that Restrict background data is off.
Take a look in Settings > Application manager and find Google Play Store on the All tab. Tap Clear cache, Clear data, and Force stop. Reboot the phone and the problem should be gone.
That’s all the Galaxy S5 problems we have for now, but we will add more as they arise. In the meantime, make sure that scratches and drops aren’t a problem with one of the best Galaxy S5 cases, and get a little more from your phone with our Galaxy S5 accessories roundup.
Updated on 3-27-2015 by Simon Hill: Added problems with missing notifications and music controls, insufficient storage for new apps or updates, echo through speaker, not receiving text messages, contacts stopped working bug, and overheating.
Updated on 10-2-2014 by Simon Hill: Added problem with charging S5, glitch with touchscreen, Wi-Fi connection problem, Bluetooth issue, and music stuttering bug.
Updated on 07-01-2014 by Simon Hill: Updated to add blank screen bug, can’t hear caller problem, and missing menu button.