How To Fix Common Samsung Galaxy S3 Problems and Errors [Part 18]

This is the 18th part of the Galaxy S3 Problems series and we’ve already answered more than a hundred questions / problems. We’ve received a lot of emails asking why there are a lot of problems with the device but the fact is, these problems could happen to anyone. As you can see, only a few involve hardware issues; majority of the problems we addressed are firmware- or app-related. Other owners emailed us to ask a question or two about their device while others have more serious problems.

Basically, problems cited in this post may have already been addressed in previous parts. We continue doing this because we have thousands of readers who email us every day. We cannot just ignore them and the time they spend explaining what their problems really are.

#1. Phone can’t connect to mobile data, screen flickers

Q: Hi, I would like to know what’s going on with my S3 for the past two days whenever I turn on my data pack my phone starts acting up my network bar shows a block sign or no network and my phone screen flickers and then there a crazy battery drain from 80% my battery comes down to 2% to 3% I have to restart my phone and turn of the data connection to use my phone or it acts up again but it work fine over the WiFi. – Riaz

A: One of the most common reasons why the driving mode automatically turns on is when there’s something that triggered it. The best way to start your troubleshooting, is to inspect the microUSB port or your phone to see if there is a misaligned pin that’s touching the other. If there is, gently straighten it out but be careful as much as possible so as not to over bend or break it.

Since you are also seeing the bars getting crossed out, the hardware responsible for radio operations may be affected. As to the drain problem, I believe the battery is being shorted when the problem happens that’s why there’s a tremendous draining problem. If this could go without being sorted out, there’s a tendency the battery may explode. So, my advice is have the phone checked by a technician as soon as possible as it’s not just a minor problem. What you’re experiencing right now is just the tip of iceberg.

#2. Calendar stopped working after recent update

Q: Hi all, prior to the last S3 software update I used notification on the day any of my contacts birthday. I used to get a cake icon on the home screen where the weather shows. The birthday data I entered through my phone and some through Gmail. It all stopped after I updated the software. Please assist. — Charbel

A: While Android updates are already stable before they are rolled out, the installation process may corrupt caches and data that are already saved to the phone’s memory. Apps that depend on those data will still try to use them but since they were already corrupt, some functions, if not all, will be lost and in your case, it’s the ability to notify you of birthdays.

The solution to this problem is simply clearing both the cache and data of the Calendar app so that the phone would be forced to cache a newer set of data. But before you actually do that, try to backup all your Calendar activities first. You can sync the app with Google or do a manual backup.

#3. Stock email app crashes

Q: I have had the generic email account that comes with the phone, in which i set up my yahoo and hotmail accounts on. About a couple months ago, i got prompted that unfortunately my email has stopped. I looked online and tried emailing myself a message because people said that worked for them. I tried a few other things like deleting the app but nothing seemed to work. I ended up just hiding the icon and set up new yahoo and hotmail apps.

I have tried forcing close the programs (microsoft exchange and email) and clearing data but the prompt still comes up. What’s most annoying is that the phone freezes for at least 5 seconds before the pop up shows up. I cannot do anything on the phone until i clear the prompt. This happens at least 15 times a day. Is there anything I can do other than factory reset?

A: You may have set the app to sync with both hotmail and yahoo servers for other services other than emails. If one of these services is unreachable, the Android system will keep on connecting to the server and after some time it would either display a message about a server being unreachable or it would simply crash and you get the “Unfortunately, Email has stopped” error message. For cases like this, the solution would be to turn off syncs for other services leaving the app to sync of emails only.

There are also time when other apps are using the services of the email app to send some data like the pictures, videos, etc, which would also trigger the crashes. If you’ve already turned off all possible syncs except email and the problem still shows up, then boot your phone to safe mode and observe if it still happens while in that state.

  1. Turn the phone off completely.
  2. Press and hold the Power button.
  3. When the Galaxy S3 screen appears, release the Power button.
  4. Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume Down key until the phone finished restarting.
  5. “Safe Mode” will be displayed on the lower left corner of the screen.

If the problem remains even in Safe Mode, then there’s an issue with the app itself, otherwise, a third-party app is causing the problem. But either way, it would fix the problem if you cleared both the cache and data of the Email app but please note that you will lose all emails you downloaded to your phone, your settings and your accounts. It means you will have to set them up after the procedure.

