How to Fix Samsung Galaxy S4 Problems and Errors

While the Samsung Galaxy S4, the company’s flagship last year, is a powerful device, it isn’t free from problems and errors. In fact, many owners have been complaining about recurring issues, which range from hardware problems to firmware and app errors. Issues addressed in this post are among the most commonly reported problems for this device.


If you are currently bugged by a problem or two, try to browse through this post to see if we’ve already addressed your problem. If you can’t find something related to yours, however, feel free to email us at [email protected] and provide as much details as possible. You may also join for free in a Google+ community [click here] dedicated to provide free support to smartphone owners.

Apps stopped working after update

Problem: I’ve been an S4 user for a while now and today is the first time that I can say that the phone is acting crazy. It’s been working perfectly until after I finally updated it. I had been holding off any phone update for several months because I was busy. Now, after the said update some of my apps are no longer working like they should. I have tons of apps on my phone and some of them are either not opening, crashing most of the time, freezing, or displaying error messages like “App is not working” or something like that.

For example, my WhatsApp messenger does not let me record or see my records, or even allow me to take pictures. I’m using the built-in email app and it has also stopped working after the update, ie, it no longer sync and displays images. The update has basically messed up everything on my phone. Is there a way to restore my phone to its previous state? Any help would be greatly appreciated. — Norma

Solution: Hi Norma. Updates are provided to improve and optimize a phone but apparently that’s not the case for your device. The issue you described to us can be caused by anything but we have outlined steps for you below so we can test to see if we can isolate the problem. Please check the steps below:

Doing a soft reset. This is the first troubleshooting step to help us determine if any of the phone’s temporary files may be the cause. Doing this step will not erase your settings, messages, or photos so you don’t need to back up your phone at this point.

  1. Press and hold the Power key, tap Power off, and then tap OK to turn your Samsung Galaxy S4 off.
  2. Remove the battery. After 30 seconds, reinsert the battery.
  3. Press and hold the Power key to turn your Samsung Galaxy S4 back on.
  4. Test your device to see if the issue is resolved.

Identifying installed apps. You want to do a quick audit of your phone’s apps and identify the most likely culprit, especially if you installed an app prior to downloading the app. Rogue apps can sometimes corrupt or allow a malware to penetrate your phone’s security features, causing a trouble like this. To check your installed apps:

  1. From the home screen, tap the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap the More tab.
  4. Scroll to and tap Application manager.
  5. Swipe left to the All tab.
  6. All installed applications are now listed.

Deleting the application cache. Doing this step is a bit similar to the first one, although the main aim is to clear each application’s cache of temporary files individually. Emptying the application cache can free up space on your phone as well as ensure that each app is running on uncorrupted software. The only drawback for this step is that it cannot clear the cache of every app. Just like soft reset, clearing the cache of an app does not remove your settings although clearing the application data may delete your profile information and progress and high scores if it’s a game.

  1. From the home screen, tap the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap the More tab.
  4. Scroll to and tap Application manager.
  5. Swipe left to the All tab.
  6. Scroll to and tap the application.
  7. Tap Clear cache.

Delete application data. As mentioned earlier, erasing your application data will clear app settings, credit card information, high scores, and other app-related information that were not part of the original downloaded files. It is a complete overhaul of the app so take caution when doing this step.

  1. From the home screen, tap the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap the More tab.
  4. Scroll to and tap Application manager.
  5. Swipe left to the All tab
  6. Scroll to and tap the application.
  7. Tap Clear data.
  8. Read the warning and tap OK.

Remove and Reinstall problematic apps. Removing non-functioning apps means deleting all its associated contents, data, and settings. Once you reinstall it, you may not have the option to revert to the app’s previous state. To uninstall an app:

  1. From the home screen, tap Play Store.
  2. Tap the Play Store icon.
  3. Tap My apps.
  4. Scroll to and tap the desired application.
  6. Tap OK.

To re-download an app:

  1. From the home screen, tap Play Store.
  2. If prompted, read the Google Play Terms of Service, then tap Accept.
  3. Tap the desired category.
  4. Swipe left or right to the desired sorting option.
  5. Tap an application.
  6. Tap INSTALL.
  7. Review the application permissions, then tap ACCEPT.

These steps are proven to work regardless of the app in question. However, if you’ll encounter the same problem after doing all these, please refer to Samsung or get a replacement unit from your carrier or service provider.

Updating Preferred Roaming List on Sprint Galaxy S4

Problem: I move around a lot due to the nature of my business. I also go overseas a lot and recently, I noticed that when I was in Dubai, my phone was unable to hold calls because it kept on losing a signal. I stayed in the same general area in Dubai before and this same phone (Galaxy S4) was working just fine there. I checked my colleague’s phone to see if it was a network problem (had the same service provider there) and it was not–he was able to connect and make calls just fine. I thought it was my phone acting up so I had it checked in a local repair shop in the city but they could not determine the problem.

