Android For Dummies
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Getting help with technology today isn’t as bad as it was years back. Today, you have many resources for solving issues with your electronic gizmos, including your Android.

Front and back of an Android phone. Front and back of an Android phone.

How to fix random and annoying problems

Aren’t all problems annoying? A welcome problem doesn’t exist, unless the problem is welcome because it diverts attention from another, preexisting problem. And random problems? If problems were predictable, they would serve in office.

General trouble

For just about any problem or minor quirk, consider restarting the phone or tablet: Hold the Power/Lock key. The device options menu may feature a Restart action. If so, use it. Otherwise, turn off your Android and then turn it on again. This procedure fixes most of the annoying problems you encounter.

Connection woes

As you move about, the cellular signal can change. In fact, you may observe the status icon change from 4G LTE to 3G to even the dreaded 1X or — worse — nothing, depending on the strength and availability of the mobile data network.

My advice for random signal weirdness is to wait. Oftentimes, the signal comes back after a few minutes. If it doesn't, the mobile data network might be down, or you may just be in an area with lousy service. Consider changing your location.

For Wi-Fi connections, ensure that Wi-Fi is set up properly and working. This process involves pestering the person who configured the Wi-Fi router or, in a coffee shop, bothering the cheerful person with the tattoos and piercings who serves you coffee.

Be aware that some Wi-Fi networks have a “lease time” after which your device is disconnected. If so, turn off the Wi-Fi radio and then turn it on again. That often solves the issue.

Another problem I’ve heard about is that the Wi-Fi router doesn’t recognize your Android. In this case, the router might use older technology and it needs to be replaced.

Music is playing, and you want it to stop

It’s awesome that your Android continues to play music while you do other things. Getting the music to stop quickly, however, requires some skill. You can access the Play controls for the Play Music app from a number of locations. They’re found on the Lock screen, for example. You can also find them in the notifications drawer.

Be aware that media playing on your phone halts for an incoming call. Media that’s broadcast to another device, however, continues to play.

An app has run amok

Sometimes, apps that misbehave let you know. You see a warning on the screen announcing the app’s stubborn disposition. When that happens, tap the Force Quit button to shut down the app. Then say, “Whew!”

You've reached your wit's end

When all else fails, you can do the drastic thing and perform a factory data reset on your device. Before committing to this step, you should contact support.

How to get help and support

Never discount your Android device’s manufacturer for assistance when you need it. If you have an Android phone or LTE tablet, consider contacting the cellular provider. Between the two, I recommend contacting the cellular provider first, no matter what the problem.

The Help app

Some manufacturers include a Help app or Getting Started app with their devices. They may offer pop-up toasts, which present tips as you explore new features on your phone or tablet.

Google Support is available in the Settings app, though this feature was added only with newer releases of the Android operating system. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Choose Tips & Support, which may be titled Tips and Help.
The options on the support screen include phoning or chatting with a Google support person, as well as searching online Help. An option for reviewing tips and tricks is also presented.
  • Also look for a Help eBook in the Play Books app.
  • The Settings app features the Search icon, which helps you locate specific settings without knowing exactly under which category the item might be found.

Cellular support

Contact information for both the cellular provider and device manufacturer is found in the material you threw out with your Android’s box.

The following table lists contact information for US cellular providers. The From Cell column lists the number you can call by using your Android phone; otherwise, you can use the toll-free number from any phone.

U.S. Cellular Providers
Provider From Cell Toll-Free Website
AT&T 611 800-331-0500
Sprint *2 888-211-4727
T-Mobile 611 800-866-2453
Verizon 611 800-922-0204

Manufacturer support

Another source of support for your device, or the only source if you have a Wi-Fi-only tablet, is the manufacturer, such as Samsung or LG. Information about support can be found in those random papers and pamphlets included in the device’s box. If not, refer to this table for contact information.
Android Manufacturers
Manufacturer Website
Samsung or

App support

For app issues, contact the developer. Follow these steps:
  1. Open the Play Store app.
  2. Tap the Side Menu icon to display the navigation drawer.
  3. Choose My Apps & Games.
  4. Tap the Installed tab.
  5. Tap the entry for the specific app, the one that’s bothering you.
  6. Choose the Email item. It’s located below the Developer Contact heading.
  7. Craft your email message.

