10 Ways to Fix Freezing Issue on Galaxy S21, S21 , S21 Ultra

10 Ways to Fix Freezing Issue on Galaxy S21, S21+, S21 Ultra

You’re in the middle of a ranked match, or a boss fight in your favourite mobile game (Genshin Impact, anyone?) when suddenly, you experience a freezing issue on your Galaxy S21, S21+, or S22 Ultra phone. Dang, why this of all times, right?

We’ve all been there. Thankfully there are several fixes you can try to never endure this situation again. We’ll take you through these fixes and also answer why a mobile phone could freeze up, so read on.

1. Close apps running in the background.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps2
Time to perform fix5 seconds
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

The Galaxy S21 series phones could have a minimum of 8GB of Random Access Memory (RAM). 

It should be enough for hassle-free device operations, but freezing can occur if the device is used for gaming and other memory-intensive tasks. In addition to foreground apps, a massive chunk of RAM can be eaten up by apps running in the background. 

Thankfully, it’s effortless to close these apps and free up RAM.

Here’s how to close background apps:

Step 1: On your phone’s home screen, tap the Recents icon ( ||| ) at the Navigation bar. Your recent and running apps will appear in the form of cards.

Step 2: You can flick each app’s card up one by one to close them, but the fastest way is to Select Close all to end all running apps in that menu.

Once all running apps are closed, your phone will function smoothly and (hopefully) stop freezing up. 

If the problem still persists, you can try the rest of our tips, or get a new device with a higher amount of RAM.

2. Force restart your device.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps2
Time Needed10-30 seconds
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

A totally frozen screen is such a pain in the neck—we control our devices mainly with the touch screen, after all, so losing this mode of control can be scary for the inexperienced. Don’t panic since here’s where your phone’s physical buttons can help.

This move is sometimes also called a “hard reset.”

Here’s how you do a force restart on a Galaxy S21 series phone:

Step 1: Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons together until your Galaxy phone’s screen blacks out.

Step 2: Wait for the phone to reboot all by itself.

Tinker with your phone a bit after the restart. If it’s still relatively slow or freezes occasionally, you might need to try the other tips on this list.

3. Reset all settings.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix10-30 seconds

Resetting all settings is a procedure that deletes a phone’s network and security settings without deleting your phone’s data. A reset of all settings will also delete all other configurations accumulated throughout the device’s usage until that point.

Any settings that could’ve been interfering with the system functions and freezing up your phone should be reset and ironed out.

Here’s how to reset your Galaxy S21’s settings:

Step 1: Go to your phone’s Settings app and tap General management to see its sub-menu.

Step 2: Tap Reset and choose what type of reset you’ll do. You can select Reset all settings for a phone that keeps freezing.


Step 3: The phone will ask you to confirm the action, so tap Reset [1]. A toast will appear at the bottom of the screen saying that the phone will restart [2]; just let your phone do the rest of the work and wait for the restart to finish.

The downside of resetting all settings is that you must reconnect to wireless connections and re-toggle other phone settings relevant to your usage. However, we think that’s just a small price to pay for getting rid of phone freezes.

4. Update all apps.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix30 seconds – a few minutes
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

Sometimes, a frozen app or screen is caused by bugs in the apps you use. Good thing most app developers consistently put out patches or updates that can fix app problems.

It’s best to use the latest version of any app to minimise the risk of experiencing app or screen freezing again.

Here’s how you can update all of your apps at the same time:

Step 1: Open the Google Play Store app from your home screen or app drawer.

Step 2: Look for the hamburger icon ( ) at the upper left corner of the Play Store and tap it to open your Play Store account menu. Then select My apps & games.

Step 3: Check for any pending updates for your device. If there are any, tap Update all to download and install.

If your phone still freezes after app updates, you should also update the most critical part of your device. Check out the following tip for that.

5. Do a software update.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix10 seconds – 30 minutes
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

As we’ve mentioned a while back, maintaining your Galaxy S21 series device apps is crucial in a smooth, freeze-free experience. Similarly, updating the phone’s entire device software should guarantee the best performance. 

We recommend updating your device with the latest software to fix freezing and potential issues. 

Samsung constantly releases updates that can enhance your user experience by adding new features and fixing any bugs that have been identified. The Galaxy S21 will receive up to four major software updates and security patches for five years.

