Touchwiz home has stopped message

My Samsung S3 has been working fine for a couple of years now and all of a sudden it started freezing randomly. Sometimes with the message “Touchwiz home has stopped“, sometimes with no message and a frozen screen.

I don’t remember having installed any new application and there were no system update from Samsung. In fact it was just the opposite, the internal memory was almost full so I uninstalled a few apps and moved all other apps (that allow it) to SD card. Can this break the screen manager database?

Fortunately even with a frozen screen, not responding to screen touch at all, a long press on the power button would show the restart dialog box and even thought after pressing the Ok button it looked frozen again, it would restart after a minute or so. So I was lucky I didn’t have to take out the battery each time to restart it.

Looking around internet I found lots of people complaining about this issue, it is some kind of instability on Samsung TouchWiz touch screen manager, an improvement on the Android default touch screen manager made by Samsung. In this post you can learn more about Samsung TouchWiz, the pretty girl will tell you all about it :-) But I didn’t follow the instructions on that page, please read on.

So it looked that my issue was also tied to TouchWiz but most people were having this issue after a Samsung system update and in my case there were none. I inspected all my icons, widgets and folders on my screens and I realized that some of my application folders where I organize application icons by theme had gaps in it. I mean, normally they are all together against each other, if you move them around you can’t separate them. But in two of the folders there were some gaps between the icons, like an invisible icon that is taking up space as a real icon, which apparently was making the TouchWiz crash. Maybe after some uninstall? I don’t know.

Anyway, what I did was to open all my application folders that I had on my screens, move icons around, delete one of the icons to fix the gap otherwise it wouldn’t disappear, and that fixed it! I didn’t have to change the screen settings to easy mode or do a factory reset!

Just in case, I looked up TouchWiz in:
Settings -> Application manager -> All -> TouchWiz home
and cleared the cache. After this I was able to use my phone all day long again.

So, in brief, if you start having freeze problems with your Samsung and the Touchwiz home has stopped message you just need to move around your screen icons, check your screen folders or remove some widget and that will fix it.

[EDIT]

Ho well, the fix I describe above did work that day, I managed to use the phone normally all day, but I had a couple of freezes the next day.

So, I disabled the
Settings -> Home screen mode
and I chose Easy mode. The change is not immediate so it is better to restart your phone. I lost my previous screen icons so to be sure I completely reset TouchWiz database I went back to
Settings -> Application manager -> All -> TouchWiz home
and I clicked the Clear data button.

After this the stability improved but to my despair it froze once more while updating some apps from Google Play… So, time for more radical changes! Back to Google Play, download and install Nova Launcher. You need to click its icon for the first run and then go to
Settings -> Application manager -> All -> TouchWiz home
and disable TouchWiz. Yeah, I finally got rid of TouchWiz!

I played for a while with it, created my app icons on screen again and it looked very responsive and stable. I thought, that’s it, I finally nailed it. You know what? This morning the phone alarm woke me up, I stopped it, got up, and a few minutes later when I looked back to my phone it was frozen again!!!!! So, the story continues… After a restart I realize that some of the new icons disappeared from the screen. Weird, Nova Launcher is also losing icons? What the hell is going on?

This time after reading about anti virus apps and memory clean apps, I uninstalled Clean Master. Apparently sometimes these kind of apps can mess with Android stability. I still have AVG AntiVirus installed. For now I’m checking my phone from time to time… To be followed…

[EDIT 2]

I’m going nuts with this phone! Its finally stable and I already made some phone calls, sent some messages, some emails. But now its Google Play that is freezing! It freezes while using it, scrolling the my applications list. I followed this page and cleared Google Play Store data and Google Play Services data, then a restart. After that it doesn’t freeze anymore but it gets stuck while downloading app updates, between 70% and 90%.
I’ll check that tomorrow…

After a couple of days it went back to normal… :-)

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Author: pedro_nf

Independent contractor on IT solutions and automation

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