This is the eleventh part of our Galaxy S4 Problems and Solutions series so we have addressed, at least, a hundred different problems S4 owners encountered. Please take time to browse this post and the previous parts to see if we have already addressed your issue. Links are provided below for parts 1 to 10.
If you have problems with your Samsung Galaxy S4 or any Android phone and you don’t know how to fix them, you may want to tell us about them so we can help you find solutions. We have a dedicated mailbox for those concerns. But please be detailed as much as possible; include the version of Android your phone is running, the model of your phone, your carrier or service provider and any relevant information. Send your questions / problems at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who have Facebook accounts, you may post your concerns on our Facebook wall or send us PMs. You may also follow our Google+ page so you’ll be notified as soon as we publish new posts there. For those who want updates delivered to their mailbox, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter.
#1. Galaxy S4 screen turns off with incoming call
Within the last several weeks, my phone started to act up. When I get an incoming call, my screen won’t come on for me to swipe to answer. No matter which buttons I push; power, home, vol up or down, nothing. Even holding down the power button won’t help. The phone continues to ring until it goes to voicemail, at which time the screen comes on to let me see who’s call in missed. Incoming calls is the only time the screen acts up. Hope you have some ideas, and thanks in advance. — Scott
Scott, if you have installed a case or screen protector, please try to remove it and test if the phone’s screen would still turn off when receiving incoming calls. There are a lot of cases that may result to this problem. But basically, it is a proximity sensor issue because it is the only sensor that has the ability to turn the screen off when it detects the phone is near to something but when it acts up, the screen would still turn off even if it’s laid on the table.
I’ve been digging some info about the proximity sensor issue with the Galaxy phones and there are actually some workarounds that work for some but not for others. The thing is, Samsung didn’t acknowledge this problem so we can’t expect a fix through a software update. Here are some of the workarounds you could try:
While the phone is on, remove the battery and let the phone be for a minute.
Many say the proximity sensor is not sealed properly so dust could obscure it. Blowing some compressed air through its receptor may fix the issue.
Clearing the cache and data of the Phone app also works for others.
Lastly, performing factory reset is the most common fix to this kind of problem.
#2. Galaxy S4 keeps downloading files
Actually, one of our readers emailed us on April 13th because she had problems with her Samsung Galaxy S4. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to respond to her email. Just yesterday, she emailed us back saying she was able to resolve her problem and that she doesn’t need a reply from us anymore. But I just want to share how she resolved her problems in case other owners out there have the same issues with their phone.
First, there are some notifications that continue to tell me “download complete”. Doesn’t matter if I clear them or not, they are sent over and over at least every 30 minutes or so. They are Desert.odt, desert-2.odt, and go through desert-5.odt and one from Samsung Polaris office. How do I make them stop notifying me they’re complete?
Second, the blue text message light no longer lights up when I receive a text. I’m guessing this is just the “new and improved” software update?! Is there something I can do to get the notification light back?
Last, (ok I know I’m pushing it) is it ok to remove apps that I know I don’t use, like You Tube, Play Games, Maps, etc. Or a better question would be what apps do I need to KEEP? I know it’s not s/w update related, but these miserable little apps seem to be the cause of a lot of problems updated or not.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and possibly help with these problems.
The droid guy – I sent you this e-mail a couple days ago and wanted to let you know that I was able to luckily stumble around and fix my problem with my phone based on the things I have been reading about it online. You are so generous to offer your help to everyone who sends you a distress call and I wanted to let you know that I’m good now. You probably already know how I fixed my problem, but just in case, what I did was…I highlighted the app with a recognizable name (not the desert-2, -3 ones) apparently they were all related to the one with the recognizable name, some kind of office thing from Samsung. Anyway I highlighted it until it went to app info and then I cleared the data. After that all of them went away and haven’t been back since. A hard stop was not necessary and was something I did before actually, to get rid of it and that only caused my phone to give me the same message as the problem you fixed in part 10 of your series (how I found you).
Long story to let you know that you no longer will need to respond to my e-mail and I’m very thankful to you and everyone who has posted info about these phones so we can keep them running.
#3. Galaxy S4 Home button problem
Dear Droid Guy,
Since upgrading my Galaxy S4 to Kitkat. 4.4.2, home button does not take me to home screen anymore. I can’t see a fix anywhere. Is there a patch we can run. This is a very annoying bug. Appreciate all the people you are helping. Graham. South Africa
I was actually expecting for you to say what happens when you press the Home button on your phone. But since you didn’t, all I can do is assume what happens. If the phone would bring you to recently opened apps, then try not to press the home button too long. “Holding” it would actually bring you to that screen.
