How to fix Galaxy Note8 that keeps freezing when using Contacts or Phone apps [troubleshooting guide]

After a recent slew of updates for Samsung’s newest gadgets, the #GalaxyNote8 and the #GalaxyS9, a lot of users have been complaining that their devices started freezing or becoming unresponsive, especially during calls or when using Phone or Contacts apps. Today’s troubleshooting guide is our response to these issues and hopefully you’ll find it helpful.

Solution #1: Reboot your Note8

As common as it is, freezing issue on an otherwise new and working Note8 can be a sign of a complex issue with the software, hardware, or both. While it’s acceptable for any electronic device to freeze at rare moments, having it constantly can be a sign of situation that needs your attention. If your Note8 regularly freezes when trying to call or when using the dialer or Contacts app, there’s a chance that a software bug may be causing it. As some of these software bugs can only occur while the operating system session is on-going, restarting the device usually helps. In many cases, restarting a frozen device can fix the issue for good while in other situations, it can only be a remedy. To see if you can fix your freezing Note8 by doing a restart, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Power + Volume Down buttons for approximately 10 seconds or until the device power cycles. Note: Allow several seconds for the Maintenance Boot Mode screen to appear.
  2. From the Maintenance Boot Mode screen, select Normal Boot. You can use the volume buttons to cycle through the available options and the lower left button (below the volume buttons) to select. Also, allow up to 90 seconds for the reset to complete.

The steps above are meant to simulate the effects of physically removing the battery. Your Note8 is water resistant so it is sealed and removing the battery is borderline impossible. Samsung anticipates that their devices may freeze or may become unresponsive from time to time so they devise a way to simulate “battery pull.” Hopefully, this procedure will be enough to fix the issue. If its effects are temporary and the problem returns right back, do the rest our suggestions below.

Solution #2: Clear cache partition

Sometimes, performance and freezing issues are due to a corrupted system cache. This usually happens when the system cache gets updated after installing a system update or after an app installation. To check if you have a system cache issue, try clearing the cache partition with these steps:

  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 cache partition’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘yes’ is highlighted and press the Power button.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, “Reboot system now” is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.
  9. Check for the problem.

Solution #3: Delete app cache

Since freezing issue in this case appears to be triggered when trying to use 2 common Samsung apps, Phone and Contacts, there’s a chance that the problem may be related to them. To deal with each of them directly, you want to do two things — clear cache and data.

To clear the cache of problematic app:

  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 and tap it.
  6. Tap Storage.
  7. Tap CLEAR CACHE button.
  8. Restart your S9.
  9. Check if the problem still exists.

Solution #4: Delete app data

Should nothing change after clearing an app cache, your next troubleshooting step is to clear app data. Doing this troubleshooting step on Phone app will erase your call logs while the same on Contacts will clear your contacts. Make sure to back both apps up before you cleared their data.

Speaking of backups, we suggest that you take full use of free services being offered by Samsung. Under Settings > Cloud and accounts, you’ll find the option to back items using Samsung cloud service. If you don’t want to save your data in the cloud, you can opt to use Smart Switch instead. Smart Switch allows you to create an image of your phone’s software and save it in your computer. You’ll need to install Smart Switch on your computer in order for this to work.

Read: How to create backup from Samsung device to your computer via Smart Switch

Solution #5: Install system updates

Another often overlooked, yet sometimes effective, troubleshooting step is installing system updates. Some problems following an update are coding-related so there’s nothing much that a user can do to fix them. In these cases, it can take another update to fix an update issue. We don’t know what the real cause of your issue is so you should ensure that you install system updates as they come.

Solution #6: Make sure apps are up-to-date

Another good way to minimize chances of issues from developing is by making sure that all apps are updated. The reasoning for this is similar to the previous troubleshooting step. Some poorly coded apps may interfere with the operating system and one way of fixing app issues is by installing updates for them.

To check for updates for your apps:

  1. Open Google Play Store app.
  2. Tap the Settings icon at the upper left.
  3. Select My apps & games.
  4. Wait for the app to check for updates for all your apps.
  5. Tap UPDATE ALL button if it shows.

If you regularly install apps outside of Google Play Store, make sure that those apps are compatible with your phone’s software version. Otherwise, you may encounter problems with some of them eventually.

Solution #7: Run your Note8 to Safe mode to check for rogue apps

The threat of rogue apps is now an everyday reality for Android users. Although Google’s bad app detection system is in place, some malicious or poor apps can still go through from time to time. While majority of these apps are not “threats” in the real sense of the word to Android systems, a lot of them can still be problematic once installed in a device. If you don’t screen your apps well before installing them, there’s a chance that one of them may be the reason why your Note8 keeps freezing during calls, or when accessing Contacts app. To see if one of your apps is to blame, try to run your device to safe mode and see what happens.

To boot your device to safe mode:

  1. With your Note8 off press and hold the Power key past the model name screen.
  2. When “SAMSUNG” appears on the screen, release the Power key.
  3. Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  4. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  5. Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  6. Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.

If your Note8 turns on to safe mode but not on normal mode, that’s a clear sign that one of your apps is indeed problematic. To know which app is causing a problem, follow these steps:

  1. Boot to safe mode.
  2. Check for the problem.
  3. Once you’ve confirmed that a third party app is to blame, you can start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added.
  4. After you uninstall an app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
  5. If your Note8 still refuses to power back on, repeat steps 1-4.

Solution #8: Reset all settings

Resetting all of your Note8’s settings has a similar effect to factory reset but without the hassle of erasing all your personal data and some other things. Basically, like factory reset, your device’s software settings will be returned to their default setup so if there’s a software bug that refuses to go away after doing all the stuff we provide above, this might help.

To reset all settings on your Note8:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap General Management.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Tap Reset settings.
  5. Tap RESET SETTINGS button to confirm.

Solution #9: Reseat SIM card

There’s a chance that the problem may be related to an issue with your SIM card so another good thing to try is to remove the SIM card and re-insert it afterwards. Some users found this simple troubleshooting step effective in dealing with network bugs and messaing problems in the past so you don’t want to skip it. Just make sure to turn the phone off before removing the SIM card in order not to corrupt network settings.

Solution #10: Factory reset

Finally, if all else fails, you should consider wiping the phone clean and returning everything to their default state. In this state, your Note8 software is free from any network bugs like the one you’re experiencing. With no third party apps and services in the way, we know that this freezing issue is not supposed to happen. Factory reset should work in your case as long as the reason for the problem in the first place is due to a bug in the software only. By this we mean any glitch that may have developed outside of the core operating system code. If the issue is caused by something deep inside Android code itself, which means Google may have messed up some critical code lines when programming the device, there’s probably nothing that you can do about it. The most that you can do is hope that the issue is noticed by Samsung and Google soon enough so they can patch the current firmware build.  

Factory reset is also not an answer to any hardware limitation or glitch that may be the reason for the freezing issue you’re having. For instance, if your Note8 suffered an antenna issue after you dropped it by mistake, the hardware fault may cause incorrect signal readings or send inputs to the operating system all the time, causing massive slowdown to the system.

If factory reset will not fix anything afterwards, you should consider sending your Note8 to Samsung so they can figure out the problem.

To factory reset your Note8:

  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.

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