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Every smartphone owner's worst nightmare is trying to fire up their phone and finding that nothing happens. Your phone won't turn on. A black screen with no sign of life spells disaster.
What are the reasons your Android phone or tablet might not turn on? Let's have a look at some causes and solutions.
1. Fix Charging Issues
As is frequently the case, the most obvious cause is usually the correct one.
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If you haven't noticed any sign of your phone malfunctioning previously, the problem might be as simple as a lack of juice in the battery. More often than not, that traces back to charging issues. If you've just covered your device with a new case, remove it first, then try these fixes to solve any charging issues:
Check Your Connections
Firstly, check the obvious points. Did you definitely remember to charge your phone? Has the charger become partially dislodged from the wall socket? And is the power socket turned on? Such mistakes can make you think your tablet or phone is not switching on even after charging when the issue is it's not charging at all.
Dirt and Dust
Next, ensure there's no dust, dirt, or other gunk clogging up either the USB plug on your charging cable or your phone's charging port. Remember, the connections are delicate. The best way to remove grime from ports is to use a can of compressed air.
Troubleshoot Your Cable
USB charging cables are notorious for malfunctioning on a whim. You can check the integrity of your cable by using it with another device and seeing if it works. We've covered some of the best charging cables for Android if you'd like to explore other options.
If your phone is not switching on even after charging, read on.
2. Perform a Power Cycle
We've all experienced a frozen phone. The screen is unresponsive, and none of the buttons work. But did you know that it's also possible for a phone to freeze in its powered-off state?
If your Android phone won't turn on, one solution is to perform a power cycle. For old devices with a removable battery, it was as easy as taking out the battery, waiting a few seconds, and putting it in again.
Modern handsets don't have a removable battery, so press and hold the device's power button for several seconds. Depending on your manufacturer, you might need to keep it held down for anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds.
3. Check Your Battery
If your phone died and won't turn on or charge, but you are confident that your charging equipment is working, and a power cycle hasn't solved your problems, it's time to turn your attention to your phone's battery. It might be the reason your phone is not switching on.
Most phone and tablet batteries start to decline rapidly in quality after a few years of use. Eventually, they will completely die. Other types of damage can also irreparably affect the battery. Liquids, falls onto hard surfaces, and extreme temperatures can all render a battery useless.
Check the Battery Is Receiving Power
After you have plugged your phone or tablet into your charger, wait for one minute to see whether the battery icon pops up on your screen.
If it does, your battery is fine, and you can move on to the next steps. Alternatively, you might see a small red (or another color) light flashing. If you do, it means your battery doesn't have enough power to turn on or display any content on the screen. Let it charge for 30 minutes, then try again.
Don't see a battery icon or a light? That might mean that your battery is dead and needs replacing.
If your phone has a removable battery, you can pick up a new one on Amazon for a decent price. For phones without removable batteries, you either need to try to pull apart your phone and change the battery yourself or take it to a specialist shop.
Be aware that if you try to change the battery yourself, you might void the device's warranty.
4. Check the Screen
You might be frustrated that your phone won't turn on when in reality, it might be powered on without you realizing it. A broken screen can give the impression that there's no power.
Thankfully, it's easy to know whether your screen is to blame. Hold the Power button for 30 seconds to ensure your phone is definitely powering up, then wait for at least two minutes to allow the boot process to complete.
Now, simply call yourself from another phone. If the phone rings, your screen is to blame.
If you have a PIN enabled on your SIM card or eSIM, you won't be able to know if your phone is enabled by calling yourself as the number will be off.
In that case, we recommend going near a saved Wi-Fi network. Your phone should automatically connect to the network, and you should be able to hear the sound of new notifications arriving as long as Do Not Disturb is not enabled.
Remember, you can sometimes replace the screen yourself, but once again, you will void your warranty. And if your phone still doesn't respond, you need to keep going.
5. Use Your Computer to Troubleshoot
If you still can't get your device to boot, you might be able to force it to turn on using your computer. Google provides a somewhat convoluted series of steps that you can work through. We've simplified them below:
- Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable.
- Let it charge for 15 minutes.
- Disconnect the cable from your device (not the computer).
- Reconnect the cable within 10 seconds of disconnecting it.
- Charge your device for a further 30 minutes.
- Press and hold the Power button for five seconds.
- Tap Restart on your screen.
- If you don't see Restart, hold the power button for a further 30 seconds.
6. Enter Safe Mode
Android's Safe Mode feature enables you to run your device only with system apps. If your Android phone powers on but can't go past the boot process because of a recently installed app, Safe Mode can help you know. If your device boots successfully while in Safe Mode, then your Android phone won't turn on because of a conflicting third-party app.
To enable Safe Mode when Android won't launch, press the Power button until the boot process starts. Next, immediately press the Volume down and Power buttons simultaneously. If these steps for launching Safe Mode don't work, check online for specific steps from your device manufacturer.
7. Reset Your Android Device
If your phone shows signs of life but Safe Mode didn't come to the rescue, a corrupted upgrade or a custom ROM could be to blame. In this case, you can try to reset your Android device.
Resetting your phone or tablet will wipe everything on it. Ensure sure you make regular backups of your important Android data.
To reset your Android phone using Recovery Mode, follow the steps below (they may differ slightly depending on what device you're using, but the basic process should be the same):
- Press and hold the Power button and Volume Down for a few seconds until you see the Android logo on the screen. (This key combination varies with some manufacturers.)
- Use the Volume Up and Volume Down keys to navigate to Recovery Mode.
- Press the Power button.
- Use the Volume keys to select Wipe Data/Factory Reset and press the Power button.
- Finally, select the Yes—Erase all Data option and press the Power button.
The reset process will take several minutes to complete.
Your Android Device Might Be Broken
If nothing here has worked, it might be time to face the reality that you need a new phone, or to at least look into getting it repaired. Remember, some phones are specifically designed for use in dirty or rugged areas. If you find you keep encountering gunked-up ports, one of these devices might be the best solution.