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TROUBLESHOOTING FOR ANDROID PHONES & TABLETS

 
 
Accounts

Accounts: Repair lost or broken Google account

If your contacts, call logs, or calendar entries are gone and you can't restore them because the contacts or calendar app won't recognize your Google account:

• sync your contacts with Google.

If that doesn't work:

• open the accounts settings;
• add a new temporary Google account;
• delete the broken account;
• add the original account again;
• delete the temporary account.

You'll have to restore your contacts and other account-linked data from a backup by either syncing back from Google or restoring the backup you made with apps like Titanium or MyBackup. Don't have a backup? That'll teach you to make one so you're prepared next time something goes wrong.

There are many apps that can backup your contacts. Most of them (including Google's own sync method) tend to lose data such as custom fields and mess up contacts with exotic names such as "Al's Pizza (open 'till midnight)." It also causes linking of contacts with similar names on Motorola phones: an annoying "feature" of Motoblur that doesn't come with an off switch. Samsungs have the same annoying "feature."
Titanium and MyBackup always restore my contacts exactly as they used to be.

If your contacts don't show up when you've restored them with Titanium or MyBackup:
• Open the menu of your contacts app and make sure that all accounts with contacts in them are enabled.
• If you used Titanium to restore your contacts, reboot your phone, open your contacts app, and be patient. It can take a couple of minutes before your contacts reappear. MyBackup usually doesn't need this because your restored contacts appear right away..

If MyBackup complains that your contacts database is "already closed" when you try to restore your contacts:
• open the contacts app;
• create a new contact (doesn't matter what data you put in it);
• run MyBackup again;
• delete the temporary contact.
This worked for me when MyBackup was having problems with the Motorola contacts app.
Apps

Apps missing: Apps seem to uninstall themselves

When apps mysteriously go missing from your app drawer, or when tapping their homescreen icons pops up an "app not installed" error, your app didn't really run away. It's still on your phone or tablet, but your launcher just forgot about them.

This seems to be a Gingerbread-specific bug that's not supposed to bite earlier or later Android versions.


Solution:

• Restart your launcher and the missing apps come back.

This also helps if newly installed apps don't show up in your app drawer.

Apps missing: Google Play Store (Android Market) doesn't show all my installed apps in the "my apps" tab

The Play Store/Market app didn't sync OK with the server.

• Download an app (it doesn't matter which one) to force the "my apps" list to refresh.

• If that doesn't help, enter the Android app settings, wipe the data of the Play Store/Market, reboot your phone, and launch the Play Store or Market. Don't forget to enter the Play Store/Market settings to enter your old settings again. You will lose your auto update settings.

• Titanium Backup (root required) has a built-in "market doctor" that can reassociate your apps with the Google Play Store.


Apps won't install: "app already exists"

The "app already exists" error pops up when you installed an app using one Google account and then try to update it using another Google account.

Fix:

Open a web browser on any device. go to play.google.com, log into the account that you want to use to install or update the app, and click "install" to send the app to your Android device.


Apps won't install: "insufficient storage available"

Trying to install an app and get the error message "insufficient storage available," even though your phone or tablet has plenty of space?

There are different reasons that can cause this error, so you'll have to try a few solutions to find one that works.

1) If you used an app to change the install location (e.g. SD card instead of internal memory), set the install location back to default.

2) Dial *#9900# and find the "delete dumpstat/logcat" option.

3) Open Titanium Backup and run "clean up the Dalvik cache." You can also clean the Dalvik cache from ClockWork Mod or another custom recovery.

4) No Titanium, no custom recovery? Use a file manager with root access (for this job I'd recommend Xplore), delete the offending apk from /data/app, delete the corresponding odex file too, then try to download or update it again.

5) If multiple apps pop up the same error message, open the app manager, delete the Play Store cache and data, open the Play Store, enter your account and other settings again, and try to install the apps that popped up the error.

Battery

Battery drain: Check your wakelocks

If your battery drains way too fast, you may have apps on your phone or tablet that keep your Android awake when it should be asleep. Use Wakelock detector to identify the offending app.

If you find an app that keeps your processor awake to the point of sucking your battery dry, you can uninstall it, or tame it with Greenify.

Battery calibration

• To calibrate your battery, just charge your phone to 100%, then use your device until the battery runs out and your Android switches itself off.

• Battery calibration apps are useless, and deleting batterystats.bin doesn't do anything because this file has nothing to do with the calibration of your battery.


• If you see strange jumps in your battery percentage (e.g. instant jumps from 35 to 20% or so), it probably means that your battery is old and its real capacity is way less than what it used to be. Calibrating your battery won't fix it.

Buttons

Buttons: Repair home key, search button, security lock, power button options

Some phones do strange things at random: your home and search buttons stop working, your security lock won't load (leaving your data wide open), and if you hit the power button then reboot is your only option, because silent mode and flight mode are missing from the list.

