How to recover storage data from dead (won’t turn on) Galaxy S8

Many Android owners ask the question on how to recover their files, contacts, and other data if their device fails. Unfortunately, the answer to that is not always a good one for them. In this short #GalaxyS8 troubleshooting guide, we show you a classic case of the problem and how to go about the issue in order to recover data from a non-working device.

Today’s problem: Galaxy S8 won’t turn on, screen stays black, how to recover files if S8 won’t power on

Hi. My issue with the phone is that it doesn’t turn on regardless of whatever method I’ve tried after surfing the web for hours. The phone does not show any signs of life except for turning really hot after plugging it into a USB cable for more than 10mins with my PC, it has been in shut down mode and does not display the default charging symbol. All I want is for me to retrieve the data in the phone and best if it could be in working condition.    

What happened: I shut down my phone and charged it because it was below 10%(iirc). Before shutting down to charge, I used a wet wipe to clean my phone as it had stains and dried it off with a tissue. Afterwards, I shut it down and left it to charge. I remember that it was charging well and even in fast charge before I left my phone. When I came back in about 10-15mins time, I only realised that the phone wasn’t charging and it couldn’t turn on. This happened approximately 40hours(almost 1day and a half) ago from the moment I sent this message.     

What I tried: Surfing the web gave many suggestions, I tried a “Hard Reset” by holding the power button and vol down button for even more than 10-20seconds as suggested, looking for the water damage indicator in the SIM card slot but couldn’t find it (no red/white indicator), I tried extracting data from the phone using the Vysor Chrome Extension software but it couldn’t detect the phone (YouTube Link to the guide I followed: https://youtu.be/8j0N9bndQUE). This phone model does not have a “removable battery” unless I mess with it (I wouldn’t want to go into that stage if possible). I kept trying to turn it on every few hours but so far there is no signs of life except for it heating up when plugged into a USB cable.    If you’ve spent the time reading this, I greatly appreciate any suggestion given! What I worry the most is the data that is in the phone as it is very important to the project I’m working on but has not backed it up as it happened too sudden. I’m on the verge of taking my phone apart and removing the battery physically, but will continue to find other solutions and wait for a reply or other signs of life from my phone. Have a blessed day! — Cy

Solution: Hi Cy. Access to your phone’s data is only possible if:

  • the phone turns on,
  • the touchscreen is working, and
  • Android (operating system) boots up.

If your phone can successfully power on and the operating system is up but the touchscreen functionality has failed, you still won’t be able to recover any data at all. That’s because you need to unlock your screen first in order to gain permission to access the internal storage device.

If you did not have any problem with the touchscreen and OS before your phone lost power, then the main thing that you need to do right now is to turn the phone back on.

Check the screen

In a lot of cases, users often mistake a Screen issue (Black Screen of Death or unresponsive screen) with a No Power issue. The former, as the name suggests, implies that the problem lies on the screen only and the phone continues to powers on. In this case, the phone makes sounds, vibrates, and shows other signs that it’s still turning on. Fixing the problem may be possible by doing a software solution but oftentimes, a bad screen issue ends up with phone repair or screen replacement.

The latter (No Power) is indicated by total lack of usual phone activity when booting up like LED light, sounds, or vibration. In other words, the phone is simply dead and completely unresponsive. It also won’t show any signs that it’s charging. Like screen issue, there are a few cases wherein the phone can still be revived by doing a some software solution but if fails too, repair or replacement is almost always the only way out.

Causes why your S8 fails to power back on

There are can be a number of possible reasons why your S8 won’t turn back on. These are some of the common ones:

  • battery has totally drained
  • charging accessories are broken
  • software glitch
  • charging port is damaged
  • motherboard is defective

What should you do to power on your Galaxy S8?

Ideally, the solutions that you need to do should cover all the possible reasons for the problem. In reality though, there’s not much that you can try since you won’t be able to fix hardware-related problem. For instance, there’s a fair chance that the issue lies on the charging port. It might be damaged for some reason, possibly by liquid from the wet wipes you used. We know your S8 should not have a problem with liquid or water due to its water-resistance protection but we’ve seen S7s, S8s, and S8s before with damaged charging port after their users exposed them to water or liquid. Keep in mind that Samsung’s IP68 protection is a overrated and can fail from time to time. So, if your S8’s charging port is currently not working due to a short after it got wet with liquid, the only fix that’s available for you would be to send it in for repair.

