Samsung Galaxy S3 Android security hints and tips

The Samsung Galaxy SIII (3) has been advertised quite heavily by Samsung here in the UK and in particular during the Olympics. Samsung have obviously paid David Beckham a lot of money to promote the new mobile device – that is for sure! So with this device clearly in the shop window here at London 2012, it’s even more important we look at what this device offers from the security standpoint.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 uses the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system along with TouchWiz (which is Samsung’s own user interface) – it’s not the latest operating system, as that honour goes to Jelly Bean, but it’s still ahead of the iPhone in performance, feature sets and battery consumption. It’s security where Android has been lacking, and both ICS and Samsung (using their TouchWiz interface) have added some very useful features for users. All these functions are accessed via the pull down notification bar (which can be accessed only if the Security Setting is on the default Swipe setting). Remember, this feature isn’t enabled if you have enabled customised device security.

Here are the important features (and there are quite a few options available to you) you should take some time to look at:

  • Screen lock – You have 8 options here – Swipe; Motion; Face; Face and voice; Pattern; PIN; Password or None. I suggest here you use either a PIN or Password. Do NOT use the Face or Face and voice function.
  • With swipe lock – this allows you to use a secure lock (i.e. PIN or Password) and use the swipe function. Remember not to enable this as you will be presented with additional ‘Lock screen options’.
  • Lock automatically – suggest you allow the screen to lock in 1 minute after the screen automatically turns off. It only takes a split second for someone to access your device.
  • Lock instantly with power key – check this option. Hit the button on the right hand side of the device to instantly lock the device. It’s a useful instant locking function.
  • Owner information – don’t input your address, post code or any other personal information here. Leave it blank!
  • Encryption – you can encrypt (the S3 uses AES 256-bit encryption) the entire S3 which locks down your entire device. A password is required to decrypt the device each time you turn it on. Remember, if you are using the ‘Screen lock’ password option, don’t use the same password for encrypting your device.
  • Encrypt SD card – the S3 didn’t come with an SD card in the box, but if you do indeed use one, you might want to set a password to decrypt the SD card each time you read data from the card. Remember, if you are using the ‘Screen lock’ password option, don’t use the same password for encrypting your device.
  • Find my mobile – allows to to lock your missing mobile device, and erase its data remotely. You can also find your missing mobile device by visiting
  • SIM Change Alert – you can create an alert message and then enter another mobile device number (say a family member).
  • SIM card lock – This stops someone else from using your SIM card. You have the option of locking the SIM card with a PIN. You can also change the PIN.
  • Passwords – make passwords visible – this is allows you to see the password as you type.
  • Device administration – Don’t worry about Device administrators if you are a consumer.
  • Unknown Sources – Remember, NEVER uncheck this feature as this will leave you exposed to non-Market apps which might be malicious.

As you can now see Samsung and Google have made great strides with regards the security features they provide end users. Hopefully this post has helped you realize you can indeed secure your cherished Samsung Galaxy S3 and all the data that it holds at absolutely no cost to you at all.

Safe surfing folks!

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170 Responses to Samsung Galaxy S3 Android security hints and tips

  1. S3 Owner says:

    Thank you for your blog and information.
    I have a few questions:

    Q1. Can you see the encrypted sd card from other S3 or android smart phone brand?
    How about from the pc computer/mac?

    Q2. Encrypt device and sd card are irreversible, am I right?

    Q3. After encrypt sd card then I formatted the sd card, is it do able and no encryption at all?

    Please confirm and thanks again.

    • Julian says:

      #S3 Owner#
      Q1 – You can only view the contents of an encrypted SD card if you know the password. SD cards are not operating system (including Windows/Macs) or device specific.
      Q2 – Yes you are right. You would have to wipe the encrypted data to completely remove encryption.
      Q3 – Yes you are correct. You can encrypt the SD card again – there is no limit on how often you can do this.

      • S3 Owner says:

        I also asked Samsung support with similar questions, I thought Samsung normally take a long time to reply but I just got their reply as well.
        It is a good support from Samsung that they reply it very quick.

        Here it is:

        A hard reset is possible after encrypting but the password would need to be entered during the hard reset.
        –> so it is good, if you lost the phone then anyone cannot do a hard reset without entering the password first.

        An excyrpted SD card will only work on the device it is encrypted to. To decrypt the SD card it would need to be formatted in a PC.
        –> I think Samsung support saying even though I remove the sd card and use it with another Galaxy S3 and I know the password, it still won’t work.

        I haven’t try all of these but I will try it later.
        Hope it helps.

        • Julian says:

          #S3 Owner# Thanks for this. Will be doing the same later today.

          • S3 Owner says:

            Encrypt device doesn’t work.
            It does work to encrypt so it will ask you the password every time but when I did hard reset it didn’t ask any password at all.

            Do you want to try from your end?
            I still can do hard reset (hold down vol up, home button and power) even though it has been encrypted.

            In term of the encrypt sd card, yes it is working. I copy a pdf file to my sd card. Encrypt the sd card.
            Put this encrypted sd card to other S3 and it can see but you cannot open the pdf file.
            I tried to open via my computer and it did the same so the encryption does working.

            I don’t know whether or not do you want to test the hard reset after encrypt device. I am sending email to samsung support now.

          • S3 Owner says:

            Oh yeah…if your sd card formatted as fat32 then it will encrypt it successfully.

            If your sd card formatted as exFat then it won’t work, it will ask you to format the sd card first.

          • S3 Owner says:

            Got the reply from Samsung.
            “Encryption is to protect data and not the device.”

            So it won’t protect the phone at all.
            I guess if we didn’t encrypt and lost the phone, naughty people still can hack the password and get the data inside.

      • Elijah says:

        How would one wipe the encypted data plz?

  2. Natalie says:

    Hi Juilian

    i just got the galaxy s3 and i clicked remember password and when i put my card details in and so you can buy books ect without putting in a password, please help me if you can to remove this.

