Samsung Galaxy S6 Recent Apps & Back buttons won’t function after an update

I will address the problem of one of our readers whose device, a Samsung Galaxy S6, started acting up after he downloaded the most recent update rolled up by Verizon. Apparently, the update was minor but it messed up the phone that its soft keys won’t function after it was installed.


According to our reader, both the Recent Apps and the Back keys won’t respond when tapped. This problem has been going on for years and many actually encountered it with previous Galaxy phones but more often, it occurs if the update process was interrupted or the firmware was corrupt. In this case, the update was successful and it was a minor update that would probably fix a few bugs and improve or enhance a few features or apps.

For you to understand better how the problem started, here’s the actual message from our reader…

Yesterday afternoon, the device ran a system update. The update took about 20 minutes, and two installs. During the process it drained the battery significantly (it warned it would), to around 5%. Phone immediately went into power saving mode. While it was charging i noticed the Recent Apps and Back button ceased to function (its acting as if they aren’t there).

I thought maybe the power saving mode turned them off,.. so I turned off the phone and let it come to a full charge before looking at it again. Same issue persists.” — Myron

Before going deeper into the problem, if you have other concerns with your phone, visit our Samsung Galaxy S6 Troubleshooting page and find an issue related to yours. Try the solutions we provided and if they didn’t work for you, feel free to contact us by filling up this form. Make sure you fill it up accurately so that it would be easier for us to assess your concern and provide your with appropriate solutions or troubleshooting procedures.


Obviously, the problem was triggered by the update. At least, now you know that even minor updates have the tendency to mess up some things in your device; in this case, it’s the soft keys.

Myron already ruled out the possibility that it was the power saving feature that caused the problem by fully-charging the phone and turning off the power saving mode. He also tried rebooting the phone so it’s not just a minor glitch. The first thing we need to do is to isolate the problem. Let’s try to see if third-party apps have something to do with it or not by booting the phone in safe mode…

  1. Turn off your Galaxy S6 Edge.
  2. Press and hold the Power key.
  3. When ‘Samsung Galaxy S6’ appears, immediately release the Power key and then press and hold the Volume Down button.
  4. Continue holding the Volume Down button until the phone finishes the restart.
  5. When you see Safe Mode on the lower left corner of the screen, release the button.

If the soft keys still won’t function even in safe mode, then it’s confirmed it’s a firmware issue. Otherwise, you just have to find the app that might be causing the glitch and disable or uninstall it. Of course, it’s not really that easy to find the culprit, so you can either go through each of the app (which may take forever) or simply backup your data while in safe mode and perform a master reset.

But assuming that the problem remained even in safe mode, the next thing you will have to do is make sure all caches used by the new system are updated and new. More often, obsolete cache files may cause inconsistencies and may lead to this kind of problem. So, the next thing you need to do is wipe the cache partition. It is a directory wherein all caches by third-party and pre-installed apps including default services are stored. Wiping it will force the phone to create new ones.

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the following three buttons at the same time: Volume Up key, Home key, and Power key.
  3. When the phone vibrates, release the Power key but continue to press and hold the Volume Up key and the Home key.
  4. When the Android System Recovery screen appears, release the Volume Up and Home keys.
  5. Press the Volume Down key to highlight ‘wipe cache partition.’
  6. Press the Power key to select.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.

After the reboot and the phone still shows the same signs of the problem, it’s time for a more general troubleshooting procedure–the master reset. This procedure will delete all apps, settings and files saved in your phone’s internal storage. If the problem was simply because some data got corrupted during the update, then reformatting the data partition will take care of the problem. However, if the issue were more serious than this, then the firmware needs to be reflashed or reinstalled. Here’s how you do the master reset…

  1. Turn off your Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up, Home and Power keys together.
  3. When the device powers on and displays ‘Power on logo’, release all keys and the Android icon will appear on the screen.
  4. Wait until the Android Recovery Screen appears after about 30 seconds.
  5. Using the Volume Down key, highlight the option, ‘wipe data/factory reset’ and press the Power key to select it.
  6. Press the Vol Down button again until the option ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted and then press the Power key to select it.
  7. After the reset is complete, highlight ‘Reboot system now’ and hit the Power key to restart the phone

If all else fails, you need to contact the retailer where you bought the phone or your service provider. Again, reflashing the firmware may fix the problem, if not then you can revert back to the previous firmware.

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