We already received a lot of emails about the Samsung Galaxy S5 that won’t charge. In fact, we already written and published several troubleshooting guides for this very specific issue. However, I find it necessary to address this one email from our reader because it’s not really a charging issue per se but a more complicated one.
According to her, it phone won’t charge if it’s being used while plugged in, although it displays the usual charging icon (battery icon with lightning bolt). Apparently, it’s neither a charger nor USB cable issue because as she said the phone acknowledges it can detect current by displaying the charging icon.
I will go through possible causes of this problem and provide appropriate solutions and/or workarounds but before that, here’s the actual message from our reader named Michelle…
“Recently my phone won’t charge while plugged in AND in use. I see the lighting bolt icon indicating it’s getting power, but the battery % goes down. I have to turn off the screen for it to charge. The red light will then come on, so I know it’s charging. Already did a hard restart. Help? Thanks!” — Michelle
Before we continue, in case you have a different problem with your phone, visit our Samsung Galaxy S5 Troubleshooting page as it contains hundreds of problems we addressed in the past. Find issues related or the same as yours and try to use the solutions we provided. If they won’t for you, then feel free to contact us as we’re always willing to help. Just fill this form up and provide all necessary information so that it will be easier for us to help you.
The focus of this troubleshooting guide is for us to know what drains the battery faster than the charger can push current into it. While we want to get this problem fixed, we are always along the “safe zone” when troubleshooting. We won’t suggest procedures that can potentially ruin your phone and our focus are our readers who really need our help. If you have techie enough, I’m sure you know what to do to troubleshoot this kind of problem.
“Recently my phone won’t charge while plugged in AND in use.” I am more intrigued with “recently” than anything else in this sentence because if the problem started a few days ago, there’s a chance you can easily find the culprit. For instance, if you installed apps recently, then one of them may be draining the battery quicker. One way to find out which app is the culprit is to check the battery usage. The app that’s eating too much battery is the one. You can either disable it temporarily to verify further or uninstall it for good. It’s up to you.
Another way to find out if it’s a third-party that’s causing the draining problem is by booting into safe mode. By doing so, all third-party apps will be temporarily disabled leaving pre-installed apps and services running. If one of the downloaded apps was causing the problem, then your phone should be able to charge normally or even quicker in safe mode. Here’s how you boot your Galaxy S5 in safe mode…
- Turn the device off.
- Press and hold the Power key.
- When ‘Samsung Galaxy S5’ appears on the screen, release the Power key.
- Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
- Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
- Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
- Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.
“I see the lighting bolt icon indicating it’s getting power, but the battery % goes down.” The lighting bolt is actually just an indicator that current flows from a power source through the USB cable to the battery but it doesn’t necessary mean the phone is charging because, apparently, in your case, it’s not. Thanks for including this information in your message, at least, we know the USB port in your phone, the cable and the charger are working fine.
Since the phone charges if the screen is off, it is safe to assume the display is set to the highest brightness level. Try to use automatic brightness so that the phone will determine how bright the screen will be depending on the ambience of the surroundings. Or, better yet, set the brightness to a lower lever and check if the phone will charge after that even if the screen is on. If still not, then there’s a chance the service that’s handling the brightness level and the screen has some conflicts. Booting in safe mode will also give you an idea if the conflict is caused by a third-party app.
There are also times when a conflict in the system itself is created. This happens when the firmware is updated to a higher version. Some data that might still be used by the new firmware are often the cause but the thing is, you won’t know for sure which data because all you can see that’s draining the battery faster when you check the battery usage is Android System. In this case, a master reset is necessary but don’t forget to back up every bit of data in your phone that you don’t want to lose before following these steps:
- Turn off the device.
- Press and hold the following three buttons at the same time: Volume Up key, Home key, and Power key.
- When the phone vibrates, release the Power key but continue to press and hold the Volume Up key and the Home key.
- When the Android System Recovery screen appears, release the Volume Up and Home keys.
- Press the Volume down key several times key to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset.’
- Press Power button to select.
- Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
- Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
- When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
- Press the Power key to restart the device.
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