Galaxy S8 Plus redirecting to Play Store when playing a game, system apps keep crashing

One of the most frustrating issues that can happen on a device is when it keeps redirecting you to another site or to the Play Store. While this issue is no longer new, not every Android user has experienced it yet. In today’s post, we want to help two sample cases wherein a #GalaxyS8Plus device keeps getting redirected to the Play Store and its system apps keep shutting down. If you’ve encountered any of these situations, we hope that you’ll find this post helpful.

Problem #1: Galaxy S8 Plus keeps redirecting to Play Store when playing a game

When I am playing games on my phone it keeps taking me to my Google Play Store app. I have tried uninstalling all recent app downloads. I’ve cleared cache and data on Google play. I’ve downloaded every adware and virus app going to try and find something but it doesn’t find anything. It’s driving me mad now. Really don’t want to resort to a factory reset. I’ve also tried checking that there is no unusual device administrators.  — Alicia Theakston

Solution: Hi Alicia. If an app or a game keeps redirecting you another app, web page/site, or to a particular product or products in Google Play Store, that means that your device has been infected with an adware or a malicious app. There’s a constant cat-and-mouse game between antivirus makers and malicious parties so if antivirus scans you’re doing right now are ineffective, you probably have a new malware that can operate undetected by current crop of antivirus. If you want to know if you can fix the issue without resorting to factory reset right away, we recommend that you try to run your S8 Plus to safe mode first.

Safe mode is a different runtime environment that’s independent of Android and its use is mainly for diagnosing issues like the one you’re having. Since the most likely cause of the problem is a third party app or service, we expect that booting your device to safe mode will help.

How to boot your S8 Plus to safe mode

Running your device to safe mode is easy. It only requires that you do a combination of hardware buttons. Here’s how it’s done:

  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.

Uninstall app/s that may be causing the problem

Once you’ve booted your S8 Plus to safe mode, the next thing that you want to do is identify what app is behind the trouble. The thing is, this task is not as straightforward as it sounds. And if you have installed plenty of apps, this will most probably take a huge chunk of your time.

The trick in dealing with a situation like this is to go back and remember when you first noticed the event (the redirections to Play Store). If the redirections only occured right after installing a game or app, then start uninstalling that app and see what happens. Make sure to return your S8 to normal mode after deleting an app so you’ll know if the problem is still there. Should you still get redirected to the Play Store, boot back to safe mode again and until the next app you suspected of being the cause.

Another tip that you can try is to remove apps you don’t remember installing. Some bad apps may disguise themselves as good ones initially but after some time, they’ll actually install updates that allows it to compromise a device’s defences. Once that occurs, the developer of that malicious app may be able to install apps and services without your knowledge. So, if you can’t recall any particular app that you installed before the problem started, try to run over the list of apps you have, then uninstall one that should not be there in the first place.

Factory Reset

If the safe mode route is also ineffective, or if you think it will take you a long time to identify the app, you should go for factory reset instead. Not only will it remove any app or service that don’t belong but it’s also a more efficient method in tackling this issue. While it certainly is a hassle backing your files up, doing so is not really that time-consuming, especially if you use Smart Switch.

For reference, here are the steps on how to factory reset your s8 Plus:

  1. Back up data on the internal memory. If you have signed into a Google account on the device, you have activated Anti-theft and will need your Google credentials to finish the Master reset.
  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 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.

Be extra selective on what apps you install

There’s no number of antivirus apps or security protection that can protect your device from getting infected if you yourself is careless with what apps you install. Device security is not just the job of Samsung, Google, or security software vendors. It should start with you. Make sure that you only install apps from reputable developers or publishers. If you don’t do that, then you’ll most likely end up with the same situation after you factory reset your S8. That said, be sure not to re-install the same set of apps after resetting your device. One of them is most probably the source of the infection so adding them back again later will expose your device to the same risk.

Keep in mind that while most malicious apps today are meant to make money out of churning ads or redirecting a user to a Play Store app in hope that he or she will install the app being promoted, some may also be stealing personal information like your name, age, credit card numbers, PINs, bank information, and more.

Problem #2: Galaxy S8 Google and system apps keep crashing

I have a Samsung Galaxy S8 which I have bought from a friend. The only reason my friend sold it is because of the problem with Google apps and other system apps keep shutting down with the occasional total shutdown. It has been taken back and sent to Samsung authorised technical company 3 times. They keep saying they can find nothing wrong. They do a factory reset and send it back. Within a couple of days it is doing the same thing again. After a while it starts acting up again. I saw a “suggested solution” for reseting App preferences. I did that and thought we had cracked it. After 2 days it started again. — Pat Metcalfe

Solution: Hi Pat. If the problem appears to disappear after a factory reset but return days later, you’re probably looking at a possible bad third party application as the cause. To check, we suggest that you run your S8 to Safe Mode, just like what we tell Alicia above and observe how to it works for 24 hours. Be sure not to reboot your device back to normal mode throughout the observation process. Also, make sure to follow our suggestions above in order to prevent this same situation from happening again.

Keep in mind that not all apps are built with the same intent, skill, expertise, and resources. Most may be downloaded for free but their publishers don’t really intend it to be that way. Many will most likely resort to less than ideal methods to monetize their products like collecting information about their users and selling them to other interested parties, just like what’s happening with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal at this time. The moment you install an app on your device, the information you allowed them to access are fair game.

On top of the potential of giving away your personal information, installing bad apps may also cause problems with the system, just like what’s happening with your device right now. While it may be hard for some to be constantly mindful of what apps to add, it’s really the only effective way to prevent issues from occurring.