Ways to fix your Android (Samsung Galaxy S2) that hangs or becomes unstable
I read numerous posts or discussions in the internet forums or android/Samsung support site about how to fix the android phone problems (software related that could cause hardware to fail) . Most of the solutions coming back are like rooting, reset to factory default settings and etc. I am not sure about others but to me, the stuff most important in a phone are below.
- Settings I have spent time putting into the phone itself, not just apps(that includes icons in the home screen, folder that stores apps, short cuts/customization that fit my style of using the phone and etc)
- Apps that I have already installed and comes with my data in it. Apps that i have spent time configuring, store personal stuff in it. Not to mention those I have spent $$ on it.
(If you have purchased the app from Google Play, chances are you get to re-download the app for free but if you purchased it from else where, then, good luck to you. )
- Phone data (like contacts, calendar, notes, photo, sms (text) and etc)
- Phone warranty.
Drastic stuff like the rooting, reset to factory settings are no no for me. In fact, it is like using a PC and the technician always come back with proposed solution for all the PC problem like virus, windows unstable and etc is just format your PC and re-install everything from scratch. In fact, i went to Samsung service center to request for repair and that is the solution they are proposing. This is actually quite disappointing. You don't need to chop off a tree simply because there is a little worm in it. Just catch the worm.
Following my priority list, I can formulate few basic things that i would like to achieve/avoid while solving the phone problems
- No rooting because I am using a phone that comes with software that have warranty from manufacturer. Hacking would not make it better and might void the warranty.
- No reinstalling all the applications that I have already purchased or installed. It might cause second purchase required.
- Keeping the data and not resort into using the backup and restoring which the restore itself does not guarantee 100% restoration. (Ask anyone, no one can guarantee 100% recovery. )
- No factory reset.
With that, the only way to solve my problem is to fix problem by trial and error (What? trial and error you will ask. Of course, this is no ordinary trial and error. It has some technical reason to it based on my technical experience. Also some logical reason. )
The ways that i have found working for me so far is below. It has to follow the order from top to bottom.
1. Is the problem a permanent problem now? Sometimes, some problems could be caused by temporary issues like not enough memory, cache not refresh and etc. To be safe not to do anything drastic before confirming it is a problem. I would normally restart my phone few times at least to see if the problem persist.
2. What was the last thing that I did to the phone. (in term of software/apps). You need to remember what was the last thing that you did to your phone that cause it to become unstable.And then, try to undo the action. Like an issue start to arise after you install an app, you should uninstall the app to see if the problem will go away. If an issue happen once you update an app. Uninstall the app altogether because you can't undo the update. For settings like you tamper the apps to move it to SD memory, then, try to undo that by moving it back to phone memory.
3. Check for any third party system applications / advanced applications that claimed can do a lot of customization or advanced features to your phone. Like your anti virus, your contact/file hider, radical face lift to your phone. Uninstall these kinds of apps because the more advanced the apps, the likelihood that it has the power to stir your phone into becoming unstable is higher. So, uninstall all these kinds of apps from your phone. Sometimes, these apps work fine at first but at some point of time it starts to cripple and cause issues that you are not aware it is coming from them. Because these apps are powerful, any slightly mistakes in the design or functionality would have big impact. (Stuff like memory leak that only will happen after some time. Writing or performing some changes to system or files improperly. File becomes corrupted bits by bits and etc) So, the likelihood is higher for these kind apps to cause your phone to hang.
4. Android phone for some reasons have issues with Micro SD extension. It could be related to File Allocation Table or storage management issue. In fact, if you have apps moved to Micro SD and later you update the apps in the market. You will get weird and instability issues coming. I have experienced that. And the ways to solve it is not easy because the phone keep on hanging. It has to be done slowly and carefully before the phone hang. Basically, what i did is try to move the app to phone memory again and move it back to Micro SD. Then, restart your phone. If that does not help. The final resort would be uninstalling it. You would only need to uninstall the apps that you recently update that cause the problem. Not everything. One more thing, normally, when the app become corrupted or can cause the phone to become unstable. There is a indicator for these kind of apps. (based on my past observations). In fact, I have just gotten one phone hang problem recently and that is the indicator that I observed. I got it fixed by uninstalling it and re-installing it back.
First indicator is that the icon application has defaced. (like app icon turns into Android default icon). The application you can still run it but it just that your phone now is unstable.
Second indicator is that the app that you put in the front of the home screen get removed itself. Try to put the app in front of the home screen and after restarted of your phone, it gets disappeared. The application you can still run it but it just that your phone now is unstable.
5. Try to free up some space in your phone, try to maintain at least 20% free space in system storage and 10% on your SD card. When your android phone is running out of storage, it will behave in a abnormal way by constantly try to look for free space for everything you are trying to do in your phone. You can also refer to my article on clearing up space.
6. Try to uninstall apps one at a time, then check if things improved. You might need to restart your phone every time when you uninstall an app. You should reach a point when all your apps are uninstalled.
When that is the case for you, perhaps you should consider backing up your data like contacts and photos and factory reset your phone.
7. Try to get the firmware upgrade. The firmware upgrade is kind of like reinstalling the phone OS. However, you need to uninstall all the system apps or advanced apps from your phone before proceed into this because newer version of firmware might not work well with those older version of system apps / advanced apps. Other reason is that those system apps that you have installed might get replaced by the new functionality of the new Android OS. It might crash with the OS itself. So, better to uninstall all the system or advanced apps from your phone.
If all the above does not help in resolving your problem. (Which it has never failed on me so far) Then, your problem is really dead serious and that you need to factory reset your phone.