In case the Home button does not respond immediately when you press it, try disabling the S Voice’s “Open via home key” option. If the phone won’t respond at all, have it checked by a technician. Lastly, if something else happens, perform factory reset, after you backed up all your data, of course.
#4. Can I receive OTA updates if I unroot my phone?
Hey, I just want to ask if I unroot my galaxy s4 using supersu app’s full unroot feature then will i be able to get OTA updates or I have to restore to stock firmware?
First off, if you did root your phone but didn’t install custom ROM, then you would still be able to receive OTA updates regardless whether your unroot or not.
Now, if you rooted your phone then you installed custom ROM, then you need to restore the stock firmware to receive OTA updates.
Rooting won’t cut the phone off of updates because what it does is actually just open it for more possibilities or as what others put it, “it frees the phone.” For average users, rooting doesn’t actually matter. It matters only when you want to claim warranty because rooting will void it.
#5. Galaxy S4 screen turns on when locked
Hello, I’d like to start by thanking you for all the help you have already given through the blog on Drippler to help fix problems.
My screen likes to turn itself back on for about 1 second after the phone is locked. It usually takes about 2 or 3 minutes after the screen goes black and then turns on. Its not the S preview feature as I have that turned on and no issues with it (I have tried to disable it already and did not fix the issue). Hopefully you can figure it out. Thanks! — Kyle
More often, this problem is caused by a third-party app that’s waking the phone. But in order to confirm that, try booting the Galaxy S4 to Safe Mode and observe if it still happens. Booting to safe mode will disable all third-party apps, so we’ll know if it’s a third-party app that’s causing this or there is a core service or pre-installed app that’s causing this.
If the screen stays turned off when locked in safe mode, then you need to find the app that’s causing it. One best way to do so is to install the Wakelock Detector, which is offered free on the Play Store. It will give you info on what app or service, both third-party and pre-installed, causes the problem.
If all else fails, backup your data and perform factory reset.
#6. Galaxy S4 screen broken from drop
Hey, I was wondering if maybe you could help me figure out what’s wrong with my Samsung galaxy s4. About 3 months ago I sent this phone in Samsung to get fixed because it was turning off frequently and sometimes not turning on. I have had an otter box case on my phone ever since I got it in August and today I dropped my phone from a short distance with my case on and it landed face first on the ground. I picked it up to turn it on and found that it had turned off and the lights on the bottom “back and menu” buttons were on. It wouldn’t turn on for about 3 minutes and finally it turned on and the glass part of the screen was not damaged in any way but the display glitched and now only about 1/4 of the screen is clearly visible.
I have taken the battery out for 10 seconds and waited but much to my dismay, I have not been able to restore my phone screen to it’s original glory and it only seems to be getting worse. Is the only way to resolve this issue to contact my insurance company? Will it fix itself?
No, it will not fix itself. You explicitly said the problem occurred from the drop and while your phone’s case is durable, it wasn’t able to prevent the impact from damaging the display panel of your phone. Odds are the panel was broken or the circuit may have just been messed up. So, to answer your first question; yes, you need to contact your insurance company and try to see if they’ll cover the purchase of the new display panel and repair.
I also have a feeling that the digitizer was also broken, so you may also want to have it checked thoroughly to prevent back jobs, which may cause you inconvenience more than anything else.
#7. Unfortunately, Contacts had stopped
Hi, my Samsung Galaxy S4 started giving me trouble with my contacts after the last update. When attempting to add a contact the screen goes to black and then gives the “unfortunately contacts had stopped” message. I’ve tried every fix I can find on the web with no luck including clearing cache, battery removal, installing contacts+, changing the date format, and on and on. Nothing has worked, not even temporarily. My phone is 6 months old and I’ve haven’t installed any new apps. Please help. I’m at my wits end. — Tina
Thanks for specifying what troubleshooting steps you already did. I’m not sure if a third-party app is causing this because I don’t know what apps your phone is running right now. But let’s try to rule the possibility that a third-party app is causing this by booting the phone to Safe Mode. When in safe mode all your downloaded apps will automatically be disabled leaving the phone running the pre-installed ones only plus the core services. Now, try to add a new contact and see if the error message will still pop up.
