Galaxy S5 has flickering green/black screen, won’t turn on, other issues

We know that the #GalaxyS5 has been around and there are still millions in circulation at this time so we continue to receive reports of issues here and there. As usual, this post answers some these reports today so if you’re ready, here are the topics we cover for you:

  1. Galaxy S5 not charging, only charges when it is off
  2. Galaxy S5 restarts on its own during the evening
  3. Galaxy S5 won’t read encrypted SD card
  4. Galaxy S5 Active corrupted files in the SD card
  5. Galaxy S5 has flickering green/black screen, won’t turn on
  6. Galaxy S5 wifi keeps dropping due to incorrect APN
  7. Galaxy S5 stopped working and won’t power back on

If you are looking for solutions to your own #Android issue, you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page, or you can install our free app from Google Play Store.

When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.

Problem #1: Galaxy S5 not charging, only charges when it is off

Hey! I am having charging issues with my Samsung S5. My phone won’t charge while it is turned on. There is no charging symbol (lightning bolt), nor does the LED light blink in red like it usually does when it charges. And it even though I leave my phone alone, it still manages to use up some energy pretty quickly. The only way I can charge my phone is if it is turned off. But even that yields a problem cause while it does charge, it charges on and off every 5 seconds (5 seconds charging, 5 seconds not charging).

I’ve tried cleaning my port, using different cord and troubleshooting. The only thing I haven’t tried is changing the battery and doing a factory reset because my phone is charging pretty slow so I can barely get it to 10% without me maybe leaving to charge overnight. I’d really appreciate the help. Thanks. — Enrilelucy

Solution: Hi Enrilelucy. There’s only so much that you can do to fix this case on your end. There may be a hardware fault causing the erratic charging behavior so you must try another battery or do a factory reset if the rest of the software troubleshooting didn’t help. If using a different battery or factory reset won’t improve the situation either, you should have the phone checked for hardware malfunction. The most likely issue is on the charging port so a thorough diagnostic test must be performed by a technician.

We know that the Galaxy S5 has been around. If you’ve been using your phone for over a year now, there’s a chance that the battery have simply lost significant capacity to hold a charge. Lithium-based batteries gradually degrades the moment they left the factory so replacing it now may help you fix the problem.

If we are not mistaken, the phone’s warranty is already up at this time so consider bringing the phone to an independent service center.

For reference, here are the steps on how to factory reset your S5:

  1. Turn off your Samsung Galaxy S5.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up, Home and Power keys together.
  3. When the device powers on and displays ‘Power on logo’, release all keys and the Android icon will appear on the screen.
  4. Wait until the Android Recovery Screen appears after about 30 seconds.
  5. Using the Volume Down key, highlight the option, ‘wipe data/factory reset’ and press the Power key to select it.
  6. Press the Volume Down button again until the option ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted and then press the Power key to select it.
  7. After the reset is complete, highlight ‘Reboot system now’ and hit the Power key to restart the phone.

Problem #2: Galaxy S5 restarts on its own during the evening

My phone keeps randomly restarting and/or freezing several times a day, especially during the evening. The problem has occurred every day for the past month. I have deleted some recent apps added, cleared my cache, changed my battery, even did a factory reset, and still the problem persists. Sometimes, when the phone shuts off it drains the battery completely as well. Occasionally, the battery gets really warm too. I have taken it to a tech several times within the past month but they say they can not find anything wrong with it, even after doing several stress tests on the phone. I know last year it would repeatedly tell me that my SIM card was not detected at various times. I am unsure if that has anything to do with it though since I have not seen that message in recent months. — Chris

Solution: Hi Chris. There are only two possible causes that we can think of — either you’ve installed a problematic app, or that there’s an unknown glitch in the hardware.

To see if a bad third party is to blame, you can either boot the phone to safe mode or do a factory reset. Starting the phone to safe mode blocks all third party apps and services from running so you should observe the phone for at least 24 hours to see the difference. If you think an app is causing this problem, you should uninstall apps until the issue is eliminated. To boot to safe mode, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power keys for 20 to 30 seconds.
  2. Once you see the Samsung logo, release the Power key immediately but continue pressing the Volume Down key.
  3. Your phone should continue booting up and you will be prompted to unlock your phone as usual.
  4. You will know if the phone successfully booted in safe mode if the text “Safe mode” is displayed at the lower-left corner of the screen.

Alternatively, you can factory reset and observe the phone for a day as well. You should not install anything — app or update — during the observation period so you’ll know if something that you add later is the cause.

If the phone continues to show the same symptoms either when the phone is in safe mode or immediately after a factory reset, you can assume that bad hardware is behind them.