#4. Internet works only 25% of the time

Q: My phone recently did an update and now I’m having trouble connecting to 3g. Wi-Fi works fine, but if I’m not at home, the internet only works about 25% of the things. Suggestions? — Suzie

A: It is difficult to assume that it’s a phone issue when there’s a 50-50 chance that it’s a network problem. The best course of action is to call your service provider and ask about the strength of service coverage in your area. But assuming the phone doesn’t have any physical or liquid damages, then it’s logical to wipe its cache partition so the phone would be forced to cache new sets of data to use because may be there are some corrupt data that affects the performance of radio reception. To wipe cache partition on Galaxy S3, follow this:

  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. Highlight ‘reboot system now’ and hit the Power key.

#5. Emails suddenly disappeared

Q: Hi there, hope you can solve this problem. Had this mobile since March and all was fine. Today all my received emails about 25 of them suddenly disappeared. Thought I had deleted them by mistake but they would have been in my Recycle Bin if that was the case but it was empty. I have 50 maximum load.

I did not receive any emails for about 2 hours – very unusual. I sent an email to myself and received it ok. I got a message saying that I wasn’t signed into my email account. I signed in and it was ok. I received three emails during the course of this evening and suddenly they were gone too. Crazy. Don’t know what I have done wrong – if anything but would appreciate your help. Many thanks. — Linda

A: There are several ways how to banish email messages from your phone. The first is by deleting them, which you said you didn’t. Second is by clearing the data of the email app, which I assume you didn’t do. Third is by uninstalling the email app you’re using, which may not be applicable if you’re using the stock email app. The fourth is by doing factory reset that would delete all data stored in the phone’s flash memory. Lastly, emails may be deleted from your phone if you’ve set it up on another device like the computer and have set it to delete messages from the server. Whatever the reason is, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Login to your account via webmail. For example, if you’re using Gmail, open your email account by going to on your browser.
  2. While inside your email account, check to see if the emails are still in the server. If they are, then all you have to do is clear the cache and data of the email app and re-setup your email account. If not, then they have already been downloaded somewhere else.
  3. For emails that aren’t on the server anymore, you need to access the device aside from your phone where you setup your email account. You may still be able to find them, otherwise, there’s nothing we can do about them but your company’s IT can.
  4. Emails that are still on the server, however, can still be downloaded to your phone by properly setting up your account and turn the sync on.

#6. Phone’s performance is very poor, charging problem

Q: Hello, I am using this Galaxy S3 for one. It was working very good until 1 month ago, when it become to slow, esp when I want to open my list of calls or my rubrica it want more then 5 sec to respond, when I try to write on Google web address is the same problem. Also an other problem, please take a look at the attached file video. It have problems also with charging, all night and from 5% goes 45%! I will appreciate very much if you give me an answer and help me!

A: What makes this problem complicated is that we don’t know which causes which. It could be that the poor performance is also causing fast battery drain or there is a problem with the hardware that causes both battery drain and poor performance. I think trying to solve one problem first will give us a hint if these issues are somehow connected.

To address poor performance, try to boot the phone to safe mode. While in that state, the only apps running are the ones that came pre-installed with the phone and core services. This procedure rules out the possibility that third-party apps are causing the problem. If the phone performs well in Safe Mode, it means third-party apps are indeed causing the problem. Since it’s impossible to pinpoint which one is the culprit, factory reset will get the job done.

Now, if the draining of the battery is unusual and the phone gets so warm that it almost burn your skin when you touch it, you need to have it checked immediately as it’s a hardware issue.

#7. Smart Stay doesn’t work

Q: Hi guys, been reading your stuff on Drippler since quite some time. It’s a great service you’ll are doing to the S3 droid community. Since I updated my S3 to 4.3, one of the main issues that I have had is that the Smart Stay doesn’t function. It just stays as a greyed out icon. I tried all tricks that I could find on the net, to no avail. I even used the app smart stay+ which worked in a very patchy manner and was unreliable.

My questions:

  1. Do you have a solution for this?
  2. If not, will a factory reset do the trick?
  3. If yes, then what type of factory reset should I do?