Updating your device software is easy with these steps:

REMINDER: Your phone should have enough battery power. It’s best to plug in while undergoing the update.

Here are the steps to check and update your device’s software:

Step 1: Go to your phone Settings and tap Software update.

Step 2: Select Download and install to make your device load any available updates. 

Step 3: Install the downloaded software update immediately (tap Install now), or schedule the installation for a better time (Schedule install). Visual guides about the ongoing device software installation will show on the lower part of your screen.

6. Delete unused or unimportant files.

RAM isn’t the only part of your phone’s insides you should check when troubleshooting freezing issues in the Galaxy S21 or any other phone. 

It’s also vital to ensure you don’t fill up the entirety of your phone storage. It’s where device software, apps, and other files are stored. 

When device storage is almost or completely filled out, software and programs run slower and become unresponsive. We recommend not letting your free storage go below 3GB for a smooth experience.

You can free up storage space with any of the methods below.

Here’s how to uninstall unused apps:

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix5-10 seconds
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

Uninstalling apps you’re not using is one great way to free up phone storage and avoid apps freezing or crashing. 

Do it the easiest way with this method:

Step 1: Choose the app you want to uninstall (for this example, we’ll pick the Smart Tutor app). Long press on the app icon.

Step 2: Once a popup appears, select Uninstall.

Step 3: Tap OK to confirm the uninstall. Once completed, a toast notification will appear on the screen’s bottom part.

Here’s how to delete unimportant files:

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps6
Time to perform fix30 seconds – a few minutes
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

The usual types of files that take up much storage space are photos and videos. Thus, you must delete these to save storage regularly and have a smoother phone UI.

Here’s how to delete unused or unimportant files via Samsung My Files:

Step 1: Open the My Files app and select Internal storage.

Step 2: Choose the folder where the files to delete are to enter its directory.

Step 3: Hold and press on a file until radio buttons (circles) appear on the left side of the screen [1]. Select the files to remove individually, then tap Delete below [2].

Step 4: Tap Move to Recycle bin or Trash to confirm. Moving files to trash is similar to how it is in your computer—it doesn’t entirely delete the files from storage, so you’ll need to do additional steps.

Step 5: Go back to the Internal storage directory and tap the kebab () menu at the upper right corner of the screen—it should lead to a popup of options, including that for the trash. Select Trash to enter that folder.

Step 6: Select Empty to clear the entire Trash folder and fully clear storage.

Note: You can disable moving deleted files to the Trash folder to bypass steps 5 and 6. Open the kebab menu in the My Files leading directory, tap Settings, and toggle Trash to OFF.

7. Wipe the cache partition via Recovery mode.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps5
Time to perform fix20-30 seconds
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

As you use your Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra device, it’s common for it to accumulate a lot of extra files in its cache. These files can slow down your device’s performance (or worse, lead to a frozen phone). 

Since the cache takes up valuable storage space, making it is essential to clear them out regularly to keep your device in the best shape.

Clearing your device’s system cache is a simple process that can be done quickly and easily like this:

Step 1: Turn off your device. To do this, press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons together, and then tap the Power off option on the subsequent two screens.

Step 2: After your device turns off, boot it into recovery mode. To do this, press and hold the Power and Volume Up buttons until the Android Recovery menu appears (the screen looks like you’re coding, but don’t be scared).

Step 3: In recovery mode, use the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons to reach the option that says Wipe cache partition. You can select this option with the Power button.

Step 4: Use the Volume Down button to select the YES option, then press the Power button to confirm it. The cache wipe process will then run at the bottom half of the screen.

Step 5: Your device will return to the main Recovery menu once the cache wipe finishes; the selector will be on Reboot system now. Press the Power button to restart your Galaxy S21 phone.

Based on an in-house survey, most of the TechJive team wipes their device cache partitions once a month. You can follow this schedule, too!

8. Repair apps via Recovery mode.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps3
Time to perform fix5-10 minutes
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

Another nifty process one can find in the Android Recovery mode menu is Repair apps. Running this feature will make the phone optimise (or re-optimise) all of your currently installed apps, just like how the phone does when you’ve installed a software update.

The process is very straightforward: 

Step 1: Turn off your Galaxy S21 phone and access the Android Recovery menu by pressing the Power and Volume Up buttons together until you see a code-like menu.

Step 2: Look for Repair apps on the list of available commands, and navigate to it using the volume buttons.

