Help me save my phone!
August 6, 2017 4:38 PM   Subscribe

I have a GalaxyS3. Lame as it is, this is probably the nicest phone I've ever had. After charging it the other day , I found it in Safe Mode. Can you help me get it out?

I read through all of stuff online, I deleted the very few new apps I had, I tried all the combo buttons, then finally just did a factory reset after sending all my pics and such to Goggle.

It didn't work..I reset it a few times, ha. Its still stuck in Safe Mode. Then I read more and determined that it thinks the down button is stuck down. It is not "physically stuck" I can push it down and I can definitely push the volume up. I pried off the plastic volume toggle. I can click, plock, whatever, the underlying button thing with a tiny screwdriver. So that part seems to work.

That's where I am. I guess the next step is actually just taking my phone apart. Though I am reluctant to do that, I totally will because a smart phone that you can't use apps on is a brick as far as I'm concerned. (Also, I'm now in Japan so I can't make calls with it anyway.)

Help! Have you done this? Is there a better way? Should I just charge it with a different cord and it will magically fix it? If I do have to open up the phone, is there anything delicate that I should definitely watch for?
posted by stormygrey to Technology (5 answers total)
Maybe it's because it's out of the country? It could be because it tried to get a security update in the wrong language?
posted by sexyrobot at 6:19 PM on August 6, 2017

Other than googling the problem, your next best option is probably to take it to a cell phone shop and see if they can fix it. Opening your phone and taking stuff apart is a good way to brick your phone if you do it wrong. Either way, hook it up to your computer and save all your photos, videos and messages you don't want to lose.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:31 PM on August 6, 2017

I have opened phones and replaced screens. In fact, I just replaced a screen on an S4. Lots of little pieces. Need the right tools for certain jobs. I would have tweezers, small phillips head screw drivers, and using either a camera or another phone's camera, take pictures at every step for where things go. Having said that, I am not sure what you intend to do once you open the phone and "take it apart". It sounds as if one possibility is that there is some dirt or something pushing in the down volume button. Consider first blowing compressed air into or around the volume buttons. Next, consider taking off the back and blowing them from the inside.

Let me say that everything inside is somewhat delicate. There are a lot of small ribbons that connect say the screen to the mother board or those volume buttons to the motherboard. Be careful. Even with a snap in connection that some items have, it is really easy to break it.

Also, what version of Android is running on the S3? Kit Kat? If I recall, to get into safe mode you press both the up and down volume keys while pressing the pwr key. If that is accurate, then something, either software or hardware is pressing both your volume keys not just the down volume.

Have you tried rebooting into recovery mode? I know you factory reset already. Did you wipe the cashe/davlick? Is your bootloader unlocked and the phone rooted? I would consider flashing another OS other than the Samsung version.

Also, look at the XDA forums on the S3. There might be something related. Or, join (free) and post this question there. The XDA forums have the most knowledgeable people regarding Android and Android phones as far as I am concerned. It is a forum for developers so not so focused on hardware, but you may find some knowledge there.

While I agree that a phone that cannot use apps other than those that came pre-installed is a brick, one that has not been opened and taken apart still has potential to unbrick. One that has been opened and messed with by an amateur has much less potential. My point is that while opening it and looking around maybe the right move, I would exhaust other possibilities first.
posted by AugustWest at 7:47 PM on August 6, 2017

You could try cleaning the buttons with alcohol. If the buttons are stuck this may be the answer. Of course read up on it from several sources and watch videos if you can. Less is more. Better to do it several times with very little alcohol than completely saturate the buttons. And leave it a long time before turning it on. Or maybe take it to a shop that has done this.
posted by Yorrick at 8:19 PM on August 6, 2017

the one good thing - the only - with a windows phone is, you can reboot it from the computer - done it three times now. Do google let you do that?
posted by maiamaia at 4:32 PM on August 7, 2017

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