Galaxy S9 apps keep reinstalling themselves after they’ve been removed

Hello and welcome to today’s #GalaxyS9 troubleshooting article. This post addresses a weird situation reported by one of our readers wherein her uninstalled apps keep returning. On top of that, there are other issues with Bixby and app sound notifications. Instead of answering each of the mentioned issues, we want to address all of them instead so if you’re wondering how to do it, make sure to read all the way through.

Today’s problem: Galaxy S9 apps keep reinstalling themselves after they’ve been removed, Bixby not working, apps not using chosen notification sounds 

Apps reinstall themselves after I uninstall them. Bixby rarely wakes up my phone when I say hi Bixby, yet does wake and start talking often when I’m in class and no one has said anything close to the word bixby. Many apps don’t use the notification sound I’ve chosen but rather default. With every update, many apps revert to factory settings and I have to personalize again. For the price of this phone, the amount of issues with it is unbelievable. My galaxy s3 worked better than this. — Debbie

Solution: Hi Debbie. All the symptoms you mention here are definitely not normal so we agree that something is definitely wrong with the device. Now, your S9 has hardware and software components and based on our years of experience dealing with all types of Android issues, these symptoms are not due to bad hardware. Issues due to software bugs or apps are usually fixable at a user level so we have high hopes that you will be able to address them without asking for Samsung’s help. To fix these issues, you must do our suggestions below.

Fix #1: Cache partition wipe

Having a corrupted system cache can potentially lead to all sorts of problems so the first thing that you want to do is to ensure that you clear your S9’s cache partition. Doing so will tell the device to delete the current cache. Don’t worry, wiping the cache won’t mean you’re deleting your personal data too. This procedure only affects the system cache or temporary set of files that Android uses to load apps quickly.


To clear the 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 three keys.
  4. An ‘Installing system update’ message will show for 30 – 60 seconds before the Android system recovery menu options appear.
  5. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight wipe cache partition.
  6. Press Power key to select.
  7. Press the Volume down key to highlight yes, them and press the Power key to select.
  8. When the wipe cache partition is complete, Reboot system now is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.
  10. Check for the issue.

Fix #2: Restart to Safe mode and observe

Safe mode is a diagnostic tool that you can use to check if a third party app is causing a problem. You should run your S9 to safe mode if nothing comes out positive after wiping the cache partition. Before we give you the steps on how to restart to safe mode, let us give some basics how this can help you.

Safe mode is a unique runtime environment for Android devices (iOS devices can’t boot to safe mode) that only allows pre-installed apps to run. This means that any app you install that’s not part of the default software package will be blocked. If any of these apps is causing the problem, your S9 should run normally and not show all the symptoms you mention. In this regard safe mode is only effective in helping you know whether an issue is caused by a third party app or not. If all the symptoms are products of an unknown Android operating glitch, then safe mode will prove useless. Still, it’s highly recommended that you boot your device on this mode to see whether our suspicion is correct.

To boot your S9 to safe mode:

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key past the model name screen appearing on the 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. When Safe mode appears in the bottom left corner of the screen, release the Volume down key.
  7. Let your phone run on this mode for at least 24 hours uninterrupted.
  8. Check for the issues.

Fix #3: Uninstall apps

If your S9 works normally on safe mode but not on normal mode, that’s an obvious sign that one of your apps is causing this trouble. Because safe mode is not able to pinpoint what the troublesome app is, you’ll have to figure it out yourself. You can do that deleting apps one by one and checking for the issue after each uninstallation.

These are the specific steps that you can do:

  1. Uninstall a third party app.
  2. Restart the phone to go back to normal mode.
  3. Check for the issues.
  4. If the issues are still there, repeat steps 1-3.

Fix #4: Install updates

Some bugs are fixed by installing app and Android updates. By default, your S9 should automatically download and install app and Android updates for you. If you changed this default behavior, make sure that you check updates regularly to prevent your device from developing bugs.

Fix #5: Reset all settings

Another good way to fix your issues is by doing a factory reset, but not quite. This is done by resetting all settings on the device without actually deleting your personal data, security, language, and some customizations. The rest of the software configurations though will be returned to their defaults.

To reset all settings on your S9:

  1. Tap Settings app.
  2. Tap General management.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Tap Reset settings.
  5. Tap RESET SETTINGS button.

Fix #6: Perform a Factory reset

Finally, you should consider doing a full factory reset if the problems won’t go away at all. asAs the name suggests, factory reset will return all software settings of your device to their default state. It will also delete your personal data, returning the software environment to a state when it left the factory. This procedure is often the last resort for issues caused by software bugs. To fix the problem, here are the steps to factory reset your S9:

  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 data / factory reset’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  7. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  8. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.

IMPORTANT: Factory reset will erase your personal data — photos, videos, documents, etc. Make sure that you back them up before proceeding.

Be wary of malicious apps

There’s a chance that all the issues mentioned in this post are caused by a malicious app so after a factory reset, make sure to only install apps from reputable sources and publishers. If the issues return after a factory reset, you can assume that one of your apps is to blame. Apps, once removed from the system, don’t reinstall themselves unless you manually do so. If apps return after deleting them from the system, that’s a sign that your device is infected by a malware. If this happens again after doing a factory reset the first time, do another reset round and this time, be extra careful in screening what apps to install again. Some of the common apps that are usually loaded with viruses of malware are personalization apps (those that allow you to install wallpapers or change ringtones) and games.