Please Help, I am ready to get rid of the Droid 4 for the iPhone - HAD IT!!!!!


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Jul 15, 2012
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Just purchased the Droid 4. Have had only 4 days. First thing out of box while on phone with Verizon Wireless to activate my account the back light on physical keyboard would go on /off in front of my eyes without me changing the lighting at all. Sitting on my knee with hands to side (not even toching the phone) went onoff wildly. Took 2 Tech people to direct me to the settings/dimmer/un-check auot dimmer. I DID THAT. Worked beautifully for 2 whole days. Even got 2 whole days (48hrs of a charge on it) so from what I was reading, I was happy. I loved the phone. THEN, went to bed the 3rd night, down to 20% battery so charged it over night (turned it off to charge). Got up next morning, 100% battery. About an hour into the morning rec'd a text, went to reply and noticed my keyboard was not lighting up? I remembered a thread from this forum (somewhere on the web) and it was recommended to go back into settings, quickly check and uncheck the auto dimmer again (kind of like to 'trick' it back)? Why we do this doesnt make much sense as it is not a button but a virutal setting. didnt work. Tried rebooting - 3 separate times, still didnt work. Tried uncheckint the auto dimmer, backing out to menu again, going back in and putting back to highest bright seeting with the auto box UNCHECKED..still no light.

Pushed the keyboarde in /out over and over - that didnt work. Went in to every other setting I could find relative to keyboard..language and settings, dimmer, time out, power.

Called tech service NUMEROUS times. Physically went to a Verizon Wireless Store - guy transferred all my contacts over from LG Envy, replaced cover and put a screen saver on..again, nothing worked. He held his finger over the sensor, the keyboard would light up but I didnt have the auto sensor checked at time so in my opinion it shouldnt matter. Verizon wireless clerk tried to tell me the backlight was only for when its dark. I explained to him then why is there a auto dimmer switch even there and it gives you the OPTION to select settings. I had mine turned off and on brightest setting. I informed him it worked round the clock for 48 hours until I booted it the night before. Couldnt answer.

Called MOTOROLLA. That was even more painful. Scripted customer service that spent more time trying to tell e what I wanted to hear then fixing the issue.

Told me I needed to do a factory reset after only having it for a couple days, despite the fact it worked fine the couple days before when I first unchecked the dimmer, he wanted me to remove everything? I told him no. Its gotta be some issue.

Now I believe that the sensor is acting "as if" I have the auto on. It is not registering the FACT I have the setting turned off and that i have brightness turned all the way up.

Now I have invested 2 whole days trying to resolve this. I have read others experiencing this but they say just change setting in auto dimmer, THAT IS NOT WORKING ANYMORE.

Now what do I do and why is this problem KNOWN in the DROID 2, still an issue in Droid 4?

why release a bug when it was known several modesl ago? I have read about this same exact issue in later models??? Why can't I find any info on this outside of changing the dimmer, well, what if I have done that??

I find it hard to believe I have the one phone that has a bug, so to return it for another Droid 4 seems like banging my head against the wall even more. I have called Tech Service both VW and Motorolla and checked these boards within REASON as I dont have time to be doing even this.

For me, I can digest the crappy camera that is totally fuzzy and horrid resolution..EXACTLY like my LG Evo????? I can take the crapware we have to deal with on these phones, but the one thing I really and ONLY wanted was the decent keyboard and now it is not working.

I was standing in my garage in total darkness and had the auto feature checked and it STILL would not turn on. So the concept of it working only when the light is there is not an argument at all. The keyboard light is not working correctly. The settings are not registering and I still have no light even in a DARK GARAGE where I could not see the keyboard at all.

Before I return this and NEVER purchase another Motorolla phone again, is there ANYONE out there that can help me fix this without having to go to another phone? I l ike the phone even without the decent camera but I will not be able to tolerate a phone that still has a known bug in it without a resolution that I can control at this junctior. If the backlight is someething I am asked to "live with" then I will live without this phone.
Wow, I am so sorry that you are having this kind of trouble. You are obviously very upset and frustrated, and for good reason. You'd expect that the phone would perform the same from day to day, and that as long as you haven't changed things it would continue at status quo.

You've brought up one very good point...the setting isn't a physical button, but is instead simply a virtual one which likely changes a register value somewhere in a memory location and that is all. On is 0, off is 1. It couldn't be simpler, however that is unfortunately not all that's involved. So many things can be in play here. Other apps can conflict settings you have made and it can be extremely difficult to isolate the cause. It would only take one other app to be the root cause.

May I suggest before you revert to either the Factory Data Reset (FDR), or to the other extreme...the jump to the iPhone, that you instead try a troubleshooting technique that can sometimes at least prove the phone itself, hardware and firmware, is not the cause? There is a feature called "Safe mode", which is very similar to it's so-named boot process for desktop PCs. It can be invaluable in isolating the cause of certain problems related to software conflicts and errant settings as it boots the phone with only factory-installed software activated and uses default settings for much of what is user-selectable.

