back to article Samsung under fire over copy-paste bricking

Users of a variety of Android-based Samsung smartphones are becoming restive at the mobo’s apparent inability to fix a simple bug that has catastrophic consequences. According to this Samsung forum thread, the copy-paste bug bricks the phone, requiring a factory reset or, if the owner has root access, to empty the contents of …


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  1. oldtaku

    'Samsung’s TouchWiz code'

    Well that would do it. One more excellent reason to root and clear that crap out. Of course I realize that most people won't or can't do that and it's ridiculous that they haven't fixed it yet for their tens of millions of existing devices. They've always been very bad about updates.

    1. SteveCarr

      Bad about updates? I think not...

      While I might find myself hanging out for the latest version of Android on my phone, the fact that I have had not one, but two, MAJOR updates to my Galaxy S2 in under two years, plus numerous smaller bug fixes, means that in fact they are very good indeed with updates.

      My S2 is still, nearly two years on, an awesome bit of kit, and one which I have never regretted investing in.

      Contract to the experience of PC users - as soon as those puppies are out the door, often as not the manufacturer has lost all interest!

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Bad about updates? I think not...

        Yes but your typical pc maker just shoves hardware in a box with some glue and someone elses OS.

      2. The Stickman

        Re: Bad about updates? I think not...

        Not really. They abandoned users of the Vibrant when their GPS, for 1000's of users, didn't work *at all*.

        And my LG/Google Nexus 4, only about 3 weeks old? Bought with Android 4.2. A week later: 4.2.1. And today: 4.2.2.

        That's as many updates as you had in a year - in about 1/15th the time.

        After personally experiencing Samsung's customer anadonment, in favor of new models, on no less than 3 models/phones in a 2 year period, I went with a Google branded product on the theory that Google at least would assure the most advanced update schedule. So far, that has seemed to be the case.

    2. Optamizm

      That's why I switch to the Nexus 4 and 10... I hated waiting so long for updates!

  2. Bush_rat


    That's a pretty big issue...

    Mines the one NOT made by Samsung

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow

      "That's a pretty big issue...

      Mines the one NOT made by Samsung"

      What, bigger that the mess of iOS?

      Mines the coat without the shiny shiny with no real use phone.

      1. Silverburn

        Re: Wow @ Obviously!

        What, bigger that the mess of iOS?

        I went back to iOS after living with a G Note for 14 months - I gave android/samsung all the benefits of the doubt over that time to convert me to android. This C&P issue was one of 8 reasons I couldn't dump it quick enough to go back to iphone. Fanboi? No, before you downvoters get busy - I'm a normal tech who just want a reliable phone that I can actually use. The number of times the G Note had crashed, restarted and SIM-locked was too many to count, and the number of resulting missed calls also too many. It even cost me real money - a 5 hours of callout charge to be specific - because I couldn't be reached, because it had crashed and was sitting at the sim unlock screen. It went back to base for checking 3x, and came back with "no hardware faults".

        iOS (in 6.1) is simply better - *for my needs*. And iOS - in my usage - has *less* issues than Android. Most of it was just niggly crap and annoyances, but it's still true.

        You wanna do all sorts of funk stuff on your phone? knock yourself out with Android. I tried it, but just didn't like it or need all that extra stuff. In fact I went back to standard ROMs, just to try - in vain - to regain some stability/reliability.

        Mines the coat without the shiny shiny with no real use phone.

        Have you even tried using the iphone in real life, before coming out with BS statements like this? SSH sessions? RDC? VPN? Media streaming? C&C admin? Can all be done. Exactly what what part of the iphone is "no real use"? Because in *my* normal day use - and in the occasional advance use scenarios - I've never been restricted. You Fandroids are as bad as the Fanbois with your FUD and blinkered views.

        1. The Stickman

          Re: Wow @ Obviously!

          Interesting. I think Samsung does a crap job with Android, and after 3 phones, all of which they rapidly abandoned despite thousands of easily findable cases of users complaining of major issues (e.g. no GPS satellite locking at all on the Vibrant), I decided to go with the Nexus line. I have to say, updates have flowed seamlessly (now on 4.2.2).

          And yes - I DO use it for VPN. I have also used my Nexus 7 to remote into Windows boxes when the normal VPN failed at the site. Media streaming? Absolutely all the time, and I get better speeds with the Nexus 4's 4G (t-mobile) than my cable home service.

          But I decided to go with a Google-branded device specifically because of the necessity for Google to ensure those devices always had the best-functioning Android versions out there. And they seem to be doing that.

        2. Vic

          Re: Wow @ Obviously!

          > SSH sessions?

          Do you have a way to do SSH tunnels in the background?