    Thank you


    • Julian says:

      #Natalie# Are you talking about the Google Play Store? If so, you cannot remove any accounts from Play Store Settings. Your Play Store account(s) can only be removed from device settings. Here is what you need to do: Click >Menu >Settings then scroll down to ‘Personal’ then click >Accounts and sync. You will need to click on the account to remove it. 🙂

      • nazir ali says:

        I just got the galaxy s3 for my brother live in pakisatan . I currently live in saudi arabia wen i send it to pakistan te said device want anti theft password i am very sad please please help me

  3. S3 Owner says:

    Julian, how did you do this “Remember, if you are using the ‘Screen lock’ password option, don’t use the same password for encrypting your device.”
    There is no option to change a different password, as soon as I enter the password under screen lock then it will be use the same password to encrypt it.
    Please let me know.

    • Julian says:

      #S3 Owner# I’ve double checked this – you are right. You can only use the ‘Encrypt device’ feature if you set a screen lock password of at least 6 characters, containing at least 1 number. I will find out from Samsung why this is the case. You should be able to use a separate password to the screen lock for encryption/decryption of the device.

      • Jared says:

        Julian Did you ever get an answer from samsung on this? I can seem to get a straight answer?

        • Julian says:

          #Jared# Not yet. 🙂 Will be chasing up on a reply this week.

          • Encryption says:

            Have you gotten an answer on the above question?

            When I encrypt, the phone forces me to choose a password that does 2 things:
            1. Open lock screen
            2. Decrypt my phone.

            It would be awfully inconvenient to choose a difficult password because I’d have to use it every time I unlock the device. Also, it is easy for other people to find out my password if I am using it every time I unlock my phone, right?
            Is the following true: Once you encrypt your phone, you cannot use any screen unlock method except password (which seems to be the case for me)…

          • Julian says:

            #Encryption# I would suggest using a Password Manager of which there are many on Google Play. It’s a shame Samsung doesn’t allow Google Authenticator 🙁 If you use a passcode it is very easy to shoulder surf the PIN. You are correct – You can only use password screen lock once you have encrypted your device.

  4. S3 Owner says:

    Okay. I just found out if we are using Avast (free) and you root your mobile phone then if you setup correctly then it won’t allow you to do hard reset. I haven’t try this yet since I have a new phone so I am not sure that it will void the warranty if you root the phone.
    According to google/forum – a lot of people root their phone and if something wrong, company normally just reformat the phone without checking whether the phone is rooted or not but I leave it to you to decide. Hope it helps.

    • S3 Owner says:

      Opps sorry. I misunderstood the feature. I think it can “hard reset proof installation of Anti-Theft.” It still able to do a hard reset but the anti theft still there.

  5. john says:

    hi all,

    I recently dropped my S3 and its screen is completely damaged, the device switches on and also connects to pc but i cant unlock it as it has pattern lock and I am not able to get any data from the device as i cant unlock the device.
    i reli need all my data that are stored in the device memory, can anyone help how to go about this.

    • surat says:

      If you try to make the wrong pattern for several time, will it asking you to enter a password?
      I believe last time when I created the lock pattern after that it will ask you to enter a password as a backup.

      Try it and see.

      If you scared the phone is lock then contact/send samsung email to unlock but I am not sure they know how to do it or not.

  6. Lakshay Bajaj says:

    i Have recently puschase a brand new samsung galaxy S3 from Tashkent . But the probleum is that in the security settings the shop from where i have purchased have kept a password (4-8) digit number . i need to change that password n use my wifi in the mobile . please if someone can help me.
    I will be very thankful..

  7. anwar says:

    i just bought the galaxy s3 n i encrypted after i did that i went to see my photo in my ex SD card but i couldnt . it keep saying unable to load photo so please help

    • surat says:

      Did you encrypt device only or both device and sd card?
      If you encrypt your sd card then you only can see the content inside this sd card only with your Samsung S3.

      If you encrypt your device, you still able to view your ex sd card without any issue unless your sd card is corrupted.

  8. gilbert says:

    how to encrypt a sd card? thank you

  9. Inji says:

    it seems i have made something wrong with the lock screen password as the screen is locked and shows Emergency calls only and can’ operate my s3…any solutions?

    • Julian says:

      #Inji# You will need to reboot the device. Press and hold the Lock button (top right hand side) and PRESS Restart. If that doesn’t work, take the battery out to perform a hard reset.

  10. Adele says:

    Hi, i have click on an internet browser to remember my password, how can i remove it? Thank you.

    • Julian says:

      #Adele# If you use Google Chrome – Settings > Privacy > CLEAR BROWSING DATA (bottom of screen) then CHECK > Clear saved passwords and TAP > Clear. If you use the native browser – Settings > Privacy and security > scroll down to > Remember passwords and UNCHECK. Underneath > Remember Passwords you will see > Clear Passwords > TAP right arrow and you will now see a pop up > Delete all saved passwords TAP > OK.

      • titiankesavan says:

        hi….i clear all my password…now i want to know how to do internet browser to remember my password…please help me thankzzzz.

        • Julian says:

          #titiankesavan# From the native browser > Menu > Settings > Privacy & Security > check the ‘Remember passwords’

  11. Leneisha says:

    Hi Julian,

    My SIII fell today. First time and it is 1 week old. Everything is fine except the SIM card. A sim card is in there but it is still asking me to insert sim card…what could be wrong here?

    • Julian says:

      #Leneisha# Wipe the SIM card both sides with a soft dry cloth. If that doesn’t work, do you have another unlocked/same carrier phone you can test the Micro SIM card with? If the SIM card doesn’t work in another phone, then it’s likely you will have to replace the SIM card. In that case contact where you purchased the SIM card.