Enable Safe mode

1. Power the device off. Press and hold the Power button then select Power off.
2. Slide the keyboard open.
3. Press and hold the OK key.
4. Press the Power button.
5. Continue to hold the OK key until Safe mode appears in the lower left.

Now with the phone in safe mode, try toggling the setting for the keyboard backlight and try it. Do some of the tests you described above and see if it functions normally. If it does, you almost certainly have a software conflict. If so, then proceed to step 6. If not, then it is most likely best to follow the recommendation to do an FDR.

6. While in Safe Mode, remove the most recently installed applications.
7. Power cycle the device then attempt to use the device.
8. If the device works properly, install applications one at a time to identify the application causing the problem.

Disable Safe mode

1. Power the device off. Press and hold the Power button then select Power off.
2. Power the device on. Press the Power button.

GOOD LUCK! Please let us know the results of your tests.


Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
Hello and welcome to the droid forums.. :) hopefully you'll get this straightened out. Good luck :)

I will definitly try your suggestion. I will post results when done. BTW, being that I have only had this phone 4 days, I have NOT installed any apps on it other than what comes with it. The only thing I did was adjust the volume (to highest setting on side), moved the Settings button to the main menu (instead of having to get to it 3 menus in), I also moved the camera icon to the top screen. I changed the time out to 2 min (in settings). That is ALL I have done. I have not downloaded anything, not created or edited any widgits. I have not gone on internet or do I even have my corporate mail on this yet.

Oh I forgot, in setting up the phone I did add a gmail account and I have all my contacts pointing to this. I had them going to Backup Asst but read that gmail was better because its more veritile. I also was told the phone should degault to both anyway so not sure if this is really a change but when it asks me on a contact I first chose Backup, now I choose Gmail.

and last change (but the light was not working BEFORE I did these changes so it can't be this), I had my contacts moved over from my LG Evo, and the tech while I was in store, put on the cover for me and the screensaver.

Actually when I walked in to the store my light was randomly working (after not working all day), then it started working ok but when he handed the phone back to me it was back to not working again. got it to work later that night, charged it, tis morning all over light.

So the only time it actually accepted the setting was the first day, second day,...then the last 2 days (to include today) nothing.

Anyway, I'll try your input but if it is an app I can't imagine it being something I did because I think I have just done basic formatting /setting changes. I have not downloaded or ran any known apps that I know of. I have accidentally turned on google, where I will see the search screen..but I remove it.
Foxcat, Ok, Im back, I had to step away from computer before performing the safe mode test, and now I am back ready to do this (now). However, I have a question before I do this. I read through your instructions again to be sure I do it right, and you mention if it is a "software" issue then step 2 would be remove recently installed software? Well, if you read my last input, what apps would that be? As far as I know everything "now" is in factory set install. I have not (to my knowledge) installed any other apps? What would an example of that be?

Again, here is what I have done since taking the phone out of box:
1. called Verizon Wireless tech support to activate the phone;
2. Read off to them numbers of the Sim card and one other ID that came with phone (long 999 number on box);
3. Went through the on screen activation perform, turned phone on..blah blah
4. Phone confirmed activated. Congrats.
5. Chose Gmail account (created this), set time, English language, etc.
6. After 2 phone calls. spoke with the lady knoweldgable enough to tell me to change setting under Settings/Display/Brighntess - un-checked the box where it listed Auto Dimmer. Moved the dimmer setting to farthest right (brightest setting). Hit ok.
7. Changed the Time Out setting to 2min.
8. Adjusted volume to max. (did this earlier but changed a couple times as my fingers kept adjusting these without my choice, until I got used to holding it without pressing the volume manual keys on side). Adjusted the soft volume control too (if it matters);
9. Pressed and held the texting, contacts, and settings icons so they would appear on my HOME page. All this does is move them up a few pages from the menu pages so they appear on main screen (so I dont have to go search for them). ;
10. Added about 4 contacts. As stated above, the first time I did this I chose B/up asst to store against. Then stored a few using Gmail.
11. Went in and set Gmail account in the Preferences setting to be my primary storage for all apps, contacts, etc. (there is a setting to choose where you want your contacts to go,e tc.). It still asks me this when I add a contact but I always choose my initial gmail account.

I think that is it. I may have inadvertently clicked on google and a couple apps but when it said "click ok to activate" or "decline" and realized it was an activation I backed out. In other words I am not ready to actually start using "APPS" yet so I didnt download anything that wasnt relative to basic phone choices (phone, texting, contacts). I checked out camera a couple times, but didnt download anything, just shot a couple photos. They are on my phone as I dont have a SD card.

I think that is it.

SO, what would a safe mode do for me anyway if I have no other apps stored?

Please confirm if you still feel I should do this.

I must tell you that randomly my keyboard is working again (as we speak). This happened yesterday too. Went all day without the light. Then late in afternoon it started working. Today I turned if off (powered off) atleast 4 times. I checked /un-checked the display/brightness dimmer over about 4 times. That is all I have done. Now for some unknown reason it is working when I go to text.

I have tried it 3 x and it is on and seems fine.

But it was fine late yesterday too. I have not done anything more.

