How to fix Galaxy S8 that’s unresponsive and screen is black all the time

The #GalaxyS8 is one of the top flagship Android phones at this time. And while it is an amazing device in its own right, it’s still prone to some of the common problems that affects many smartphones. Today’s troubleshooting guide will cover the steps on how to deal with a Galaxy S8 that has become unresponsive and with a screen that no longer works. Black screen issues are usually signs of bad hardware but in this episode, we’ll try to explore the possibilities of having a black screen issue having a software problem. We hope that our solutions will help those who encounter this problem.

Problem #1: How to fix Galaxy S8 that’s unresponsive and screen showing black all the time

So, I was using my phone this past Saturday, like normal, then suddenly my screen went black. Like totally black. I could feel vibration as I touched it and I could hear buttons being pressed but I could see nothing. I’ve tried the force restart but nothing is working and I can’t get into anything. Now, after lots of restarting and trying stuff, I see a green LED light and the phone’s normal sounds are different. It all sounds weird anytime I press buttons. I’m trying desperately to do a file transfer either from my old phone to my new phone or from my old phone to my computer.  Help please. — Christina Q

Solution: Hi Christina. First off, it’s not possible to move files to and from your phone if its touchscreen and/or operating system are not working (won’t boot up). These two are the basic requirements in order to allow a second device like a computer to communicate with your device. The the operating system (Android) must work normally so that a computer like a Mac or Windows can talk to it, and hence, transfer files. Of course, you also need to allow Android to bypass its built-in security feature that automatically blocks external intrusion by tapping on an option let your computer read contents. Without these two working, you can’t hope to get your data at all.

So, needless to say, unless your S8’s screen is fixed, there’s no way to know if file transfer is even possible in the first place. At this juncture, we can’t say if Android is working or boot up fine. Maybe it had hit a snag preventing it from booting up. Maybe the system has become unresponsive, causing the screen to stay black at this time. Since we don’t know the history of your device or the things that happened to it that might cause this problem, we can’t say for sure what’s going on.

Based on our own experience of fixing similar issues for years, a Samsung Galaxy screen does not just die on its own. A standard Galaxy screen can last several years as long as taken care of properly. If yours has become black all of a sudden (no accidental drops, no exposure to water, heat, or direct sunlight, no physical impact), the most likely cause must be software in nature. However, if the phone was physically damaged before this incident, stop wasting your time looking for a software solution. Instead, you want to let a professional check the hardware to see if there’s anything that they can do about it.

If you think the cause of the black screen problem is software, try our suggestions below.

Force restart

This should be the first thing that you need to do. Black screen is usually the most noticeable symptom that a system has stopped responding. To force reboot your device, you need to do the following 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.

Turn off the device

If force rebooting your S8 won’t resolve the issue, that’s probably Android is stuck in an error it can’t get out of. Depending on the remaining battery level, let the phone rest for a few hours until the battery is empty. If the device was recently charged, it may take up to several days until the phone dies down on its own. Make sure that you allow your phone to shut off so you’ll know if it can recover afterwards.

Charge the phone using another known working S8 charger and adapter

Once the phone has been positively identified as totally off (no LED, no vibration, no sounds), let it charge for up to an hour using another set of charging accessories. The goal is to see how the phone behaves when charged using another cable and charger. Sometimes, a bad cable or adapter can cause charging problems so it’s good if you can eliminate this possibility early on.

Charge using a computer

Another good way to do here is to charge your device via a computer. The difference in power output from a computer’s USB port may correct the error the phone is dealing with at this time. Make sure that you let the phone die on its own first before you do this troubleshooting step.

Restart to Safe Mode

While it’s possible that a third party app may be behind the trouble, the primary reason why you want to boot your S8 to safe mode is to know if you have an Android operating system issue or not. Safe mode, while it does look similar to regular mode, is actually a totally separate software environment. This means that if your S8 goes to Safe Mode but not to regular mode, there’s either an app issue causing the problem, or that there’s a software bug that prevents the screen from turning on.

To boot your device to safe mode:

  1. With your S9 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.

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 S9 still refuses to power back on, repeat steps 1-4.

Boot the phone to Recovery Mode

Recovery Mode is a separate software environment that your Samsung device can boot up to to clear the cache partition, do master reset, restart, etc. If your device is still unresponsive at this time, make sure that you try booting to this mode so you can do some important troubleshooting steps.

IMPORTANT: In order to boot your S8 to this mode, it must be turned off first. So, again, make sure that the device is totally powered down before attempting the hardware button combinations below:

  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).

Should your S8 boots to Recovery Mode successfully, try to restart the device in the menu. Use the Volume buttons to navigate and the Power button to select.

If the phone won’t restart, go back to Recovery Mode and this time, do the cache partition wipe. If that won’t resolve the issue either, try factory reset, also known as master reset. This should also be an option that you can do under Recovery Mode.

Get professional help

If the problem is still there after booting to Recovery Mode, or if the device won’t even boot to Recovery at all, you’re out of luck. In this situation, your phone’s hardware must be damaged (screen or motherboard) so you need to let a technician check the phone physically. There’s no better way to do that than send the phone in to Samsung. If your S8 is still under 1-year warranty coverage, repair of this type may not cost you anything, unless there’s a need to replace the screen or some parts. To know the exact repair fee, be sure to talk to Samsung about it.

As much as possible try to avoid letting a non-Samsung technician open the phone and do the repair. If something goes wrong with that repair and you decide to let Samsung handle the rest, you will be unable to do so, even if you intend to pay for it. Your S8 will already be considered tampered with and Samsung will not even touch it. Unless you want to risk having an expensive paperweight, we suggest you let a Samsung technician take a look.

Problem #2: Galaxy S8 Active battery loses power very quickly, won’t turn on unless it’s plugged in

I’m new to the Android world. I just purchased a used Galaxy S8 Active. All seems good except that it turns off when the battery goes from 95-94% to 68% in a heartbeat and then won’t turn on unless plugged in. I’ve done the system reset as I read here as well as emptying the cache neither of which helped. Am I looking at a battery replacement? — David

Solution: Hi David. We’re most probably looking at a bad battery scenario here. Before you decide to have the battery replaced, we suggest that you try two things — battery and Android calibration and factory reset. These two should clear the software and help you determine if our suspicion is true. A newly factory reset device should not have a battery issue like the one you’re experiencing right now. If the same behavior remains after calibration and factory reset though, you can bet your S8’s battery is a mess.

To perform Android and battery calibration:

    1. Drain the battery completely. This means using your device until it powers down by its own and the battery level reads 0%.
    2. Charge the phone until it reaches 100%. Be sure to use original charging equipment for your device and let it charge up completely. Do not unplug your device for at least two more hours and also don’t use it while charging.
    3. After the elapsed time, unplug your device.
    4. Restart your Galaxy S8.
    5. Use your phone until it completely runs out of power again.
    6. Repeat steps 1-5.

To factory reset your S8:

  1. Make a backup of your personal data.
  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 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).
  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.

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