There's nothing wrong with the buttons on your phone, but there's something wrong with the software that controls them.

• Fix: backup your apps and data, reset your phone to factory settings, restore your backups.

Make sure you have a full backup or two and check that the backups work before resetting your phone.

ClockWorkMod recovery

ClockworkMod recovery: Fix md5 mismatch error

If CWM won't restore your Nandroid backups because of a checksum mismatch, first check the file name. If you've changed your backup file name and there are spaces in it, CWM may choke. Give your backup a name without spaces in it.
If that doesn't fix the problem, open a terminal emulator on your phone or tablet and run:

cd /sdcard/clockworkmod/backup/name_of_your_backup
rm nandroid.md5
md5sum *img > nandroid.md5


You may need to change the /sdcard part if you have an internal and external memory card.
Contacts

Contacts: All born on 1-1-1970 after restoring from a .vcf backup

Using .vcf files to back up and restore contacts messes up birthdays, pictures, and other data. Use apps like MyBackup or Titanium to back up and restore your contacts.

Contacts: Contact picture not syncing to Google

Many Android devices store contact pictures at a higher resolution than Google's server allows.

Workaround: add a contact picture on Gmail or google.com/contacts, then sync with your Android.

Contacts: Contacts tab in the dialer doesn't show all the contacts from the contacts app

The dialer contacts tab only shows contacts with phone or fax numbers. It won't show contacts without numbers (for example contacts with email only). The contacts app shows all contacts, no matter if they have a phone or fax number or not.

Note: not all dialer apps are the same. The dialer apps in custom ROMs (like CyanogenMod) usually let you choose whether to display all contacts or only contacts with phone numbers.

Contacts: Missing contact info

If some or all info for a contact is missing, it's probably corrupt.

Fix: make a new copy of the contact, then delete the old broken contact, and sync your contacts with Google.
 

Contacts: Not syncing with Google

If a contact refuses to sync with Google, it's probably corrupt.

Fix: make a new copy of the contact, then delete the old broken contact, and sync your contacts with Google.


Contacts: Titanium won't back 'em up or restore them

Titanium backs them up in [contacts/calls]contacts storage, but the text that indicates the presence of user data is not always green.

• Restore [contacts/calls]contacts storage, reboot your phone, open your contacts app, and be patient. It can take a couple of minutes before your contacts reappear.
• If that doesn't work, switch on "migrate system data" in the Titanium settings and try again.

Recent versions of Titanium also back up your contacts in an xml file (entry with yellow text).

Contacts: Switch sync off when you're troubleshooting your contacts

If you're trying to fix a problem with your contacts, switch off autosync until the problem is fixed. Then backup your contacts with Titanium, MyBackup, or any other app that can back up and restore your contacts.

If you restore your contacts from a Titanium backup (or any other non-Google backup) and you switch sync back on, Google thinks your restored contacts are new and you end up with duplicate contacts.

Contacts: Unlink "joined" contacts

The contacts app on Motorola and Samsung (and other) Android devices have an annoying habit of joining similar-looking separate contacts into a single contact, and there's no way to switch this stupid behaviour off.
This automatic merging is especially annoying if multiple mobile numbers get merged into a single contact, because then they all look the same to WhatsApp and it shows the wrong contact name on your messages.

To undo the damage, select the offending contact and look in the menu for an option called "separate."
Dolphin Browser

Dolphin Browser: Use Flash in Jelly Bean or KitKat

Flash is not supposed to work since Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), but xda found a way to use Dolphin with Flash.
forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1846225

You need to manually install Flash to make this work.
Firewalls (DroidWall, AFWall+, ...)

Firewalls: Fix exit code -1 error

If DroidWall or AFWall+ or any other Android firewall spits out the error "Error applying iptables rules. Exit code: -1" you can fix it by replacing the corrupt iptables.

The easy way:

• Install avast, enable its built-in firewall, and switch it off again. Then open DroidWall, enable the firewall from the menu, and hit "apply."

The hard way:

• Install Wireless Tether for Root Users (by Muller, Lemons, Buxton) and run it once.
• Install a terminal emulator, for example Android Terminal Emulator (by Jack Palevich).
• Run these commands in your terminal emulator::
su
mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
cp /data/data/android.tether/bin/iptables /system/bin

• Open DroidWall and enable the firewall from the menu.

Note: AFWall+ is a better firewall than DroidWall.
Gallery

Gallery: Get rid of ghost thumbnails

• First check if apps on your phone store icons and other images in a format that the gallery can see but not open. Use a file manager to put an empty text file or folder called .nomedia in the same folder as the inaccessible pictures. Note: it's .nomedia with the leading dot.