The phone is generally fine but it seems to not get strong enough signal for calls. I’m using a Spring Galaxy S4. I can provide more information if you them. Please help me before I return to Dubai next month. — John

Solution: Hello John. Sprint uses CDMA technology in transmitting and receiving radio communication, which in turn, depends on an updated list of towers that a user must connect to in order to get the strongest signal possible. We believe that the problem you’re having is that your phone’s Preferred Roaming List or PRL is not updated. An updated PRL ensures that your phone connects to assigned cellphone towers outside Sprint’s native network. Roaming agreements between service providers change constantly so probably, your phone still connects to a more distant tower when you’re in Dubai instead of a nearer, more powerful one in the area. To update the PRL, please see the steps below:

  1. From the home screen, tap Apps.
  2. Scroll to and tap Settings.
  3. Tap More.
  4. Scroll to and tap System Update.
  5. Tap Update PRL and wait until it completes.
  6. Tap OK.
  7. You’ve now updated the PRL.

Cannot connect another device to Galaxy S4 mobile hotspot

Problem: I have a new Sprint Galaxy S4 and I want to share my mobile hotspot when I’m in school. However, every time I let my classmate connect to it, it just doesn’t work, or it connects but cannot use the internet for browsing. Is there something wrong with my phone? — Ken

Solution: Hello Ken. Mobile hotspot, also known as tethering, is a convenient way to remain connected to the internet even when outside the normal home broadband coverage. But just like any other type of internet network connection, mobile tethering can also bog down or cause problems just like a regular home Wi-Fi set-up. Below are steps to determine where the problem lies.

Ensure Data connection is up and running on your device. Try to open your web browser and play some YouTube videos or open some fresh pages on a website.

Check if your phone is connected to Sprint network using Sprint Zone. This is an important step but most often overlooked.

  1. Go to Sprint Zone and access it.
  2. Tap My Device.
  3. Tap Dashboard.
  4. Scroll to and tap Data Network.
  5. Your data connection status displays.
  6. Tap Update Profile.
  7. After the profile update is complete, tap OK.

Verify if you subscribed to Sprint’s mobile hotspot add-on. Another important step when you’re a Sprint user. Log in to your My Sprint account and see if mobile hotspot is active for your account. You may want to contact Sprint for additional information and instructions regarding this.

Do a soft reset. Once you have verified that you have an active mobile hotspot add-on, performing a soft reset on your phone is the next step. This allows your phone to establish a connection to Sprint network.

  1. Press and hold the Power key,
  2. Tap Power off key
  3. Tap OK to turn your Samsung Galaxy S4 off
  4. Remove the battery
  5. Reinsert the battery after 30 seconds
  6. Press and hold the Power key to turn your Samsung Galaxy S4 back on.

Update you phone to the most recent available software. If all of the above steps fail, updating your phone may be the last resort. These are the steps to check for updates:

  1. From the home screen, tap the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap the More tab.
  4. Scroll to and tap System Update.
  5. Tap Update Samsung Software.
  6. Tap Check now.

Data connection in Verizon S4 keeps on dropping

Problem: I used to have strong data connection about a month ago after I bought my Samsung Galaxy S4 but now the damned thing does not even seem to pick up signals from time to time. All I want is to use my data for browsing and for my apps.

I live in a rural area but the problem also happens when I’m in a pretty strong coverage area. The only thing I changed on the phone was to update it to the latest software version, which was offered to me for free over the network. I have tried calling Verizon support about this nothing helped.

I am now wary to contact them again for fear of wasting my time. Do you guys have something to help me?I’m at the stage of either switching carriers or replacing this phone. Please help. —Derek

Solution: Hi Derek. Data connectivity problems can happen to any device on any network. We have done some research on this problem and come up with the steps below to help you.

Verify that the SIM card is properly inserted. Make sure to turn off your device when doing this step to avoid causing more problems on the device and the SIM card.

  1. Turn off the phone.
  2. Remove the battery cover at the back.
  3. Remove the battery.
  4. Press in to remove the SIM card

Turn off Airplane mode. Airplane mode is a quick way to disable phone features that may interfere with aircraft navigation and communication. However, airplane mode also turns off Wi-Fi and data connection so we have to make sure that it’s not enabled.

  1. While the phone is on, press and hold the Power key
  2. Select Airplane mode and turn it off
  3. Select OK

Ensure data connection is turned on

  1. From the home screen, select Apps (located in the lower-right)
  2. From the Apps tab, select Settings.
  3. From the Connections tab, select Data usage.
  4. Select Mobile Data to enable/disable. Note Enabled when a check mark is present.
  5. If presented, select OK.

Ensure that roaming is set to allow. Data roaming charges may apply on your account so make sure to contact Verizon first and ask them if that’s the case.

