Galaxy S9 won’t install update, stuck at 25% [troubleshooting guide]

Some #GalaxyS9 owners have contacted us lately about their device being unable to install system update. The update installation itself seems to proceed well initially but once it reaches the 25% completion mark, it stops and refuses to budge. In this troubleshooting episode, we provide you the ways to address this problem. We hope that everything will work out fine after doing our suggestions.

Problem #1: Galaxy S9 won’t install update, stuck at 25%

I have had my Galaxy Samsung S9 SAMG960U GS9 64G for less than a month and it’s frozen on the “installing system update mode at 25%.”  I’ve had several updates on this phone during the last month with no problems. There’s usually a notification that the system needs to update and I have always chosen update now.  Just like I did this morning. Updates usually have taken about 10 minutes or so, which they haven’t been a big deal. I noticed this morning that the blue screen with the android “installing system update 25% was showing for over 30 minutes.  Then I noticed it would reboot to the black Galaxy screen to come back to the blue screen installing system to start at zero and stop and 25%. I’ve tried to power off, power off using the volume buttons, etc. nothing does the trick. I called T-Mobile they said just let the battery run down and reboot once it’s plugged in.  This hasn’t worked either. I’ve had this phone less than thirty days. Please help! Regards. — Tammy Tward196508

Hello My name is Tea. I have launched the installation for the software update, however it gets stuck at 25% , it turns off, then back on, then starts the update and stops at 25% in loop for over 12 hours now. I tried to reboot the system (pressing the volume buttons and the home button at the same time), but it goes right back to the 25%. Are you able to assist?   — Tea

Solution: There’s been in an increasing number of Galaxy S9 owners who’ve reached out to us regarding this issue. We’ve also noticed that this problem has been shared to other Android forums so this must be an update bug unique to certain S9 batche/s or builds. As we are still trying to see a pattern and solutions, we want to treat this issue just like any normal update bug. So, to begin your troubleshooting you want to ensure that the first basic step is taken care of and that is to clear the system cache.

Clear the cache partition

App installations and updates can sometimes corrupt the cache being used by Android to load apps quickly. Once this type of cache becomes outdated, bugs may potentially develop, manifesting in all sorts of issues. To see if the problem is cache-related, you have to clear the system cache. Here’s how to do that:

  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.

Wiping the cache partition won’t delete any of your personal data so you can do it without worrying for your files. However, we highly recommend that you create a backup of your files before attempting this procedure. If creating a backup is out of the question as your phone won’t turn back on normally, then go ahead and proceed.

Should wiping the cache partition won’t help in this situation though, proceed to the next potential solution.

Boot to safe mode

Sometimes, nothing happens after going to recovery mode and clearing the cache. In your particular situation, you want to check if you can restart the device to safe mode instead. If your S9 will boot to safe mode properly and won’t get stuck in boot loop, there’s a chance that you’ll be able to fix the problem on your own.

To restart 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. While in Safe mode, you can now uninstall apps that are causing a problem.

Remember, safe mode is not a solution. If your S9 loads normally when on safe mode only, that means one of your apps may be causing the problem. Since you’ll be able to create a backup of your files in this mode, be sure to do so. After doing that, go ahead and factory reset the device by following the steps below.

Factory reset

If your S9 won’t be able to boot to safe mode at all, or if nothing happens after wiping the cache partition, you should consider doing the drastic solution option of wiping it clean. To do that, you must either go under Settings and reset from there, or boot to Recovery Mode and perform a master reset. Either of them will have the same effect. The only difference is the fact that if you can go under Settings, that means you should still be able to create a backup of your data. If the device refuses to go under Settings at all because it keeps on rebooting, then you should attempt a master reset. As mentioned, going the master reset route will not give you the opportunity to save your files anymore. If you have important unsaved files in the storage device, you’re out of luck.

To factory reset your S9 via Settings:

  1. From the Home screen, swipe up on an empty spot to open the Apps tray.
  2. Tap Settings > Cloud and accounts > Backup and restore.
  3. Tap the following sliders to desired setting: Back up my data, Automatic restore.
  4. Tap the Back key (bottom right) until you reach the main Settings menu.
  5. Tap General Management > Reset > Factory data reset.
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the screen, then tap RESET > DELETE ALL.
  7. If you have screen lock turned on, enter your credentials.
  8. If prompted to verify your Samsung account, enter the password, then tap CONFIRM.
  9. Wait for the device to finish the reset sequence.

To factory reset your S9 via Recovery Mode:

  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.

Other potential solutions

Update issues are sometimes fixed by forcing an update by flashing a firmware. This is often done by experienced Android users and not by dummies. If you haven’t heard of the term “flashing” before, then most probably you’re new to Android or does not have to skill to do it. In that situation, we recommend that you seek help from Samsung or your carrier and see if the can replace the device for you.

For those with enough flashing experience, consider booting to Odin Mode first and see if the device stabilizes (won’t reboot on its own). If that’s the case, then you should try to flash the bootloader to its stock state first. If that won’t fix the problem, go ahead and flash a more stable firmware build, preferably the version that was working before the update issue began.

Problem #2: Galaxy S9 safe mode, camera won’t work

Hello! I followed a few steps:  Cleared data and cache for storage and camera, uninstalled some apps, but wasn’t really sure why I was uninstalling apps during the safe mode?  It looked grey and I uninstalled it, basically. Not all, but some. I also did reset settings, and that didn’t work. I was going to take the battery out, but I don’t even see how that’s possible.  I don’t have any tools for that. I just updated my phone and still the camera is not working, giving me the error sign. — Cynthia

Solution: Hi Cynthia. Safe mode is a tool that can help you check if a third party app is causing a problem on your device. For example, if your S9’s camera won’t load or work properly, it’s good if you can restart your device to safe mode. If the camera app works fine when your S9 is on safe mode, then that means that your suspicion is right — that a third party app is the one that causes the camera app to malfunction.

The thing is, safe mode won’t pinpoint which of your apps is the cause. You’ll need to invest more time and effort in identifying which of them is bad. That’s why you have to do a trial-and-error — by uninstalling apps until the source of the problem is removed from the system. So, basically, what you want to do is summarized as follows:

  1. Boot the device to safe mode.
  2. Check for the problem.
  3. If the issue won’t occur in safe mode, go ahead and uninstall the first third party app you suspect is the cause.
  4. Restart to normal mode and check for the problem.
  5. If the issue returns in normal mode, repeat steps 1-4.

As you can see, this is not a precise way to identify the problematic app. Unfortunately, there’s no easier alternative than this. If you have plenty of third party apps, or those that you install after setting up your device the first time, it may take you a long time to find the cause.

If you have an S9, simply ignore the step telling you to take the battery out. Obviously, removing the battery of your device is borderline difficult so you don’t have to do that at all.

If you’ve already tried to factory reset your S9 before but the problem still persists (even when there are no third party apps installed after a reset), then that means your S9 has a hardware malfunction. Whatever the problem is, we suggest that you contact Samsung for more help.


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