Step 3: Initiate the command by pressing the Power button. Wait for the phone to finish optimising your apps and reboots.

The difference between repairing apps versus wiping the cache partition is that you can repair your apps as often as needed. Each instance of repairing might take shorter or longer depending on the number of apps to optimise.

9. Reboot to Safe mode to find and remove offending apps.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps4 (or 5)
Time to perform fix10 seconds – a few minutes
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

If you’re experiencing frequent app crashes or freezing of your phone, it could be due to apps interfering with your phone’s software. One option to address the issue is to boot your phone in Safe Mode, which helps you identify the offending app.

However, this method will be most effective in knowing if any apps you’ve recently installed are the problem.

Here’s how to boot your phone in Safe mode and pinpoint apps you should remove:

Step 1: Access the power options by tapping the Power button in the quick settings panel. Press and hold the Power off option until you see the Safe mode option.

Step 2: Tap Safe mode and let your phone restart. You’ll know you’re in Safe mode when you see the words “Safe mode” in the lower-left corner of your screen and third-party apps and widgets are greyed out or unavailable.

Step 3: Use your phone for a bit. Observe if it’s now functioning better than in normal mode; if it isn’t, then the apps must not be the issue.
Step 4: [OPTIONAL] If your phone ends up better in Safe mode, you can remove the apps you think are making your device freeze. Just tap and hold the app icon to open a popup, and select Uninstall.
Step 5: Get out of Safe mode by restarting your phone.

10. Perform a factory data reset.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps5
Time to perform fix10-20 minutes
Things neededSamsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra

Since a freezing issue on the Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra is most of the time a software issue, the ultimate move you can try to fix this issue is doing a factory reset. 

Doing so deletes all data and files on the device and reverts the software to its out-of-the-box state.

REMINDER: Back up your phone’s data to quickly restore it after the reset, and make sure to have enough battery before starting the procedure. 

Here’s how to factory reset your phone:

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your Galaxy S21 series device, swipe up a little bit, and tap General management.

Step 2: Tap Reset to see the multiple methods available for resetting your phone. Select Factory data reset for a complete software reset and deletion of files.

Step 3: You’ll be notified of the data types for deletion in the factory reset. Tap Reset and confirm your action with your passcode or phone pattern.

Step 4: Finally, tap Delete all and let your phone finish the rest of the reset process.

Now that you’ve done a factory reset, the programs and files that could’ve been messing with your phone and freezing it should also be deleted.

However, if this doesn’t work, it might be time to consider the presence of issues or damage on the hardware—you’ll need to send your phone to a maintenance specialist.

Why does my Samsung phone keep freezing?

Some hardware or software reasons could be why your Samsung phone keeps freezing. These include faulty internal phone parts, incompatible apps, non-updated apps or device software, or a RAM or memory storage shortage.

Why is my Samsung phone lagging after an update? 

Samsung regularly rolls out software updates to improve device security and performance. However, sometimes it feels like your phone got slower instead of enhancing its speed after an update.

Freezing after an update happens pretty commonly, so don’t worry.

Lagging in a newly-updated Samsung phone occurs because it’s still ironing out its functions after installing updates. As you continue using your phone, things will begin to feel normal.

Wrapping Up

Experiencing a screen freeze on your phone occasionally is normal. Having it quite frequently is a definite cause for concern.

Most of the time, the Galaxy S21 series devices’ freezing is due to software issues, so we hope these fixes will help you troubleshoot your device.

FAQs on Freezing Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Phones

What to do when my Samsung S21 Ultra freezes?

The best thing to do when your Samsung S21 Ultra freezes is to do a forced restart. Do this by pressing both the Volume Down and Power buttons until the device screen blacks out, then wait for the phone to reboot.

Why does my S21 Ultra keep freezing?

Your S21 Ultra might freeze because of a hardware or software problem. Most of the time, it’s the software, so it’s best to restart your phone or clean up its internal storage of unused files.

How do I fix my Samsung phone from freezing?

One of the best ways to fix your Samsung phone from freezing issues is to force restart it. You can also update its software and apps and free up memory by deleting cache contents and unused files and apps.

Can freezing damage your phone?

Putting your phone in the freezer to try and cool it down can cause damage. The sudden temperature change can form condensation inside the device, seriously damaging the board and other internal parts.

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