Hey guys, this is the 29th segment of our Galaxy S4 Problems and Solutions series, one of the longest running series on our site. After almost 30 parts and over 200 problems addressed, we may have already covered many, if not all, of the issues a user could possibly encounter with Galaxy S4. We’re still continuing this series because there are still hundreds of emails we receive every week. Those emails contain the same problems but worded differently and we still find it necessary to answer our readers.
If you’re bugged with a problem or two that you don’t know how to fix, try browsing through our Galaxy S4 troubleshooting page to find answers. If you can’t find one, don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] and provide as much details as possible.
How to spot a fake S4
Problem: I went to China last January for a business trip and on the way home I bought my son a Samsung Galaxy S4. Recently, I was troubled by my friends’ conversations that there’s a chance that the phone I purchased is fake. I have several smartphones over the years and I can tell by the packaging if an item is fake or not so I’m confident that the S4 is not. It still troubles me though and I would like to know what are good things to look out for so I can check it on my phone. I realized that it has become difficult to distinguish between legit ones and fakes nowadays.
I’m aware of China’s developed counterfeit industry but I can’t seem to figure out they have factories dedicated to churning out fake smartphones like a Samsung S4. A friend told me that counterfeit phones can even pass casual inspection and are being sold openly in online markets like Craigslist or eBay. Please help. — Ron
Suggestion: Hi Ron. You’re right in saying that fake smartphones can actually pass superficial inspection, especially if a buyer is not aware on things to look out for. We have a more detailed post about things to watch for in picking a Samsung Galaxy S4 in this link: How To Distinguish a Fake Galaxy S4.
We recommend that you go through the list of indicators in the article. However, the most obvious hint that a smartphone may be fake is an overly generous discount for it when you show your intention to a buyer that you want to buy one. If you are being offered a relatively low price for a high-end gadget like an S4, you should keep in mind that retailers can only go low so much. For future purchases, a simple online price comparison from a few reliable sites like Amazon or retailer’s sites should give you a good idea on just how much a store can offer as a discount.
Firmware upgrade error on Galaxy S4
Problem: Hi droid guy team. My Samsung Galaxy S4 recently encountered a problem. When turned on, all I can see is the model number. Since I’m not a techie person, I brought it in for check up at a local shop and they said they needed to reinstall the OS. Long story short, their procedures fail now I’m getting the error message that says something like firmware upgrade encountered and issue and that I need to use KIES.
Solution: Most of the times error messages would instruct you what to do to fix the problem, so it would be wiser to connect your phone to a PC and follow these steps:
- Launch Samsung Kies and go to Tools -> Firmware Upgrade and Initialization.
- Turn on Caps Lock on your Keyboard and type your device model number.
- Enter your device S/N or serial number you have noted earlier.
- Kies will Prepare for Firmware upgrade for your device, just hit the ok option. After then Kies will start downloading the firmware upgrade components for your device
- Follow the onscreen instructions and click on Start to upgrade
If this procedure fails, then we suggest that you contact Samsung, or get a phone replacement instead.
Samsung Galaxy S4 turns off when connected to Wi-Fi
Problem: Hey there! I have this problem with my S4 which started 2 weeks ago. I try connecting to the internet via WIFI but when I turn on the wifi, it switches off. I’m also concerned with my wifi hotspot setting. Everytime I want to share my internet connection, it also does the same thing, I try to switch it on, then it goes automatically back off. My Bluetooth is also not working as well. Hoping for an immediate response from you! Thanks in advance! —Eda Dayo
Solution: Hi Eda. We have some tips about Wi-Fi issues on this link: 4 Samsung Galaxy S4 WiFi / Internet Connection Problems. Try to go over the suggested steps but if the problem continues, we recommend that you reset the phone to its factory defaults. To do this, please follow the steps below:
- Go to Settings
- Go to Accounts
- Tap Back Up and Reset
- Select Factory Data Reset
- Select Reset Device
- Tap Delete All/Erase Everything.
Restoring the phone’s factory defaults will delete your customizations, settings, and files so make sure to make a copy of important data you may have before performing these steps.
While in the Factory reset screen, you can also leave “Backup My Data and Auto Restore” checked so the phone will send information about your phone to Google’s server. This way, Google will have a list of installed apps on the phone that it can suggest once you go through the initial again after the reset.
It’s a good practice too to remove your SD and/or SIM cards before you do the reset. If your SD card has been encrypted, make sure to disable the encryption first, otherwise, your phone will be unable to read it once the reset is done.
Typing *2767*3855# on the keypad will also reset your phone. After the Factory reset, try to connect to your Wi-Fi. If the problem persists, call Samsung or get a replacement unit because it can be a hardware issue, specifically the networking adapters, that’s causing the trouble.
