Galaxy S5 only recognizes an SD card after a restart, other issues

It’s been over two years now since the #GalaxyS5 was released and the fact that there are still a lot of people using it worldwide is a clear sign that this device may still be around well until next year. That said, it can be expected that many users are also contacting us about issues on their S5 phone.


Below are some of the issues we cover in this material today:

  1. Galaxy S5 freezing and becomes unresponsive to touch
  2. Galaxy S5 fails to start after OTA update | Galaxy S5 no longer boots to recovery mode
  3. Galaxy S5 screen becomes totally black
  4. Galaxy S5 won’t detect the SD card after some time | Galaxy S5 only recognizes an SD card after a restart
  5. What firmware to select when flashing stock firmware for Galaxy S5
  6. Galaxy S5 no longer turns on

If you are looking for solutions to your own #Android issue, you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page, or you can install our free app from Google Play Store.

When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.

Problem #1: Galaxy S5 freezing and becomes unresponsive to touch

Hi and thanks for taking my Android Issue. For several weeks I’ve have been having major problems w/ my Galaxy S5. Main issue is phone freezing and becoming completely unresponsive to my touch. This is indicated by the bottom lights (left – reading pane and right – back) staying lit.

Something else that happens is that the Date and Time setting opens up on its own and the Automatic date and time box repeatedly checks and unchecks itself without me touching the phone. I have also had the keyboard type in different and extra letters when typing in my password, etc.

Initially, I went to T-Mobile and did a factory reset. However this did not prevent these issues. I have wiped the cache per your article and removed the battery, both to no avail. I also went into safe mode and uninstalled any application that I downloaded from the Google Play Store, again to no avail. The phone still seems corrupted in safe mode at this point as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and consideration. — Michael

Solution: Hi Michael. Just like what your carrier, T-Mobile, did, we can only suggest factory reset as the last thing that you can do on your end. It is the ultimate, most drastic solution available for you. There is no advanced software troubleshooting that can be performed to know the exact cause of the issues. That factory reset did not change anything seem to suggest that the cause can be deeper than the operating system level. The issues can also be signs of an unknown hardware malfunction, though we cannot really say what it might be.

If the phone is still under warranty, it’s time that you consider having the phone replaced. Otherwise, we’re afraid you really have to invest in another device.

Problem #2: Galaxy S5 fails to start after OTA update | Galaxy S5 no longer boots to recovery mode

Hi! Hope all is well with you. Just wanted to check if you can help me with my Samsung S5. When I woke up yesterday, I saw a ‘system update’ notification, so I clicked it as I usually did. Went to take a shower and when I came back to check my phone, it says:

START UP FAILED (yellow triangle like a traffic post sign with ! in the middle) Your device didn’t start up successfully. Use the Verizon Software Repair Assistant on a computer to repair your device.

I tried powering it on and off but would always bring me back to the same screen. Also removed the battery, but still the same. When I got to work, I tried using the Verizon Software Repair Assistant but my computer wouldn’t even recognize my phone.

So, I called Verizon and after explaining to them what happened, they advised me to go to their store and let them try to fix it. I immediately went to one and the representative said that unfortunately, the only way they do it is by trying to reset it but my phone wouldn’t even allow the attempt. She advised me to call Verizon again and have Tech Support do a trouble shooting. I did as advised but still the same. This time, the rep said she will call Samsung and see what they can do about it. After informing the Samsung rep of what happened to my phone, he said that the software update wasn’t completed that’s why its acting that way. They suggested to send the phone for evaluation which will take about 9 to 11 days. Or they said to try and bring the phone to BestBuy as they have the software and can load it again on my phone. I needed my phone so I opted first to go to BestBuy but it was the same thing, they can not even reboot it or do a factory reset.

The phone is considered ‘bricked’, the guy said. We also tried pressing the volume up, the home button and the power button. It kinda directed to the reboot with the droid mascot and status bar but after few seconds, it goes back to the same screen. Nothing can really be done.

In one instance, I tried pressing volume down, home button and power button. This time I got a different screen mentioning something about the OS. But Samsung rep told me not to do it for it will be out of warranty. I don’t know if something can still be done with this phone. Please help me if you can. Thanks!