To see if you can make your phone power back on again, follow our suggestions below:

Charge the phone for at least an hour

Lithium-based batteries like the one in your phone is designed to retain a tiny amount of power to continually energize its circuits. This is true even if the battery status indicator is saying that that the battery has 0%. Sometimes though, this mechanism may fail and whatever tiny amount of power that’s supposed to be left may be totally emptied. This can cause a serious issue because if that happens, a Lithium battery may no longer be able to charge properly or at all. In most cases, battery replacement is the only way to resolve the issue. At times, recharging the battery may be able to revive the battery so that’s what you want to do here. Make sure that you let your phone charge for at least one hour before attempting to power it on.

Use another set of charging cable and adapter

Another reason why your phone may appear to fail to turn back on is a bad charger or cable. To see if that’s the reason why your phone may not be charging and thus, not turning on, try to use another USB cable and adapter. If possible, try using a known working original Samsung cable and adapter.

Restart your phone to alternate boot mode

If your phone is not totally dead and shows signs that it still turns on, it’s possible that an app or software bug may be preventing the screen from turning on. To check if that’s the case, try to restart your phone to safe mode first.

To restart your S8 to safe mode:

  1. Turn off your S8. If you can’t turn it off normally, let the phone drain its battery until it turns itself off.
  2. With your S8 off, 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.

If your touchscreen works normally on safe mode, you can bet there’s an bad app causing the problem. To know which app it is, 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.

If nothing works with safe mode, or if you are unable to restart your S8 to safe mode at all, you can also try to boot it to either Recovery Mode or Download Mode. Each of these modes are independent of Android, meaning they don’t require Android to work in order to boot your phone to either of them. If you are able to successfully boot your phone to either of these mode and your screen works, that means you have an operating system issue. You can either do a master reset or flash stock firmware to fix it.

How to boot your S8 to Recovery Mode

  1. Turn off your S8. If you can’t turn it off normally, let the phone drain its battery until it turns itself off.
  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).

In Recovery Mode, you can either wipe the cache partition or attempt a factory reset.

How to boot your S8 to Download Mode

  1. Turn off your S8. If you can’t turn it off normally, let the phone drain its battery until it turns itself off.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Down key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. The screen should turn blue with a down facing arrow in the middle and with the word “Downloading…” beneath it.

In Download mode, you can try to flash stock firmware to your S8 to fix the issue. Use Google to search for  a good guide how to do this. Just remember, flashing is basically changing core system files and folders so if you don’t do it correctly, or if you use an incorrect firmware, you can permanently brick your phone.

Check charging port for visible defects

As mentioned above, your S8’s charging port can be damaged by liquid even if the phone is designed to prevent exactly that. At other times, the charging port may also become problematic if a user is not careful when unplugging the cable, or when plugging in a damaged cable to the port. The pins inside the charging cable may become bent or out of shape causing charging problems, which would eventually lead to No Power issue.

The goal of this troubleshooting step is to find out if there’s any obvious sign of charging port issue and not to fix it. If a pin inside is bent for example, the phone will have to repaired by a trained technician still. Knowing where the problem lies helps in the sense that it can save you the trouble of looking for other non-existent factors.

To check if there’s a physical charging port damage, we suggest that you use a magnifier. If you can’t do that or if a magnifier is not available, just skip this part.

If the charging port is wet, your phone would still charge and the screen should continue to work although it may show moisture detected error. Still, we want you to avoid blowing into the charging port using compressed air as that might push moisture inside the device. Instead, let the phone air dry for 24 hours to allow water to evaporate on its own.

Use wireless charging

If you found out that the charging port is damaged and you want to back your data up before sending it in, we suggest that you charge the device wirelessly. Wireless charging should work even if the charging port is not working anymore. As usual, let the phone charge wirelessly for at least an hour before turning it back on. Afterwards, upload your data to a cloud service like Dropbox to save them.

Get professional help

If the phone remains dead after doing all our suggestions above, contact Samsung so repair can be done. There’s no better substitute than this.

How to recover data if your S8 won’t power back on?

The answer to this question, unfortunately, is in negative. You cannot get anything from your phone unless the minimum requirements as mentioned above are met. Your S8’s internal storage device needs to be powered up so it can make the bits and bytes available for browsing by the operating system. And of course you also need the operating system (Android) up and running in order to do the task. If both of these things are absent, there’s no way a computer can get inside the internal storage device of your phone, scan and read it, then move files from it. This is the reason why using a third party recovery software won’t be help at all. Such tools are only useful if the target phone is still functional in some aspects. Other recovery tools may be able to bypass screen security so even if the screen remains black, data recovery may be possible as long as the phone turns on and Android is working. Needless to say, if your phone won’t power on at all, your data are good as gone. Even Samsung won’t be able to assist you in this case as they don’t do data recovery.