The 5 Common Mobile Phone Problems and How to Fix Them

It’s early in the week and I have a breakfast meeting with one of my colleagues who I rarely see face to face. Since the holidays, some things have been pushed to the wayside so a strategy session was initiated to make sure we still hit our milestones. I order my coffee and take a seat in our usual section as I wait for him to arrive.

Normally, if I am the first person to make it to our preferred coffee house, he isn’t very far behind. He’s an engineer and amusingly displays very stereotypical personality traits off his profession. He is precise with everything and punctuality is no exception. I wait for a minute and check my phone – in the past, when he thinks he may be late, he’ll text something to the effect of “I need to stop for gas. Will be 7 minutes late.” However, I see no missed calls or text messages.

After ten minutes of waiting, he finally arrives but is clearly in a frustrated state. He vents about the fiasco he experienced just before he arrived, sparing no uncertainty about his disdain for the family dog who decided to escape the fenced in yard and run a few victory laps around the neighborhood. As if that were not bad enough, his phone was mysteriously frozen, adding to his apparent annoyance. Even after powering the phone down then turning it on again, it would refuse to respond.

Fix the phone!

As I stated before, my colleague possesses every cliché characteristic you expect from an engineer and as such, he is very resourceful. However, the fact that he was behind prevented him from delving into any research. He already had an idea of a few possible solutions but he wasn’t sure how to apply the fixes. I agreed that a hard reset (not a restore) should be the first step as it is the easiest to perform.

I Googled the process to enter recovery mode for his Samsung Transform Ultra and this allowed me to reset the phone. Fortunately, it worked. As I waited for the phone to reset, I thought of all the strange phone issues I have encountered in my time. It’s no secret that most every mobile phone has some sort of quirk or common issue that plagues the device.

Anatomy of a problem

With almost absolute certainty, I’m sure this has happened to you at some point. Something strange happened and you either fixed it, lived with it or the problem mysteriously resolved itself with no effort on your part. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – if you handled technology for any length of time over the past 20 years, you know what I mean.

A machine cannot simply decide to quit functioning but it seems that way. So many layers of instruction sets are executed simultaneously – billions of time a second by today’s technology standards. Just like a machine with many moving parts, a small problem in some seemingly insignificant part of an appliance can adversely affect operation.

Most issues can be resolved with diligent searching. Sometimes you may find that an incredibly complex repair process is necessary to resolve the problem. Other times, when repairing one problem another may present itself. It is impossible to prevent all problems, and moreover, fix every problem that occurs, yet there are some steps you can take to both prevent your device from hampering your day.

Common problems SOLVED!

Though every phone is different, there are certain steps one must take to diagnose and correct basic, certain problems. I have a list of five problems below which may help you or your engineer friend at some point:

Frozen or hanging phone

Every so often, you may find that your phone just hangs. Turning it off then on usually does the trick but in my friend’s case, it wasn’t enough to unfreeze the phone. The next step is removing the battery then replacing it after a few minutes. With an Android phone, you can access the recovery menu by holding buttons in a certain fashion which will allow everything from a hard reset to a factory recovery. An iPhone will need to be manipulated through iTunes. Keep in mind, this could be because the internal storage is failing, in which case the phone is not repairable.

Mass app outage

Did an app stop working or simply stop opening? If this happens to one app, it could be a bug which will hopefully be resolved after the next update is released. However, sometimes the problem resides within a deeper layer of the application’s operational foundation, meaning the operating system itself. When your operation system falls behind, many things will cease to operate, 3rd party applications especially.

Can’t connect to the internet

Are you using your data connection or are you trying to connect to WiFi? Sometimes, an update will turn off one of these features. Other times, applications interfere in the strangest ways – just like the weird, obscure “pocket dials” you initiate people you rarely contact. Navigate to your settings and check to see if the connection you are using is indeed active. It’s surprising how often these features turn off on their own. For example, on most any mobile platform, usage of a mobile hotspot will deactivate WiFi.

Phone is HOT!

Yes, some phones become hot to the touch. When temperatures reach an excessive amount, the device may simply cease to function. In other cases, the device will behave poorly yet still remain active.

There are many reasons this can happen. Some phones will run too hot for their own good and there’s nothing you can do. Other times, it is because it is sitting on the empty, leather passenger seat of your car that causes the phone to overheat. This can completely fail a phone so your best bet is to shut it off (update it, if needed) and let it cool off. A new battery may often solve this problem too, if the device has a removable battery.

Total destruction…

You tried to root or jailbreak your phone and you failed? Is your screen shattered? Sadly, your screen will require replacement. However, there are many reasons a phone can behave in a completely erratic state besides a bad screen. A simple update you failed to install for months, can cause the OS to be so unstable that nothing functions properly on a consistent basis. Attempt to back it up, if possible (i.e. iTunes for your iPhone or whatever utility your Android uses) then restore. Sometimes a fresh slate is the *only way to resolve certain problems.

The prior problems are the most frequent issues I have encountered in the spectrum of mobile dilemmas. Of course, this is not a comprehensive how-to list, so you’ll need to do some research. If all else fails, send us an email or comment on the blog. We’d be happy to point you in the right direction!

* Yes, you can replace files, one by one, if you choose. Best of luck!

About the author  ⁄ Tony

Tony is one of our senior contributors at He has a vast knowledge of VoIP and produces thought provoking content that our readers enjoy.

Comments are closed.