PS – not sure about the Android version – i just guessed it! — Dyorjt

Solution: Hi Dyorjt. As much as we would like to help you, the available solutions in this case are very scarce. That is because we are limited by the things that we can do. Among the first steps that you are supposed to do in this case are wiping the cache partition and master reset. Both are no longer possible since the phone can’t even load the bootloader properly or access recovery mode. That leaves you with two potential answers — flashing a stock ROM via download or Odin mode, and having the phone replaced. If your S5 is still under warranty, we strongly suggest that you skip flashing and ask your carrier or Samsung directly for a replacement. This is not only an easier route but it also prevents you from potentially gaining nothing if flashing via Odin mode goes bad. Both steps result to data loss anyway so why opt for a complicated means when replacement is open for you.

In case your phone is no longer under warranty, we still recommend that you simply find a way to get a new phone. Going through the flashing via Odin route should be your last desperate move.

Problem #3: Galaxy S5 screen becomes totally black

It’s running Lollipop. The phone has not been dropped or otherwise handled incorrectly. It was working perfect when I locked it, put it in my back pocket and left it there for 20 minutes. When I took it out, the entire screen except for the notification bar was black. It had a few red and blue pixels in the upper left corner. I immediately pulled the battery and rebooted it, but the notification bar just got worse. The LED light and menu + back buttons still light up and the phone is otherwise working. Upon doing a soft and hard reset, the notification bar gradually had more and more blue and red pixels and now the entire screen is completely black, no life at all. It also seems to have trouble charging as it takes a while for the red charging light to come on. I don’t think the digitizer is dead/damaged as the notification bar was clearly visible at first. Googling this has offered no help, so I hope you can diagnose this. What happened to my phone? — Millenederskov

Solution: Hi Millenederskov. Looks like the screen (LCD) is damaged. The screen assembly is composed of three major parts — digitizer, LCD (the little monitor that displays images), and the flex cable. Usually, a damaged digitizer manifests differently, with images and screen appearing as normal, but the phone not recognizing any of your touches. In your case here, it looks like it’s the LCD that went out. We can’t say for certain but putting the phone in your back pocket may have exerted enough pressure to break the screen assembly or even the motherboard inside causing the symptoms you mentioned. To solve this problem, a thorough hardware check must be done. Before submitting the device for a general hardware examination, you can try to see if you can boot it to other modes, to see the difference. Just follow the steps below:

Boot in Recovery mode:

  • Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes.
  • Press and then hold the Home and Volume UP keys, then press and hold the Power key.
  • When the Samsung Galaxy S5 shows on the screen, release the Power key but continue holding the Home and Volume Up keys.
  • When the Android logo shows, you may release both keys and leave the phone be for about 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Using the Volume Down key, navigate through the options and highlight ‘wipe cache partition.’
  • You can either wipe the cache partition or do a factory reset when in this mode.

Boot in Download Mode:

  • Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes.
  • Press and then hold the Home and Volume DOWN keys, then press and hold the Power key.
  • When the Samsung Galaxy S7 shows on the screen, release the Power key but continue holding the Home and Volume DOWN keys.
  • Wait until the Download screen appears.

Boot in safe mode:

  • Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes.
  • Press and hold the Power button.
  • Once the ‘Samsung Galaxy S7’ logo appears, release the Power key and immediately press and hold the Volume Down button.
  • Continue holding the button until the phone finishes rebooting.
  • Once you see the text “Safe mode” at the bottom left corner of the screen, release the Volume Down button.
  • The only difference of safe mode from normal mode is that the former prevents third party apps from running. If you can boot the phone in safe mode but not in normal mode, uninstall all apps until the issue (that prevents you from booting normally) is eliminated.

If your phone’s screen remains unresponsive after attempting all these three boot modes, go ahead with repair.

Problem #4: Galaxy S5 won’t detect the SD card after some time | Galaxy S5 only recognizes an SD card after a restart

Hi. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 and my problem is that it sometimes read the SD card but other times it won’t do it. I notice this problem specially in the Gallery app. many of my images and videos are stored manually in the SD card, the problem is that after a while, the app only shows the previews of the albums but if I try to open one of those files, it will only show a corrupted-file logo and that’s it. Also, after a few moments from then the Gallery app simply won’t show all those files, like if they never existed before. The same problem persist even on My Files app and even if I connect the phone to my laptop too. The weirdest part of all is that if I reboot my phone it will read the SD card normally again but after a few hours the problem will appear again. — Luis

Solution: Hi Luis. Try wiping the cache partition first. This will refresh the system cache and may help fix the issue. Here’s how:

  • Turn off the device.
  • Press and hold the following three buttons at the same time: Volume Up key, Home key, Power key
  • When the phone vibrates, let go of 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 to highlight ‘wipe cache partition.’
  • Press the Power key to select.
  • When the wipe cache partition is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  • Press the Power key to restart the device.