  12. Jeff Blackstock says:

    Hi Julian: When I tap into “encrypt SD card” in the security settings on my Galaxy S3 the lettering is grayed out and won’t let me proceed. How do I activate “encrypt SD card”? Incidentally, the SD card shows in “my files” and I have lots of stuff stored in there. Thanks. Jeff

  13. Shoniwa says:

    I have been trying to encrypt and I just cannot do it cause it wants me to setup a password. How doI setup the password for encryption. I have jellybean installed.

  14. rajeesh says:

    julian lost ma new s3 which was purchased day b4 yesterday in a cab… i forgot to update my security alert features …. is there anyway to find out my phone via samsung dive website or any other website…. pls help bro

  15. CY says:

    Hi Julian, thanks for all the useful tips on S3.
    I want to encrypt my P&C data on external SD but realized that all the other screen lock options became disable except password which i find too cumbersome.
    Is there a way to encrypt external SD with password for each time I access the info on the card but still able to use other screen lock option i.e pattern etc on the device?
    Many thanks in advance.

  16. Sasikumar G says:

    Dear Sir,

    Good Morning.Recently 2 months back i bought S3 and i m facing following issues.Please can you explain,

    1).One Time camera – Not opened – Error message appeared and restarted mobile then its work good.
    2).Even i ‘ m getting proper setting of camera.(Normal sunlight we will take photos came dark)
    3).Application Menu – Some Icons developed along with mobile – Missing that place empty -Please need your reply.
    4).Android mobile – For that again we have download any other antivirus software or not required(Because some time i can use my mobile with PC – that PC effected by virus MEANS it will effect the mobile)
    5).Headphone – One side observed crack – We can claim warranty for this.
    Please for your advise

  17. Deanna says:

    Wondering if someone may be able to answer a simple question… I just received my new Verizon Galaxy SIII and have set up a PIN number to access my device. My question is how will I know if someone is trying to access my phone. I know if more then 5 attempts are made it will wipe out my data, but if someone only makes 2 or 3 attempts will I somehow be notified??

    • Deanna says:

      Guess I should be more specific. I just got this phone and am still trying to figure it out. I assume there should be some type of notification center somewhere. I attempted an incorrect pin a couple times and then put in the correct one but I didn’t see any type of message or anything. Reason being I just moved home from college and have a feeling my parents are trying to check up on me if ya know what I mean lol which is why I set up the pin on the first place 😉

  18. Jack says:

    Hi Julian Evans,

    As per your information, you said that “Encryption – you can encrypt (the S3 uses AES 256-bit encryption) the entire S3 which locks down your entire device. A password is required to decrypt the device each time you turn it on. Remember, if you are using the ‘Screen lock’ password option, don’t use the same password for encrypting your device.”

    But, in practical we can’t use 2 different passwords for Screen lock & encryption.
    Even if we try to change the password for screen lock, after device encryption is done. When we reboot the device it doesn’t accept the old password.
    Please help me this.


  19. Rachel says:


    I have an exchange account set up on my phone which enforces a pin. That part is fine but since I’ve set up a pin on my phone no text messages are previewed on the status bar (when on lock screen) when they are received like they did before the pin. I’ve made sure that the preview settings are enabled in message settings. I even checked by deleting the email account and disabling the pin. The previews worked again on lock screen with swipe but once the pin was enabled they didn’t. I’ve looked on google and the only suggestions I find are to install other messaging apps, which I have tried and still no preview in the status bar. Is there a way around this to get the previews working again?

    Thanks in advance.

  20. Wendy says:

    my S3’s screen is black out while the device itself still function. I cannot see anything and do anything with my phone now. I wanna delete the data inside my phone before sending it back to the factory. However, the screen is black out, what should i do to erase the data? Can i do it through computer?


    • Julian says:

      #Wendy# You should connect the S3 to your computer using the USB cable. You can then either use the Samsung Kies app or use Windows Explorer / OS X Finder to delete your personal data.

  21. Ahmed Saleemuddin says:

    Hi Julian,
    I forgot my passcode lock. Is there any way to retrieve it? The phone is under warranty and can Samsung help me unlock the phone from their end? I dont want to do hard reset as it would erase all the data and photos from the phone. Appreciate your help.

    • Julian says:

      #Ahmed# Do you see “forgot PIN option”? If not, then you will need to call your carrier as your phone is now locked. They will ask you to confirm your IMEI number – use the phone dialler to type *#06# – a prompt will show your device IMEI.

  22. Mike Smith says:

    Odd that nobody is asking “how secure is my data with Samsung and Google”. I just got a new note 2 and actually bothered to read the privacy policy for the various applications such as typing, voice entry, creating a samsung and google account.
    I cannot understand the various Samsung synch options on my Note 2 but there seems to be no way to stop auto synching of contacts sms and other private data to Samsung if you create a Samsung account which you have to do to get even basic software like photo editing. . The Samsung terms and conditions seem to allow them to use the data in anyway they please to build profiles and marketing databases. It clearly states that that any data submitted to Samsung can be used to “pursue our legitimate interests” which to me means anything we want. Specifically data can be used to process Job Applications which I find both intrusive and bizarre. Samsung is one of the largest companies in the world. Lets say i make a personal note on my personal phone insulting Samsung. Can they really pull that from the cloud and use it for a job interview in five years time ?? Maybe I’ve been rude about Apple in an SMS and they buy Apple one day.

    I think data in the cloud is a much greater risk than losing your phone. If you lose your phone with basic pin protection most people will clean it and sell it. Your data is in the cloud forever.

    There should be a clear firewall between “my data” such as personal contacts, notes and contact information and marketing data.

    • Julian says:

      #Mike Smith# My major gripe right now – Free cloud services are not my biggest fan right now – reason – how do these providers make money? Well, from selling data analytics – your data to be precise to the highest bidder. As for paid cloud services – probably same rule applies, but you will have more control as you are paying for a service. Always read the Terms and Conditions before registering.

