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How To Fix Samsung Galaxy S3 Problems and Errors [Part 26]

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Welcome to the 26th segment of our Samsung Galaxy S3 Problems series. There are ten questions/problems I answered in this post so please take time browsing through it. We are still receiving a lot of emails from Galaxy S3 owners daily and many of them are the same as the problems we already addressed. So, I urge you to read the previous parts of the series. Don’t worry, I already created an index that contains links to posts where you can find problems related to yours. You may visit our Samsung Galaxy S3 Troubleshooting page or email us at [email protected] for your questions or join our Facebook and Google+ communities.

Galaxy S3 won’t turn on after it froze

Q: Hi I really need your help. My phone stopped working yesterday it just came up with the start up screen and froze and now it won’t turn on at all. I don’t care about the phone but what is bothering me are the photos of my newborn up to 6 months I have on there and it is breaking me that they may be lost. Please, please help. — Dan

A: Dan, there’s no guarantee that you can recover those photos but unless the phone is reset to factory settings, they will stay there unharmed so let’s stay away from Factory Reset for now.

The first thing I want you to do is to charge the phone for at least 30 minutes. This will make sure there is enough power to turn all components inside as well as the screen.

After that, remove the battery and for 30 seconds, press and hold the power key. This will drain stored electricity off capacitors.

Place the battery back in and turn the phone on.

If the phone turns on but cannot continue booting up, at least, we know it’s not a battery issue and that’s actually a good thing as there is big possibility you can bring it back to life.

Now, let’s try to boot the phone to Safe Mode. This will temporarily disable all third-party apps, so if one of them is causing the problem, you will still be able to use your phone, and probably backup all your data, while in Safe Mode. Procedures on how to boot the phone to safe mode can be found below.

If the phone can successfully boot to safe mode, backup all your photos and data so you can perform factory reset without losing anything should the problem continue.

In case the phone can’t boot to Safe Mode, the last option you have is to boot to recovery mode. While in that mode, you can wipe cache partition, which may be able to solve this problem. Don’t worry, the procedure won’t delete any of your data.

After all these and the problem still persists, bring the phone to a technician and have it checked. Of course, tell him you don’t want to perform factory reset so you can keep all your photos.

How to boot to Safe Mode

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key.
  3. When ‘Samsung Galaxy S III’ appears on the screen, release the Power key Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  4. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  5. ‘Safe mode’ will display in the bottom left corner of the screen. Release the Volume down key when you see ‘Safe Mode.’

How to wipe cache partition

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the following three buttons at the same time: Volume Up, Home and Power keys.
  3. When the phone vibrates, let go of the Power key but continue to press and hold the Volume Up key and the Home key.
  4. When the Android System Recovery screen appears, release the Volume Up and Home keys.
  5. Press the Volume Down key to highlight ‘wipe cache partition.’
  6. Press the Power key to select and wipe the cache.
  7. With ‘reboot system now’ highlighted, press the Power key to restart the device.

Galaxy S3 not giving text notifications

Q: I searched this online, and the subject came up in my Google search results, but I couldn’t find it in the problems listed on the page that came up. I have a Samsung S3.

This started back around mid May.   Seems there was a system update that went on back then and shortly after it started happening. I’m not getting any text notifications in either sound or icons in the notification bar. It also seems that sometimes I’m not getting the texts until I actually open a text string with a person. For example I look at the lists of texts and none are showing as unread. But then I open the text string with my wife, and it will show an unread text, and that the text came in 20 minutes ago.

I checked just about anywhere you can turn on or off notifications, I made sure I was set to automatically retrieve messages. I’ve done everything I can think of, but still nothing has changed. Any advice or is this something you’ve seen before? — Glenn

A: I, too, have encountered this problem before and the worse thing is my messages were not arranged in chronological order. What I did was clear both the cache and data of the messaging app first; it deleted all my messages but when new ones came in, they were already in chronological order but the notification still wouldn’t sound off. I was out of options then so I performed factory reset and it fixed problem. I think it was just some kind of a glitch since I just updated my phone when that happened. I was told by a friend after I solved my problem that pulling the battery out while the phone is on could fix the problem.

