Samsung Galaxy S4 Randomly Freezes / Becomes Unresponsive [Troubleshooting Guide]

Posted on Aug 20 2013 - 8:32pm by Harold Hisona

galaxy s4 freezesI understand how frustrating it is to see a powerful smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S4 freezes or lags for running even the lightest of apps. Performance issues are among the most common problems users encountered when using the phone. Despite its monstrous CPU and over-sized RAM, the phone freezes, becomes unresponsive and even reboots without apparent reason.

Like any other problems, the random freezes and intermittent unresponsiveness may be caused by various factors. In short, we really cannot pin-point what causes which but there are ways to find out. This post, however, is a troubleshooting guide; it may be able to help you find the problem but it does not guarantee a solution.

Temporary Issue

There is this thing we call “temporary issue,” which happens all of the sudden without apparent reason. Basically, the device seems pretty messed up that whatever you do it won’t respond to your actions and since you don’t understand what happened; you became tired of finding the problem. So, you put your phone aside while you do what you have to do to ease up the frustration. Then, you came back, take your phone up and everything is working fine again.

Well, it happened to me a lot of times; it happened to my phone, my computer, my console, it even happened to my calculator before.

The point is, when things like this happen try to give the phone a break. Put it in a safe place and let it rest there for a few minutes while you do some important things because maybe it’s just temporary device issue and could be fixed over a short span of time. Otherwise, continue with the troubleshooting procedures below.

Too Many Apps Running

It is but natural that the phone’s performance would be affected if there is a bunch of apps running in the background eating up RAM. However, we cannot blame the owners why this issue happens because by default Android leaves used apps running whenever the Home button is pressed.

While we want everything to be fully automated these days, you would have to do an extra step if you feel that your Galaxy S4′s performance started to deteriorate that results to random freezes or even reboots.

Closing Recent Apps 

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Press and hold the Home button until Recent Apps screen appears.
  3. Swipe each app you could find to close them. Doing this will only close the apps that were recently been used but not all.
  4. Go to Settings.
  5. Application Manager.
  6. Swipe to Running tab.
  7. Tap each third-party app you can find and force close them.

Closing Running Third Party Apps 

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings, then More.
  3. Tap Application Manager.
  4. Swipe left until you’re in Running tab.
  5. Now find a third-party app, tap on it and tap Force Close button.
  6. Do this to other apps as well.
  7. Reboot your phone.

RAM / Memory Running Low

When there is no sufficient RAM available to run apps and services, the phone would naturally freeze, lag or even reboot at times. This can be fixed and prevented by doing the simple procedure below:

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Press and hold the Home button until Recent Apps screen appears.
  3. Tap Task Manager.
  4. From there, you can see a tab that says “RAM,” tap on it.
  5. RAM usage will then be displayed.
  6. Touch Clear Memory button below.

Defective microSD Card

Did you know that a defective microSD card could cause freezes and reboots as well especially when trying to view photos or play multimedia files?

Most Galaxy S4 owners save photos directly to their microSD cards so by the time it starts to malfunction, the phone keeps freezing when the Gallery app is opened to preview photos. According to a developer I’ve talked to regarding this matter, the app that’s trying to access data from the card would scan it over and over, thus, requiring more time. During this time, the phone would start acting weird with few freezes here and there. When the Android system detects that a specific app or service is not functioning the way it should, it would shut it down resulting to a prolonged freeze or even a reboot.

Owners are advised to check on the microSD card by taking it out and inserting it to a computer. A reformat might just fix the problem or a replacement may be needed. Of course, it is a expected owners should try to salvage data from their microSD cards.

App(s) Causing Freezes

Majority of the freezing problems and complaints we received through email were caused by an app that has gone rogue. So, we advise owners that when this kind of problem happens to you, you need to check on apps you recently installed. Once identified, the first thing to do is disable it to see if the phone still freezes even if the service is not running. Then, clearing of cache and data is needed. If these procedures fail, uninstalling the app may just address the problem.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Application Manager.
  3. Swipe to All tab.
  4. Find and tap on suspected apps.
  5. To disable it, tap Disable button.
  6. Tap Clear Cache and Clear Data buttons.
  7. Or tap Uninstall button to remove it from the phone.

Also, to confirm if third-party apps were causing the freezing, we advise you boot your phone to Safe Mode.

Hardware Problem

The purpose of this troubleshooting guide is to determine what really causes the problem. After doing the procedures and the problem still persists, then it could be the hardware that’s causing it. There is a lot of things to do to troubleshooting hardware problems but all of them are just gearing up to void your warranty, so they’re useless if you’re not an authorized technician.

Therefore, we advise owners to bring the phone to their provider and report the problem. Have the authorized technician check on it. If it is beyond economical repair, a replacement unit should be provided. This is the reason why we don’t want you touching the hardware for problems like this because as long as you didn’t root your phone or installed custom ROMs, you could always demand a replacement.

Having problems with your phone?

Tell us about them by emailing us at [email protected] Make sure to include as much details as possible so that we could understand the problem well and find the best solutions for you. If you can share a screenshot or two, that would be better.

We may not be able to respond to every email we receive but rest assured we do read them… yes, all of them even if some do look like spams.

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About the Author

Harold works as an Android support technician. He remains an active contributor to The Droid Guy providing free support to its readers by addressing their problems and questions. He recently launch his small blog, Droidista.com, which serves as an online journal for his works.