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How To Fix A Galaxy S3 That Won’t Turn On [Troubleshooting Guide]

We receive hundreds of emails each week from our readers reporting–many actually complain–about the problems they encountered with their phone. In one of the emails, our reader, a Samsung Galaxy S3 owner, said his phone was fully-charged but about an hour later, he found it turned off. The worst part is, he couldn’t power it on.

What happened? Well, even Samsung engineers couldn’t answer that question without performing some troubleshooting procedures.

In this post, we will attempt to troubleshoot the phone exhausting all possible ways to bring it back to life.

Before we go any further, I just want to say that you can tell us your phone-related problems. We will find appropriate solutions for you for free. This is what we do and we are happy we’re doing it. You can post your problems on our Facebook page, I’m actively answering questions there. Please follow us on Google Plus. For those who prefer the traditional way, you can send us your questions via this form. It would also inspire us to do even better if you shared our articles with your friends who might also have problems with their phones.

Troubleshooting Steps

Step 1: Hit the Power button – yes, please do. This is the first thing you should do when troubleshooting a problem like this. Don’t just do it once or twice but do it many times just to make sure that there is indeed a problem with the powering on of the phone.

Step 2: Remove the battery and hold the Power button – yes, I’m serious. Actually, somebody told me I was a fool when he saw me pull the battery out of his phone and hit the power button. He said, there is no way I can turn the phone on without the battery. That’s true, but we’re not actually trying to power on the phone at this point. Rather, we’re trying to drain electricity stored in electronic components inside the phone. After this, place the battery back and hit the power button again. If the phone stays dead after that, proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Boot to Safe Mode – to rule out the possibility of a third-party application preventing the phone from booting up normally, you need to boot it to Safe Mode. It will run on pre-loaded apps and nothing else. So, if it were an app causing the problem, you would know by doing this.

  1. Press and hold the Power button.
  2. Immediately after the Samsung Galaxy S3 screen appears, release the Power button then press and hold the Volume Down key.
  3. The phone would restart and the Safe Mode text will be visible in the lower-left corner of the screen.

Consider yourself lucky if you can go this far. If this is the case, then you can commence the search for the rogue app and uninstall it. Start your search from the most recent installation. The rule of thumb is to disable suspected apps first and attempt to boot normally. The problem has already been fixed at this point.

In case you cannot boot to Safe Mode, proceed with the next step.

Step 4: Boot to Recovery Mode and wipe cache partition – booting to Recovery Mode can be already be considered a desperate measure yet it is not a guarantee you can fix the problem. In fact, there is no guarantee you can even boot to this mode. But try to follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Volume Up, Home, and Power buttons.
  2. When the phone vibrates, release the Power button but continue holding the other two until Android System Recovery screen appears.
  3. Use the Volume Down button to highlight ‘wipe cache partition’ and press the Power button to select it.
  4. The phone will reboot automatically after the cache partition was wiped out.

At this point, if you can’t boot to Recovery Mode no matter how much you tried, then we have already narrowed down the problem. It’s either your battery is totally busted or your phone’s Power switch has a problem.

Step 5: Try a different or new battery – borrow from a friend or just buy a new battery so you can test if it was really the battery that caused the problem. If you bought a new one and you found out it wasn’t the battery, at least, you now have a spare. Of course, make sure the battery is compatible with the Galaxy S3 and make it a point to fully-charge before using it. If your phone powers on after a battery swap, then problem solved.

Step 6: Seek help from a technician – in case you’ve tried a different battery and the phone still refuses to turn on, it’s time you brought it back to the store or to a shop where it can be physically check thoroughly. If proven defective by a technician, a replacement unit may be provided for you of it could be repaired. I have a suspicion it’s a Power switch issue especially if the phone don’t respond when you pressed it.

I hope this helps.

Having problems with your phone that won’t turn on?

We can help you troubleshoot. We already published troubleshooting guides for the following devices:

Phone Won't Turn On Troubleshooting

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  1. The phone will only go to the t mobile screen where it only says t mobile 4g lte and it stays in that screen.

  2. hey, i just wanted to say that step 2 did work for my phone(take the battery out, remove all the power still in it, put the battery back on) but i”m puzzled as to why that fixed it, is it something i should be concerned about?

  3. I had some rubbing alcohol spill on my phone…it worked fine then after a couple of hours and a phone conversation the screen went blank. i tried your trouble shooting ideas and the phone boots up or sounds like it is but the screen stays blank////any suggestions

  4. step 2 worked for me lol I would have never tried powering without the battery but as soon as I did then put the battery again, power came on ! thank you so much!!!

  5. MY phone said recovery booting… in one of the steps but it never finished turning on after that. As I was taking out the battery and putting it back in at one point something’s came up in yellow writhing saying something about a critical os error or something it only came up once and I still can’t get the phone to turn on..please help!

  6. I just had this prob. I flicked the power button with my finger nail hard several times, and then rubbed my lighter back and forth across power button several times. then it started normally. something must have been stuck in the contact.

  7. My phone Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-19300 cannot turn on completely. It only shows Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-19300 in white writing with a dark screen. I attempted all the steps but to no avail. I can only get it to downloading mode. I tied downloading the firmware through odin but it failed. Do you gave any better suggestions?.

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