  1. From the home screen, select Apps (located in the lower-right).
  2. From the Apps tab, select Settings.
  3. From the Connections tab, select More networks.
  4. Select Mobile networks.
  5. Select Global Data Roaming Access by selecting the following options:
    1. Deny data roaming access
    2. Allow access only for this trip
    3. Allow access for all trip

Tips on extending battery life for Samsung Galaxy S4

Problem: My Samsung S4 is my first smartphone after using my old Nokia phone for several years. The thing that catches my attention right away is the speed of the battery draining compared to my old phone. Do you have any tips to offer how I can save battery life so I can avoid charging my phone every four hours or so?

As I’ve said, this is my first smartphone and I have no point of reference on how long the battery of my S4 should last. — Laarni

Solution: Hello Laarni. Smartphones today have become faster and offer more sophicticated features that give joy to its users. However, this comes at a cost as such powerful devices have almost always become power hungry from the beginning. Unfortunately, current battery technology has not progressed much in terms of giving longer usability. The Samsung Galaxy S4 features an amazing array of processor that drains battery at a rapid pace. We have some tips for you below on how to save your phone’s battery.

Step 1: Verify that the device and charger display the appropriate charging/LED indicator. If the battery is extremely low on power, the display may remain blank for up to 5 minutes before a low battery image appears. If the device displays a low battery image, it may take up to 20 minutes before the device powers up. Also, a battery that is completely drained should be charged for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: Ensure that a manufacturer approved (included in box) or VZW approved battery charger and USB charger cable are being used. Use only the charger provided in the box. If you attempt to charge your device with a 1.0 Amp charger will extend the charging time of the battery, or may even damage it.

Step 3: Turn on Power saving mode on your phone through the notification pane.

Step 4: Disable any wireless features not being used like Bluetooth, GPS, Data connection, NFC, and mobile hotspots.

Step 5: Choose a dimmer but comfortable display/LCD setting.

Step 6: Disable widgets and live wallpapers.

Step 7: Uninstall not important or unused apps whenever possible.

S4 shuts off by itself for no reason

Problem: My S4 turns completely off for no apparent reason.  I have only had my s4 3 months.  It has never been exposed to liquid or damaged in any way. I will probably return it to Sprint. I would like some input before I return the phone.  Thank you. —Deidra

Solution: Hi Deidra. There can be a few reasons why your S4 turns itself off. We have outlined some steps for you below so you can isolate the issue.

Ensure the SIM card is properly inserted. SIM card errors can sometimes affect the phone’s operating system hampering its functions. Checking if the SIM card is properly in place may be an easy fix for this trouble.

Check for battery charging/battery power issues. The best way to do this is by using another battery. Batteries are not created equal and some may have inherent charging defects, or may have suffered damage through constant use. If you noticed that the phone’s battery only lasts for a couple of hours even on standby before, that would be an indicator of a battery failure.

Perform a soft reset. A soft reset is like the restart feature of a computer so it can resolve freezing, rebooting/resetting issues, keypad issues, among others. Make sure to restart the phone and see what happens.

Remove and re-insert the battery.

Boot to Safe Mode. This is an alternative way to fix freezing issues or if a device has become unresponsive. You can search the steps how to do a Safe Mode in our website or you can use Google how to do it.

Do a hard reset. Also known as a factory data reset, this step should only be done after doing all the other steps above. This step will erase phone’s data permanently so make sure to create a copy of your files before doing this.

  1. From a home screen, tap Apps (located in the lower-right).
  2. From the Apps tab, tap Settings.
  3. From the Accounts tab, tap Back up and reset.
  4. From the Personal data section, tap Factory data reset.
  5. Tap Reset device.
  6. Tap Delete all.

If the problem continues, you must call your service provider or Samsung for a repair or replacement.

SD card corrupted on Samsung Galaxy S4

Problem: I bought a Samsung 64gb for my Samsung galaxy S4. It has worked fine for about a month or so and then all of a sudden it started unmounting itself and now my ad card doesn’t pull up at all! When it first started, every once in a while it would just show back up on the phone, but now it doesn’t show up at all! What can I do to try to get it to work again? I have been urged to unmount it and remount it and restarted the phone and nothing is working! I can’t find my card reader anywhere to try to see if it will read from the computer! Do you have any other suggestions since it has worked on and off and now nothing??? Thank you for your time and have a great day!! —Dara

Solution: Hello Dara. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is spectacular in many ways but some of its parts like memory and SD card can suffer from problems like the one that you have. The SD card on your device has the same chance of getting corrupted just like any other storage device on the market right now, although we can attest the high quality of Samsung SD cards based on experience.

As your problem is happening intermittently, we suggest that you use cloud services like Dropbox, Google+, or any other similar ones to take care or your precious data. You can also save your files on your computer of external hard drive if you have. Hope this helps.

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