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How to fix Samsung Galaxy S5 black screen of death [Troubleshooting Guide]

The black screen of death (#BSOD) is not new to the #Samsung Galaxy S5 (#GalaxyS5) because some of the early adopter complained about their devices that suddenly died a few weeks after they bought it. The fact is we encountered a lot of related issues way back in 2014 when the device was released.

The BSOD is one of the most dreaded issues with the S5 as many had to go through the hassle of going to a shop, wait there for a few hours only to be told that their devices have to be replaced. Well, that’s for the lucky ones. Those who weren’t so lucky ended up having a bricked handset and weren’t eligible for replacement.

In this post, I will tackle this problem once again as we started to receive reports that some owners are once again being haunted by issue and it seems like this time, it’s firmware-related as there are those who said the problem occurred after an update.

Before going into our troubleshooting, for those who have other issues with their Galaxy S5, make sure you visit our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed hundreds of problems with this phone since 2014. Odds are that we already answered your problem before and all you gotta is find something similar and use the solutions we provided. If you need further assistance, you can always contact us through our Android problems questionnaire.

Troubleshooting Galaxy S5 black screen of death

The “black screen of death” is actually just another description of an unresponsive display. There have been a lot of users who experienced having their devices turned off on their own and then refused to come back on leaving the screen black or blank.

There are variations to this problem: black screen with blue lights blinking, black screen but the phone plays notifications, black screen with buzzing sound, etc. The point is this problem quite vague and while it clearly speaks of the phone’s current condition, a little more details would surely help us troubleshooters in finding out what really is the issue with it.

But enough talk. Let’s go to our troubleshooting so that you’ll know what to do in case your Galaxy S5 suffers the black screen of death.

Step 1: Verify it’s not just a system crash or frozen phone

System crash happens all the time that this often leaves the phone frozen and unresponsive. This must be the first thing you need to do as it may save you from a lot of trouble if it’s really the case with your device.

Remove the battery and leave it out for 30 seconds and while it’s out, press and hold the Power key for 30 seconds as well to perform a soft reset. This procedure, albeit simple, will refresh your phone’s memory. After 30 seconds, place the battery back in and the the back cover and attempt to turn it on.

If the phone turns on, then problem solved, otherwise, you need to do the next step.

Step 2: Make sure there’s enough battery to power your device up

Aside from the system crash, the other common cause of the black screen is drained battery. So, the next thing you should do is plug the charger in and see if the phone charges. It should display the usual charging icon and light up the LED at the top of the display. If none of these charging signs show, then you must troubleshoot the device with a “not charging” issue and we already have posts for it:

Aside from the obvious reason, plugging the charger in will tell you immediately if there’s a problem with your phone’s hardware so if it refused to charge, here’s what I suggest you do:

  • Connect your device to a computer to see if it responds to that.
  • Use a different charger and/or USB cable to verify further if it’s an issue with the charger or the phone.
  • Try a new or different battery that you know isn’t busted.
  • Verify your device isn’t water-damaged.

Step 3: Boot your device in safe mode

Assuming your Galaxy S5 is charging but still has a black screen that won’t respond, try to boot your device in safe mode to rule out the possibility that some apps are causing this problem. Doing this procedure will put your device in diagnostic state where only pre-installed apps and services are running.

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key.
  3. When ‘Samsung Galaxy S5′ appears on the screen, release the Power key.
  4. Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  5. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  6. Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  7. Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.

Step 4: Boot your device in recovery mode

If your Galaxy S5 cannot boot in safe mode, then try to boot it in recovery mode. In this state, all of the phone’s hardware are powered up only that the Android’s user interface isn’t loaded; it is running on its barebones.

For firmware related issues, the device may still be able to boot in recovery mode but if the issue is with the hardware, then even a flicker on the screen is impossible depending on how bad the issue is.

In case the device responds when you try to boot it in recovery mode, try to wipe the cache partition. Here’s how you boot your phone in recovery mode and how to delete the system cache:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the following three buttons at the same time: Volume Up key, Home key, and Power key.
  3. When the phone vibrates, release 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.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.

If you’ve successfully wiped the cache partition and the phone is still not booting up normally, then follow the same steps but this time, choose ‘wipe data/factory reset’ to bring the phone back to its default settings.

Step 5: Send the phone in for repair

This is your last resort in case your device still cannot boot up or still got the black screen of death. Apparently, at this point, there’s nothing much you can do for your device. Anything beyond this is just a waste of your time you let the tech handle the problem for you.

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13 Comments

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  1. This phone has been a thorn in my side since I got it. Now I have the BSOD. I need my phone for my business. Think of any blasfamous word you can come up with . It fits for this piece of junk. I have been using the Samsung product for a long time. I may just go to something else from this miserable piece of s***. Yes I am very very frustrated .

  2. Hello

    Pls help me my samsung s5 not opening total black out even i do all tutorial

  3. I tried all of the following and I can hear the notifictions and alarms but yet my phone remains black. Any solutions?

  4. My phone has done this from 6 months after I bought it. I accidentally figured out that it was the phone temperature. If it got too cold, I’d get the black screen with only lights flashing when I attempted to access the phone. Once the phone was “warmed up” (being in my pocket, etc) it would work. It’s anoting as hell and wish I could find a more reliable solution.

  5. I don’t know what happened, but my phone screen just went black all of a sudden and I tried almost everything in the list and nothing happened. I can only hear the startup noise and notification sound.

  6. Thank you, literally saved me an entire weekend of anxiety. I’m not clear how any of it actually happened to be honest with you. The right steps only worked partway half the time, it took me an hour to actually get into safe mode, only to lose it and try for another 20 minutes. I’m guessing this is operator error. At any rate, once back into safe mode I deleted all recently downloaded apps, but was loathe to do a complete factory reset, so I started with a settings reset to factory default, which of course restarted the phone, which sent me into a panic again because I was getting black screen, again. Then like magic, there was my screen in normal mode after pressing the power button one more time. Let’s hope the fix sticks. In the meantime, for others experiencing the issue, it seemed that as long as I kept the screen on (keeping it plugged in and using the “screen on when charging” feature) I never got the black screen of death.

  7. Oh, sorry, just read further comments, I don’t think it is the apps causing the problem, I had all apps
    removed from my G 5 (apart from those that were mandatory) which reinforces my guess is the back cover is the issue. By the way I know nothing about mobile phones that is why I had the apps removed.

  8. Hi Guys, you are a life saver, had the BSOD, read your hints, ejected the G 5 from it’s cover and wow, it all came together. Diagnosis is that the back cover somehow connects with the battery connections and generates the disconnect, so try this. I ejected from the bottom of the cover so use some brute force if needs be.

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