• If the ghost thumbnails are left behind by pictures that you removed from your phone:
Delete the folders sdcard\dcim\.spmo and sdcard\dcim\thumbnails. Do NOT delete any other folders, or you may lose your pictures. Then go to the app manager, force stop the gallery app, and clear its cache. If the gallery stays empty, unmount your SD card and remount it. This will force the media database to refresh. Rebooting your phone will also refresh the media database.

• If the offending thumbnails are still there, delete the folders sdcard\dcim\.spmo and sdcard\dcim\thumbnails, force stop the gallery app and clear its cache, then force stop "media storage," clear its cache, and clear its data (you will lose your gallery settings and custom ringtone settings, so you'll have to set them again). If the gallery stays empty, unmount your SD card and remount it. This will force the media database to refresh. Rebooting your phone will also refresh the media database.
Media

Media: Artist tag missing

If Android can't find the artist name of your songs even though it's in the mp3 tags, you need to repair the tags.

• (Re)tag 'em with Mp3tag (use a recent version, versions up to 2.45 won't work).
• If that doesn't work, rip or download 'em again.

Media: Rescan database

Rescan your media database if Android won't find new media files that you added:

• reboot your phone
or:
• settings -> SD card & phone storage -> unmount your card, then remount it
or:
• connect to a computer, switch your phone to usb memory card access, and switch it back again

If nothing works, you can try:
• settings -> application settings -> manage applications -> media storage -> clear data
but this will erase your ringtone settings.

You can make a "rescan media library" widget with Widgetsoid.

Memory

Memory card errors

If your microSD card makes your phone freeze or reboot, or if your data gets corrupted often:

• back up your card, format it on a PC (not in your phone), and reload your backed up data.

If that doesn't fix the problem:

• check the speed class of your SD card.

Class 4 cards almost always work, class 6 cards may work, class 10 cards usually spell trouble. This is because of a bug in Froyo that bites most phones. The bug is not fixed in Gingerbread, but it is fixed in CyanogenMod 7+.

If you're about to buy a new memory card, Google your phone/ROM/card combination to see if others reported success or failure.

Since Android KitKat, Google crippled external memory card access for most apps. You can repair it on rooted Android phones and tablets with an Xposed module.
Messages (SMS, MMS, ...)

Messages: MyBackup messes up the sequence of SMSs and MMSs

Use Titanium for SMS and MMS instead. It puts everything back in the right order. Your messages are in [sms/mms/apn]dialer storage.

SMS: Can't send them, have custom ROM

If you can't send any SMSs and you get error code 254 then you need to configure your SMS center number. On stock ROMs you'll find this option in the settings menu, on custom ROMs like CyanogenMod it can be hidden.

• Find your mobile operators SMSC number. Look it up on your operators website, in the paperwork that came with your SIM card, Google it, or find it on smsclist.com/downloads/default.txt
• Dial *#*#4636#*#*
• Tap "phone information" and scroll down to SMSC

• Enter the SMSC number and hit "update"

The SMSC number should be in international format, e.g. +31624000000. Don't forget the plus sign and the country code.
Processor

Processor running wild: Stop init from slowing your phone to a crawl

Android 2.2 (Froyo) introduced a very annoying bug: sometimes a process called init eats up all your processor cycles, which makes your phone run like quicksand.

Until an Android update fixes the issue and becomes available for your phone, here's a workaround:

• Go to your app settings, hit "Development," and switch on USB debugging. This sends the init proces back to its cage.
• You can switch USB debugging off again afterwards. If init runs wild again, repeat the process.
Samba

Samba server: Won't connect if the Android kernel can't go online

The Android kernel phones home to Google Analytics very often. It's tempting to keep it offline with apps like DroidWall. Unfortunately this also cuts you off from Samba servers. If you can't connect to your Samba server
make sure the Android kernel is not blocked with security apps like DroidWall, AFWall+, PDroid, LBE Privacy Guard, XPrivacy, avast, ...
Titanium

Titanium: Hangs when you try to restore or freeze an app

Go to the Titanium settings screen and set the app processing mode to indirect.

If that doesn't fix it, go to the main screen of Titanium and check if hypershell is installed. If it isn't, update your copy of Busybox with Busybox by Stericsson or Busybox by jrummy. They're in the Google Play Store and probably in other app stores too. If possible, make a Nandroid backup of your phone before updating Busybox.
Wallpaper

Wallpaper: lost

If you lost the original file for your current homescreen background and you want to rescue it from the system folders, you'll find it in your phone memory (not your memory card):

[phone memory]/data/data/com.android.settings/files/wallpaper

The wallpaper file doesn't have an extension. It is in PNG format, even if the source file was a JPG. Copy it to your memory card and add ".png" to the file name. Don't try to convert it back to JPG, because image quality will suffer.

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