  23. Cool Jay says:

    Hi Julian, thanks for these details. When I tap into “Encrypt device” in the security settings on my Galaxy S3 the lettering is grayed out and won’t let me proceed. Please how do I activate “Encrypt device”? Thanks.

    • Julian says:

      #Cool Jay# All of these three points has caused this: 1. battery level must be above 80% 2. you need to plug in your charger 3. set an unlock password of at least 6 characters, containing at least 1 number. Do these three things and “Encrypt device” can now be clicked on. 🙂

  24. ramazan says:

    Hi, dears
    I have one gallaxy s3 after tow of buying times it dosen’t lock automatically,
    when i go to settings and securety and lock screen and i checked for 5 menite lock automatically but it dosent effect
    please guide me and help me

  25. Kirsten says:

    If possible, I hope you can help. My problem is similar to another posted in this thread about the S3 only allowing emergency calls. My boss’s phone cannot send or receive calls and it doesn’t seem to be sending or receiving texts either. I’ve tried everything from restarting it like you said to wiping and removing the simcard and waiting a few minutes. Because of the sensitive material in it I do not want to peform a hard reset and delete contacts or photos and other information saved on the phone. Is it possible that there could be anything else wrong with it? I never saw a reply back from ‘Inji’ after you gave the solution and don’t know if it worked for him/her. Restarting the phone did not work and I know for a fact that we are inputting the right passcode.

    • Kirsten says:

      Other websites have said it may be a problem with the phone being locked and that you need to root it, but I believe that violates the warranty and as it is not my phone I don’t want to mess anything up far worse than I can fix it.

      Please help if you can, but thanks either way. 🙂

      • Julian says:

        #Kirsten# I would suggest backing up the phone data to a PC/Mac and then perform a hard reset of the S3. Once this is done, check whether you can make calls. If you can, then restore the backed up data to your S3. If not, I suggest you contact the carrier who will check your device for network connection. TIP: Removing the SIM card and wiping with a soft cloth before installing, can also help. 🙂 Hope this helps!

  26. Michelle says:


    Find my Mobile (remote controls): When I enable this feature in my phone it works completely normal. My friends “on/off” switch is grayed out and can’t be turned on or off(stuck on off). I am assuming that there is a feature on their Samsung account that’s disabling him from being able to turn this feature on (maybe he has his location services disabled or something on his Samsung account. I have tried to find it and seem to feel I have looked everywhere possible. If you know why this is happening I love to fix this issue with your help.

    Thank you!

    • Julian says:

      #Michelle# Your friend will need to enable “Remote Controls” which means entering a password. Alternatively go to > Settings > Accounts > Samsung account > click Account settings to check whether Samsung account is setup.

  27. Rick says:

    Hi I recently got a Galaxy s3 from my work. I took the SD card from my old phone and put it in my new phone. It asked me to encrypt it so I did. Well I have about 400 songs and 400 pictures on there and recently came back from a trip to Pittsburgh. My phone fell on the ground and broke the screen. I had US cellular send it in for repair so they gave me back my sd card. When I got the phone back they said its not the same phone and the gave me a replacement S3. When I put my card in none of my pictures or song show. I event tried putting them on my PC and they won’t let me view my pictures or music. HELP! I have a ton of family photos and Steeler game pictures that I very much want. How do I get them back? is there any programs that unencrypt photos? Those are the most important to me.

    • Julian says:

      #Rick# You would have encrypted the files with a 6 or more character password on your SD card. An unlock password would have been required to be able to use the encryption/decryption features on your S3. Otherwise, did you back up your files to a PC? You could choose to restore from here.

      • Rick says:

        No I didn’t back them up because I thought they would stay on the phone when I got the phone back. I used a 4 digit code to encrypt.

  28. wowlfie says:

    Once an Android device is powered on (with password required) that will automatically mount your SD card because encrypting it requires the two passwords to be the same and even if you unmount your external SD card as soon as you turn your phone on and enter the password the SD card is mounted AGAIN and available to anyone to inspect files, etc.

    However, if you get a free ‘application locker’ such as ‘Smart App Protecter’ you can add the Android SETTINGS as a protected application itself and then that application intercepts anyones attempt to change the system settings of ANY kind and thus they cannot mount an unmounted SD card because that they don’t know the PW for running SETTINGS.

    So it requires you to enter a PW to run SETTINGS and change the settings and mount and unmount the SD card. You can then choose the easiest PW for locking the screen that’s easy to type and remember, and use a very difficult PW for changing the system SETTINGS.

    Of course this assumes you have already encrypted everything on the SD card (all current and new files selected) in the options. For those who wonder why their encrypt SD card is greyed out the device has to be FULLY charged (not 80%, not 85%, not 99% but FULL) before it will allow you to continue and encrypt the SD card.

    This keeps all your private files private if someone steals your phone they need the screen lock PW to get into your phone, and they need an another Android phone running similar versions with the application blocker software AND the difficult PW that you created to mount that SD card and read the files. If you simply move the card to a PC the files will be unreadable but the file names will be unchanged so you should keep a secret file naming system.

    Of course, hackers always find a way around things like this but hey it’s better than nothing at all!

  29. ASFAK says:


  30. josh says:

    I tried to Get my software updated through the settings -> about device -> software update.
    But after checking the server for updates it shows da following message ‘ ACCESS TO SOFTWARE UPDATE SERVICE IS PROVIDED TO USERS IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY REQUEST IT. TRY LATER’
    This message shows up every time now….didn’t have such an issue before.

    Can u advice me on what the problem may possibly be and how to resolve it.

    • Julian says:

      #Josh# This happened to me too. To get around this problem, I connected (via USB) my S3 to my laptop running Kies (Samsung software) and this did the trick. 🙂

  31. jairaj r. talreja says:

    i pressed some apps on the screen which said.visibility for some poor sight to activate,after activating, i am not able to open my phones, each time i open, it says ,double tap the screen and then swipe. but it doenst open, why so.

