My Samsung Galaxy S6 Debacle

By | Friday, April 1, 2016 at 1:08 pm

The battery died on my Galaxy S6 last night, and I tried pretty much everything possible to get it working properly again, including soft reset, hard reset, factory recovery, etc. etc. etc., but nothing worked.  It seemed to “reboot” to the “SAMSUNG” screen most times instead of the “GALAXY S6” logo screen that normally appears from a power-off state. In fact, it REFUSED to even power off! Holding down the power button for a few seconds–which normally brings up the menu to power off of restart the phone–simply made it reboot back to the “SAMSUNG” screen (which is not a normal reboot, as previosuly mentioned).  Doing things in some apps – like trying to export my OnTrack readings and e-mail them to my wife, which I do daily, caused the same reboot, as well as just trying to open the built-in “Themes” function in Settings.

About a week ago I upgraded to Android Marshmallow, and everything worked great with it up until now. I’m not sure exactly what triggered this to happen except for my battery going dead while I was trying to use my phone. Pretty much everything is backed up to the cloud–all my apps, photos, etc., and the rest I have backed up manually (my OnTrack test results, SMS backup, and screenshots of all of my home screens, folders, and all of my app drawer icons–just to remind me of what was installed, for future reference). So my phone is primed to be wiped, but I can’t even get it to do THAT at this point.

I tried all of the instructions I found online for “How to hard reset the Galaxy S6”, but no luck. I even set the security settings to wipe the phone after 25 failed attempts at entering a PIN! I didn’t realize, however, that this little function was so time-consuming! What it does is let you enter the wrong PIN about 5 times, then reminds you about the wipe after 25 attempts and gives you a 5-minute delay before allowing you to try again. After trying again, maybe a few times, it reminds you again and increases the delay to 10 minutes. It repeats this process all the way up to 25 attempts, until it only allows 1 attempt before increasing the wait time between attempts. Finally, after the final attempt (and a whopping 1 HOUR delay), it tried to wipe the phone, showing “Deleting all data…” on the screen for several seconds, then did it’s reboot to the “SAMSUNG” logo, and returned to the login screen. When I tried to login once more with a bad PIN, it then showed “-1 attempts left – try again in 60 minutes” and the “Deleting all data…” message stayed on-screen as it once again attempted to wipe the phone. This time, however, the “Deleting all data…” message stayed on-screen forever. After waiting about 30 minutes with nothing changing, I pressed the power button and it went to the “SAMSUNG” startup screen again, rebooting.

After all that, I got desperate. With the only other option being to bring my phone into my carrier’s store, and having them first go through all of the same time-consuming troubleshooting steps I already went through, I started thinking about those buttons. For a warm boot you press 3 buttons. For a hard reset you press 3 buttons, but use the opposite volume button… and neither of those work for me. So what if I press ALL the buttons at once? There are a total of 4 on the phone: Volume Up, Volume Down, Power, and Home. So I did it and held them for about 10 seconds. Sure enough, my phone rebooted…CORRECTLY! Showing the GALAXY S6 screen instead of the SAMSUNG screen it kept rebooting to every other time! It just rebooted back to the login this time, but at least I could now consistently get it to properly reboot. So with this in mind, I did the 4-button reboot, and then immediately switched to the 3-finger combination used for a normal “hard reset”, figuring it would think it’s coming up from a power-off state and actually reset. After a couple failed attempts, the third time was a charm and I was able to switch buttons quick enough at the moment the GALAXY S6 screen appeared, holding the 3 buttons down, then the ANDROID logo appeared! SUCCESS! The next part was pretty amusing too… The little Android robot proceeded to fall over on it’s side, dead, with a big red circle with an X in it on he Android! I laughed pretty hard at that, which took away a lot of my frustration with this whole mess.

After a short time, the recovery menu appeared and I knew how to navigate this one–by using the VOL UP and VOL DOWN to select menu items and the POWER button to select them. With those I chose Factory Reset, and after it worked for several minutes I was FINALLY back to a brand-new phone! Everything is setup once again and working properly now. I know it’s good to refresh your phone every 6 months to a year, but this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be done. It was, however, good practice, and maybe this posting will even help someone else who might end up in the same situation. I have no idea what actually caused the issue or what became corrupted, I only know that my battery went dead quickly. If I’m not near a power source when it gets low though, I tend to push it right to the edge, so maybe that’s not such a good idea. It starts warning me at 15% battery, which is a sign to start charging or shut it down–SAFELY. Since I didn’t do that, it could have been in the middle of writing something critical when the power ran out. All I know is that it wasn’t a “CLEAN” shutdown, it was instantly dead. When I last glanced at the battery, it was at 1%.

One thought on “My Samsung Galaxy S6 Debacle

  1. Tom Rolfson

    Thanks for the tips Jim. As Nancy has an S6 I’ll bear this in mind, but this is one of the main reasons I haven’t switched from the S5 yet. I just have a thing about keeping a phone with removable battery. Not just “refreshing” my phone every 6 months but replacing the battery every 10 months or so as I’m hard on cycling my battery often.

    I hope Google comes-out with this option for a phone on project Fi. Rumors have it that Project ARA phones will be available soon. I believe those all have removable battery and also MicroSD card in their design.

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