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How To Fix Common Samsung Galaxy S4 Problems and Errors [Part 23]


Welcome to the 24th part of our Samsung Galaxy S4 Problems and Solutions series, one of the longest-running series in our site. We’ve received some emails asking why we keep doing this this when we’ve already addressed more than a couple of hundreds of problems. The answer is that we are still receiving emails from our readers asking for help to fix problems in their phones; we cannot just neglect them. So, as long as our readers ask for our help, we’ll continue doing this.

For those who may have just tuned in to our site and have issues with their phones, feel free to email us your problems or concerns via [email protected] and we will do our best to provide solutions and advices. But please, I urge you to be as detailed as possible. I don’t care how long your emails could be as long as they describe what the problems are, they’re good. But I also strongly suggest you visit our Samsung Galaxy S4 Troubleshooting page as it contains links to all troubleshooting guides, problems and solutions we published, so far.

Gallery app freezes when trying to access photos

Q: Hi. My S4 Gallery freezes when I enter it, trying to delete photos. Now my camera also doesn’t respond and freezes. I am currently trying to “clear cache”, but it is stuck on “computing”. It’s also having problems uninstalling apps, etc. — Scott

Hi Scott. Freezing problems on a smartphone can be caused by some factors like firmware issue or hardware defect. Environment can also contribute to how a device performs after some time, especially if its exposed to heat or dust most of the time. This post will help you determine if this issue can be resolved on your end without having to get a replacement phone.

#1. Unplug the SD card. This is a must prior to removing the SD card

  1. On the Home screen, select the Menu key
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Go to and select Unmount SD card option
  4. Tap OK
  5. Turn off the phone and safely remove the SD card

#2. Soft reset the phone. This step will restart the phone but will not erase data or files on the device.

  1. Turn off the device
  2. Unplug the battery and wait for 30 seconds before plugging it back in.
  3. Turn the phone back on

#3. Clear cache of apps. Sometimes, application files can clog memory of the device and in most cases, this step can resolve freezing problems. Clearing the cache of apps deletes temporary files but should leave your settings and information intact. This step will only affect information not originally associated with the application like user information, high scores, and even credit card information, if there are.

  1. On the Home screen, tap Apps
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Tap More
  4. Select Application manager
  5. Go to All tab
  6. Scroll to your preferred application like the Gallery
  7. Tap Clear data
  8. Tap OK

#4. Check if your phone runs the latest firmware.

  1. Tap the System Updates dashboard.
  2. Tap Device Software.
  3. Tap Check now.
  4. If an update is available, follow the prompts to install.

#5. Perform a factory reset. This should be your last resort as it will delete all your information permanently. Make sure to save a copy of your information like your contacts, photos, etc on your computer.

  1. From the Home screen, tap Apps
  2. Look for Settings icon and tap it
  3. Go Accounts
  4. Tap Backup and reset option
  5. Select Factory reset button
  6. Read the warning and tap on Reset device

We hope that any of these steps will help resolve your issue. Should the problem continues, please go to a shop and have it checked by a technician, or get a replacement unit.

Rotation and Smart Stay do not work on S4

Q: My phone is acting strange lately. When I try to view photos or ebooks, Smart Stay does not want to work for some reason. I’ve tried to root if after the warranty has run out thining it would work out just fine. Well, apparently not. What can I do? — Shannon

A: Hello Shannon. We are sorry to hear that your phone no longer works as it supposed to do. I don’t think you’re alone in having this problem. You may be disappointed right now but please follow our suggestion below so you can get back to using your phone again.

Basically, Smart Stay depends on the light that’s reflected on the phone to see your face so it doesn’t work well in low light. It uses facial recognition so try to remove head accessories you may have like hats or big glasses so it can compare your face to the one programmed inside it to recognize. This feature have a generic set of parameters in recognizing what a human face in general looks like that you can even use a mannequin’s head to fool it to stay on.

It also tends to look for the outlines of a human eye so make sure that you are in a well-lit area when using it so it can see your face and eyes clearly.

You can also try the following:

  1. On your Home screen, go to Settings
  2. Go to My device
  3. Tap Smart screen

Connection keeps dropping on S4

Q: I decided to upgrade my old S3 to S4 but I have one question. It doesn’t seem to recognize my Wi-Fi and if it ever does, the connection is laggy or keeps on dropping. Is there something that I need to do?