Problem #3: Galaxy S5 won’t read encrypted SD card

Hi. I have an issue with my SD card for my Samsung S5 SM-G900F. I encrypted the files but one day something happened while the files were encrypting or decrypting and since then the SD card wont mount in the phone. So it’s neither encrypted or decrypted but essentially I can’t access about 6 years worth of photos of my kids which I’m gutted about. I’ve looked into solving this issue online and I understand formatting the SD card would help solve the mount issue but it would also wipe the photos which I want to avoid. I don’t think I’ve backed the files up either. When I either go to encrypt or decrypt the error message I am getting is as follows: ‘Error encrypting SD card. Unable to mount SD card.”

I have tried the SD card in a SD card reader on a PC and also in another phone and the SD card works but the files are encrypted so I can’t access them. If you’ve anything I can try I’d be grateful, many thanks. — Gavin

Solution:  Hi Gavin. SD card encryption is an effective way to keep data from snooping third parties but it has its weaknesses. One of the such limitations is the fact that there’s nothing that you can do if the device that holds the decryption key gets lost or suffers a malfunction. A decryption key for a storage device like your SD card is tied to one device or phone only. If your phone has lost the key or becomes incapable of decryption the card right now, there’s very little to nothing that you can do. There’s no known app or hack that can break Samsung’s decryption system on Galaxy S devices so you’re basically stuck. Even if there’s a software that can do a decryption somewhere (we’re not aware of any at this time), it will still take months for it unlock the card, even when using brute force attack. That’s in fact, the beauty of SD card encryption but it’s also a curse if your situation occurs. If you want to use the SD card again, you can reformat it. Doing so will erase your data but again, there’s just nothing that anyone can do about this situation.

Problem #4: Galaxy S5 Active corrupted files in the SD card

Hello. I have a Galaxy S5 Active. I’ve always had storage issues with the internal storage, but it didn’t inhibit me too much since I knew what was wrong. I have a 64GB SD that I transfer plenty of images to to conserve internal storage. One day, I suddenly had plenty of internal storage, but my files were all there. I was like “oh, okay… suspicious but I’ll take it”. About two days after that, all my SD files were corrupted. They either didn’t load or had the black screen with an exclamation mark. I panicked bad because I CANNOT lose these photos. When I put the SD into the PC, the pictures were seemingly fine… but when I put it in the SD, after constantly force stopping, taking out the battery, restarting… the files are corrupted in my phone. I’m worried and can’t find any resolution. Thank you. — Matthew

Solution: Hi Matthew. The first thing that you must do is to ensure that all your important files are copied to another storage device like a computer. After creating a backup, the next best thing to do is to factory reset the phone to minimize bugs that may be causing the problem. Here’s how to do it:

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Apps icon.
  2. Find and tap the Settings icon.
  3. Under the ‘Personal’ section, find and tap Backup and reset.
  4. Tap Factory data reset.
  5. Touch Reset device to proceed with the reset.
  6. Depending on the security lock you used, enter the PIN or password.
  7. Tap Continue.
  8. Touch Delete all to confirm your action.

Once you’ve factory reset the phone, make sure that you also wipe the SD card clean by reformatting it. If this SD card has been around, we recommend that you don’t use it as your primary backup storage. Use another device where you can keep another copy of your irreplaceable files just in case this SD card will fail again. Keep in mind that any storage device can fail anytime. The older a storage device is, the higher its chance of failing so don’t be lax when it comes to creating backups.

To reformat an SD card in your S5, follow these steps:

  1. From the home screen, tap and drag the Notifications bar downwards.
  2. Tap the Settings icon.
  3. Scroll to, then tap Storage.
  4. If the memory card has not already been mounted, tap Mount SD card.
  5. Tap Format SD card.
  6. Tap Format SD card.
  7. Tap Erase everything to confirm

Problem #5: Galaxy S5 has flickering green/black screen, won’t turn on

My mom has a Galaxy S5 that suddenly had a flickering green/black screen. It won’t turn on and show the logo, go to hard reset or the reset menu, or go into safe mode. Battery was taken out and put back in after a minute, and the SD card was removed as well. Phone has been babied, not dropped, and kept clean and had a factory reset less than a year ago. It also isn’t connected to any phone service as it’s used as a Wifi device only. As far as she knows there’s been no updates and no new apps installed recently. It’s been behaving perfectly with no glitches. She was playing a game she plays every day and it just flickered this green/black screen, then went blank. LED light will go red or green when plugged in to charger or will go white when trying to get to the reset menu. I’m thinking it is just a display issue but it seems so sudden. If you have any advice I’d be eternally grateful! — Christina

Solution: Hi Christina. If the phone has been used for a few years now, it’s possible that the problem may be battery related. The Lithium-ion battery may have lost its ability to hold a charge so it’s good if you can try to use a new one. There’s no guarantee that a new battery will fix the issue but it’s the only thing that you can do at this point.