          This is a serious question - one of my customers bought an iPhone and wants to do tunnelled email. I found how to get SSH connections going, but didn't find a way[1] of running them in the background...


          [1] I probably should have looked a bit harder :-)

      2. Bush_rat

        Re: Wow

        @Obviously you either misread my post or are very technically narrow minded.

        "Mines the one NOT made by Samsung"

        You see, I believe you've mistaken "Samsung" for android. In fact, I believe you've mistaken Samsung for EVERY PHONE other than iOS. If I may point out to you, Samsung is but one of many android OEM's. Heck, we could sit here and spend quite some time rattling off a list of all the different manufacturers, but I can't be bothered. Suffice to say, you've made a massive assumption that I use an iPhone. And that's a bit silly.

        I am in no way stating android is inferior to iOS (let's just not go there) or any other OS, I'm simply stating I'm not going to picking up the shit Samsung's flinging.

  3. mickey mouse the fith

    Pull yer finger out Samsung

    They keep doing this, i can think of a few other little `quirks` they are taking their sweet time fixing on various devices like the galaxy note ics superbrick bug or the galaxy s3 jellybean update that screws up the battery charging on certain motherboard revisions.

    On the plus side, all the Sammy phones i have owned have been superb once rooted and a custom rom placed upon them. Pity they have to sully themselves with silly little qa fails on otherwise fantastic devices.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pull yer finger out Samsung

      So your saying that they have all been so crap you had to root and fix them yourself!

      1. mickey mouse the fith

        Re: Pull yer finger out Samsung

        "So your saying that they have all been so crap you had to root and fix them yourself!"

        Oh yeah, never thought of it like that. I always root and flash anyway so its not an issue for me, but for someone who just wants a phone that works 100% out of the box it is a pretty poor show i must admit.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The beauty of open software

    on closed, locked hardware : end-user digital freedoms lost somewhere on the road. The big old bearded man warned you and you all laughed and told him to shove off.

    Oh and by the way, how do you copy and paste on an Galaxy S3 ? It never crossed my mind I could do it on mine.

    1. Real Ale is Best

      Re: The beauty of open software

      Oh and by the way, how do you copy and paste on an Galaxy S3 ? It never crossed my mind I could do it on mine.

      Press and hold on any piece of text. Drag the markers to surround the bit of text you want copied. Tap the copy icon.


      P.S. Can we have a Meerkat icon please?

  5. dssf

    Galaxy Tab, Korean version might be susceptible, too

    With my Galaxy Tab, which I bought in Busan in July 12, the contents of my clipboard vanish if i inadvertently hit the screen shot icon. It is EXTRAORINARILY irritating, considefing this hardware has hundreds of megs of available RAM?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The forum thread seems to indicate a permanent failure associated with copy-paste operations, but the phone is otherwise fine and dandy. I thought 'bricked' meant 'completely unusable'.

    Pedantry aside, I'd be well pissed-off if this happened to me. Fortunately I have Android 4.1.2 on my S3, so maybe I'll dodge that one.

    Samsung really need to get their act together : they do seem to excel at producing quality stuff with lousy support.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bricking?

      A Samsung S3 with faulty software?

      1. Chris007

        Re: Bricking?

        Or an iPhone running 6.0.1 with faulty software

        (for balance to the thread)

    2. FartingHippo

      Re: Bricking?

      s'funny, I thought 'to brick' was transitive verb meaning 'to be very afraid'.

      Peter was bricking it when he found out his boss had access to his internet history.

  7. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Not surprised...

    ... Anyone with experience of Samsung customer 'care' won't be surprised either. This stuff comes down from the top.

  8. ijs

    its a reboot issue for me

    just copy and paste 20 times and it reboots

    I have an siii and I can confirm a reboot occurs if you use copy and paste too often. I just tried this on chrome and after 20 copies the phone just rebooted.

    Samsung have known of this bug since july last year so support isnt that good.

    If you follow the links in the article you can see how long they have known about the issue

    Looks like I will have to go back to an Iphone

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Looks like I will have to go back to an Iphone

      Yeah, that's the choice with mobile phones, the Android Galaxy Siii or the iPhone. Why don't other manufacturers try to break into this lucrative market?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: its a reboot issue for me

      "Looks like I will have to go back to an Iphone"

      Honestly? WOW!

      iOS is worse still! Are blind/deaf/dumb (circle as appropriate) man?

      1. Silverburn

        Re: its a reboot issue for me

        iOS is worse still! Are blind/deaf/dumb (circle as appropriate) man?

        So instead of crashing after 20 C&P's, iOS crashes sooner is that right? Much as you'd love to believe that, sadly, it's utterly erronous. If you are going to go on an anti-iOS bender, try and choose the right topics first.