I did not have this problem with my S3 before I trade it in so it must be the phone. It also doesn’t conNect to the internet obviously because I have Wi-Fi on it. It keeps on saying obtaining IP address but stays that way for a long time and then does nothing most of the time.

The problem has become annoying to me that I consider selling this phone for good after using it for a few days. I mean, come on, I want to use it to play games and I can’t because I don’t have Wi-Fi on it. I don’t want to use my data on games. I thought this was some sort of a network problem but it is now going forever.

A: Hi. Wi-Fi issues can happen on any smartphone because of a wide range of causes. For some, the problem may appear complicated but it actually is not so. Don’t worry, as we will walk you through all the troubleshooting steps that may help you resolve this problem without getting another or selling this phone.

Before we proceed, we want to make sure that your home network is working. You mentioned that your S3 worked well in this set-up. When was the last time that you used it? Have you made any changes to your home network like swap the router, change some router settings, or added some other devices to the network? These questions are basic so we can establish that the problem is being caused by the phone only. If you have other wireless devices like laptops, tablets, or smartphones connecting to your Wi-Fi without problems, then you are assured that your network is good.

Now, to begin troubleshooting your phone follow the instructions below:

Phone Troubleshooting

  1. On your Home screen, go to Settings and tap Wi-Fi.
  2. Select Menu and ensure that the option Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep is set to Always
  3. On your phone dialer, dial *#0011# then proceed to Menu, then Wi-Fi so you can switch it to Off.

This step is to make sure that Wi-Fi power save mode is always set to on.

If these steps won’t work, try this set:

  1. From Home screen, go to Menu
  2. Select Settings
  3. Look for Wi-Fi and tap it
  4. Select your home network and long press it
  5. Tap Forget Network
  6. Select Menu
  7. Go to Advanced
  8. Ensure that Passpoint option is set of Off. The reason for this is so that your phone will not connect to any Wi-Fi network that demands authentication via a web browser.
  9. Switch Auto Network switch to Off by unchecking the box

Router Troubleshooting

  1. Check your router firmware. Make sure that it’s up to date. You may have to call your Internet service provider (ISP) or router manufacturer to do this.
  2. Try changing your router settings, especially the channel and mode from 802.11 to a different one. Your router may also be suffering from interference created by other devices like microwave ovens or any other devices using the same frequency. On your router settings, try changing 5 Ghz frequency instead of the default for a clear broadcast. This should keep your router broadcasting in a clear spectrum.

This step is router specific so you may have to contact your router vendor or ISP. Thick walls separating your device from the router may be blocking the signal so make sure to keep a line of sight between the devices.

S4 is overheating

Q: Droidguy, I have this problem for the first time ever. If I use my S4 when playing any game for two hours, it gets hot, I mean really hot on the back part. I’ve had this phone for eight months now and I haven’t known a problem with this one that causes it be so warm I have to let it go. — Drey

A: Hi Drey. S4 is only one of the smartphones that can overheat so you are not alone in this regard. Your phone is clearly overheating. This symptom normally happens if you use the device for a long time without interruption or while gaming. Some apps, rogue or not, can also cause the phone to act like this, while some users reported overheating when the phone is being charged. It’s normal for a phone to heat up when used extensively or if the weather is hot, but if it happens frequently, then it may suggest something’s amiss.

So, how long do you normally use the phone while gaming before it becomes uncomfortably hot? If it only takes a few minutes before it does so, you may want to try out possible solutions below:

Check your apps. Rogue apps or even outdated apps can demand more resources from your phone including more processing tasks and power. Make sure that all your important apps are running the latest update. And get rid of those you don’t use or doesn’t recognize.

Reformat your micro SD card. Some users have reported that media server can cause the phone to overheat. Save a copy of your files in your microSD card to your computer then reformat if.

  1. Go to Menu
  2. Select Settings
  3. Tap More
  4. Select Storage
  5. Touch Format SD card
  6. Review the message and touch Format SD card
  7. Tap Delete all
  8. Remove then reinsert the microSD card afterwards.

If the problem continues, this means that you have a phone defect causing it. Contact Samsung or your retailer for a fix on the problem.


