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How To Fix Samsung Galaxy S4 That Keeps Rebooting or Stuck in Boot Loop

galaxy-s4-restarting-boot-loopIf you recently updated your Galaxy S4 to Android 5 Lollipop and it keeps rebooting randomly or stuck in boot loop, this is the article you should read: How to fix Samsung Galaxy S4 that is stuck in boot loop after lollipop update.

A Samsung Galaxy S4 that is stuck in boot loop or keeps shutting down and restarting over and over again could either have corrupt data in its memory or has problems with its hardware. The former can easily be fixed while the latter would require help from a repairman…and a lot of patience.

The thing about boot loop problems is that they are so annoying and frustrating. Every time your phone boots you fear it might not come on and you’re afraid to turn it off for the same reason. But as far as the software and corrupt data are concerned, we can do something for them.

Here is an email from one of our readers who recently experienced this problem:

Dear Harold,

I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 that yesterday suddenly switched itself off (battery power of over 70%) it then constantly tried to start itself, shut itself down again, in a never ending loop. I took out the battery and then it worked for a short time and the it all started again. Do you have any suggestions on what is causing this to occur? I have installed no new apps.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

Kind regards

Sofia

To add to the conversation, here’s a comment from one of our readers via the mailbag. Shane wrote:

Just to add further debate to your article, after contacting Samsung Support Australia, and having read several forums concerning the issue, I was able to confirm the problem primarily arises to due to a swollen battery. Samsung have confirmed an issue relating to certain batches of the stock battery, and to date have replaced tens of thousands of batteries for customers using a Galaxy S4.

Troubleshooting Guide

Basically, we don’t know what the problem really is that is why the first thing we should do is to determine what caused the Samsung Galaxy S4 to be stuck in boot loop. But then again, we have already narrowed it down so we will have to set our focus on the software side.

Step 1: Boot to Safe Mode

Booting the Samsung Galaxy S4 to safe mode will disable all third-party applications the owner installed on the phone leaving only the apps and services necessary for the phone to function well.

If you were able to boot to safe mode and the phone didn’t restart, there is a possibility that a third party app is causing the boot loop. However, to confirm this, you need to let the device run in safe mode for at least an hour and observe closely its functions or if it would reboot all by itself.

  1. To boot the Galaxy S4 to safe mode, follow this:
  2. Turn the device off completely.
  3. Press and hold the Power button.
  4. Once the Samsung Galaxy S4 logo appears on the screen, release the Power button.
  5. As soon as you release the Power button, press and hold the Volume Down key.
  6. Continue holding the Volume Down key until the phone has completed the reboot process.
  7. If you can read ‘Safe Mode‘ at the bottom left corner of the screen, release the Volume Down key. Otherwise, repeat the process until you can boot the phone to Safe Mode.

If you were able to boot into Safe Mode and haven’t experienced the problem while in it, proceed to step 2. However, if the device still reboots even when in Safe Mode or if it fails to enter safe mode even if you did the steps right, proceed to steps 3 and 4 directly.

Step 2: Disable Third Party Application

If you were able to boot the phone to Safe Mode and the problem didn’t happen again, there is a big possibility that a third-party app has gone rogue and is causing all the troubles. But the first thing you should do is to determine which app it is. There is no easy way to do it but recall which app you downloaded and installed recently. However, if you cannot recall which one, you need to disable every third-party app you have one-by-one starting with the ones you often use.

Disabling an app won’t delete your data, you’re simply preventing it from running on your system but it is as good as uninstalling it. The difference is you can enable it back and retain all your data and settings.

To disable an app on a Samsung Galaxy S4, follow this:

  1. Go back to the Home screen, then tap the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings, then More tab.
  3. Tap Application Manager.
  4. Swipe to right once to choose All tab. (Other tabs are Downloaded and Running.)
  5. Scroll up or down to look for the app you suspected of causing the boot loop.
  6. Tap the Disable button.

If you were able to find the app that’s causing the boot loop, don’t uninstall it just yet but instead clear its cache and data and see if that solves the problem. If it doesn’t, then uninstall it.

In case the problem is not with the third-party apps, start looking into stock Samsung and Google apps. But to make things easier for you in this case, proceed to steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: Wipe Cache Partition 

After you’ve installed and uninstalled a lot of apps on your phone, lots of cached data may have already been stored in the cache partition and there is always a possibility of corruption. Once that happens, the phone may start acting weird and the only way to solve it is to wipe cache partition.

While this step may not have been so familiar as compared to the one that follows, it is very helpful in resolving Android problems that couldn’t be solved by simply doing the hard reset, although it’s not as hassling as the latter because personal data will be kept intact and the owner won’t have to set the phone up again.

Wiping cache partition will delete data stored by apps but don’t get me wrong, a new set of data will be cached once you start using an app. So, basically, you do this to replace the data cached on your phone. And to do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Turn the phone off completely.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up, Home and Power buttons.
  3. Release the Power button when the phone vibrates but continue holding on to the Volume Up and Home buttons.
  4. When the Android System Recovery screen appears, release both the Home and Volume Up buttons.
  5. Using the Volume Down key, highlight ‘wipe cache partition.’
  6. Press the Power button to select the option.
  7. The phone will automatically restart once cache data are wiped out.

If this step can’t resolve the problem, proceed to the last step.

Step 4: Master / Hard Reset 

This is the last resort simply because it will require more effort to do. What I mean is that you will need to backup all data you don’t want to lose along the process. Factory reset or hard reset will delete your personal settings, app data, contacts, messages, etc. In short, it will bring your phone back to its default settings. Here’s how you do a master reset using hardware keys:

  1. Turn the phone off completely.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up, Home and Power buttons.
  3. Release the Power button when the phone vibrates but continue holding on to the Volume Up and Home buttons.
  4. When the Android System Recovery screen appears, release both the Home and Volume Up buttons.
  5. Using the Volume Down key, highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset.’
  6. Press the Power button to select it.
  7. Using the Volume Down button again, highlight ‘delete all user data.’
  8. Press the Power key to select it.
  9. Once the reset is complete, choose ‘Reboot system now.’
  10. Press the Power button to restart the phone.

If you find these steps a little complicated for you to follow, please seek guidance from those who know or from a technician. You can also bring the phone where you bought it and have the store’s technical support help you.

My colleague here at The Droid Guy also wrote an article about this problem before: Samsung Galaxy S4 Stuck in Boot Loop.

Tell us your problems

The solutions we provided here are based on reports and testimonies from owners who have encountered these problems. I also ask my XDA developer friends regarding some of the problems. Now if you have other problems or questions with your smartphone that you want answered, don’t hesitate to send us email at [email protected]

We don’t guarantee a reply to all emails because we receive hundreds of them daily, but rest assured your email messages will be read by me. But I urge you to provide as much details as possible so I could easily find references and compare your problems with reports from other owners. If your problem is as common as others, there could already be solutions that exist and I would surely point you to them. Screenshots often help so attach one if you can.