        Here's a free one for you - how about iOS's "button dance" access to bypass the front screen security?

        Back under the bridge please...

    3. Markl2011

      Re: its a reboot issue for me

      Which phone and version of Android are you using?

      When I had this problem on my S3 it was with every other application apart from Chrome. It looked like Chrome worked around the problem using their own clipboard buffer because Chrome would quite happily cut and paste while every application would crash or just not paste store anything in the clipboard.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: its a reboot issue for me

      I only had to copy paste 10x on my 4.1.2 S3 to get a reboot, lolz, think i just found another good reason to goto CM10.1

  9. Justin 9

    Bit old that software

    I'm running jellybean 4.2.2

  10. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    The brickworks...

    Any news on fixes for the other brickable Samsung devices or should this company just be avoided like the plague?

  11. hokum

    Samsung support

    It is pretty shoddy of them not to have fixed this bug by now, but I've had to use Samsung support twice in the last few weeks and it's been excellent each time. Fixed rapidly without any cost.

  12. Chandy

    Bricking? Uhh, no.

    I've never heard of a bricked phone from this. What happens is that about 50% of the time, the phone reboots a few seconds after copying the text. It usually works ok the first time you try it after that reboot.

    I should also add that it is the only issue I have with my SGS3.

  13. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

    No problems so far

    I've had my Note 1 for about six months now and haven't had any problems of any kind. Admittedly, I haven't needed to copy/paste 20 things at a time - in fact, I doubt I am any kind of power-user (I get about four days out of a battery charge).

    I am tempted to root the thing just to get access to various settings that should be available in the OS as distributed (so difficult to get things to install to the external SD card), but I am very happy with it overall.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: No problems so far

      I had mine for 14 months, and had exactly this c&p issue. I tried different ROMs and JB was the only one that could do it reliably (but introduced its own issues!).

  14. JeffyPooh

    Android/Samsung foibles

    Many of my esteemed colleagues have Samsung/Android mobes. They all seem to share the foible that the phone has *SERIOUS* difficulty recovering from weak or zero signal. My co-workers are constantly hanging around the office window, pressing their phones up against the glass, licking them, rubbing them, whimpering, begging and pleading the Android OS to recognize the fact that the signal is back. In contrast, my iPhone has no difficulties whatsoever with disappearing and reappearing service caused by movement around the office where coverage is spotty.

    Samsung/Android should Copy and Paste that chunk of Apple code.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Android/Samsung foibles

      Interesting, as my iPhone 4S has this exact problem.

      It regularly takes over an hour* to realise it's no longer buried in an underground lair or down the Tube and thus there is a usable signal, if it would only look for it.

      I've taken to dropping it into "Airplane" mode and back out again to force it to look and connect.

      Drives me potty.

      Admittedly, that's only iOS 6.0, 6.1 and 6.1.1, it's intermittent and I haven't had 6.1.2 long enough to really see if it's the same.

      * Yes, really! Left in my pocket, wandering above ground for an hour or more, blinking in the sunshine, and then looking at it to see no signal. "Airplane" on/off and suddenly a host of missed-call texts.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    You’d think if anyone would have a Copy function that worked perfectly, it’d be Samsung.

    Amazing to me that this was submitted as bug in October and still hasn't been fixed.

  16. The Stickman

    Not the first time

    With their Vibrant phone, an Android 2.x phone a couple years ago, thousands of people had problems with GPS. And by problems, I mean it didn't work, unless you had 20-30 minutes to spare for it to get a tenuous lock on satellites... maybe. And then have your location off by 100-300 meters. That was the BEST they could do, after a year of many complaints, to "fix" the problem. Basically, they never fixed it.

    GPS is one of the core features of modern phones, and they screwed it up (apparently due to incorrect antenna design), never tested it well, and simply left all their customers adrift.

    I don't see that changing with newer phones. And with the 6 month (and less) product lifecycle that Samsung seems dedicated to, I wouldn't expect them to be getting better at this.

    That's why, in my last upgrade (about a month ago) I went back, after 3 Samsung phones, to looking at LG and HTC, and bought the Nexus 4, which has met and exceeded expectations far. As delicious as the S3 and upcoming S4 sound, I'm not buying it. The Vibrant was also touted as a great phone. Reviewers clearly either get carefully selected handsets, or simply are very poor at testing phones.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: Not the first time

      The "Vibrant" is the name for T-Mobile's Galaxy S. And while I have no reason to doubt that some numbers of people had a problem, the one my wife has does NOT have any kind of GPS problem.

      Perhaps those thousands of people were holding it wrong?

      Or more likely, the problem is a lot more subtle than you suggest.

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