How to fix a Galaxy S8 that randomly open apps on its own

Hello and welcome to another troubleshooting article for the #GalaxyS8. This one will answer three issues reported about this device so we hope you’l find it helpful.

Problem #1: How to fix a Galaxy S8 that randomly open apps on its own

I have the Galaxy S8, and for the last several months it has had a mind of its own. No matter which app I am in at the time, my phone will randomly open other apps/notifications. Meaning, I could be swiping through my Instagram when I get a text message, and my phone will automatically open my messaging app to that conversation. The same will happen randomly with google weather popping up. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated! — Eitan

Solution: Hi Eitan. There are two possible reasons why your S8 is behaving this way. One is that there’s a problem with the digitizer, which means it may be physically broken, damaged, or malfunctioning. The other is that there may be an issue with the operating system. We don’t think your phone may be infected but bad apps or malware can also cause random ad and app popups. Any of these things may be true so you want to check each of them.

Check the digitizer

Your phone’s screen screen assembly is composed of three major parts — digitizer, monitor, and flex cable. The monitor is the one that shows the images you see while the digitizer is a thin transparent layer that senses your touches so they can be recognized by the operating system. The signal and power needed by the digitizer is supplied through the flex cable that runs to the motherboard. Together, these three parts makes it possible to see whatever you want to be displayed on the screen, while also using the screen to send commands to the motherboard.

If the digitizer no longer works properly for some reason, it may cause random inputs that the operating system may interpret as command to open apps. Samsung’s screen assembly has proven to be reliable for many years now and frankly, they seldom break. The most common reason why a part of a screen assembly fails is physical damage 99% of the time. This can occur when a phone is dropped, exposed to elements like water or liquid, or left near a heat source. If any of these things occur prior to noticing the problem, there’s a big chance your phone’s digitizer is physically broken. Unfortunately, such a problem can’t be fixed by simply doing some software stuff. You’ll have to send the phone to Samsung so they can repair it for you.

If you don’t think there’s any hardware malfunction involved, you can check how the digitizer works by using the device’s service menu. This is a hidden menu intended for technicians only so you want to be careful when selecting or running some tests. For troubleshooting purposes  of your case, you want to limit yourself to testing the screen only. These are the exact steps that you want to do:

  1. Open the Phone (dialer) app.
  2. Dial *#0*#
  3. Select Touch.
  4. Let your phone lay as it is and see if it makes lines or dots on its own. If it does, that means the digitizer is probably toast.

Factory reset

If the digitizer is fine and your phone was not physically damaged at all, then you must consider doing a factory reset to see if there’s any software bug that’s behind the trouble. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off the device. This is important. If you can’t turn it off, you’ll never be able to boot to Recovery Mode. If you are not able to shut the device off regularly via the Power button, wait until the phone’s battery is drained. Then, charge the phone for 30 minutes before booting to Recovery Mode.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  7. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  8. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Check for malware or bad app

Now here is a possibility. If the problem disappears after a factory reset but returns later, after you install apps, you can bet the cause is one of those apps. As mentioned above, this can be a malware or just a poorly coded application that has become incompatible with the operating system. If you found yourself in this situation, you need to identify the app itself through trial-and-error. There’s no automated way to help you do this faster. In other words, you’ll have to spend time and effort uninstalling, observing, and uninstalling again until you’ve narrowed down the cause.

Problem #2: Galaxy S8 social media apps are missing notification badges

After the update to Oreo last week I stopped getting Social Media notifications. Which normally wouldn’t bother me, but I’m the Social Media Manager for a company. I used to get the regular notification – pop up on home screen and the little orange circle with a number, but now, in order to see if I have any notifications, I actually have to open the app to see if there’s anything there. This is happening with FB, Page Manager, Twitter, and Snapchat. My text message notifications are working fine. I’ve gone through every setting. I just wanted you to  know the guy from yesterday wasn’t alone in his notification frustration. So, I don’t really need the “do these things” reply – because I’ve done them. This is more of an FYI. — Jolene

Solution: Hi Jolene. If your Galaxy S8 no longer shows the badges or orange circle with a number on top of apps, that’s probably because the BadgeProvider app is not working properly. To fix it, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap on More settings at the upper right (three-dot icon).
  4. Select Show system apps.
  5. Find and tap BadgeProvider app.
  6. Tap Storage.
  7. Tap Clear Cache button.
  8. Restart your S8 and check for the problem.

If that won’t work, make sure to also clear the app’s data:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap on More settings at the upper right (three-dot icon).
  4. Select Show system apps.
  5. Find and tap BadgeProvider app.
  6. Tap Storage.
  7. Tap Clear Data button.
  8. Restart your S8 and check for the problem.

Should both procedures won’t help, try wiping the cache partition with these steps:

  1. Turn off the device. This is important. If you can’t turn it off, you’ll never be able to boot to Recovery Mode. If you are not able to shut the device off regularly via the Power button, wait until the phone’s battery is drained. Then, charge the phone for 30 minutes before booting to Recovery Mode.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key to highlight “wipe cache partition.”
  5. Press the Power key to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key to highlight “yes” and 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.

Problem #3: Galaxy S8 won’t work due to FRP lock

I bought a used S8 and I watched the guy wipe it just after I paid for it. I was happy to see that but when I got home I’m stuck with the FRP thing and he won’t return my calls. I have tried your apk solution but it is not recognizing my scan disk usb combo drive. Any suggestions as to what I can do. I’m super frustrated at this whole situation. It was with Rogers a Canadian Carrier. — Jason Vandal

Solution: Hi Jason. Samsung has already fortified FRP that previous suggestions and workarounds no longer work. At this time, the only way for you get that phone working is by allowing the previous owner unlock it by putting in his Google credentials.