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Samsung Galaxy S4 screen goes black, Facebook freezes, Play Store pops up & other problems

This post will serve as an answer to one of the emails we received. It is a part of our program where we provide free personalized support to our readers. So, I will provide solutions or troubleshooting procedures to address the issues cited by our reader as well as answer her questions.

Galaxy-S4-Notification-Panel-freezing

Her phone is a Samsung Galaxy S4 and according to her, the display goes black if the notification panel is brought down. The Facebook app freezes on its own and the Play Store app pops up without even touching its icon.

She also has some issues with some apps she wants uninstalled as well as having a hard time transferring downloaded music files to her microSD card. And lastly, she has some questions about pre-installed apps. The following is her actual email message…

My phone will go to a black screen when I am on the notification drop down screen, all by itself after viewing it for about 5-10 seconds, it also freezes on Facebook, and the play store just pops on to my screen, out of the blue, often when I first put in my security code from the lock screen, but at other times too, when I haven’t gone anywhere near the play store app icon.

I also want to free up space on my phone, it came with tons of apps I will never use, but when I go to try to uninstall them to free up space, it says it will make other functions and apps on my phone not work properly. How can I get the ones that came already installed on my phone when I bought it, off my phone without making it screw up anything?

I don’t understand why I am forced to have those apps installed on my phone in the first place. Most of them are useless to me, and I NEVER asked for them, so WHY should I HAVE to have them? I didn’t pay for all the space on my phone to just have it used up pretty much right when I get it by apps that I NEVER requested or installed myself.

Also, my music files I downloaded from an App won’t give me the option to move them to my SD card I purchased for that purpose so I could save space on my phone. I appreciate any and all help you can give me to resolve all these issues I have mentioned.” — Jennifer

If you are experiencing one of the problems Jennifer cited, then try the solution or troubleshooting procedure I provided especially if you own a Galaxy S4. However, if you have a different issue, visit our Samsung Galaxy S4 Troubleshooting page as we’ve addressed hundreds of issues already. Try the solutions first and if they didn’t work for you, fill up this form and we will help you find a solution to your problem.

Troubleshooting

Now, I will address the issues individually but before anything else, there are some things that weren’t clarified by our reader like what the version of the Android runs on her device and when the problems started. We’ll have to assume some things here to continue troubleshooting.

Screen goes black when notification panel is pulled down

My phone will go to a black screen when I am on the notification drop down screen, all by itself after viewing it for about 5-10 seconds…”

There are actually variations to this problem that often happen during major updates. When Android 4.3 was rolled out, many Galaxy S4 owners experienced having blank Notification panel that may lead to freezing or lagging. During the 4.4 roll out, there were owners who reported reboot issues when the notification bar is pulled down but the bottom line is that both were firmware- or update-related.

Could it be possible that this problem is related to the recent update as well? Yes. Galaxy S4s recently received updates to Lollipop (Android 5). It’s a major update and having issues like this may be normal after the installation of the new firmware. But before jumping into conclusion, it’s imperative that we isolate the problem and rule out the possibility that third-party apps have something to do with it. To do that, boot your Galaxy S4 in safe mode…

  1. Turn the device off completely.
  2. Press and hold the Power button.
  3. Once the Samsung Galaxy S4 logo appears on the screen, release the Power button.
  4. As soon as you release the Power button, press and hold the Volume Down key.
  5. Continue holding the Volume Down key until the phone has completed the reboot process.
  6. If you can read ‘Safe Mode‘ at the bottom left corner of the screen, release the Volume Down key. Otherwise, repeat the process until you can boot the phone to Safe Mode.

While in safe mode, try pulling down the notification bar and see if the screen goes black. If so, it’s firmware-related and your third-party apps have nothing to do with it. Otherwise, try disabling suspected apps one after another until the problem is fixed.

If, however, it were firmware-related, you may try wiping the cache partition first and if it didn’t work, you need to perform full hard reset.

Wiping Cache Partition

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the following three buttons at the same time: Volume Up key, Home key, Power key
  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. The phone will automatically restart after the cache is wiped.

Full Hard Reset

  1. Switch your phone off.
  2. Hold down the Power, Volume Up and Home buttons at the same time for about 10 seconds. Release them when the Android logo appears on the screen. This will bring up the unlock/reset menu.
  3. To navigate through this menu, use the volume up/down buttons to scroll up and down and the power button to confirm selections.
  4. Scroll down and select Wipe Data/Factory Reset.
  5. Scroll down and select Yes – Delete All User Data.
  6. When prompted, scroll to and select Reboot System Now. The phone will then reboot to its factory settings.

Phone freezes when Facebook is open

“…it also freezes on Facebook”

I’ve seen a lot of Facebook-related problems and while this one may still be related to the firmware issue we tried troubleshooting in the section above, it may be just another app-related issue, or at least, we will begin our troubleshooting with that assumption. That said, the first thing we should try is to clear Facebook cache and data…

  1. From the Home screen, tap Menu key
  2. Simply tap the More tab
  3. Tap the Application Manager, swipe to display All section
  4. Scroll and find Facebook.
  5. Tap Clear cache.
  6. Tap Clear data, OK.

 

If the app still cause the phone to freeze after clearing its cache and data, then you need to uninstall it and it’s now clear it’s a firmware-related issue.

Play Store keeps popping up

“…and the play store just pops on to my screen, out of the blue, often when I first put in my security code from the lock screen, but at other times too, when I haven’t gone anywhere near the play store app icon.

I have a feeling it’s not really the Play Store that keeps popping up but a webpage that serves as an advertisement and contains a link that, when tapped, will run the “real” Play Store. This is one of the modus operandi of some developers so users would install their apps.

I am not sure what you’re seeing on the screen but I am certain that if these ads are attached to the app you installed, then it is nothing more than a “spam” app. Uninstall it immediately to prevent this annoyance.

Moving music files to the microSD card

my music files I downloaded from an App won’t give me the option to move them to my SD card I purchased for that purpose so I could save space on my phone.

First off, DRM-protected files cannot be shared with other devices, so they can’t be transferred over to your microSD card. If you were trying to copy music files with this restriction, then all efforts we do here will go to waste.

However, if you were trying to purchase files with free or standard license, then the best way to do it is to go the directory those files were downloaded using the file manager in your phone and copy or move them from there. Alternatively, you could just connect your phone to your computer and drag and drop those files to where you want them.

Question on pre-installed apps

I also want to free up space on my phone, it came with tons of apps I will never use, but when I go to try to uninstall them to free up space, it says it will make other functions and apps on my phone not work properly. How can I get the ones that came already installed on my phone when I bought it, off my phone without making it screw up anything?

Google, the developer of Android mobile system, mandates to all manufacturers that use its system to include some of its apps in the stock firmware that’s why in your phone, you must have, at least, 9 or 10 Google apps already installed. Manufacturers, on the other hand, will also have a bunch of apps pre-installed on their devices to promote their products and support the features.

Now, if the device is carried by a service provider (like Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile), there is a big chance a few other apps and services will be added to the list of pre-installed apps. We can’t do anything about the apps that come packed with the device. However, there are some pre-installed apps that can be uninstalled and disabled.

All you got to do is go to the Application Manager and find apps you want to uninstall. If you see an “Uninstall” button, then it means it’s safe to uninstall it to get rid of it for good. However, if there’s only the “Disable” button, it means you can stop the app from running but you can’t get rid of it. Disabled apps may still run if you open other apps that use it. Apps that don’t have the “Uninstall” and “Disable” buttons need to be left alone.

I hope I have answered your questions to your satisfaction.

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