    • Julian says:

      #jairaj r. talreja# You are talking about the S3 TalkBack feature which is found in > Settings > Accessibility > TalkBack (under services) – strange it works for me even with double tap. Anyone else had problems like this?

  32. amal says:

    Hello Julian, can i get your help please i clicked decrypt device on my samsung galaxy s3 , and i want to remove it, can you help me plz

  33. aspenx says:

    hi im owning a samsung galaxy s3 and i put my phone for charge last the morning when i see the phone is completely wouldnt light up nor get charged..i tried removing the battery nothing worked..this could be a software or hardware problem?in that case will i be able to recover all my daats ie my photos and videos etc?? please help me on really worried abt the lost files..

    • Julian says:

      #aspenx# Have you recently upgraded the firmware on your S3? The current non-rooted Samsung supported Android version is 4.1.1. Did you back up your device? If not, you will be unable to recover your photos and videos. Sorry 🙁

  34. jack says:

    my galaxy s3 won’t download anything from the internet such as music and photos can you please help ? 🙂

    • Julian says:

      #Jack# Have you enabled WiFi and Mobile data? If not, then you will be unable to connect to the Internet. Note: When you have both WiFi and Mobile data enabled – if you are connected to a WiFi network your device will choose this connection first before trying GPRS/3 or 4G network.

  35. Coco says:

    Hi Julian –
    I have found this page helpful – Thanks.

    I have a quesion / problem (or, user error :)):
    I purchased the Verizon Galaxy Note II with Android 4.1.1. I inserted a 32GB micro-SD and formatted from the device.

    Then, I pushed some files over USB from my Windows PC. Then, I did a full encryption of the SD card via the device, and it indicated a successful procedure.

    BUT –> I wanted to experiment and see if it truly ‘worked’. I connected via USB to my PC and did not even unlock the device (just kept it in locked mode). Sadly, I was able to view the so-called encrypted files with no trouble on my Windows PC.

    So, either I did something wrong, or something is broken. Any insights?

    Many Thanks in Advance!

  36. Coco says:

    Hi –
    I posted earlier today, but it got wiped off.

    I am having trouble getting SD Card encryption to work on my Verizon Galaxy Note II.

    I did the encryption process, and it indicated success. But, I can still view the file on Windows PC over USB.

    I was expecting to not be abel to view the files on any other device.

    Can you provide some insights?


    • Julian says:

      #Coco# You can view the filename but not the content of an encrypted file. Have you tried opening encrypted files on your Windows PC?

  37. Rob says:

    I have galaxy s3. I encrypted my sd card and removed it before doing a hard reset on phone. Now I can’t open any files or enter password to decrypt sd card. How can I unlock the sd card now?

  38. Harry says:

    I have galaxy note2, it was encrypted due to some reason I factory rested the phone and encrypted again but the external card data can not be used, i can see all the data (songs,pics,files,movies) but not not play it gives the error what is the procedure to recover same.

    • Rob says:

      We have same issue. Let me know if yiu b find a solution please.

    • Julian says:

      #Harry# Have you tried viewing/editing the files with your S3 connected to a Windows/Mac using Samsung Kies software? Does sound to me like the SD card may be corrupted but difficult to prove without seeing it first hand.

  39. Sunit Vora says:

    When you put a screen lock using PIN and say if you forgot the pin and entered it so many times, does it reset the phone then.

    • Julian says:

      #Sunit Vora# If you mistype your PIN more than 5 times you will be asked to enter your Google username and password. This is also applicable to password and pattern lock. If you cannot remember your Google credentials, then you will need to do a hard reset using Android Debug Bridge (ADB) which means you would lose everything that wasn’t already backed up to your computer. The Google apps you downloaded/installed can be reinstalled once you have logged in to the Play Store. Hard restting isn’t for novices though and should only be a last resort.

  40. Brian says:

    Hello sir, I have a galaXy s3 . Need a little. Help how do I delete all my personal information on my phone, before I sell it…. thank you

    • Julian says:

      #Brian# > Swipe down on any screen for the notification bar and click > Sprocket icon top right (Settings) > Back up and reset > Factory data reset

  41. Shakeel says:

    dear sir,

    i have activated talk back on my s3, now i want to get back to normal settings. how can i do it? please suggest

    • Julian says:

      #Shakeel# Please refer to my previous reply on this thread on the subject of TalkBack.

      • RD says:

        HI Julian,

        I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy S3 that I dropped and the screen cracked. The phone turns on, I receive calls and texts, but the screen is solid black and the touch-screen is not working as I can’t blindly answer a call or enter my pattern lock. When I plug my phone into my PC it says it’s empty which I’m assuming is because you have to unlock the phone before files become available on the PC? Do you know how I can get around this to get all my pics, etc off of the phone? Your advice would be much appreciated

  42. Perla says:

    Hi (: I love everything about my Galaxy s3 except for the fact that it will not let me download anything the browser force closes every time I want trouble download a ringtone. It’s not the internet as I have my data on. MY internet works perfectly. Please help me ):

  43. Joe Martinez says:

    I have a Galaxy S3 that I just bought in November 2012. I used an a prior micro SD card from a prior phone that has never been in anyone’s hands. Today I was in New York city taking several pics and noticed a pic file in Gallery that I had never seen. I opened the file and its completely another person’s family and NO this file was not in there prior, the phone was brand-new I personally opened it and have been in the Gallery several times. I am thinking somehow it wirelessly grabbed someone else’s pictures through DLNA or some media sharing feature. I am also worried my phone is hacked.

    I am seeing a file with 40 plus pics of a persons family, and now another file that I never created andand looks as if my phone was trying to access another completely different ppersons file, now 2 different strange files.

    • Joe Martinez says:

      Ok, now 15 minutes later I can no longer see those files. Is it possible there was another phone or computer nearby that was letting me see what media they had?

