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How To Fix Common AT&T Galaxy S4 Problems and Errors

galaxy s4

This post provides support for AT&T Galaxy S4 owners who emailed us. While we already published more than 20 parts of our S4 support series, we feel obliged to respond to our readers who spent time writing emails and describing their problems. Since we received thousands of emails already, you can expect to be reading a lot of posts like this in the future.

For those who have problems with their phones, we are always open for you. Feel free to email us at [email protected] and provide as much information as possible for us to know how to troubleshoot your problem. We also have our Facebook and Google+ pages, which we also use to provide free support to Android users.

Tips on minimizing overheating on a Samsung Galaxy S4

Question: Dear Droidguy, I have had my Samsung Galaxy S4 for about 6 months now. I have had it give many warnings about the device getting hot. I have removed my Otter Box and it helps, but I wish I could use it. I dropped it today and I thought it was broken for sure!! Any suggestions? I researched your articles from a little over a year ago, but was wondering if you knew of any new ways to fix it. —Allison

Answer: Hi Allison. Your Samsung Galaxy S4 is an awesome smartphone that features a powerful processor that gives users lots of computing power. However, faster processor speed most always also mean more heat generation so it’s no wonder the phone can get overheated quite easily. This doesn’t mean though that you stop using it or just limit your activity with it. We have prepared some tips for you to ensure that your phone operates within its acceptable heat threshold.

  1. Use special ROM. Customized ROMs designed to minimize overheating by tweaking memory management, power optimization, and performance can be used to significantly lower down the risk of your phone to overheat. Most custom ROMs of this type ensure that there are bigger free space by using only basic services.
  2. Turn off wireless radios. If you don’t mind turning off GPS or apps using it, you want to ensure that you turn off unnecesary wireless radios like NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and mobile data. This can greatly help your phone retain battery charge and lowering down heat level produced by the processor.
  3. Deleting cache. There are times that clearing data or temporary files known as cache can reduce overheating, especially if the phone takes some time to process and load some apps. You can delete the cache by:
  4. Disregard Touchwiz services. It’s a fact that not all services on the TouchWiz have everyday application to anyone. Some, if not most, are totally not usable for everyday living so turning them off can save your phone precious battery life and as well as lower down its demand for processing power.
  5. New SD cards helps. Most of the overheating issues encountered on Galaxy S4 are attributed to faulty or old SD cards so make sure that you are using a newer SD card. Older cards tend to require more processing needs as corrupted or worn out data can significantly delay a processor’s task. It’s time to throw that old SD card away!
  6. Lower down screen brightness. Adjust screen brightness according to your comfort or use dark colored wallpapers to help reduce light needed by the phone to display something on your screen. Too high light settings can contribute to heat generation. Same thing is true for video light.
  7. Minimize internet use. Web streaming and browsing can also contribute to more heat produced by the phone’s processors. More processing tasks means more CPU cores are being engaged to meet the demand. A Samsung Galaxy S4 can have up to 8 cores depending on the variant so overusing Internet functions can surely add to overheating.
  8. Avoid direct sunlight. Your phone can only absorb sunlight but cannot recycle it so make sure that it’s not exposed to sunrays. Constant external heat from the sun can also cause the battery to overheat, thereby shortening its service life.
  9. Consider ventilation all the time. A high-powered smartphone like your S4 obviously produces heat because of its powerful CPU cores so it is advised to keep it in a well-ventilated area when planning to use it extensively. Alternatively, using it in an air-conditioned room can help reduce heat and minimize battery consumption.
  10. Never leave your phone in the car. Leaving your Galaxy S4 in your car under direct sunlight will trap heat inside the device. Make sure to avoid this condition as high temperature may greatly weaken solders and components inside the device.
  1. Going to Settings
  2. Tapping Application manager
  3. Selecting an app
  4. Selecting Clear data and clear cache

Phone was too hot to touch

Question 1: A couple of times I have picked up my phone and it is hot to touch! Yesterday it had 76% battery life when I set it down, picked it up after about 30 minutes and it was hot, and in the red on battery! I turned it off and removed the battery for awhile, recharged, and seems fine! Any ideas on what happened? I’ve had about a year.

Question 2: Have an un-rooted at&t Galaxy S4 that gets very hot to touch at times and end up removing battery let it cool down and then restart it. Have not been able to pinpoint a particular app causing it. Have not been using GPS on it either to cause it. The phone is running the latest AT&T rom for version 4.4.2.

