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Front Page » April 8, 2008 » Tech Tips » Fixing "frozen" cell phones: Sometimes cellular phones "l...
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Fixing "frozen" cell phones: Sometimes cellular phones "lock up" and need a restart

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Sun Advocate/Emery County Progress

It seems that just about everyone these days has a cell phone. They're virtually everywhere - and to many people on the go, they're very convenient. But everything changes when they "freeze" up.

Most people have have encountered a "frozen" cell phone at one point or another. The buttons aren't responsive, and the screen won't change or won't come on. It won't accept phone calls, and it certainly won't make phone calls either. What does this mean?

It certainly doesn't mean your cellular service provider is experiencing technical difficulties, as many might conclude. To the contrary, it means that the specific phone in question needs a little technical assistance.

Sometimes it's a glitch in the phone's operating system that's to blame. Sometimes excessive temperatures can be the culprit (especially heat). And in other cases, it can be a hardware malfunction that may require the phone to be repaired or replaced.

In most cases, shutting the phone off (holding in the power button for a moment), waiting a few minutes, and then turning it back on will take care of the problem (phones are like little computers - sometimes they need a reboot).

There are some rare cases, however, that the phone's keypad (including the power button) is entirely unresponsive, which means holding in the power button isn't going to change anything. As a last resort, it may be necessary to remove the battery from the phone to force it off.

To do this, ensure nothing is plugged into the phone (battery charger, head set, data cables and so forth). Find the battery compartment (usually on the back) and remove the cover (on most phones, the back plate simply slides off). Then, carefully remove the battery. Don't force it out - exercise caution, care and a little finesse. Some batteries need to be lifted slightly on one end before they can be pulled out. If you don't know how to remove the battery, check the manual that came with the phone before you try anything, as you don't want to break the electrical contacts.

Most cell phone batteries these days are lithium ion, often "card" shaped (rectangular, no more than an eighth of an inch thick), and labeled as such. Once the battery cover is removed, the battery should be easy to spot.

Leave the battery out for a few minutes. Then, carefully re-insert the battery and re-attach the battery's cover piece. Now, turn the phone on and give it a moment to re-connect to the cellular network. The phone should be once again operating as it should.

This process may need to be repeated on occasion. But it shouldn't be happening regularly.

If the phone immediately begins to act erratically again, it may be necessary to contact your cell phone provider and request assistance.

Note: The Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress are not responsible for any damage that may be incurred by the attempted or successful removal of the phone's battery. Do so at your own risk!

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