If you’ve already tried to power the phone back on to different alternate modes without positive result, there must be a hardware problem behind the trouble. In this case, you want to send the phone to Samsung or to an independent service center.

For reference, here are the steps on how to boot your phone to different modes:

Boot in Recovery mode:

  1. Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Press and then hold the Home and Volume UP keys, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the Samsung Galaxy S7 shows on the screen, release the Power key but continue holding the Home and Volume Up keys.
  4. When the Android logo shows, you may release both keys and leave the phone be for about 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. Using the Volume Down key, navigate through the options and highlight ‘wipe cache partition.’
  6. You can either wipe the cache partition or do a factory reset when in this mode.

Boot in Download Mode:

  1. Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Press and then hold the Home and Volume DOWN keys, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the Samsung Galaxy S7 shows on the screen, release the Power key but continue holding the Home and Volume DOWN keys.
  4. Wait until the Download screen appears.
  5. If you can boot the phone in download mode but not in other modes, that means that your only way out may be to flash a stock or custom firmware.
  6. Use Google to look for a guide on how to do it.

Boot in safe mode:

  1. Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Press and hold the Power button.
  3. Once the ‘Samsung Galaxy S7’ logo appears, release the Power key and immediately press and hold the Volume Down button.
  4. Continue holding the button until the phone finishes rebooting.
  5. Once you see the text “Safe mode” at the bottom left corner of the screen, release the Volume Down button.
  6. The only difference of safe mode from normal mode is that the former prevents third party apps from running. If you can boot the phone in safe mode but not in normal mode, uninstall all apps until the issue (that prevents you from booting normally) is eliminated.

Problem #6: Galaxy S5 wifi keeps dropping due to incorrect APN

Hi. Droid guy. I have the Samsung Galaxy S5 and my carrier is through Walmart Family Mobile. Well i pay them but somehow T-Mobile is in on this as well. I have century Link as my internet provider and i have a couple questions.

This phone is a refurbished from a mall kiosk a couple years ago and within a couple months i broke the charging port. So phone sat for a year and now it’s running. The wifi drops constantly. I have:

  • soft reset,
  • turned the smart option off
  • turned phone/wifi router off and on
  • Cleaned the cache through the soft reset.

Nothing seems to help. The APN wasn’t listed even after my carrier sent me a couple texts for data/mms and something else. So i added one from family mobile. Any suggestions?

I Googled this model and read this phone is from Canada. I’m not sure if that means anything but figured I’d throw it in. On the APN, there’s a virtual network operator type (reads GID) and value (reads 4D) tabs. They are not listed in family mobile APN but when i erased them the wifi dropped. I’ve tried everything and have read many of your articles and I’m hoping you can help or offer advice. I don’t have a warranty since it’s a Kiosk $300 special grrrrr lol. Thank you for the time you took for reading my email. — Kim

Solution: Hi Kim. We can’t see the logic of your phone’s wifi dropping when there’s no correct APN settings so there must be a separate unknown software glitch. APN settings are only applied to mobile data function so we can’t explain why your phone’s wifi behaves erratically when the APN is changed.

Try to install the latest Android update first to see if that will make the wifi function work normally. System updates can sometimes include updates for a phone modem firmware. This modem firmware is used by the networking chip to allow you use your phone wirelessly. If it’s outdated or buggy, it can potentially lead to wifi or mobile data function.

If there’s no available update for your phone at this time, do a factory reset and observe how the phone’s wifi work. Make sure that you don’t install any app or updates during the observation period. Refer to the steps above on how to factory reset your phone.

Problem #7: Galaxy S5 stopped working and won’t power back on

Hi. I own a Samsung Galaxy S5. I was using it normally, like I do everyday, and while I was writing to a friend on Facebook, suddenly the screen just blacked out and the phone stopped working. I tried the power button and the phone turned on showing me the logo of Samsung S5 and it showed: Android update 5 of 10, and then blacked out again. After that I haven’t been able to turn it on. I tried several times to take off the battery then put it back and turn it on, or take the battery out, hold the power button for longer than a minute (as you suggested), then put the battery back and turn it on… nothin. It just vibrates when I try to turn it on. I put on a charger because I thought that maybe the battery died, and it’s on the charger for already 30 mins, and still nothing, just vibrates. What am I suposed to do? :/ Please help, thanks. —  Ana

Solution: Hi Ana. Please refer to our suggestion for Christina above. Basically, what you need to do is to try to see if it’s a battery issue by using a different one. You also want to check if you can start the phone to alternate modes (recovery mode, safe mode, and Odin mode). If that won’t work either, send the phone so it can be repaired or replaced.


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Harvey Hisona

Harvey is keen with mobile technology and loves writing about all things mobile. He is passionate in helping technology-challenged people by finding resolution to their issues. Contact me at Email

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