Fixing Random and Annoying Problems on Your Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

Here’s a few tips for fixing some random and annoying problems on your Android phone. 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: Turn off the phone, and then turn it on again. This procedure will likely fix a majority of the annoying and quirky problems you encounter when using an Android phone.

Some Android phones feature the Restart action on the Phone Options menu: Press and hold down the Power/Lock key to see this menu. If a Restart command is present, use it to restart the phone and fix (you hope) whatever has gone awry.

Connection woes

Sometimes the data connection drops but the phone connection stays active. Check the status bar. If you see bars, you have a phone signal. When you don’t see the 4G, 3G, 1X, or Wi-Fi icon, the phone has no Internet access.

Do expect the mobile data signal to change. 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. Wait, and it should come back around. If not, the mobile data network might be down, or you may simply 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 usually 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 the phone is disconnected. If so, turn off your Wi-Fi and then turn it on again. That often solves the issue.

Another problem could be that the Wi-Fi router doesn’t recognize your phone. It may be an older router that can’t handle an abundance of wireless devices. If this situation describes your home or office network, and the Wi-Fi router is over five years old, consider getting a newer router.

Music is playing and you want it to stop

It’s awesome that the phone 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 on the notifications drawer.

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!”

As a last option, you can also manually shut down an app.

When 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 phone. Before committing to this step, you should contact support. Resetting your phone should be a last resort.