Galaxy Note8 update issues: “Phone has stopped” bug and persistent “screen overlay” message

Android updates are notorious for causing all sorts of problems. In today’s #GalaxyNote8 troubleshooting episode, we show you how a Note8 got messed up after installing an update. While we are not positive that the Note8 device mentioned in this post has installed a bad update, it looks that way for the owner. If you encounter the specific bugs mentioned in this post, make sure to refer to our suggestions below.

Today’s problem: Galaxy Note8 “Phone has stopped” bug after an update; “screen overlay” issue keeps popping up

It all started about 2 weeks ago when I had an upgrade to my phone overnight. The next morning my desktop was torn apart and all my folders were gone. I had to rebuild my entire desktop. Then I started to have “screen overlay”issues. All of a sudden I am having permission problems and when I follow the prompts, I am sent into the screen overlay issue where I follow the prompts except they never tell me which overlays to turn off. Now I can no longer access my voicemail or my Gallery. I had my phone sending me a prompt that my phone had stopped. I pushed OK and the prompt immediately reappeared. This happened 20 times all the while my daughter was trying to call me. I decided to turn my phone off but the prompt kept coming up over my screens, so I couldn’t shut my phone off.  — Kathleen SmithBuchfinck

Solution: Hi Kathleen. With all these issues you mention, we believe that issue may be software-related so you need to do these four possible solutions below.

Solution #1: Clear cache partition

First, you want to ensure that your Note8’s cache partition is cleared. Doing so will force the phone to delete the system cache and build a new one. The system cache is a set of temporary files and folders that Android uses to load apps quickly. The more you use your device, the more Android “learns” your usage behavior, thereby telling it to compile frequently used files. These files can vary but they are mainly used by apps. For example, if you tend to use Facebook app a lot, Android will prepare in advance necessary files to allow the app to open faster, such as pages, links, and configurations. In theory, the cache should work properly all the time but there are times that updates or app installations may corrupt it. So, in order to ensure that the system cache is always in good shape, you can clear the cache partition. If you haven’t tried this yet, here’s how it’s done:

  1. Turn off the device.
  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 cache partition’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘yes’ is highlighted and press the Power button.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, “Reboot system now” is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Solution #2: Reset app preferences

Because there are a number of seemingly unrelated issues you mention, dealing with a single app directly may not work. Instead, you want to ensure that your device’s default apps and services are up and running as they should. This eliminates the possibility of missing app or service causing the software bug your Note8 is experiencing right now.

To reset app preferences on your Note8:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap More settings at the upper right hand side (three-dot icon).
  4. Tap Reset app preferences.

Solution #3: Safe mode

Restarting your Note8 to safe mode is a necessary troubleshooting step in this situation in order to know if one of your apps is to blame. Poorly coded third party apps sometimes interferes with the operating system. We don’t know much about your case, especially its history, so this step must help in eliminating the possibility that one of your downloaded apps is causing trouble.

In safe mode, third party apps won’t be allowed to run so if the symptoms you mention above are not present, that’s a clear sign that one of your apps is the cause.

To boot 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 phone run in this mode for a few hours so you’ll know if there’s a difference.

Safe mode won’t tell you what the specific app is problematic so you’ll have to invest more time in determining what it might be. To do that, you want to uninstall apps individually and observe how it works after every uninstall. There’s no automated way to know where the problem lies so if you have hundreds of apps installed, this may take a while.

Solution #4: Factory reset

Factory is a necessary solution option for you if the first three suggestions won’t help at this time. Be sure to back your personal data up in order to avoid losing photos, videos, documents, etc.

To factory reset your Note8:

  1. From the Home screen, swipe up on an empty spot to open the Apps tray.
  2. Tap Settings > Cloud and accounts.
  3. Tap Backup and restore.
  4. If desired, tap Back up my data to move the slider to ON or OFF.
  5. If desired, tap Restore to move the slider to ON or OFF.
  6. Tap the back button to the Settings menu and tap General Management > Reset > Factory data reset.
  7. Tap Reset.
  8. If you have screen lock turned on, enter your credentials.
  9. Tap Continue.
  10. Tap Delete all.


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