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Kids Are Hard On Phones

kids are hard on cell phonesr

Well, maybe just mine.  I gave my oldest a Samsung tab4 8" for her birthday in September.  In late November, she had done something to the tablet, that she could not longer access the internet via mobile data, and all her applications were gone.  I tried to talk her through a few things, but I was in another country and she was stuck.

I have her tablet in my hands now and have looked at and tried everything I can to determine what has happened.  It looks like 1) she deleted her google account.  I know from the internet that this does not delete her downloaded apps, but as of right now — she has none!!  And 2) I think she went on a "deleting spree" because all the programs I installed (app mgr, app hider, etc.) are gone.  Of course, she either won't admit she did this or she really doesn't understand what she did.  Even Avast was gone!

Cerberus was still there, but when I called it up via the dial screen, it asked for SU Root permission!!  The Cerberus log shows that on Oct 12, the sim card was changed, then Cerberus attempted to register for GCM and had a failed authentication.  That repeated itself multiple times.  No other entry until tonight!  With sim card changed messages again and I didn't touch the sim card!  In the end, it was able to register for GCM.

I attempted to open TheTruthSpy by calling #2013* (the default) and it wouldn't come up — however I could still see the app was running.  Looking at the control panel however, it is not updating.  I went to the app manager and found TTS.  It was no longer a device administrator, even though it was still listed as a device admin!  I unchecked it and was brought to the log on screen of TheTruthSpy app.  

I returned to the app manager, and even though I "stopped" the program, it was still running.  It was a hung process that wasn't fixing itself with reboots.

I decided to continue with a factory reset, but couldn't get the "standard" commands of power and up-volume to bring me to the recovery mode.  No matter how many times I tried, it brought me to the regular use.  

The reason I couldn't get it to work is because I was following the wrong instructions.  The below turned out to be the correct instructions!


  1.     With the device off, press and hold the “Volume Up“, “Home“, and “Power” buttons.
  2.     Release the buttons when you see the recovery screen and the Samsung logo.
  3.     Use the volume buttons to navigate the menu and select “wipe data / factory reset“. Press “powerkey” to choose the highlighted selection.
  4.     On the next screen, press the volume up or down key to highlight "yes" and then press power key.
  5.    On the next screen, highlight REBOOT NOW and press the power key.

Once I followed the correct instructions (!), the phone was reset, and it spent an unusually long amount of time on the log screen, which didn't help my nerves!  But within 2 minutes, it was back to a "new phone" screen.

I entered the information as on a new phone, and clicked on super user to see if root was still active.  I received a message that knox had been tripped and I should disable knox.  I clicked ok, and waited, and waited while the "disabling knox" message stayed on the screen.  While that was happening, google was pushing all of my daughter's installed apps back onto the phone. 

Knox Tripped

I searched google and found this post ( about super user stuck on the disabling screen.  I followed it; force stopped Superuser; clicked it again.  It asked me to disable Knox, and I clicked OK.  Knox was successfully disabled.  At this point, SuperUser has NO APPS CONFIGURED.

Disable Knox

While I have SuperUser open, I decide to check the settings … and make sure re-authentication is NOT checked.


In the end, I was not able to get this tablet operating correctly.  Before I reset the tablet, it "saw" the sim card but could not connect to cellular internet.  After I factory reset the tablet, it would not see the sim card and displayed SIM CARD NOT FOUND messages.  I tried other sim cards that worked and it was the same problem.

I decided to take this tablet from her and replace it with a phone — something she wanted more than a tablet I learned.  Someday, I will reflash the rom and attempt to get all of the features of this tablet working again — but I didn't want a child breathing down my neck asking when they would get their phone (or in this case, tablet) back!

Over the next week, I worked with her tablet, reading all of the posts on the internet about "no sim card found" error.  Usually, the advice was brilliant "your sim card has no load" (!!), to the even more incredible, "reboot your phone".  Others gave ideas like "polish the gold contacts on the sim", "use paper on the back of the sim to increase thickness" (saw that one many times with many different phones), or "replace the sim tray".  And of course, the one I really liked, "try another sim". 

In a Samsung Tab 4, there is a small sim door and when opened, allows you to insert the sim card.  I haven't determined a way to use the "paper stuffing" method in an insertable sim installation, because I'm worried the paper will get stuck in the phone. 

I kept her tablet – don't know what I will do with it as I really don't need it … but it is now a WIFI only tablet!

As to my daughter, I bought her a Samsung J7 — and the process of working with that phone is HERE.

UPDATE:  In the new J7, her sim functioned fine as a sim, but without data connection!  Read about that strange story here!

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