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I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. While it was charging (it was near full charge) it rebooted on its own and continued to charge. It then must have shut itself down because it was off. I could not turn it on when I checked again. I recently completed the OTA update to Android Marshmallow. That was about a week or two before this happened. I was reading why this could happen and something about a failure of the eMMC seemed to make sense.

I've tried to replace the battery with a new battery and tried a new charging cable. Neither of those worked. I read some posts that suggested removing the SIM card and the SD card and also holding different combinations of buttons but none of those work. Unfortunately the PC doesn't see the phone either (and I tried a Mac too). So I see no chance to revive the device myself, and thus have to send it in for service.

For a cost, I have an exchange pending through my mobile carrier. Should I be concerned that I can't turn on the phone to delete my data (pictures, messages, work related notes)?


I assume that I will be required to turn in my phone to my mobile carrier and they will replace the motherboard and send it out as a refurb but what if they find a simpler fix and the phone is operational without replacing the motherboard? Then my data will be there.

I do have additional third party insurance so I could mail the phone for repair to the phone manufacturer (for a fee that the insurance would later cover) rather than continue with the exchange thorough the mobile carrier. I'll still likely lose my data and there may be a long delay in getting the phone back.

I've just been told to never turn in a phone without wiping it and that is why I am hesitant. I know some people who don't turn in phones at all (they keep them or destroy them) out of concern that information can be retrieved. I've tried some local shops but when simple battery changes don't work most shops aren't interested in finding a fix for the problem. While it may be extreme, with the phone in my possession, I am still hopeful that I can find a fix whereas if I exchange it I won't have that chance. However exchanging is my cheapest and fastest option to have a working phone.

Any advice?

  • Well, that really seems to be a brick (see: What does it mean to “brick” your phone?) – and obviously leaves you right at the beginning. As I've said, the possibility exists your data could be read. How likely that is is a different question. If the storage is really dead, unless you're the president of something big, efforts to do so wouldn't seem worth it (if I were the repair man). – Izzy May 2 '16 at 21:51
  • Thank you very much for the link. That was very helpful. I have done updates when the battery power is low so I wonder if that could be a cause. I also have unfortunately used Kies (a long time ago though). I had read about the JTAG process too previously. It seems like that is the only thing that could work. Like you mentioned, I'm guessing a repair person wouldn't try that. Instead it seems he would switch out the motherboard, recycle the old board (melt the parts down for the metal), and sell the phone as a refurb? Obviously who knows but then data should be gone right? Thanks again. – nopogalaxy May 2 '16 at 22:33
  • No guarantees – but yes, that's what's most likely. – Izzy May 2 '16 at 23:00
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Summing up from the (now purged) comments:

As the device really seems to be bricked beyond the chance of repairing it yourself, there are indeed only two options left: Keeping it as a paper-weight to protect your data – or sending it in under warranty/insurance to get it repaired, with the risk that someone might try to get a hand on your data.

While the latter is definitely possible, and there's no 100% guarantee against it, check the facts on how likely this will be: the harder it is (and currently, it looks pretty hard), the more valuable data one must expect to be on the device to consider the efforts worthwhile. If you were the president of "something big", or there were other reasons to suspect "top secrets" on the device, it would be one thing. But – no offense meant – the device of some "average user" hardly seems to justify it:

  • if the eMMC chip was really fried, it would require very expensive forensics work to recover even parts of the data
  • if the motherboard broke, considering the SoC design repair costs would demand to simply replace it. To get to the data, the chip would have to be unsoldered and placed on another board, or at least JTAGged (too much effort again)

So, no guarantees – but it's quite unlikely someone would care restoring the data. Not even as a special service to you – unless you're willing to include a bank cheque holding at least a 4-digit sum (in front of the decimal of course).

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