Wi-Fi cannot be enabled on Samsung Galaxy S4
Problem: Hi. I purchased 2 x S4’s in December 13 via Amazon. Both worked ok with no problems, around about April my S4 started having wi-fi problems, it would not always connect to my router. I would have to put in the router id again and then it would be ok. The other phone worked perfectly on the router or at a hotspot etc. Eventually my phone would not switch on so I took it to my local phone guy who reset it. By the time I had got home it had switched off again, after taking it back to the guy again this time it worked ok. I switched the phone off whilst at a meeting and since then it I cannot get the wi-fi to switch on. All this time the other S4 has been perfect.
I checked OS etc on both phones and found that my S4 was running19505XXUFNB8, the good phone was running 19505XXUFNC4 (still is). I tried to root my phone using CF autoroot and Odin to change ro.securestorage=true to false (a parameter in build prop) as one forum said this would cure my problem. Although I could change it I could not save it.Super SU would not install properly. Eventually the phone got stuck in a boot loop. Which cleared when I reinstalled 19505XXUFNB8. Since then I have installed via Odin 19505XXUFNC4 so both phones now have the same os’s hoping that this would cure the problem but it is Wi-fi is still not switching on If you can help or have any ideas I would be grateful. Thanks. — Peter
Solution: Hi Peter. A Factory Reset is supposed to fix this issue so apparently we have a special case here. Assuming that there is no on-going hardware errors, you can try to isolate the problem by going to Safe Mode and testing the Wi-Fi connection again. To bring your phone to Safe Mode:
- Switch Off your Samsung Galaxy S4 completely
- Power it ON Again
- While booting continuously keep pressing the left button beside the home button.
- Continue to press it still the boot is completed and you can see the home screen
Once you’re in Safe Mode, pull down the notification bar and try to turn on Wi-Fi (it should). After the Wi-Fi is activated, press and hold the power button on the right side your phone then select “Restart”. After the phone reboots, the Wi-Fi feature should be working normally.
If this doesn’t help, try removing the battery while the phone is still on, then power on the phone again. This last step is suggested by some of the users in other forums and was proven to work.
Cannot uninstall Knox on Samsung Galaxy S4
Problem: I unfortunately enabled Knox on my s4. It’s now an “active device administrator”. I can’t change it or deactivate it or uninstall it. When I get into the screen where I can uncheck it as an active device administrator , it is “greyed out” and can’t be unselected. Knox has also locked several other applications and made it impossible to uninstall them. What can I do to deactivate Knox as an active device administrator? — Matt
Solution: Hi Matt. Knox can be disabled or uninstalled relatively easily depending on whether or not you have root access. There’s supposed to be an easy way of uninstalling Knox from your phone even if you have no root access but it looks like you may have tried that already. Nevertheless, here are the steps on how to uninstall the app without root access:
- Go to Apps section and look for the Knox app
- Launch Knox and tap Settings
- Tap Knox Settings
- Select Uninstall Knox
- An option to save Knox data will be provided so it’s up to you if you want to select it. Tap Backup Now and hit OK to backup Knox data.
If you have no root access, the only effective way to disable Knox is by downloading Android Terminal Emulator from Google Play Store. To do this, please follow the steps:
- Download and Install Android Terminal Emulator
- Launch the app and grant it SuperSU access
- Type [highlight type=”e.g. yellow, black, green, red, grey”] su pm disable com.sec.knox.seandroid [/highlight]
These steps will ensure that Knox will be disabled and will not run in the background.
Galaxy S4 randomly overheats
Problem: 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
Solution: Hi Ketan. We have documented reports in the past that their S4’s temperature can spike up to 35 degrees Celsius, even when using the phone normally like reading emails. Looks like you may one of these users with a defective phone.
Have you tried to isolate the issue by going to Safe Mode? I’m assuming you already did because you mentioned being unable to pinpoint a certain app that is may be causing this. Safe Mode is worth mentioning again because it’s a critical step in diagnosing overheating issues on a Galaxy S4. Most of the time, overheating is just a symptom of either a hardware defect or something caused by faulty software.
As there can be a few factors to consider, why don’t we try switching the battery of your other S4 to your own, that way we can also observe the battery status. A defective battery cause itself or the phone to overheat, damaging the phone or itself in the process. Although we noticed that overheating caused by batteries is rare, this troubleshooting step can be helpful in your case. A good hint in finding out if it’s a battery problem is looking for tell-tale signs on swelling on the battery itself.
We cannot recommend any more steps here as we believe you have done all of the possible things we can try. If it’s not a battery issue, then it can only be the phone itself. Please get a replacement unit from AT&T. We’re pretty sure you will not the first one to do such.