The behaviour is very random with no specific time or place dictating it. Have 2 other at&t S4s with a lot more apps on it running same rom purchased at exact same time, but those are not exhibiting this behaviour. Any insight will be appreciated. Thanks. — Ketan

Answer: It’s difficult for us to know what’s really happening with your phone because, first, we couldn’t check it out and second, you haven’t provided enough information. You said it happened a couple of times already and every time it happens, the battery drains faster than usual. So, the problem here is not what makes it hot because obviously it’s the power that flows from the battery to its components. The real question here is what caused severe battery drain?

Since the problem doesn’t happen frequently, just be vigilant enough and observe the phone’s behavior. If the phone becomes laggy before the overheating happens, then the battery drain maybe caused by apps or services running in the background. You need to know which of the apps you installed is doing this by going to battery usage when the phone started to become hot. The app or service that use too much battery may be is often the culprit.

If you’ve noticed the screen randomly turns on and off, it means there is/are a wakelock(s) that wakes the phone from time to time. And since the device couldn’t go to sleep properly, the processor will be in hyperdrive and that could be the reason why the battery drains faster and eventually the phone becomes hotter.

There is, of course, a possibility that the problem is caused by a glitch in the hardware and if it were the issue, you could only do so much. But I suggest you bring the phone to a technician to have it checked. As of now, the best thing you could do is observe the phone closely.

How to restore AT&T Galaxy S4 to its stock ROM

Problem: I bought this phone and it was stuck in boot mode, I took it to someone and they put new software on it, it worked for two days the battery went dead and now it says system software not authorized by att. top left screen in red system fail kernel. Any help would greatly be appreciated. I’m not a genius but I can’t afford to pay someone again and can follow directions if you can lead me in the right direction. Thank you in advance. —Kim

Solution: Hi Kim. The best way to do here is to unroot or restore the AT&T ROM on your phone so you can use it again. A guide has been prepared for you below to resolve this issue:

  1. Bring your phone to “Download Mode” by pressing and holding Volume down, Home key, and Power Buttons at the same time. Once you feel the phone vibrates, release the Power button but keep holding Volume down and Home.
  2. Press Volume up and plug in your phone to your computer through the microUSB cord that came with the box.
  3. Download Odin, pit, and tar.md5 files by following the links:
    1. http://downloadandroidfiles.org/download-odin3v185-zip/
    2. http://downloadandroidfiles.org/download-jflte_usa_att_16g-pit/
    3. http://downloadandroidfiles.org/download-ap_i337ucuemk2_1921628_rev06_user_low_ship_multi_cert-tar-md5/
  4. Extract and open Odin3 v1.85. You’ll notice a yellow highlighted box on the left of the Odin application. If you can’t see the yellow marking, make sure to download and install on your computer the official Samsung USB drivers by following this link:
    1. http://downloadandroidfiles.org/download-samsung_usb_driver_for_moblie_phones_v1_4_6_0-exe/
  5. Click “PIT” then select “JFLTE_USA_ATT_16G.pit”
  6. Click “PDA” and highlight AP_I337UCUEMK2_1921628_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_C ERT.tar.md5.
  7. Click on “Start”. The entire process will take about 5-10 minutes.
  8. Once Odin is complete it will say “Pass”. Please unplug your phone.
  9. You will now see the Android figure on your screen. Wait till you see “Samsung Galaxy S4” and then take out the battery and put it back in.
  10. Now enter into Recovery Mode. Hold the volume up, home center, and power button at the same time. When you feel a vibration let go of the power, but keep holding onto the volume up and home button.
  11. Select “wipe data/factory reset” > “Yes”.
  12. Then “reboot system now”.

You should already be on stock Android operating system by now!

“Unfortunately, TouchWiz Home has stopped” error on Galaxy S4

Problem: I was using google now launcher for more than a month as I was bored of touchwiz as it was very slow.. Just day back I came back to touchwiz nd after sometime it showed touchwiz unfortunately stopped and when I press ok d same message pops up and to get my phone working I have to restart my phone.. It happened more than thrice with me.. Please Help…–Anish

Solution: Hi Anish. The best and quickest way to fix this error is to turn off Developer Options on your Galaxy S4. To do this, please follow the instructions:

  1. Open the Menu / App Drawer
  2. Navigate towards Settings app
  3. Select Developer Options and disable them
  4. Restart your phone

If Developer Options is not visible at first, you must unlock it by going to Settings> About Device and tapping on the Build Number seven times. A pop up message saying “Developer mode has been enabled” will confirm that it’s enabled.

If the problem remains after that, then it’s logical to clear Touchwiz’s cache and data to rule out the possibility that the issue was caused by corrupt data. Of course, you will lose all your settings in the Touchwiz including your home screens but its worth it.

All incoming calls are being forwarded to voicemail

Problem: About 10 days ago my S4 stopped ringing and sends all incoming calls to (AT&T) voicemail. Auto-forwarding is turned off. I haven’t made any changes to my phone – although things seem to be constantly updating.

