Samsung Galaxy S5 Tutorials, How Tos and Tips Part 4

Welcome to the fourth part of our S5 tutorials, tips, and tricks series.


Below are the topics that we cover in this post:


Easy steps to unbrick your Samsung Galaxy S5

Sometimes, the usual troubleshooting steps to resolve S5 woes can become totally useless either because the phone stops responding entirely or hard bricked, or the device may have entered into an endless boot animation loop, or soft bricked.

A hard bricked phone is easy to spot because the device does not respond to whatever button or combination of buttons a user will press. The screen remains black and there’s no indication that the phone is responding to whatever inputs.

A soft bricked device, on the other hand, still displays the boot animation screen and the screen usually turns on if a user presses a specific set of key combinations.

Getting any of these conditions on your S5 is definitely not good but there’s no need to worry as you can easily turn your experience around by simply following the steps below.

Before you proceed with the process of unbricking your S5, you must have the following:

  • A computer
  • Complete set of USB drivers installed in your computer. If you have no idea how to get the drivers, simply follow this link to get them..
  • USB debugging option enabled. Go to Menu > Settings > Applications> Developer Options and enable USB Debugging. If you can’t enable it because the phone has been bricked, you can skip this requirement.
  • Near-full battery charge.
  • An account on Sammobile so you can download the right firmware. Visit the site of Sammobile and search your phone’s Galaxy S5 model number. You can check the exact model number by going to  Settings > More > About Device > Build Number. Once you find the correct firmware of your phone, download the file to your computer, extract it, and look for a .tar.md5 file.
  • Odin 3.09. Download the Odin installer here. Make sure to extract and save the file on your computer.

How to unbrick your S5

The process below will bring your phone back to its stock state. This method is especially useful is your device has stopped responding and performing a factory reset has not helped at all.

  1. Turn your Samsung Galaxy S5 off, remove battery and re-insert after 30 seconds.
  2. Boot Galaxy S5 in Download Mode. You can do the following steps to boot to download mode:
    • Turn off the device.
    • With the device turned off, press Volume Down, Home and Power Buttons simultaneously.
    • Once you see the warning message, release all buttons.
    • Press Volume Up to enter download mode.
  3. Launch Odin on your computer and connect your Galaxy S5 to PC using a USB cable.
  4. Once successfully connected, click on the AP button on Odin.
  5. Locate the .tar.md5 stock Android firmware file extracted earlier.
  6. Don’t touch any other settings except the one that ensures that Re-partitioning is disabled.
  7. Click on the START button to initiate the process.
  8. After the flashing process is finished successfully, it will reboot and you will be able to set it up with your Gmail account.

Congratulations! Your phone should now be up and running. However, if the phone remains unresponsive after doing the steps above, you may want to have it checked by technician as there is a big chance that your device may have encountered a hardware failure.


S5 service mode codes, their function, and how to access them

Samsung has designed the service mode to be hidden because it is not normally useful for end users. The service mode is intended to be used by developers and for technicians doing more advanced troubleshooting. Despite this, we believe that sharing this feature to our readers is not only educational in nature but also a way for us to empower them to do some troubleshooting steps on their own. However, we strongly caution anyone not deeply familiar with Android environment to stay away from trying anything that they’re not sure of once they gain access to service mode.

A user can easily access service mode by typing a specific set of code on the phone’s dialer app. Below are codes that we know of that should work on an S5. Make sure to not introduce a space between characters when keying them in.

  • Code *#0*#. This code allows you to perform tests on your Samsung Galaxy S5 like RGB testing, touchscreen sensitivity, TSP Hovering, LED, and Sensor. If you want to check if there are dead pixels on your screen, this code is very useful.
  • Code *#34971539#. If you think your camera is acting up lately, typing this code in your phone’s dialer will allow you to check if the problem is being caused by an outdated firmware.
  • Code *#1234#. This is the easiest way to check your phone’s software and hardware version without going to Settings menu.
  • Code *#9900#. If you’ve heard of Android System Dump before, this is the code to open it. This option is sensitive and may cause your phone to crash if not handled correctly. Never change anything under this option if you doubt even a bit.
  • Code *#0808#. This is an alternate way to change the phone’s USB connectivity settings. Here you can change your USB hook up from MTP to PTP and vice versa.
  • Code *#0228#. This code gives you a more detailed information on the status of your battery like the remaining capacity and voltage.
  • Code *#9090#. You must not use this code if you are not familiar with the effects if you try to enter the phone’s service mode.
  • Code *#06#. There is no faster way to get your phone’s IMEI serial number than typing this code.
  • Code  *#7353#. This pull up another set of tests to check the functionality of your camera and other sensors.