      • Julian says:

        #Joe Martinez# Images and video content are being stored in shared folders on a remote Windows machine. You could disable remote controls in app manager on your S3. Nothing to worry about as no one can see your device content.

  44. Frank says:

    Dear Julian!!!
    I would like to unlock my ATT samsung galaxy s3, but when i put the different carrier sim card in, the screen does not prompt to “sim network unlock code” . I try so many time but the phone does not prompt to “sim network unlock code” to enter the code. Is there anyway you can help me put pls???? Thank u so much and Merry Christmas.

  45. Christelle says:

    Hi, I have a “i” in a circle with a line through, like a “no stop” sign, but it’s an i. At the top left corner of my screen and I can’t get it away. I have tried everything. What is it and how do I get it away?

  46. Christelle says:

    Sorry, it’s on a Galaxy S3

    • Julian says:

      #Christelle# The notification bar is turned off. Pull the notification bar down and slide across until you see “notification“ and just click it.

  47. Carmen_c says:

    Hi Julian. If I want to buy a Samsung S3 from a private seller….what should I look for? thanks a lot!

  48. Franc ty says:

    Hi how come I can still acess my sd card on any laptop if the sd card is encrypted? How can I install a prompt message to ask password first before I can access my sd card to any laptop and pc? Thank you very much 🙂

  49. Chief says:

    Please can you help?
    I recently decided to activate using a PIN code on my Samsung S3. I keyed in my code and then confirmed it. However, now my phone will not unlock with my code. What can I do as a next step? Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  50. User says:

    I switched on mobile and I typed the wrong password three times. Then it’s asking for for the put code. Can any one please tell what is put code?

  51. User says:

    Sorry it’s puk code

  52. Tina says:

    So all of the sudden, after installing Flow Lite, whenever I go to the web, a orange box appears and reads everything I am searching! It’s annoying and I can’t figure out how to make it stop…

    Any help is appreciated.

    • Julian says:

      #Tina# Why do you need ‘Flow Lite’? Make sure your Samsung S3 is running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean – check for software (firmware) updates. 4.1.2 provides advanced notification features, so you will not need ‘Flow Lite’. Therefore remove the app and your problem is solved. 🙂

  53. Ankit Agarwal says:

    Please tell me if I set sim card change alert and someone do factory reset then will I get sum change alert?

    • Julian says:

      #Ankit# Agarwal# A factory reset will reset the SIM Change Alert. You should use a passcode/password to access your device. This security will protect the SIM Change Alert from being factory reset. I would also use ‘Set up SIM card lock’ which will stop others from using your SIM if your device is stolen. A factory reset will not affect this function.

  54. Amjad Ali says:

    why sms tone not activated on galaxy s3

  55. Bansi says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am using Samsung galaxy s3 mobile i am receiving text messages twice in every time… please help me to solve this problem..

    With Regards,
    Bansi Kakad.

  56. sams says:

    i need the settings to keep my msgs secure from others by keeping a password/ there any way to protect my msgs….. without installing any other software

  57. rosa says:

    I put a screen lock in the galaxy3 phone I just bought but now I dont want to have it anymore. I dont want a password I just want to be able to use without restrictions. how can I delete it.

  58. Sheri Nudelman says:


    Thanks in advance for any light you can shine on my S3 problem.

    I am in an AT&T 4G/LTE service area, and the last few weeks my phone rarely rings when I receive a call. Sometimes the caller goes straight to vm; sometimes the caller is cut off. Also, when dialing a call, I often must try several times in order to have my call be completed. It appears that I have a full or nearly full 3G or 4G signal when this happens.

    AT&T has replaced my SIM card. They have escalated the issue to a higher tier tech support. They aren’t sure if it’s a network problem or a hardware problem.

    Do you have any thoughts on this? Other than changing cell companies?? 🙂

    Many, many thanks!

    AT&T reset the phone’s registration and swapped out the SIM card. Still doesn’t work….

    • Julian says:

      #Sheri Nudelman# Have you recently upgraded to the latest firmware? Read this link > There are issues some known and others unknown right now with this update. Your problem might be linked to this. Might….

      • Sheri Nudelman says:

        Thank you for the tip. I updated to 4.1.1 about two weeks ago — the firmware update you mention in the other article is 4.1.2. Unless you think it’s a terrible idea, I am going to go back to the version of ICS that came on my phone and see if it makes a difference.

    • Julian says:

      #Sheri Nudelman# Seems to me it might be an LTE problem with either the network and or S3. There are two different S3 versions – one supports LTE and the other doesn’t. I’d check this out with your carrier first.

  59. Quentin says:

    Hi Julian!
    I am receiving notices that my cloud is full. I beleive this is primarily from games that I am playing.

    1) Can I change the settings so that it doesn’t save these settings?
    2)What happens when the cloud is full? Will I be billed?
    3)Can I clear space in my cloud?

    Thank you for your time,


    • Julian says:

      #Quentin# Are you using Dropbox? If so, they provide 2GB of free space for you. Alternatively, if you need more you will have to purchase a subscription. Note: Samsung is also planning to bring S-Cloud to it’s devices (Galaxy S4/Note II), so keep one eye open for this. Probably will provide limited free storage with additional space based on a subscription model.

  60. YUMNA says:

    I have a samsung Galaxy S3, and i have taken some pics on a picnic recently. And now i can’t see any of those pictures taken. It shows an empty black space and appears ‘unable to load’.

    Pls advise and i thank u for ur time 🙂


    • Julian says:

      #YUMNA# Have you attempted a hard reset of your S3? You remove the battery to do this. Another option might be to copy your S3 pics to a PC/Mac to see if the ‘black space’ pics are recovered. If that doesn’t work it may be the pics are corrupted. 🙁

  61. Anil says:

    Hi Julian

    how to restore photos from a Galaxy s3 when screen is broken, with a pain set? i need to copy some important data before sending to repairs.