So, for your problem, try the battery pull first. If that didn’t work, clear the cache and data of the messaging app you use. Your last resort will be factory reset.

How to clear cache and data

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap the More tab.
  3. Tap Application manager.
  4. Swipe left or right to display the All tab.
  5. Tap the messaging application you’re using.
  6. Tap Clear data and then tap OK.
  7. Tap Clear cache.

How to perform factory reset

  1. Back up all data on the internal memory.
  2. From any Home screen, tap the Menu key.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tab the Accounts tab.
  5. Tap Back up and reset.
  6. If desired, tap Automatic restore to clear the check box.
  7. If desired, tap Back up my data to clear the check box.
  8. Tap Factory data reset.
  9. Tap Reset device.
  10. If you have screen lock turned on, enter your PIN or password. Tap Continue.
  11. Tap Delete all.

Phone still syncs photos and documents even if sync is off

Q: Greetings. My Galaxy s3 continues to sync photos and other documents even though I have all the sync options turned off that I’m aware of. They keep showing up in my notifications. I have AT&T. Any ideas? — Matt

A: It’s just a minor glitch, Matt. Make sure all syncs are off and then disconnect from the internet by turning off the Wi-Fi and mobile data. After that, reboot your phone. All syncs should already be off now. However, if the glitch continues, then you need to clear the cache and data of the Download Manager, a service that handles all downloads including syncs.

Clear cache and data of Download Manager

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap the More tab.
  3. Tap Application manager.
  4. Swipe left or right to display the All tab.
  5. Tap the Download Manager.
  6. Tap Clear data and then tap OK.
  7. Tap Clear cache.

If the problem still persists after doing all these, delete the account that initiates all sync. You may need to re-setup your account after this.

Galaxy S3 won’t turn on after getting wet

Q: Hello, I have a question, hopefully you can kindly help me out. I had a little water damage on my phone, I think only the back might’ve gotten wet (with the back cover not there, only the back side of the phone case was in replace of it).

The battery has a red mark on the little strip. It does charge and the red light is on on the top left side. the big green battery symbol does appear on the screen but the phone WONT turn on at all, and usually it does even while charging.

Do you think it is a new battery i might just need? I also heard putting it in 99% rubbing alcohol for a few hours will work , then rice.’ I put it only in rice for one night, but it had already been about 10-13 hours since the damage occurred but i thought id still give it a try. Please help if you can. kindly appreciate it! thanks! — Roxanne

A: The thing about water damage is that it would just become as complicated as it could get and whatever you do, there’s no guarantee that electronic components inside like capacitors, resistors, etc. weren’t damaged. I have seen a lot of smartphones damaged by water that seemed to work a day or two but became paperweights after that.

The purpose of applying alcohol to wet phone is to mix water with it so the liquid would become light and vaporize faster. The same goes to putting the phone to grains of rice; so the water will be absorbed. The thing is, there was a tendency that you attempted to turn the phone on after you found out it was wet; that’s the greatest blunder.

Now, if the battery’s liquid damage indicator shows red, then it’s damaged and buying a new battery kit is the best thing to do but that is not a guarantee the phone will work. So, before you actually buy a new battery, bring the phone to a technician and have him check the phone first.

Galaxy S3 turned off while using SnapChat

Q: Hi, I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and lately it had gotten a bit slow (i hadn’t turned it off in awhile and i had been using it a lot. It’s also year and a half old, not that’s any excuse!), but it wasn’t too bad. Today I was using the app snapchat and it froze on the camera and then it turned off. I have tried all your troubleshoot methods and it still won’t turn on. However I can not replace the battery at this time nor change it with a friend. You suggested that at the end it was a power button problem, but i really don’t see why it would be a power button problem? Any help would be much appreciated! I have tried everything and i can’t get to a shop to fix it. Kind regards, Katherine.

A: Every problem we addressed was unique depending on the cause, although many of them showed the same symptoms. I’m not sure what troubleshooting methods you tried or what post you read but apparently your problem isn’t caused by a damaged power button. The Power key can only be suspected to be damaged when the phone won’t power on and won’t boot to safe mode, download mode or recovery mode.