We cannot emphasize enough our caution in performing the codes on your phone. Each and every code must be used with care. Keep in mind to look for more reference and guides about these codes if you think this post does not equip you enough to handle problems that may arise by performing them.


How to fix S5 S Health pedometer problem

Samsung has done a good job in adding the S Health to their flagship mobiles like the S5. Not only does it count your heart rate but it can even tell you what the current stress levels you are in! However, just like any other app, this one is not perfect and one of the known issues many S Health users have encountered is the app’s failure to register a step through its pedometer. The app’s sensor detects vibrations when one is walking and will accordingly register them as steps, giving you an accurate count of how many steps you have made so far in your exercise.

If you are one of the S Health users who have encountered an issue with how the app detects your steps, you can follow the steps below to fix the problem:

  • Go to Settings
  • Open Application Manager
  • Search S Health app under All tab
  • Tap on S Health app
  • Tap Force Stop and Uninstall Updates options. This step will ensure that you reset the app’s state to factory defaults without deleting important data it has collected about you.
  • Go back to the phone’s main menu and open S Health app normally

S Health’s pedometer should work normally now.


How to fix S5 Gallery app crashing issue

If you have been using any Android smartphone these past few years, chances are you have already encountered the problem wherein your Gallery app crashes on you for no apparent reason. Many users notice that an error message “The application has stopped unexpectedly” usually pops up when opening the app and before it crashes.

While the problem is not unique to an S5, there is an easy and quick fix for this problem.

  • Go to Settings
  • Open Application Manager
  • Search Gallery app under All tab
  • Tap on Gallery app
  • Select Force Stop, Clear Cache, and Clear Data options. Make sure to press the buttons in this order.
  • Restart the phone and open Gallery app as normal

Your Gallery app should now open in its original factory state, clearing away corrupted files that may have caused it to fail before.


How to fix S5 macro focus problem

The Galaxy S5’s camera is packed with lots of features including a feature that allows a user to take a focused shot of a subject at very close range.  Called macro shot, this feature is very useful if you like taking intimate pictures of insects, flowers, and any subject that interest you when shot very closely. Macro shots are useful among photography hobbyists who want to catch personal, close up images. However, this feature is not turned on by default so you want to enable it first before you can enjoy using it. It may also be that your S5 no longer focus properly making it hard for you to capture close up moments.  While most users would associate the problem to a faulty camera, the real cause is actually a simple misconfiguration.

To check if this is the case, open your S5’s camera app, then tap the gear icon at the top to access the settings menu. Look for Selective Focus and disable it. This option is the one responsible for the problem by not allowing the camera to focus sharply when taking a close up shot. And you’re done!


Disable S5 automatic updates for apps

How long have you been using your Galaxy S5? If you’re new to Android environment, smartphones, and S5 in particular, you may have noticed that there’s always that time when you feel overwhelmed by heaps of notifications telling you to update your apps. Although it’s inherently a security design, these notifications can sometimes annoy even the most security conscious folks around. In Samsung S5, there are a lot of features and apps that will vie for your attention.

If you don’t want to be bothered by notifications to update something once every few days, reading this post and doing our suggestion can absolutely put an end to your pain. There is nothing new in this trick and if you have been using Android for some time now, you may already figured this out. However, this  post is intended for those who are not very familiar with S5 and Android environment so they can better manage their phone effectively. Basically, we take advantage of an option under Google Play Store that allows users to either enable or disable automatic app updates. This is a setting not provided by Samsung, but rather a built-in one in Google Play Store app.

Just follow the instructions below and you’ll be on your way to a hassle-free S5 use.

  1. Open Google Play Store app
  2. Tap 3-dot menu icon at the top left
  3. Go to Settings
  4. Tap Auto-update apps
  5. Select the option that you like.

We suggest that you pick the one that allows the phone to update only the apps that you normally use all the time. Of course, you can also stop the updates altogether for all of them.

Another option will allow you to auto-update apps when you on a particular type of connection. If you are on sensitive data plan, we recommend that you set Google Play Store to update only when you are connected to Wi-Fi. This is useful, even if you have no Wi-Fi at home, when you are on the move but can connect to, say, Starbuck’s Wi-Fi. Most Wi-Fi connections offer faster connection so updating your apps this way is more practical than consuming your data plan.


How to enable Finger Scanner on Galaxy S5

If you are new to Samsung Galaxy S5, odds are you have not heard of its amazing security feature called the Fingerprint Scanner. The S5’s fingerprint scanner allows users to unlock their device using their registered fingerprint, works as an alternate way to entering passwords, and opens apps that recognizes this technology. For example, if you want to access your PayPal account on your phone, you can use your own fingerprint to open the app instead of entering your username and password as well as authorize payment. So how do we enable the phone’s fingerprint scanner?