  62. Mel says:

    Hi Julian
    My Galaxy s3 has stopped allowing me to download from the net eg cafe menu or pdf file. It says ‘download unsuccessful’ in the drop down tab. it used to allow me too and I can still download games. Any ideas?

  63. francty says:

    Dear sir,

    Follow up on my question. My memory card on my Samsung galaxy s3 is already encrypted with password. But how come I can still access it on my laptop without any prompt message or asking any password to acccess the file.

    Hoping for your response sir. Thank you very much.

    • Julian says:

      #francty# SD card encryption only works when you take the SD card out of your S3 and use it in another device. For example, if you encrypt images on your S3 and take the SD card out and put it into another mobile, it will be unable to read the images on the SD card. As I’ve said on countless times, BlackBerry does security best 🙂

  64. Craztum says:

    I need help, with blackberry when you have a password on your device its impossible to access the content on the phone when plugged into a pc via usb or Bluetooth, how do I get such feature on my S3 as it is easily accesible from my pc even with a password on my device.

  65. Abdul says:

    Dear Julian,

    i am using S3 more than 5 months last two days are facing some problem due to Avast anti virus application.

    Error is main screen showing Virus Scanner 11 problem found i try open error is contacts lock screen internet etc…. above mention resolve all option i did many times result is No Problem found after 5 mins same error repeated again 1 problem found try to scan all 63 applications are problem found.

    Please advise how to i solve my issue mention above.



    • Julian says:

      #Abdul# I would suggest going to > Settings > Application Manager > swipe to the left – All apps > Look for/Tap “avast! Mobile Security app” and Tap “Clear data” and “Clear cache”. If that doesn’t fix your problem then you should Tap “Force stop”. If this last option doesn’t work, I’d suggest uninstalling.

  66. Wendy Durst says:

    I have a Galaxy S3 & am having problems retrieving my photos and music from an encrypted SD card. The card was encrypted for my work & I got a new phone. When the card was put in the new phone of course I couldn’t see the photos. They’re there, they’re just blanked out squares. I have tried unencrypting the phone & the card with no luck. From what I’m gathering from this thread, the photos are gone. That doesn’t make sense to me though because the card still says there are 1730 photos there. Again, the individual squares are still visible when I go to the album, they are just gray rather than having the image in them. I am able to listen to the music now so somewhere in this madness that portion of the card was unlocked.

    I hope you’ll be able to help me figure this out.

    Thak you for your time.

    • Julian says:

      #Wendy Durst# Are the encrypted media files on the SD card from the S3? This isn’t clear 🙁 If you attempt to decrypt the media files, that were encrypted on the S3 and then attempt to open them on another device, it will show the filenames and the blanked out squares you highlight and of course you cannot view the images. To move your media files onto another device, you will first need to decrypt the SD card. Only then can you view the images. As for the music, have you tried copying the music files from your SD card onto the device?

      • Wendy Durst says:

        Some of the photos were on the SD card when I installed it & others were taken with the S3 & stored in the SD card. I have tried decrypting the card in the old phone & they won’t decrypt. The phone says it’s done but I can’t view the photos. I just see the black squares.

        Then, when I put the SC card in the new phone, it automatically says it’s incripting the card without me telling the phone to.

        So frustrated!

  67. jerry says:

    So every time I go to download a movie online or even save a picture from my browser it auto closes my browser saying the internet has suddenly stopped working. It didn’t do it when I first got my s3 it only just began, any ideas would be great.

    • Julian says:

      #jerry# Are you using the native browser that came with the Samsung device? I’d suggest downloading both Firefox and Chrome from the Play Store which should help fix your problem. See my earlier comment in this thread.

  68. rajiv says:

    i got a samsung dive a/c,but if i lost my phone and someone reboots the phone and do factory setting(original) then can i retrieve my phone back? how reliable is remote control in my S3?

  69. Tamara says:

    How do I turn off date and location on my photos. Whenb I send pics ppk can tellbwhen and wherebi took the can I take that out

  70. jerry says:

    I tried chrome but having same issue. every time I try to download to my phone or sd card it “unexpectedly close“ video or picture or anything else.

  71. Ali says:

    hey guys i have samsung galaxy s3 and i can not pass my screen. it says ‘double tab and swipe to unlock the screen’ i was trying to do that but nothing is not working. please help me thanks

  72. jenniffer says:

    My Samsung s3 is not allowing me to download things off the web. When I do try to download contents it will say Internet has stopped working.
    I have read above reply you had said to download firefox n chrome. I did just as that but still have the same problem. Pls help

    • Julian says:

      #Jenniffer# Strange. Are you using any mobile security software? Are you being stopped from downloading content over mobile and/or Wi-Fi network? Check > Settings > Tap Wi-Fi > Tap Menu button > Advanced and make sure ‘Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep’ is set to ‘Always’.

  73. pepe says:

    Julian you are an ass… You have confused many people with your “remember to use two different passwords”. Even me. Instead of deleting that comment you’ve just left confused people afterwards without an answer. If you create a confusion then delete your stupid sentence or inform every time u are asked!! After reading such assertion, I understand people do not want to read ur whole blog to find out that u were wrong afterwards. Pretentious samsung bighead…

  74. I tend not to leave a response, but after reading some of the responses here Samsung
    Galaxy S3 Android security hints and tips | Protect your Profile and
    Internet Status. I do have 2 questions for you if you tend not
    to mind. Is it just me or do a few of these remarks look
    as if they are coming from brain dead folks?

    😛 And, if you are posting at other sites, I would like to
    keep up with you. Could you list of every one of all your social community
    sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or
    linkedin profile?

  75. SUNIL says:

    kindly tell me the message centre no for india of my cell S3 4GLTE. Since i have deleted it and forget that no so i am not able to send the sms but i am getting the sms.
    Second is if you can help me in sms size. Normally if you bought the S3 cell in india the it shows the sms 160/1 but in my cell it is showing 80/80. so in this case i am not in situation to send the sms which length shall be more than 80 character.
    Looking forward to your positive reply.