In your case, it seems that a third party app may be causing the issue. At least, that’s the primary suspect. I hope you understand that what we provide here are more of troubleshooting procedures than fixes since we cannot inspect devices of our readers physically. Thus, we tend to discover what the problem really is, then we provide solutions or workarounds.

For your problem, I want you to boot to safe mode first to see if the problem still exists while in that state. Here’s how you do it…

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key.
  3. When ‘Samsung Galaxy S III’ appears on the screen, release the Power key Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  4. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  5. ‘Safe mode’ will display in the bottom left corner of the screen. Release the Volume down key when you see ‘Safe Mode.’

Once you’re in safe mode, try to use SnapChat again. If the camera still fails, then try using the Camera app itself and if that fails either, then the problem is with the camera sensor itself; a replacement may be needed.

However, if the camera fails when using the third-party app but stays stable with the stock Camera app, then the issue with the SnapChat. You may need to uninstall and reinstall it to be fixed and if the problem persists after doing so, it’s time you report the problem to the developer as it may be a bug.

How to restrict Play Store from using mobile data

Q: Hi, I am using Samsung Galaxy S3. Whenever I activate mobile data I get to receive notification on updates to the apps installed. My data drains so fast. How can I stop the background apps e.g. playstore from using my data when am not using the app. Thanks. — Samuel

A: Samuel, let’s face facts here; when mobile data is turned on, the battery drains faster than when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. That’s how things work with smartphones and we cannot change that. Now, about your other problem, you sure can do a thing or two so apps won’t use your data when it’s turned on.

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings and then the Connections tab.
  3. Under the Connections tab, find Data Usage and tap on it.
  4. Scroll down and you’ll see a list of apps that use data. I’m sure Google Play Store is one of them so tap on it.
  5. In the next screen, the Data Usage of the Play Store, you’ll see a checkbox labeled “Restrict background data,” that’s the option you need ticked to restrict it from using data.
  6. I understand you didn’t ask how to stop receiving app updates whenever mobile data is turned on but it may come handy. So, while on that same screen, tap the button that says “View app settings.”
  7. In Google Play Store settings screen, find the option that says “Auto-update apps” and tap on it. You will now see three options; you can either choose “Do not auto-update apps” or “Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only.”

That should solve your problem.

Galaxy S3 changes screen and dials numbers while in call

Q: Hi, when I am talking on the phone the screen changes from the dial pad screen to the world clock screen. Or it will start putting numbers in the area where the phone number dialed appears. The person I am talking to states they hear beeping as the numbers are entered. I have retuned one phone for this reason. Is there some setting I am missing? Thanks for your help. — Barbara

A: This is a common problem when the phone’s screen remains on while in a call. So, the first thing you need to do is to check the setting that turns off the screen when you place the phone near your face. Here’s how…

  1. Open “Phone” App
  2. Tap on Menu Key and open “Call Settings”
  3. Find “Turn off screen during calls” and make sure it is enabled

In case the problem stays after enabling the “Turn off screen during calls” option, then there’s a problem with the phone’s proximity sensor. But the thing is, the proximity sensor cannot easily be damaged. The common cause of the sensor acting weird is dirt that may have entered into the hole. A blast of compressed air will get rid of the dirt and would eventually fix the problem. Or, you can employ services of a technician to make it even easier for you to address the problem.

Galaxy S3 camera won’t focus

Q: Hi, I recently bought a galaxy S3,which is running on the latest 4.3 version. When I first tried to use the camera, it seems it’s working, but then there was an update that popped up thus i install the update, but then suddenly the camera won’t focus anymore. I already tried everything on the settings but then it still won’t focus. It would be amazing if you can help me with my camera issues. Thank you and more power. Sincerely, Clever.

A: I haven’t heard of any camera bugs from the recent updates for the Galaxy S3. In your message you made it clear that the camera functioned well before the update but became faulty after you installed the most recent one. Needless to say, the blame falls on the firmware, which is normal. But the thing is, it could be just some corrupt data that may have caused it. So, here’s what you need to do…

First, clear the cache and data of the stock Camera app and then reboot the phone.

With the cache and data cleared and phone rebooted, launch the camera app and aim at any subject to see if the camera focuses. If not, then you need to wipe the cache partition through the recovery mode.

