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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 S3 begins to power down goes black, then begins vibrating ever 4-5 seconds. Pulling the battery and reinserting in a few minutes and it resumes the cyclic vibration. Pull the battery for a few days drains the power and it will start up normally. Any better temporary fix? What’s the permanent repair needed?

  2. My battery was about to die, already with a bump but working.
    Changed it for a new one and had some charge already. I kept using the phone to let it drain and recharged for 8 hours as indicated. When I drained it and started charging, the battery icon in the screen kept showing for a second, and then the phone kept restarting. I took the battery out and tried to charge again, from a different charger or from the computer. Now there is not any response whatsoever. I did all what you indicated, but the phone is dead with a new battery. I hope you have some more ideas.

  3. I have the same problem as Michelle. I have Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo. I had to turn it off the other day, when I turned it on, there was no signal, I got some kind of display message asking for admin access. Thought I need to restart, when I did so, the phone powers on, stops at the SAMSUNG logo wording, the blue light is on. The battery doesnt seem to be a problem. I did the ‘Boot to recovery mode and wipe the cache partition’, rebooted, nothing helped. I have all the contacts and important data, never synched with Google for fear of leaking data. Dont want to lose data, is there a way to get the phone working or atleast to take a backup of the phone data. Not sure if Bello, Michelle and others were successful in recovering their phone/data, if you did, can you please share it on this forum.
    Can anyone else suggest what else can be done to recover the data atleast.

  4. Hi folks, my samsung galaxy s3 will not start up. I cannot get it into any recovery mode. It will show the SAMSUNG GALAXY S111 I9300 logo but nothing more. What would you suggest? Thanks

  5. After much experimentation, I have found the secret that the sadistic engineers built into this phone. The power button must be pressed for exactly 873 milliseconds to display the menu of power options. If it is pressed for 872 milliseconds or less, the screen will simply blank and the phone will still be on. If it is pressed for 874 milliseconds or longer, the phone will reboot.

  6. My Galaxy S3 was being slow so I shut it down to clear the cache, and afterwards it wouldn’t power back on. It goes through all the normal logos and then gets stuck on the last Samsung screen forever. I’ve switched the battery and looked at a few different troubleshooting pages but nothing has helped. It won’t let me boot to safety mode. Any suggestions? If it’s avoidable I’d rather not do a factory reset, but I will if nothing else works.

  7. Hi, i have been having problems with my Note 3 for a while, goes off when i use the flash, or when battery dies and phone goes off I cant get it back on, and phone freezes sometimes and and i have to remove battery to get it back on. But always if i couldn’t get it on, i put it on charge and then i get it on. But not today. It is charging while off, its on 100% now, but when i put it on it starts up get as far as the Samsung icon, blue light is on, but goes no further, and i waited a loooong time. I also tried doing the safe mode and recovery mode thing, doesn’t work. I know that my phone needs a software update for a while now, but it didn’t want to do the update, i was going to do the update via my pc today after i finished backing up my phone, had to do that manually, but now i cant get it on to continue. I cannot factory reset, too much important data on my phone still that i cant afford to loose. I have tested the battery at a Samsung branch last week, they say my battery is perfect. I couldn’t afford to get proper testing done on it yet, but they said it could be because the phone needs a software update or my motherboard is problematic. Is there anything I can do now, i just want to get it on so i can finish backing up and then do software update????

  8. Okay, I have a Samsung Galaxy s3, when I try turning it on, it will buzz but that’s it. No blue light, nothing. I have tried taking the battery out, and I can’t do method 3 because i dont get the start up screen, and method 4 doesn’t work either.

  9. i have a samsung s3 and i tried all the methods and the farthest it went was the it vibrated and the blue light went on and the keys flicker but its just the screen that does not work

  10. my phone is Samsung galaxy s3.
    my phone boots up , works normally then after an hour or two it automatically shuts down.
    when i searched about it, it said something about boot loader. so is it the boot loader problem , or related software problem or hardware problem ( battery and power switch ) . ??

  11. My S4 screen will not stay on. Just goes off ten I put it on again but wont stay on….somebody told me the setting is wrong, but I can’t find the menu, where is it?

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

  13. 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?

  14. 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

  15. 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!!!

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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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