If the error message will not pop up, then I’m right about my suspicion that a third-party app is causing the problem. If you recently installed apps that may be using the Contacts app, disable it or uninstall it. If you can’t pinpoint which one, then try to remember the app you installed prior to this problem.
If, however, the error message still shows up even in Safe Mode, then there is a possibility that the firmware itself is the problem, or at least, the data that was previously cached has been corrupt. The last resort would actually be the factory reset (after you made a backup of your important data) but before doing that, try booting to Recovery Mode and wipe cache partition. If that doesn’t work, try doing the master reset.
#8. Galaxy S4 has inconsistent signals
Hi, I was hoping you could help me with my S4. It is not picking up signal or wifi consistently. I have to be right beside the router to get any wifi. I may get one bar of network signal but not that is very rarely.
I have scanned for networks and my own network does not come up only ‘forbidden’ networks and that is only sometimes. My network is ’3′ in Ireland. I have ‘automatically selected preferred network’ and that does not work. I have tried to go through my network but I have voided the warranty so they wont fix it.
Is it a physical part of the device that I will have to replace somehow or would it be a software issue?
Any help would be really appreciated!!
I was hoping you would tell me when the problem started or if the phone is already like that when you bought it. I understand you already contacted your service provider but didn’t they try to troubleshoot the problem first before sending you off due to voided warranty? Voided or not, they are obliged to troubleshoot their customers’ problems especially when the problem is about the network.
As to your Wifi issue, please try the following:
From the Home screen, tap the Menu key.
Scroll to and tap Wi-Fi.
Long press the network you’re connecting to.
Tap Forget Network.
Tap the Menu key again.
Make sure Passpoint is set to Off so that the phone won’t automatically connect to Wi-Fi access points that require additional authentication through a web browser.
Turn Auto Network switch to Off by unchecking the box.
I have actually published an article entitled 4 Samsung Galaxy S4 WiFi / Internet Connection Problems, which focuses on problems like this, so please try to go over that post and if you questions, feel free to contact us again and make this post a reference so you don’t have to explain everything again.
#9. Galaxy S4 won’t vibrate anymore
Hey, I have a problem with my S4. I dropped it a few times but began noticing that the vibrate feature stopped working. My device won’t vibrate, even after rebooting it or swishing it around a bit. Hopefully you have dealt with a problem like this and can suggest me something. Thanks. — Marcos
Of course, first of all, try placing the phone in vibrate mode to see if it vibrates somehow. Since you said that you dropped the phone a few times then you noticed it doesn’t vibrate anymore. I, too, would assume that the impacts of the drops may have caused this problem. It could be that the vibrator motor was damaged or it has a loose connection provided its circuit interface is secured by an adhesive. You may refer to the picture below.
My advice is bring it to a technician and have the vibrator checked, that way you would know what the problem really is.
#10. Galaxy S4 showing gray battery icon
For some reason my Samsung S4 phone just shut off and will not turn back on. I thought maybe that it needed to be charged so I connected the charger to phone but it would not charge. All I get is a grey battery symbol with phone vibrating every 5 seconds. I took battery out of my phone and swapped with my wife’s phone and I’m still getting the same problem. My battery showed 47% life in her phone. So I know it’s not the battery. The port on my phone where you plug charger seems to be good nothing missing or bent. Any idea what it could be? Thanks, Cisco.
While this problem is not as common as connectivity issues, there were actually a lot of owners complaining about it. That said, there were already a lot of workarounds that may work for others but not for some.
Okay, so, you’ve already ruled out the possibility of a battery issue by trying the battery on your wife’s phone, and the possibility of a damaged or bent charging port. That leaves us to two possibilities; charger issue and USB board problem.
The grey battery icon, according to some, means “charger not recognized” so try plugging the cable to your computer or laptop just to see if the icon changes. If so, you need to buy a new charger. Otherwise, read this post Fixing the Samsung Galaxy S3 Gray Battery Icon Problem by Giancarlo as it tackles on the faulty USB board.
Engage with us
Feel free to send us your questions, suggestions and problems you’ve encountered while using your Android phone. We support every Android that is available in the market today. And don’t worry, we won’t charge you a single penny for your emails. Email us via email@example.com any time. We read every email but can’t guarantee a response. Lastly, if we were able to help you, please help us spread the word by sharing our posts with your friends or visit our Troubleshooting Page. Thanks.