Now, if the problem stays after the first two procedures, backup all your data and perform factory reset. This is, however, not a guarantee the problem would be fixed. Thus, if it persists, call Samsung or your servicer provider and seek assistance or you can bring the phone to a local technician and have it checked.

Clear cache and data of Camera

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap the More tab.
  3. Tap Application manager.
  4. Swipe left or right to display the All tab.
  5. Tap the Camera app.
  6. Tap Clear data and then tap OK.
  7. Tap Clear cache.

How to wipe cache partition

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the following three buttons at the same time: Volume Up, Home and Power keys.
  3. When the phone vibrates, let go of the Power key but continue to press and hold the Volume Up key and the Home key.
  4. When the Android System Recovery screen appears, release the Volume Up and Home keys.
  5. Press the Volume Down key to highlight ‘wipe cache partition.’
  6. Press the Power key to select and wipe the cache.
  7. With ‘reboot system now’ highlighted, press the Power key to restart the device.

Recovering data from phone that won’t power on

Q: My son dropped his phone (T-999 S3 Galaxy T-Mobile), causing the screen to fracture in the upper left corner of the phone. It wasn’t a fatal blow, as the phone continued to operate afterwards. About 24 hours later, while charging the phone, he noticed that the phone was unresponsive and the screen was blank. The only sign of life is when the battery is removed and replaced, causing a vibration from battery and the Samsung and Android/TMobile splash screen to appear. After that, nothing.

Hooking it up to PC (Kies and Windows Explorer) and a wall charger produces nothing(no red charging indicator LED). Swapped with a different battery and got the same result as before (splash screens and then nothing).

I just need it powered up enough to recover contacts and data that wasn’t sync’d to cloud. Time is of the essence as I only have 15 days to return the damaged one back to Assurion. I realize my chances are slim, but I got to ask. Help! — Pat

A: If I’m not mistaken, you only discovered the problem when the phone drained its battery and plugged it to charge. It won’t turn on because there’s no power left and it refuses to charge but I believe the phone would still turn on if there’s enough battery. Assurion may replace it no questions asked but for you to recover contacts save in the phone’s internal memory, you need to invest in a spare battery or, at least, borrow from someone who also owns a Galaxy S3. There’s probably a problem in the USB charging port that’s why the phone won’t charge. The phone is just a few days old so there’s no point in doing further troubleshooting; I’m sure you don’t want to continue using a defective phone.

Galaxy S3 mini backlight flashes on and off

Q: Hi, my phone has gone funny all of a sudden. To my knowledge I haven’t added any extra apps or updates. I close all my apps and don’t touch the phone….the backlight constantly flashes back on and off as if it’s busy doing something. The battery drains after 6 hours following full charge and messaging seems somewhat disrupted too. Is it worth buying a new battery? It seems like its the actual phone processing things and keeping busy that is the problem but i have disabled everything. It’s only 6 weeks old? Thanks for any advice. — Hannah

A: Don’t worry Hannah, this problem is not serious. One of the apps may be causing this. But I hope the phone doesn’t have any physical or liquid damage–you’re the only one who could make sure of that. The Android problem that causes the screen to turn on from time to time is often caused by a wakelock, which basically waked the phone up and causes faster battery drain. This problem has already been addressed and one of the XDA Developers developed a free app called Wakelock Detector to help you fix the problem. Download and install that app then scan your device.

Galaxy S3 won’t charge

Q: Hello! So my Galaxy S3 is giving me some trouble. It refuses to charge. I have tried multiple different chargers and it will just charge for a second then stop and keep on doing that and will not charge my phone over 15%. It is getting really frustrating. I’ve tried about 2 or 3 home plug in chargers and even a car charger so I know it has something to do with my phone. This has been a very recent problem it has been happening the past 2 days! please help! — Ally

A: I’m sure you’ll agree if I said there’s no way that three of you chargers stopped working together on the same day. So, it has to be the phone. However, this kind of problem concerns the hardware, specifically the USB charging port (the component that receives electricity from the charger). I have seen a lot of this kind of problem and replacing that component fixes the problem every time. So, I suggest you bring the phone to a local tech and have him replace it for you, or at least, check the phone to see if the problem can still be fixed without having to replace the component.

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