S4 shuts off by itself when running apps
Problem: Hello. Found your article about the Galaxy S4 online useful, but it doesn’t address the problem I am experiencing. I am definitely cashing on my insurance and getting a new one instead of trying to get this fixed. Essentially, the phone will die without warning while some application is being used. So, I’m playing a game or trying to get Snapchat taking, or checking a website when the phone just goes black, and turns itself off. Then it won’t come back to life unless you plug it into the power supply. I reset the whole phone, and later disabled most useless crapware after had this problem, but it doesn’t make much of a difference. If I’m listening to music, the phone will somehow work alright. Another issue is that if you’re making a video, and the power is drained, even if the file you were working on was 20 mins long, it will not be recorded if the phone dies. I would have expected Samsung to have programmed these apps to sense the power draining in order to save the files before turning itself off. Most macs do that.
It works fine with the power supply, but as soon as that’s disconnected, it will quickly just vanish, especially if an application that seems to require some processing power is used. This never happened before, but it has now become quite annoying. I noticed that if ‘power saving’ is on, the black out will take longer to happen. With the ‘power saving’ off the phone will black out much more quickly. Thank you for your attention. —Rodrigo
Solution: Hi Rodrigo. Based on the description of the problem, the main culprit may be the phone’s battery not holding a charge or enough of it to last for hours. Just like an S3, Samsung Galaxy S4 is using a power sensor to warn users that the battery is running out of power. It usually does that by automatically dimming the screen, giving ample time for a user to know that the phone is about to go out. In your case, it looks like it doesn’t do that simply because the battery drains power way faster that the phone cannot even trip it’s warning mechanism that the battery is about to die any second. We suggest that you try another battery first before asking for a replacement phone as this can definitely save you from the hassle or reinstalling apps and other stuff. If that doesn’t work, then you can go ahead and get a replacement unit.
S Voice not working properly on S4
Problem: Have you guys heard of any issues with S Voice? I was using a Droid Razr before and enjoyed the convenience of having a “voice assistant” on my phone. I brought the same optimism on my new Samsung Galaxy S4. As advertised, S Voice is supposed to be a better version of my Droid’s voice assistant and even better than iPhone’s Siri.
I’m now having problems with it now though. It doesn’t seem to understand what I’m saying especially when I mention names. I want it to pull out my phone dialer fast so calling someone will be easier. I’m using the same spelling as the one in contacts in my Droid Razr so I can’t see why my S4 can’t understand it. Most of the time, it gives me a wrong name to call. Can I train it to recognize my voice so this will resolved?–Bill
Solution: Hi Bill. S Voice is an impressive feature for Samsung’s S4 but it’s not perfect yet. It still relies on its sensors to listen to you and the surroundings. Make sure that when you give it commands, you are in a relatively quiet place so the phone’s microphone can clearly pick out the sounds. Too loud or too low a voice can confuse S Voice causing it to give you poor options. Try to experiment with it by giving commands under varying ambient noise so you’ll know what’s the best environment the microphone picks up your voice.
We’ve checked some forums and we noticed that even some slight accent can also confuse S Voice. Try switching its language from, say UK English to US English or vice versa to see what’s the best option for you. UK users who got their phone from the US has S Voice default language set to US English. Changing to the correct language did wonders for them.
S4 won’t connect to data network if Wi-Fi is off
Problem: Dear Droid Guy. I have an interesting problem where my phone will not connect to the mobile data network if it loses the WiFi connection. Sometimes it auto-switches and sometimes it doesn’t causing me to restart my phone. I think that it first started when I upgraded to the Kit Kat OS via an automatic push from my wireless provider which is T-Mobile.
I have called them several times and they even replaced the phone. With the new phone, everything worked great for about 3 days then the same thing. I either have to connect to WiFi or cellular network in certain situations. My wife has the same phone but is still running the Jelly Bean OS and doesn’t have this issue. Thanks.–Carmine
Solution: Hi Carmine. It’s indeed a unique case. We tried looking up this issue anywhere but we can’t find anything. As this is the second phone now that has the same problem, the issue may lie on T-Mobile’s network. We haven’t come across any T-Mobile users experiencing this problem with their S4 so I think it’s best if you call your carrier again and ask them to review your connectivity settings. There are a number of T-Mobile specific information that you may need like APNs and similar details so it’s best if they help you address this problem.
Sprint Zone app is missing after doing factory reset on S4
Problem: Hi DroidGuy. I was forced to do a factory reset a week ago because one of my games was not working. The reset did help but now I’m missing the Sprint Zone app. Is there a way to bring it back?–Tyler
Solution: Hi Tyler. Sprint Zone app is a built-in application provided only by Sprint so it’s best if you call them first. We did some research here though and came across a suggestion by a Sprint representative in one of the forums. Please follow the steps below to see if this can fix the issue:
- Change the network setting to CDMA
- Turn Wi-Fi off
- Turn the phone off then remove the battery for approximately 5 minutes
- Turn the phone back on
- Check if Sprint Zone app is back. If it’s still missing double check network settings to ensure CDMA is enabled.
- Perform Profile and PRL updates on the phone
- Check again if Sprint Zone is operational
If these steps won’t work, please call Sprint and let them fix the issue for you.
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