How to fix Galaxy S8 Samsung Themes app issue showing error S503, S8 email sync issues

Today’s #GalaxyS8 troubleshooting guide talks about two issues:

  • how to fix a common Samsung Themes error S503, and
  • email sync issues.

There’s an increasing number of S8 owners asking us for support about these problems so we’ve decided to come up with this brief guide. We hope you’ll find this material helpful.

Problem #1: Galaxy S8 Samsung Themes won’t work, error S503

When attempting to change wallpaper, the message pops up that Samsung Themes requires an update (current version 4.0.55.70918). I tap UPDATE and a message pops up ‘Unknown Error’ An unknown error has occurred. Try again later. (S503).  I have cleared data and cleared the cache in the System/Apps and restarted. Same problem. I have also tried Force Stop without success. Storage is not an issue…I am way below the cap. — C Hunter

Solution: Hi C Hunter. Samsung Themes app is usually part of the pre-installed apps of a Samsung Galaxy device so if clearing its cache and data did not help, you must do the other possible solutions below:

Solution #1: Sign out of your Samsung account

Some Samsung apps and services may encounter bugs  for a variety of reasons. One good trick in fixing some of them though is simple — by signing your Samsung account out. If you haven’t tried this trick yet, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Cloud and accounts.
  3. Tap accounts..
  4. Tap Samsung account.
  5. Tap the three-dot icon at the top.
  6. Tap Remove account.
  7. Once you’ve removed your Samsung account from the system, restart the phone.
  8. After the restart, repeat the steps 1-4, then sign back in to your Samsung account.

Solution #2: Reset app preferences

The other good troubleshooting step that you can try in this situation is resetting your device’s app preferences. Apps don’t work on their own. In most instances, their actions need services of related or associated apps. If the Samsung Themes error is due to a missing app or service, restoring all app preferences to their defaults might help. Here’s how to do it:

  1. From the Home screen, swipe up on an empty spot to open the Apps tray.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Apps.
  4. Tap 3-dot icon at the upper right.
  5. Select Reset app preferences.
  6. Restart your device.
  7. Check for the problem.

Solution #3:  Check for rogue apps

Sometimes, a bad or poorly coded third party app may interfere with Android or with other apps. To see if one of the downloaded apps is behind your trouble, you can run your S8 to safe mode. No third party apps will be allowed to run when your device is on safe mode so if Samsung Themes app works normally, you can bet one of your apps is problematic.

To boot your S8 to safe mode:

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key past the model name screen.
  3. When “SAMSUNG” 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.
  8. Let your S8 run in this mode for several hours and check for the problem.

Safe mode blocks third party apps and services. If your device boots up fine on Safe Mode but the problem returns on normal mode, you know that one of your apps is behind the trouble. To know which app is causing a problem, follow these steps:

  1. Boot to safe mode.
  2. Check for the problem.
  3. Once you’ve confirmed that a third party app is to blame, you can start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added.
  4. After you uninstall an app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
  5. If your S8 still refuses to power back on, repeat steps 1-4.

Solution #4: Wipe the device

A more drastic solution that you can try is factory reset. We know for a fact that Samsung Themes app works properly when the software is on its factory state so this will most likely fix your issue.

To factory reset your S8:

  1. Make a backup of your personal data.
  2. Turn off the device.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  4. 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).
  5. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  6. Press Power button to select.
  7. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  8. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  9. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  10. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Problem #2: Galaxy S8 email sync issues: won’t delete copies of email after they’ve been deleted on another device

I bought my S8 in late March of 2017 and have been using the native email app on same and my main email address is associated with our company’s IMAP server. Until around mid-February of 2018, all was working fine but at around that time the following problem started to occur: When I deleted emails using devices other than my S8, they would not be deleted from my S8’s inbox. The reverse wasn’t a problem in that I could delete them on my S8 and they would be deleted from my inbox as far as all other devices were concerned. Something else: If I read them on other devices, they would be flagged as read on my S8. This lead me to believe it wasn’t a sync’ing issue because that part of syncing was working. Anyways, having had difficulties getting support on these kinds of issues in the past, I was just gritting my teeth about it and deleting emails on my S8 that had already been deleted elsewhere. Then, yesterday morning (May16/18), I went into my S8 email and saw that all emails which had been deleted on the server were no longer showing in my S8 inbox and the problem has gone away now. This was a very frustrating experience for me to have to live through for about 3 months and I’m wondering if you have ever heard of this one before? Also, are you aware of Samsung having issued some upgrades recently that might have fixed problems like this? Actually, I guess I need to ask if they had issued some back in February that might have caused problems like this in the first place. Some more relevant information: I have 2 coworkers who are using Samsung Galaxies as well – one which is an S3 and the other an S8 and they didn’t experience this problem. I’ve probably already gone on with too much information but the reason I upgraded from my S5 to my S8 in the first place is that when I had upgraded from an S4 to an S5, this exact problem I described here was happening with my S5. I went though all kinds of wasted time an effort with Samsung’s support staff (multiple chat’s, multiple factory resets, one S5 replacement phone) but the ultimate solution was to try out an S8 and, when I did, the problem didn’t exist so I upgraded to an S8. Hence when, out of the blue, the problem came back on my S8 in February, I was quite disappointed and, from my experiences with my S5, wasn’t eager to go through all this hassle again. What’s frustrating with Samsung support is that they won’t acknowledge that they’ve ever head of the problem before and always assume it is basic stuff like phone settings or a physical problem with the phone when I’m almost sure it has to be a glitch in the Samsung email program itself – well, it adds up that way to me anyways. — Keith Nummela

Solution: Hi Keith. Email sync feature either works or not. In our years of fixing Samsung devices of all sorts, we haven’t heard of email sync problems due to Samsung update or poor firmware coding. In majority of cases, sync problems are attributed to power saving settings of a device. We believe your issue may not be different so be sure to follow our suggestions below on how to fix it.

Disable your S8 power saving settings

With Android Nougat and Oreo, Samsung devices are provided with an even more effective way of customizing settings to optimize battery power consumption. Sometimes though, power saving settings may interrupt apps, especially those that rely on constant communication with remote servers. It’s possible that your S8 may be set up to conserve energy. To check, go to Settings > Battery > Power saving mode and make sure that Power Saving Mode is set of OFF.

Alternatively, you can configure your S8 to only start Power Saving Mode only when it’s battery power is low instead of immediately.

Disable Restrict Background Data

Another good thing that you can do, while still on the Power Saving Mode menu, is to toggle Restrict Background Data to off. If Restrict Background Data is set to ON, your email app may not be permitted to connect to the internet by this feature resulting to the issue you’re having.

Set Keep wifi on during sleep to ON

Some users fixed networking issues and some app issues before by making sure that their phone remains connected to wifi even while sleeping. By default, Keep wifi on during sleep is set to always or on but if you changed it before, try turning it back on then see what happens.

Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Select wifi.
  3. Tap More at the upper right.
  4. Turn on keep Wi-Fi always ON during sleep.

Verify email app app is disabled under battery usage menu

Your email app may be set to disconnect from the internet when your phone is on sleep mode. To prevent this from happening, you need to ensure that battery optimization feature allows the email app to work even when the phone is on sleep mode. Go to Settings > Battery, then once you’re in the battery menu, hit Details under app power saving mode and select the music app. Then, make sure to select DISABLED to allow it to run and be exempt from Android battery optimization feature.