If refreshing the system cache won’t fix the trouble, observe the phone for 24 hours while it is safe mode. This will help you tell if one of your third party apps is problematic and causing the problem. While safe mode is on, all third party apps will be prevented from running, which means that if the issue won’t occur, you can bet one of them is the culprit. If you can observe the phone for a much longer time while safe mode is on, that’s much better. For the steps on how to boot your S5 in safe mode, please refer to our suggestion for Millenederskov above.

If there’s no change even when the phone is in safe mode, try to wipe the phone’s internal memory by doing a factory reset.

Finally, if the problem happens even after a factory reset, the issue may not be on your phone at all but on the SD card itself. Try to reformat the current one or use another SD card.

Problem #5: What firmware to select when flashing stock firmware for Galaxy S5

I have a Galaxy S5 which is by far the most amazing phone I’ve ever had. After thousands of irritating prompts to do a software update, I finally gave in and allowed my phone to do the update to Lollipop 5.0.1. Unfortunately, after the update, I noticed that when I connect the charger to my phone, it no longer has that little lightning bolt over the battery that shows me it’s charging. Checked everything and my charger is fine. My phone does charge but if I put it on charge at 9pm, by 4am when I wake up its only up to 40-50%. The quickest I can get it to charge is by switching it off and just ignoring the irritating vibrate every few seconds with the grey battery. But even then it takes about 4 hours to get up to 100%, and within seconds of switching it back on its dropped down by 5-6% again.

What I’ve tried up to this point:

  • Soft Reset
  • Start in Safe Mode to make sure it’s not perhaps an app I downloaded, but still no lightning bolt
  • Restore Factory Settings — didn’t help
  • Downloaded a Fast Charge app
  • Downloaded a Smart Manager Application to limit background apps
  • Checked for any newer updates that could possibly fix the problem

The only other option is probably downgrading from Lollipop to Kitkat but as I’ve never done it before. I’m terrified of turning my phone into a brick.

I found the following step by step guide and it seems pretty straightforward, but this is where I stand:

  • Odin Downloaded USB Debugging. I Can’t seem to find the Developers Option under my settings. I’ve tried looking around, but can’t find anything remotely close to debugging.
  • Samsung Kies Downloaded Syncois used to backup Data KitKat Firmware

Here comes the tricky part. I typed in my model number Galaxy S5 and then under select country it has South Africa (Vodafone)(XFV) and South Africa (XFM)(XFM). Which one am I supposed to choose? When I start up my phone it says Vodacom, but I recently switched from my Vodacom SIM to an FNB SIM. Or doesn’t it matter which one I download? I would really appreciate any assistance in this matter. — Monique

Solution: Hi Monique. This is a third party flashing guide and we haven’t tried it ourselves so we don’t think we can give you an accurate answer. We suggest that you contact the publisher or author of the article to get first-hand guidance.

As a general rule, you must pick the firmware of the original carrier. Samsung devices are not built uniformly. Each carrier can request for a specific build from Samsung, thus firmware can vary from carrier to carrier. If this phone was originally built for Vodacom but you’re using a SIM card of another carrier, the firmware you’re going to use in flashing should be Vodacom. The country should also be where the original carrier is located. Again, try to contact the blog where you got the guide from, or alternatively post a comment at the bottom of the article for help from other users.

Problem #6: Galaxy S5 no longer turns on

Hello. My Samsung Galaxy S5 has been not working for a day now and I’m not sure why. I decided to turn it off before bed and started charging it. In the morning I tried to turn it on but it did nothing. Continuing through out the day it still didn’t turn on. I tried to reboot it by holding the power button and the down sound button and it did nothing. It only does things when it is plugged into a charger. I tried to reset it and tried other things such as removing the battery, holding down the power button without the battery, holding power button + sound up and down and it still doesn’t work. the farthest it goes is the Samsung screen with the lock on it. it doesn’t go anywhere farther than that.

The battery is also not the issue because I tried using different batteries but it still doesn’t do anything. I’m not sure why this is happening as I have had this phone for a while now and it has had no issues.

I reset it a while ago as well and I don’t know if that is part of the problem. I hope you guys can help me out as I want to continue using this phone without needing to fix it in a store. Thank you in advanced. — Rick

Solution: Hi Rick. If you’ve already tried all the hardware button combinations like the ones we suggest for Millenederskov above, you can assume that the phone’s hardware must have failed for some reason. Bring it to Samsung or to a local repair shop to see if there’s something that they can do about it.


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