  76. ommy says:

    hi Julian i have got a Samsung s3 someone is hack my phone and set it to off line what should i do to prevent him from getting in my phone

    • Julian says:

      #ommy# Nothing you can do, other than report the handset as stolen and let your carrier know. They will block the IMEI. If it had been the S4, you could have used lojack which is embedded in the firmware. When activated, it uses a kill switch to disable the handset from booting. Currently the firmware approach is the most secure.

  77. nado says:

    Can the professional hacker decode the encrypted galaxy s3 device

  78. nado says:

    Hi julian my device galaxy s3 had been hacked several times . I encrypted my device
    Can the professional hacker decode the encryption of the device galaxy s3

    • Julian says:

      #nado# When you setup (device and or phone settings) encryption you would have created a device master password. The encryption used is dependent on how easy this master password is to guess.

  79. nado says:

    Thank you julian I used long master password .
    My husband had the same problem hacking his s3galaxy device I told him to format his telephon before encryption but he didn’t want doing that he encrypted his device with out format but he used new master password my question is his encrptions safe or he must first format and after format deycrpt I am afraid there was a spy which can catch his encryption pass word
    Information he set up the password off line .
    Dear julian I am very concerned about this issue .
    I will be thankful to respond my question

  80. daud sh.c.maan says:

    i used face and voice function then i chosed pattern draw how i can solve thata problem

  81. Sherin says:

    Hi Julian

    You look like a maestro on Samsung issues.
    I have a trouble and will greatly appreciate if you can help me resolve it.

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and a Note 3.
    I was foolish enough to purchase the Note 3 from who delivered me a device which was German made and locked to a local network there.

    Obviously it never allowed me calls and Etisalat Network not detected. I had to root it, which has now left me with Emergency calls only.

    Whilst I am inside a building or parking, I assume it has no enough frequency strength to receive signals and appears switched off to anyone trying to call me. Do you have a suggestion to this trouble please?

    Next is the S3 Mini.
    I had been to India on a short vacation and returned only yesterday 4th Apr. I used an IDEA SIM there and all was perfect until the night I left to UAE.

    The phone was kept on charging and my all experiments nephew fiddled on it and managed to enable the phone to blind accessible with speech on. I managed to restore it.

    But getting back here, my Etisalat network is not detected, and allows me only Emergency calls. Do you think the device is locked to some network back in India?

    I have spoken to local carrier and made sure that the SIM is registered to Etisalat here.

    Await your thoughts and thanks in advance

  82. Eric says:

    Please help if possible. I have always encrypted my galaxy s3 and recently my screen became pixilated and seconds later went black. I power cycled my phone by removing the battery, bad idea, and it restarted with no screen visibility however, I could hear the start up jingle. Due to the device being encrypted, after starting up I have to enter my encryption password in order to access the OS or any data on the device. Therein lies my problem; I can not access the phone from my computer due to the encryption. I can feel the touch portion of the screen is working because of the feedback vibrations when touched so I am assuming the phone is waiting on the password entry. Furthermore, I tried a “hard reset”, (hold volume up key + home key + power key), which turned off my device but, when I restart it I hear the start up jingle then it continues to click in 5 second intervals. Sorry for the long winded story, I just don’t know what to do and I am extremely desperate. My mother passed away unexpectedly 9 months ago and all of my pictures of her are on the device. I had backed up my phone 3 months ago on my laptop but my dog knocked it off the table and broke the hard drive. Also, I have Lookout security and I believe it backed up my data and if so, how would I go about finding it. Long story short……or long, lol, is it possible to access my device from my pc with some software or via any means? Any response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  83. josh says:

    is there anyway to unlock an encrypted phone without loosing pictures and contacts? I know the encryption password but my son apparently changed the screen unlock while playing on it (he is 2). or is this something the att store could help me with? thanks for any help.

  84. Tray-c says:

    Hello reader/s, my d
    Samsung galaxy s3 device just stopped registering to my network carrier I tried another sim card and that also failed. If I restore to factory or do a hard reset will my network be restored aswell?

    • Julian says:

      #Tray-c# You might have moisture in the SIM compartment? If not, then you could try your SIM(s) in another unlocked device as well as locked device and same network that you use. Ask around if not. This will prove whether it’s a SIM problem. If it isn’t a SIM problem, then a hard reset might work. Let me know how you get on.

  85. Ivy says:

    Hi Julian, can u please help me with my problem on samsung galxy s3 i9300. it started one week now the touch stops responding to my touch, i can’t unlock it but i can still receive calls message i just cpuldnt answer them and then few hours after it works again. it goes on like that until now and soometimes it doesnt work whole day sometimes it works whole day, im confused i already tried factory reset because i Pass the test on that samsung tumbling touch test where u dial *#0*#. i read somewhere that when u pass the tast it means its not digitiser or lcd. im really at loss now, i already bought a cheaper samsung but im re\ally frustrated since this phone cost me quiet of money. thanks in advance

  86. Ivy says:

    Oh i forgot to mention i went through the recovery mode to reboot and when i press reboot now that android icon says error before my phone turns on
    what should i do

  87. elio hanna says:

    hello i broke my samsung s3 glass , and i want to get back all it’s content but i had a password.. please can you help me ?

    • Julian says:

      #elio hanna# If you have misplaced your password, there is little you can do apart from wiping your device and starting again. Did you backup your device to Samsung Kies?

  88. josh says:

    hellow sir,
    after i encrypt my samsung s3,
    – its language is changed to Germany
    – i can use the phone only for emergency call and receiving.
    dose it mean the driver is lost? or what should i do

    • Julian says:

      #josh# Did you purchase the phone directly from a carrier? If yes, you should contact them. If not, you should return the phone to the seller. 🙂

  89. Kashif Ali says:

    How can i stop privacy protection

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