First, we want to make sure that we are setting up the scanner as an added safety feature. Just go to Settings > Personalization > Finger Scanner and enable this feature. Doing this gives you the option to open your phone’s menu by simply swiping the home button. This also enables the fingerprint scanner of apps that may require it, allowing you to open them using your fingerprint.

If you are used to opening your mobile with a pattern on the screen, or are concerned that somebody may be looking at the said pattern while doing it, you can also use the finger scanner as an unlock method. Simply switch on Private Mode, select Unlock Method, and enable Fingerprint. This will now allow you to long press any file or picture and move it to private. This means that if Private Mode is on, files under its protection will be visible to you but will not be accessible if it is otherwise.


Hiding sensitive files in an S5

There can a variety of reasons why you may want to hide your files from prying eyes and thankfully, Samsung is sympathetic by providing a way just for this purpose.

Simply follow the steps below on how to keep your files invisible from unauthorized users.

  1. Enable Private Mode. Private Mode is a great way to keep personal files safe. Once turned on, Private Mode accepts all types of files to be hidden in a private folder. Moving a file to the private folder is as easy as holding it down and selecting the option “Move to Private”. If you want to do the opposite, simply access your private folder and do vice versa. To access Private Mode, a user must use a special passcode, usually via a fingerprint scanner. We recommend that users utilize the fingerprint scanner in activating Private Mode to ensure additional security. To turn on Private Mode, you have two options to choose from–via Quick Settings bar by pulling down the notification bar, or through the Settings menu. Either way, once you reach Setttings, simply scroll down to Personalization and tap Private Mode.
  2. Unlock method. After you enable Private Mode, your device will ask to pick a security barrier to prove your identity. We suggest that you use the fingerprint scanner for this purpose in case you will forget the pin or pattern. Alternatively, you also want to set up an alternate password in the event that the swiping fails.
  3. Move your files. Any files can be hidden under Private Mode’s protection so if, say, you want to put a video under lock and key, simply open the Gallery app, press the Menu button, and select the file. After tapping the file, tap the Menu button one more time, then select Move to Private. If done for the first time, you’ll notice that a new Gallery folder named Private will appear containing your selected file. You’ll know that this file is in private mode because a door icon with a key appears on top of it.
  4. Viewing files under Private Mode protection. If you want to see a full list of files marked as private, just turn on Private Mode, open My Files folder in the app tray, and go over the list until you see the icon for Private. That’s how simple it is.


How to activate Kids Mode on Samsung Galaxy S5

If you’re a parent who loves to share your beloved S5 to your kids at home from time to time, activating Kids Mode is a big help. Turning on Kids Mode adds a layer of protection to your files without the need for additional passcodes, or the use of Private Mode. Kids can use the phone without you worrying that they might gain access to some unwanted contents and apps. Just follow the steps below on how to activate this mode and you’re on your way to a worry-free homecoming.

  1. Go to Home screen by pressing the Home button once or by tapping the Back key for a few times
  2. Tap on any empty area on the screen and touch Widgets
  3. Browse over the list until you see the Kids mode icon which looks like a dinosaur
  4. Tap and hold this icon and wait until you’re taken back to the Home screen
  5. Release the widget on your preferred screen
  6. Once back in Home screen, tap on Kids Mode icon to download and install it
  7. After the installation, tap on Kids Mode to create a profile
  8. Tap on Set PIN for the creation of a security PIN
  9. Enter your 4-digit PIN and confirm it
  10. Enter your child’s name and birthdate and press Next to continue
  11. Accept the disclaimer page
  12. Select the apps that you’ll allow your kid to use. You can select up to 30 downloaded apps while in this mode.
  13. Now, go back to the Home screen and tap on Kids Mode icon again. There will 7 icons on Kids Mode marked as Kids Gallery, Kids Camera, Kids Drawing, Kids Voice Recorder, Kids Media, Kids Mode Parental Control, and Leave Kids Mode. 


How to reset Kids Mode PIN

Make sure to remember the PIN for Kids Mode because restoring it to its normal mode demands some effort. Fortunately, this does not mean you have to restore the phone to its factory settings, but nevertheless, the steps involved still require time and effort to do. To reset the Kids Mode PIN, just follow these steps:

  • Turn your device off
  • Press and hold the Power button for two seconds
  • When you see the Samsung logo, press and hold the Volume Down button until you see the Kids Mode lock screen
  • Swipe your screen like you normally do to open your device
  • Reset or change the PIN for Kids Mode
  • Turn off the phone, wait for 30 seconds, and remove the battery

Turning the phone back on will reset the Kids Mode PIN. To prevent a repeat, make sure to write down the PIN of your Kids Mode and stash it somewhere safe.


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