Galaxy S9 app layout changed after an update, not receiving text messages

Android updates can sometimes lead to weird issues. Today’s #GalaxyS9 post covers some of these issues that coincidentally occurred after installing an update. We hope that all those who encountered update problems will find this post helpful. Just remember, Android issues generally follow almost identical set of troubleshooting so our suggestions here can also be applied to seemingly unrelated problems.

Problem #1: Galaxy S9 not receiving SMS in a timely manner after installing an update

Hi. The Google Messages app on my Samsung Galaxy S9 has been problematic since March 29, 2018 (when I think there was an update?). I am receiving messages inconsistently and others are receiving my messages inconsistently. I spoke with tech support at T-Mobile and they said 70+  app crashes are evident since March 29. They also said my APN / service settings are all correct. I of course powered off / rebooted. Then deleted half of my strands. Cleared my cache. I would like to keep using this app. I like it. Have never had trouble before…any suggestions? Thanks! — Gia

Solution: Hi Gia. If clearing the cache partition did not result to any positive result at all, the first  thing that you should try next is to force restart the messaging app. Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap More settings at the upper right hand side (three-dot icon).
  4. Tap Show system apps.
  5. Find and tap  the messaging app you’re having an issue with.
  6. Tap FORCE STOP button.
  7. Check for the problem.

Should force stopping the app won’t work, the next troubleshooting step for you is to clear its cache and data. In a lot of cases, any of these options should be enough to fix the problem.  To start clearing the messaging app’s cache, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap More settings (three-dot icon) at the upper-right.
  4. Tap Show system apps.
  5. Find the app you’re having an issue with and tap it.
  6. Tap Storage.
  7. Tap Clear Cache button.
  8. Restart your S8.
  9. Check if the problem still exists.

Should the issue remain after clearing the cache, repeat steps 1-7 and hit Clear Data button.

Remember, clearing the data of your messaging app will return the app to its default. If you don’t want to lose your messages, make sure to back them up before clearing the app’s data.

Problem #2: Galaxy S9 app layout changed after an update, not receiving text messages

About a week ago my phone did a software update (on its own) and I noticed that once it rebooted that the look on some of the apps were different. Mainly, my text message, keyboards, layout etc were different. Since this happened I have not been getting all of my text messages. I can send them out but I do not receive texts. If I do, there seems to be about an hour or 2 delay on when they hit my phone, even though the time stamp shows they responded instantly from my message. I will also get phone calls asking why I never responded and it is because I never got a text. I also can not text in a group text. When I send messages in a group text it goes to everyone individually and not to the group. I have tried restarting my phone, I have tried removing the sim card and putting it back. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  — Phillip Clinard

Solution: Hi Phillip. Android evolves so new updates may bring layout and other cosmetic changes. If you happen not to like the current layout of the latest Android version, that’s too bad. There’s simply nothing that we can do to help you in that regard.

Your SMS issue is similar to Gia’s above though. In line with this, you want to make sure that you cover all possible factors that might affect your messaging service. Thus, there’s a number of troubleshooting steps that you must do, including the ones mentioned above. An issue like this can be caused by any of the following factors:

  • corrupted system cache
  • messaging app bug
  • software bug
  • poorly-coded third party app
  • network bug

To cover all these possible causes, below are the solution options that you can try.

Fix #1: Clear the cache partition

Wiping your phone’s cache partition aims at making sure that your device uses a good system cache. This type of cache is necessary in order to let Android operate efficiently in some aspects. But, if if this cache gets corrupted, say, after an update or after installing an app, you should consider wiping the cache partition. Doing so will force your device to delete the system cache and replace it with a new one.

To clear your phone’s system cache:

  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 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 to highlight “wipe cache partition.”
  5. Press the Power key to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key to highlight “yes” and press the Power key to select.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, “Reboot system now” is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Fix #2: Force restart the messaging app (refer to the steps above)

Fix #3: Clear messaging app’s cache and data (refer to the steps above)

Fix #4: Install app updates

Installing updates for the rest of your apps is just as important as installing updates for Android. Keep in mind that some apps may become incompatible come new Android version. Ideally, your S9 should automatically download and install app updates for you but if you change this default Play Store behavior, make sure that you manually check for app updates from time to time. If you are fond of installing apps outside of Play Store, make sure that all of those apps are updated and compatible with the Android version on your S9.

Fix #5: Reset app preferences

Some apps need other apps or services in order to work properly so, if a critical system app or service was disabled or turned off by mistake, problems may arise. To ensure that this does not happen in this case, you want to reset all app preferences.  This solution option will have the following effects:

  • re-enables previously disabled apps and services
  • resets default apps for actions
  • turns off background data restrictions for apps
  • return app permissions to their defaults
  • unblock app notifications

To reset app preferences on your S9:

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

Problem #3: Galaxy S9 apps become blurred and unusable

Some of my third party apps appear so blurred (resolution issue) that I am unable to use them. I have tried the fix of starting the phone in safe mode, leaving it that way for a couple of hours and then restating it in normal mode. This fixes the problem for a few hours, then it returns. I can also power cycle the phone and it again fixes the problem for only a couple of hours. This problem just started a couple of weeks ago and only affects my third party apps, and not even all of them. I can do without the two games affected although I am in Vietnam and I use Gbookmark extensively to get around. It also has affected my Zalo, which I use daily. Both of these apps work fine on my computer. I have not downloaded anything new that would have caused the problem. I have also uninstalled and reinstalled the apps. Again, they work for a short time (a matter of hours) before the issue appears again. — Expatriaterick

Solution: Hi Expatriaterick. We don’t have an extensive history of your device so we can’t really tell where the issue may be coming from. The best thing that you can do right now is to check what happens when you factory reset your device. Doing so will return all software settings on your S9 to their defaults. This will eliminate any app or software bug that may be causing the problem. If the problem won’t go away even after a factory reset though, that can be a sign that you have a bad hardware. In this case, you need to contact Samsung for repair or replacement.

Based on your description of the problem though, this may just be a software bug so factory reset should address it. Before you factory reset your S9, make sure back your personal data up to avoid losing them.

To factory reset your S9:

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

In order to know if there’s a difference, be sure to let your S9 run in factory state for at least 24 hours. During this time, do not install any app or app any file.