Contacting the developer is no guarantee that they’ll respond.

Google Play support

For issues with Google Play itself, contact Google.

Valuable Android Q&A

I love Q&A! Not only is it an effective way to express certain problems and solutions, but some of the questions might also cover things I’ve been wanting to ask.

“I can’t turn the thing on (or off)!”

Sometimes, an Android locks up. It’s frustrating, but I’ve discovered that if you press and hold the Power/Lock key for about 8 seconds, the device turns either off or on, depending on which state it’s in.

If waiting 8 seconds doesn’t work, let the phone or tablet sit for 10 minutes or so. Try again.

Ensure that the Android is properly charged or else it won’t turn on.

“The touchscreen doesn’t work!”

A touchscreen requires a human finger for proper interaction. The screen interprets the static potential between the human finger and the device to determine where the touchscreen is being touched. The touchscreen will not work if the screen is damaged. It will not work when you’re wearing gloves, unless they’re specially designed touchscreen gloves. The touchscreen might fail also when the battery power is low.

“The screen is too dark!”

Android devices feature a teensy light sensor on the front. If the Adaptive Brightness or Auto Brightness feature is active, the sensor adjusts the touchscreen’s brightness based on the amount of ambient light at your location. If the sensor is covered, the screen can get very, very dark.

Ensure that you don’t unintentionally block the light sensor. Avoid buying a case or screen protector that obscures the sensor.

The automatic brightness setting might also be vexing you.

“The battery doesn’t charge!”

Start from the source: Is the wall socket providing power? Is the cord plugged in? The cable may be damaged, so try another cable.

When charging from a USB port on a computer, ensure that the computer is turned on. Most computers don’t provide USB power when they’re turned off. Also, some USB ports may not supply enough power to charge the battery. If possible, use a port on the computer console (the box) instead of a USB hub.

  • New computers and laptops feature a USB port that’s color-coded yellow. This designation indicates that the port is designed to charge a mobile device when the computer or laptop is turned off. If the laptop isn’t connected to a power source, the yellow USB port uses the laptop’s battery to charge your Android.
  • Some Android tablets charge from a special cord, not the USB cable. Check to confirm that your tablet is able to take a charge from the USB cable.

“The gizmo gets so hot that it turns itself off!”

Yikes! An overheating gadget can be a nasty problem. Can you hold the Android in your hand, or is it too hot to hold? When it’s too hot to hold, turn off the power. Disconnect it from the power supply. Let it cool.

If the overheating problem continues, have the Android looked at for potential repair. The battery might need to be replaced.

  • It’s normal for a phone to get warm (not hot) as you use it. If you blab for an hour or so, the phone will seem warmer than normal. That’s just the battery doing its job.
  • It’s also normal for an Android to be warm as it’s charging. If the device is too hot to hold, you need to disconnect the power cord and let the gizmo cool down.
  • Do not continue to use any device that’s too hot! The heat damages the electronics. It can also start a fire.

“The screen doesn’t do Landscape mode!”

Not every app can change its orientation between Portrait and Landscape modes — or even Upside-Down mode. For example, many games present themselves in one orientation only. Some Androids don’t rotate their Home screens. So, just because the app doesn’t go into Horizontal or Vertical mode doesn’t mean that anything is broken.

Confirm that the orientation lock isn’t on: Check the quick settings. Ensure that the Auto-Rotate or Screen Rotation item is properly set. Also, some eBook reader apps sport their own screen rotation lock feature. Tap the Action Overflow to determine whether it’s enabled.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Dan Gookin wrote the very first For Dummies book in 1991. With more than 11 million copies in print, his books have been translated into 32 languages. PCs For Dummies, now in its 12th edition, is the bestselling beginning PC book in the world. Dan offers tips, games, and fun at

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