S4 battery drains faster

Q: I switched to S4 because I was told that the battery has so much improved compared to S3. I guess I’m disappointed right now because it only lasts a little longer after some light use. I still have to charge it during the day to use it. Do I need to install something to make the battery live longer? — Marcus

A: Hi Marcus. Smartphone batteries of late has really not improved a lot in terms of technology. This means that Samsung may have only improved the S4 battery slightly a bit, giving it a not-so-significant improvement over its predecessor. Also, there’s a chance that your phone may be overheating, which can also cause the battery to lose a charge faster. Heavy battery drain is almost always linked to overheating problems aside from the fact that the phone’s processing requirements is very demanding.

If you think the battery is draining faster even during light usage only, you can try the suggested troubleshooting below:

  1. Turn off power-consuming features like GPS, Mobile data, Air View, NFC, Wi-Fi, or any other features you enabled.
  2. Use the Power saving mode by going to extra Quick setting in the Notifications bar on top of the screen.
  3. Consider reducing screen brightness and use timeout to make your phone turn the screen off automatically after a preset period.
  4. Change your wallpaper to something dark. Yeah, it’s boring but it can save some juice on your battery.
  5. Monitor apps that has enabled syncing features like emails and social media apps. Facebook, for instance, has a sync feature that can cause your phone to constantly connect to their servers.

S4 stutters when playing or opening apps

Q: I think I’m disappointed with Samsung Galaxy S4. the company should give to customers what they advertise. The phone is supposed to be fast and amazing. I find some features cool but basically, the S4 is quite laggy. I don’t like it that way. The problem happens when I select apps or go to some page. I also noticed that when I’m playing, some parts of it will stutter noticeably. Help me please. — Nova

A: Hello Nova. There’s no perfect phone and Samsung’s beast, Galaxy S4 is no exception. However, just like you said, customers should get what they’re paying for and the S4’s caliber should already make this problem a thing of the past.

To begin with, the S4 packs a 1.9 Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, which means that it should be able to handle multitasking without any problems. It’s supposed to be fast and should be able to do its job in a swish. Exceptions do occur in this case, possibly because of hardware issue. Fortunately, lag problems on this phone can be fixed easily, assuming that the phone itself is good. Let’s take a look at the steps below:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Developer options
  3. Scroll to and change Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration to Animation is off.
  4. Go back to Settings
  5. Tap My device
  6. Select Lock screen
  7. Tap Unlock effect and change it to None
  8. Turn on S-Voice then select Settings again to uncheck Unlock effect. Make sure that Unlock effect is set to None. This step will turn off the option to activate S-Voice thought double tapping.
  9. You can also limit background processes to only 4 so your RAM will have ample resources when apps are running. This will also prevent the phone from opening the fifth app that my hog up the memory. This option is still under developer options.
  10. If available, make sure to download the latest firmware update.

Gallery app and Camera won’t work

Q: Hi Droidguy, isn’t it strange that my phone stops working properly after the warranty has ran out? I called the local shop where I bought it from a year before because the camera won’t load anymore. This happens after my son tried to root it. I don’t know what he meant but that’s the word he used. Now, he’s on vacation and I’m at a loss on what to do. I don’t want to spend money to get it fixed if I can troubleshoot it myself. Everytime I opened the camera app, a pop up will say that it stopped working. When I go to gallery to open it up there, the same error will show up. I have an event in the office and it should really be cool if I can snap pics there.

Also, I noticed that my photos are not displaying pictures just like before. I think the two problems are related. Please help. — Noreen

A: Hi Noreen. This is a rare problem on the S4 but there has been some successful troubleshooting steps shared by some readers for this issue. Let’s go over our resolution steps below:

#1. Clear cache and data. This step is meant to erase possible corrupt files specific to your Gallery app and or camera.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap More
  3. Tap Application manager
  4. Select All
  5. Select Gallery and Camera then tap on Clear cache and Clear data

#2. Clear cache partition. This is another important step to delete possible corrupt files or data on your phone.

  1. Turn off the phone and remove the battery, then reinsert
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and Home key, then press and hold the Power key
  3. When it vibrates release the Power key
  4. The recovery menu should appear – release the other keys
  5. Navigate using the Volume keys to Wipe all cache (power key to select)
  6. Press the Power key to reboot

#3. Make sure the microSD card is working. If your photos and video files are stored in a microSD card, save a copy of those files to your computer, then reformat the card.

#4. Try using a third party camera app. This should be a temporary workaround and not meant as a permanent fix. You are entitled to a good working built-in camera. Do this while waiting for your son to probably fix the issue or while considering your options. You can download apps by going to Google Play.

