Android – it’s the most popular mobile operating system on the planet. Whether it’s a Samsung, HTC or Huawei, 65% of the world’s mobile devices run some version of the OS. It’s no surprise, then, that some of us run into technical gremlins from time to time.
But we’re not here to talk about broken screens or water damage; it’s the niggling complications that leave you traipsing down to the tech repair shop that concern us. But armed with some knowhow, many problems can be solved at home without forking out to consult the experts.
So without further ado, here are five of the most common problems Android users encounter and the fixes you need to get your device back on track.
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Android file transfer not working
The go-to method for transferring files between Android devices and Macs, the Android File Transfer (AFT) app can throw up a plethora of frustrating error messages. From “could not connect to device” to “can’t access device storage” or “could not copy file”, the app has us scratching our heads in confusion more than anything else.
First things first – make sure your device is supported. AFT works on computers running OS X 10.5 and above, while the connected Android device must be running Android 3.0 and up, so be sure to check what your device is running.
If your Mac is having problems detecting your Android device, make sure USB debugging is turned on in Settings | Developer Options on your Mac. Similarly, be sure to check the “File transfers” option rather than “Charging” on your phone’s homescreen.
It may seem obvious, but cables can be the root cause of connection problems. Check for frays or splits in the cable itself, as well as any problems with the connectors.
Finally, one for Samsung Galaxy or Note owners – check if your Mac has Samsung Kies or Smart Switch installed. If so, it prevents AFT from working properly and should be uninstalled.
Android device not connecting to Wi-Fi
With the internet an essential part of everyday modern life, not being able to get online could be the most frustrating Android problem. More often than not, though, we’ve found that the problem is easily fixed, and usually doesn’t indicate something wrong with your device.
First up are the easy ones – check the Wi-Fi password against what you’ve typed. Did you type a capital I or a lower-case l? And watch out for those special characters!
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Similarly, check the router name, especially if you’re living in a crowded area where there might be more than one router of the same brand in close proximity.
Some wireless routers have limits on how many devices can connect, so you can either ask others to disconnect or simply turn the router off and on again. The latter option is the first to turn to in case of problems with the router itself, which is a whole different kettle of fish with a separate set of solutions.
Bluetooth not working on an Android device
It’s another connection protocol and, as with any other, Bluetooth can come with its share of problems recognising devices and connecting properly.
Often the simplest way of resolving a Bluetooth issue is to reset things – the equivalent of turning it off and on again. This method encompasses toggling Bluetooth connection off and on, unpairing and re-pairing devices, or restarting your phone, which can fix simple errors and let you start afresh.
If your Android can’t find any devices to connect with, make sure both of your devices are in pairing mode. This sounds simple but is easily overlooked. Another tip is to try pairing your Android with something else. If that works then there may be something wrong with your other device.
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A more complex problem can be your Android’s cache files, which can corrupt over time. To clear the cache simply go to Settings | Application Manager, find Bluetooth and then Force Stop before tapping Clear Cache. A quick phone restart later and things should be as good as new.
GPS not working on Android device
Our next common Android problem is with the global positioning system – another issue related to connectivity. It’s another important one, with many common apps relying on knowing your location.
As with many of the other common problems, simply toggling the GPS on and off can be a quick fix. The same goes for toggling Airplane mode, which applies to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi too.
Some phone cases can obstruct GPS signals, so try removing that. If that’s the problem then you have a trade-off to make, or you can simply seek out a phone case that doesn’t have the same effect.
Android devices have several GPS modes (from the least accurate “device only” to “battery saving” and “high accuracy”), so be sure to check that yours is set to one optimal for your navigational needs.
Lastly, and as with Bluetooth, cache files can corrupt and cause your Android’s GPS to behave abnormally. Head to Settings | Apps and find your mapping app to clear your cache.
Android keyboard not working
It’s one of the most essential parts of an Android device – the keyboard – vital for browsing the web and sending messages on a variety of apps. The “Unfortunately, Android Keyboard has stopped” message can crop up from time to time, but there are some simple fixes.
Restarting your keyboard (Settings | Apps | Force Stop) is one option, as is just restarting your device. More often than not, either of these solutions should fix things. Once again, clearing your cache is an option, following the same instructions as our other cache-clearing fixes.
Sometimes an outdated app can be the problem, so if your device doesn’t download updates automatically, check for any new updates in the Play Store. It might also be the case that your device itself needs an update, so check Settings | About Device | Software/System Update. If problems persist, there are always third-party apps or the dreaded factory reset.
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