Ask LH: Why Does My Samsung Phone Keep Switching On And Off?

How to fix phone that keeps restartingImage: Supplied

Dear Lifehacker, The other morning I switched my Samsung Galaxy S6 phone on after charging it overnight. About one minute later, it switched itself off and rebooted without me touching it. It keeps doing this — shutting down and restarting — over and over again until it runs out of batteries. This has rendered the phone useless. I've tried switching data/WiFi off and fiddling around with different settings but nothing seems to work. Please help! Thanks, Annoyed Without Phone

Dear AWP,

This is a common problem with Android smartphones, especially after a couple of years of heavy usage. There are a number of reasons why your Galaxy S6 could be restarting itself at random. Common causes include abnormal overheating, a faulty SD card slot, crashing apps and failing to install the latest OS software update. Usually however, the fault can be found in the battery.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of phone manufacturers now insist on non-removable batteries — which means you can't just swap out a dodgy battery for a new one. Instead, you'll need to take the device to the place of purchase and request a repair. If you live near Sydney, Melbourne Central, Parramatta or Liverpool, you could also take it into an official Samsung Retail Store. (Click here for contact details.)

Samsung also provides the following advice on its help page for this specific problem:

Why does my Samsung smartphone or tablet keep randomly turning itself and/or restarting itself?

There are a number of potential causes for a smartphone or tablet repeatedly and unpredictably restarting itself. Please follow the steps below to troubleshoot this problem with your device.   Download the latest software update   The current software update for your device may fix any bug(s) that are causing the restarts. Follow these steps to download the latest software update for your device. Note: the steps required for your specific device may vary slightly from the following.   Make sure your device first has a WiFi connection and then on your device go to Settings > About Device > Software Update and then touch Update.   Remove the external SD card   If your device contains an external SD card please make sure your device is powered off, remove the external SD card and then power on the device again and see if any further unexpected restarts occur while your external SD card is outside the device.   If your device works fine without the SD card it is very likely the SD card is at fault. Delete all software on the SD card and see if your device works with the SD card after you have wiped it of data. If your smartphone or tablet still restarts unexpectedly while the empty SD card is inside it the SD card likely has a hardware fault and will need to be fixed by an engineer or replaced with a new SD card.   Perform a factory reset   A factory reset will restore your device to the state it was in when it left the factory. This means that all the changes you've made to your device and all the media you have stored in its internal memory will be wiped, so please make a backup of anything you don't wish to lose on another device, such as a PC. When you've safely made back ups of all your important data follow these steps. Note: the steps required for your specific device may vary slightly from the following.   Go to Settings > Back up and reset > Factory data reset and then touch Reset device.   Contact a service centre   If the above steps have not resolved your problem please click here to find the location and contact details of the Samsung service centre closest to you so you can arrange for an engineer to inspect your device.

Before taking it to the shop, you should try performing a hard reset, then switch the phone to emergency mode and back again as this has been known to fix this issue (albeit only temporarily). If any readers have additional tips, please share them in the comments section below!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Had same problem with Nexus 5, in my case it is caused by faulty power button.

      Ditto. Managed to eventually get it fixed, but the phone only lasted another few months before the back came off and the battery never stayed connected... sigh. At least it meant I could upgrade :)

    "This is a common problem with Android smartphones"? Uh... no.

    Usually however, the fault can be found in the battery.
    Unfortunately, the vast majority of phone manufacturers now insist on non-removable batteries...

    Precisely why I won't buy a phone with a non-removable battery.

    Last edited 11/08/16 4:37 pm

      your going to be fresh out of luck when you need a new phone then.
      Not many high end smartphones have removable batteries these days

        Don't the new Galaxy models feature a removable battery again?

        "Not many high end smartphones have removable batteries these days"

        'Not Many' doesn't equal 'none'. I'll pay my money to those that do.

          The LG G5 still has a removable battery.

          Also, in all the years I've trawled through XDA I've never heard of random boot loops just manifesting out of nowhere....

    The fact that this phone reboots rather than just dying suggests it could be an OS rather than battery issue. Either something has become corrupt or some malware has been installed.

    A factory reset won't fix this as it only wipes the data partition. And an update will only work if one is available.

    It's worth trying to re-image the whole device to see if this fixes things. The easiest way is to download "Kies" from the Samsung website. This should give the option to reinstall the most recent factory image to the device.

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