#5. Try to go to Safe mode and see if your Gallery app or camera will work that way. Safe mode will give you the default operating system and software. This is usually done to narrow down problems, especially if one suspects that apps are the causing them. While in this mode, you will be unable to use some apps or features because the phone is on its “bare bones” state–only essential software are running.

  1. Shut down the phone
  2. Press and hold the Power key to turn the device back on while the lights are emitting.
  3. Once the Galaxy S4 logo appears, press and hold Volume Down key until the phone reboots completely. You’ll know if it’s successful because you’ll see “Safe Mode” at the lower left hand side of the screen.
  4. Try your camera or Gallery app again

If any of the steps won’t help, please refer to Samsung or to a local shop to have the hardware fixed.

Sprint S4 can’t receive calls

Q: I’m extremely disappointed that my Sprint S4 phone is unable to get calls, even from my neighbors! As you can see, I checked it by asking my neigbor who has an AT&T phone to call me. Whenever she placed that call, my signal strength drops to 1 bar and the call won’t come in at all. I’m mad and I wan’t to know why this is happening. I’m not getting what I’m supposed to be getting. — Melanie

A: Hi Melanie. Looks like you may have a network problem in your area. Have you called Sprint about this? They should be the best option to resolve this issue because there’s a chance that there are on-going maintenance in your area. Have you also asked someone in the area if they have the same issue?

In the meantime, try to do the following steps to help you determine the cause:

#1. Check if Airplane mode is turned off. This mode is a security feature to prevent your smartphone from sending or receiving transmission while in flight.

  1. Go to your Home screen and press and hold Power button
  2. Select Airplane mode
  3. Read the message and hit OK

#2. Verify if the phone is linked to Sprint Zone. This is Sprint’s voice network and if your phone is not connected to it, it may not be able to send and receive wireless transmission.

  1. Go to Apps under the Home screen
  2. Tap Sprint Zone
  3. Review the Privacy Statement
  4. Tap OK
  5. Once inside the Sprint Zone app, go to My Device
  6. Tap Dashboard
  7. Select Voice Network to see the phone’s voice status
  8. Tap Network PRL
  9. The phone will update and once done, tap OK
  10. Try to call or receive a voice call again

#3. Reset your network settings. Don’t worry, this step won’t delete your settings or files as this only covers network-related settings.

  1. Go Home screen
  2. Tap Phone
  3. Dial ##72786#. Note that the final “#” may not be visible. This is expected.
  4. Wait until the phone restarts to enable Hands Free Activation

Rebooting problem on S4

Q: I know it’s not normal for a phone to reboot by itself and this is the problem I’m having. How do I fix this? — Rob

A: Hi Rob. You’re right. There must be something that triggers the phone to restart by itself so let’s try to do the following so we can isolate the cause:

#1. Verify is the phone is running the latest software update.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap More
  3. Select About device
  4. Go to Software update, then tap Update

#2. Make sure all apps are also updated. We’ll do this by going to Play Store.

  1. Once Play Store is up, go to My Apps
  2. Choose Update all

#3. Verify if apps are triggering the issue by going to Safe Mode.

  1. Shut down the phone
  2. Press and hold the Power key to turn the device back on while the lights are emitting.
  3. Once the Galaxy S4 logo appears, press and hold Volume Down key until the phone reboots completely. You’ll know if it’s successful because you’ll see “Safe Mode” at the lower left hand side of the screen.
  4. Try to use the phone while in this state and observe if the reboot still happens
  5. Uninstall unnecessary apps one by one to narrow down possible causes

#4. Unplug and replug the microSD card. Observe if the problem continues without the microSD card inserted.

How to enable Safety Assistance

Q: I’m an old lady and I was told that S4 can send out alerts of some sort in a hurry. Is this true? I’m not that good with technology so you may have to tell me how to do it if that’s true. — Sally

A: Hi Sally. I’m glad that you contact us regarding this. This is true. This great feature is called Safety Assistance. This is basically a pre-arranged set of buttons you need to press so the phone can send alerts to predetermined contacts. The message includes two pictures snapped by the front and back cameras while you’re pressing the up and down volume keys. This message also gives your location. To enable this, please follow these easy steps:

  1. On your Home screen, go to Settings
  2. Tap My Device
  3. Select Safety Assistance
  4. After you configure Safety Assistance, don’t forget to press UP and DOWN VOLUME keys if you think you are in danger. Take care.

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 protected] 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.

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