Solution: The fact that all calls are being redirected to voicemail, it is evident that there’s an issue with your account or phone number. During my tenure as a technical support for one of the wireless providers in the U.S., I have encountered this problem many times in a shift. If the customer calls in and immediately say all calls are being forwarded to voicemail, the problem can be fixed in seconds. We just have to enter the phone number into our system and reactivate it…problem solved.

So, I suggest you call your service provider first before doing anything in your phone. Leave the settings the way they were when you were still able to receive calls. That way, it would be easier to narrow down the problem. If the customer rep told you that your account is in good standing and your phone number active, then it’s time you did some troubleshooting. The first thing you should check is whether the phone was set to block all calls.

  1. Go to Settings> tap My Device tab> tap Call. Or, Open Phone app> tap the Menu key> tap Call settings.
  2. Tap Call rejection.
  3. Tap Auto reject mode. Here you’ll see 3 options available, if All numbers was chosen, then that’s the problem.

Now, if everything else fails, a factory reset could help narrow the problem down but back up all your data first.

Galaxy S4 camera fades to dark in the corners

Question: Hi, love your blog. My Galaxy S4, which I’ve have for 3-4 months, used to take great photos. Just this week it fades to dark in all four corners, sort of like a antique-camera effect, even in full daylight. I haven’t changed any settings–it just started doing it. Did I accidentally trigger some camera setting? Do I need to take it in for repair? I’d very much appreciate your help. Here’s a picture of what it’s doing:

Galaxy S4 Picture Dark CornersBill

Answer: Hi Bill. Looks like you’ve hit some filtering options on your camera settings on this one. The photo appears to be edited by a software that adds dark corners to it. Have you tried using some third party camera app lately? The editing style presented here is common among camera apps like Camera 360 and others. We don’t think this is a phone problem and must be fixed rather easily by checking all the camera or camera-related apps you may have on your phone.

If this was caused by a third-party camera app and you don’t know which setting you triggered, force stop the app, clear its cache, then the data and uninstall it. Download it from the Play Store and reinstall. I’m sure that should take care of the problem.

No sound when screen mirroring

Question: Hi team, the moment I switch on to screen mirroring options on my cell phone ie Samsung galaxy S4 , the audio stops working. Not even my cell or TV (Samsung smart tv 2013 model )sound controls helping to get audio. Is this a software issue with my phone or screen mirroring has some issues in s4. Waiting for your response. Thanks, Swati.

Answer: Sorry but I really can’t answer your question. First I want to know what method you used when mirroring. But you should know all methods should include audio unless the video you’re sharing doesn’t have audio or your TV’s volume was turned to zero as well as with your phone’s. Again, as what I mentioned earlier, it’s difficult even to assume what’s going on with your device if there isn’t enough information provided. If you’re reading this now, email us back and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Overheating Galaxy S4 and cracked screen

Question: Just some input. When I got my S4 it would overheat so bad that I couldn’t keep it in my pocket. Then I noticed a crack across where it was overheating. Since I couldn’t return it because of the crack, I did an insurance claim and the new one doesn’t get as hot…still warm…., just wondering if the heat could actually crack the screen? What do you think? —Randy

Answer: Hi Randy. We haven’t heard of any overheating issue on a smartphone cracking the phone’s display so this is surely an interesting topic here with us. The most common cause of the screen cracking is when blunt force is applied to a device or dropping. Even a phone left in a car outside can tolerate trapped heat without the screen cracking, so a normal overheating issue can never shatter the display. Your phone must have been dropped or bumped by something causing unnoticeable crack on the screen. We don’t know what condition the phone is under while you were using it but that tiny crack may have developed into a more noticeable one.

Problems when making/receiving calls

Problem: Hello I am from Barbados, I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 and having the same problem with my phone as with the 5th issue from this post, I did the same thing and even change the SIM Card my cell provider is Digicel, but they said it is not from there end, the cell was purchase in the USA so it has on T Mobile application on it, it work find for about 4 months then started giving trouble. Besides the call and answering problem everything else works perfect. how can you help me please.

Suggestion: So, that was it? They just told you the problem wasn’t on their end and left you alone without a service? Did they even attempt to troubleshoot your problem? Of course, you’re the only one who could answer if there was something significant that happened to the phone that may have contributed to the problem. If you’re sure there was nothing, the it’s more of a network problem more than anything else.

However, if there was something happening to the phone, like updates or something like that, then I suggest you do the factory reset now (of course, backup all your data first). If that doesn’t work, then you’ve done everything you can; now it’s time your service provider would do something to help fix the problem.

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