I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 that I had for a little over months before getting caught outside in a serious rainstorm. As I was pulling the battery out of the phone, I noticed the screen flicker. I pulled the battery and left everything in rice for a few days after the fact. Upon powering up, it appeared that the phone was still working, except for the display. It would buzz when I got an email or a text, and it would ring when called.

I'm fairly certain that my problem is simply that the LCD and/or digitizer has gone bad. I've found the replacement parts that I need to replace those, but before I drop the cash on it, I'd like to know for sure that everything is else is working as it should (camera, IR, wifi, etc).

I've found a couple of apps that do hardware diag, but since I can't really interact with the device, they aren't a lot of good to me. Does anyone know if there is any sort of hardware diagnostic that can be run through the ADB shell?

  • A good pointer would be our broken screen questions, as the situation is similar. Hints are e.g. to use HDMI to connect it to your TV, using that as screen. Other solutions might include VNC, see the answers to Broken Screen + Using adb shell to run vnc server. That way you could remotely run those diagnostic apps.
    – Izzy
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 19:25
  • If you find that helpful enough to be worth an answer, just let me know ;)
    – Izzy
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 21:06
  • Well it appears that the standard Android VNC Server will only display a black screen for the Galaxy S4. I can click and the phone makes noise, but I can't seem to see the screen so I can't use any of the apps to test out the hardware. I did learn a bunch, but I think I've got to leave it open for now.
    – Kirk
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 2:32
  • You might check other VNC servers, maybe the one you tried does not play well with your device. There are a bunch of them available. Or you give AirDroid a chance: one of its features is advertized as stream the screen of your Android in nearly real-time (I'm just not sure how you get that one started without a working screen, but they might have some hints on their website). More choices maybe in this list (never mind the "German", focus on the app lists in the first post :)
    – Izzy
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 6:16
  • I ended up going with a paid-for app called VMLite. It worked like a charm and I was able to confirm that all of the hardware on the device (aside from the screen) seems to be working. The home button appears to be a little off as well, so I think I know what the path forward is. You write an answer, I'll give you the check mark!
    – Kirk
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


Investigating in this issue, we already have a lot of broken screen questions providing some clues:

  • You could hook your device to your TV screen via HDMI. This should mirror its (invisible) screen. Of course this would require your screen at least to respond to touch events.
  • AirDroid might provide some help, as it allows to manage your device for many things, and also advertizes to stream the screen of your Android in nearly real-time
  • You could use some VNC server, and start it via ADB as described in Broken Screen + Using adb shell to run vnc server

The latter obviously was the solution fitting you best, as you reported having done exactly that with VMLite VNC server. Not the cheapest solution (this app comes for about US$ 8) – but certainly cheaper than paying off a tech :)

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