Many thanks, in advance. — Suhel

A: I can’t figure out in what way the recent update messed up a feature native to the phone, so I cannot provide a solution considering I don’t know exactly what the case is. If the recent update caused this, then factory reset would do the trick. I would prefer booting the phone to the recovery mode and perform factory reset there. Correct me if I’m wrong but factory reset via the Settings menu seems like it deletes all contents of the data partition, whereas, the recovery factory reset formats both the data and cache partitions.

  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. When finished, use the Volume Down button to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’ and press the Power button to select it.
  5. Still use the Volume Down button to highlight ‘delete all user data’ and press the Power button to select the option.
  6. Once the master reset is finished, highlight ‘reboot system now’ and hit the Power button one more time.

#8. NFC won’t work after unrooting

Q: Hey how’s it going bro I have a Samsung galaxy s3. When I bought the phone it was a little after Verizon took away Google wallet. So I did a simple one click stock root to my phone and installed Google wallet. After a while I heard about the new update and isis and decided to uninstall the stock root and update the phone. After updating the phone I even did a hard factory reset to make sure everything was off. Since I did that my gps no longer works properly it’s always trying to acquire signal and my NFC is always acting up as well. If I turn it on through the notification panel it doesn’t show that’s it’s on in the settings. So I can’t even do NFC transactions. Since the update I did even two more hard resets and for some reason the NFC and the GPS still doesn’t work please advise on what I should do. Thanks.

P.S. on a side note what phone you think is better Galaxy Note 3 or the Samsung Galaxy S5?

A: Rooting is supposed to be safe basically because it doesn’t actually do something but open the phone to more possibilities by giving the owner full management access. However, there were already cases that the phone got bricked during the rooting process, or many features and hardware won’t work the firmware is rooted. Yours is kinda bizarre because the problems occurred after you unrooted the phone. Basically, I don’t know where to look here or where to start troubleshooting because it’s not clear if the problem came with the firmware itself or the rooting/unrooting process messed some sensitive data on the phone.

If this were my phone and it’s acting like this, I would perform factory reset and flash the previous firmware using ODIN. So far, that’s the only way I can think of that has a potential to bring the phone back to the way it was before.

As to your other question, well, I would choose Samsung Galaxy Note 3 over Galaxy S5 especially if you already own a Galaxy S3.

#9. Problem installing firmware update

Q: Hi guys, since you have asked your readers their problems, I’ll give you mine. I gave a GT-I9300 and I am unable to download the 4.3 update. After downloading the update the phone asks me to install it. When I click ‘install all’ it shows an android man and a bar that starts filling up. As soon as it gets to 24% a red exclamation mark shows up and restarts the phone saying that the installation has failed. Is there any way to solve this problem except through a factory reset? Regards, Rahul.

A: One of the possible things that happened is that the download process was interrupted at some point so during the installation, Android couldn’t continue because some files may be lacking or corrupt. You need to re-download the update and install but before you actually do that, try to clear cache and data of the Download Manager so previous download will be deleted. If it would still fail, then install KIES on your computer or laptop and pull down the update using the program. I hope that helps.

#10. Can’t get past a certain screen

Q: Hi! I recently did the new update for my android, I have a Samsung galaxy s3. The upgrade went fine, but I had to go back through my phone in the accessories part. I went through and chose my language, when my scree should lock, etc. It took me then to the WiFi connection screen. It wouldn’t connect at all, so I just pushed next after I had tried to connect multiple times. the next screen is where I’m having problems. it asks me to put my name because my phone uses my name to personalize some apps. this screen is titled “This phone belongs to…” I cant get it to go past this screen after I’ve put my name in. it shows that it could be trying to do it, but I’ve tried and retried for hours and hours. I cant fix this. I’m tempted to get an iPhone now. I hope to hear from you asap. Thanks! — Kayla

A: If there’s a screen you can’t get past after the update, then you have no other option but to perform factory reset. The phone is asking for the “correct” setup prior to the update and there’s no one who knows about it better than you. In case you can’t remember, it’s time you compromised. Factory reset is the most logical thing to do here.

  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. When finished, use the Volume Down button to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’ and press the Power button to select it.
  5. Still use the Volume Down button to highlight ‘delete all user data’ and press the Power button to select the option.
  6. Once the master reset is finished, highlight ‘reboot system now’ and hit the Power button one more time.

I hope this helps.

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