My fear is when I re-charge or turn this off again the whole no light will again be an issue for several hours then "whalla" it works???
Well, if you've never installed anything and only changed user-selectable settings, then it's not likely that Safe Mode will resolve or identify the cause. Still, it's the last line of defense before an FDR, so since it's completely reversible and does allow full use of the phone while in that mode, it's worth the try. Stranger things have happened.

Please keep us informed, and let's get this phone working properly for you. I can assure you that you are in good hands here. We have a TREMENDOUSLY knowledgeable membership here, and they live for solving problems, they LOVE their Android phones, and specifically for the Motorola owners, they are VERY attached to them and will go to tremendous lengths to both get them working properly and also to prove they are the best of the best.

I am not interested in getting anyone upset by saying one phone is better than another, so I will leave it at that. Still, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to use the phone's features as they were manufactured and advertised to do. There has to be a solution to this and I will do what I can to assist, and will do research to see if there's any known workarounds.

Good luck! :biggrin:
Thank you Foxcat, I have to pick your brain then..because maybe "timing" can help us troubleshoot, my light started working again shortly before I typed this thread (about an hour ago?). I figured it was another short "stint" like it has done over and over today..then go back out mid typing or only last a minute. Well, I just had lunch, came back to do your factory reset and my daughter texted me. I was able to do 3 complete texts with the light in perfect order (NOW). Again, this happened yesterday. Went all day off (random 30second periods it would "flash" but nothing to stick) and then around 9p last night..about 3 reboots after they moved my contacts over and put the cover started STAYING on. Unfortunately, had to do another charge this morning as was down to no battery and that is when ALL day today until right before this thread it started working again? Only thing I have done is turn off/on..powered down atleast 5 separate times today, wiped the sensor with a towel..checked and unchecked the display/brightness setting for the unteenth time (too many times to count today)..but did it again..and now it is working?

What could it be? Should I still do the safe mde? Would that help now that it is working (now)? I just want it to STAY on next charge and next time I have to reboot? Or atleast a quick fix so I dont go several hours with no back light only to get it "randomly" to stay on late in day?
Foxcat, Ok, Im back, I had to step away from computer before performing the safe mode test, and now I am back ready to do this (now). However, I have a question before I do this. I read through your instructions again to be sure I do it right, and you mention if it is a "software" issue then step 2 would be remove recently installed software?

Let's clarify. Safe Mode will not Uninstall anything. What it does do is avoid the process that starts any user-installed applications from loading and running any background services, prevents any user-installed applications from running, and prevents any user-installed widgets from starting. In other words, the phone should look ALMOST like it did from the factory immediately after the activation. Also, it removes (temporarily) all user-installed application shortcuts from the App Tray (middle button on the screen), so even if you wanted to run anything back there, you couldn't.

What it doesn't do, is remove from the home screen any application shortcuts. It also doesn't prevent you from running any applications that have shortcuts (icons) on the home screen, so if there is anything you NEED to be able to use while in Safe Mode, first make sure you've added it to the home screen.

Otherwise, the phone should function completely normally.

Your description of the intermittent problems still, sound to me more like a hardware failure than soft or firmware. My technical background says when you have something that's intermittent, it's usually mechanical rather than otherwise. If this continues and it's not proven to be a soft/firmware problem, I'd opt for taking advantage of your 14-day hassle-free replacement policy from Verizon and get a BRAND NEW D4 to replace it (FOR FREE).

Again, best of luck and keep us in formed.

Thank you so much for all your time and great advice. One last comment and I will defnitly do as you suggested if it still happens. Since my keyboard ight is working now but only just started working steadily do you think it would be good to do the safe mode (anyway) as maybe just maybe the brightness setting some how freakily got mis set behind the scenes in a reboot and although I have repeatedly rebooted since it needs a safe mode get it to stick.

In other words, if the keyboard dimmer starts working again perfect after I do the safe mode and STAYS that way even after a reboot, then would it make sense to say that the safe mode is a good alternative fix for getting that dimmer setting to "un stick" ? Others were saying on forums they would just check the box then uncheck or hit the sleeper button a couple times and that would work for them, but that is not working for me. but maybe the safe mode would. Since I dont have any apps and only am using my home screen right now it would not hurt me at all. the only reason I would not want to do it is my keyboard is actually working now and hate to have it go out again once I do the safe mode for another 8 hours. BUT, I guess it would tell me one way or the other if I want to hold my breath with this phone or just get rid of it.
I'll say this, Safe Mode is something you can use ANYTIME, and it was designed into the system to be completely reversible, so why not try it. If this is an issue of the setting getting "stuck", it may be as a result of a deep-level system bug that prevents the system from "seeing" the change, except only at certain times or if you "happen" to catch the right moment. This can be related to interrupts, opportunities that are set aside in the CPU cycles to allow applications or settings to "jump in line" and be processed. If they aren't in line when the processor says "Next", then they don't get handled. An analogy is going to the meat counter and not pulling the number off the dispenser. You stand there waiting, but the butcher doesn't know what place in line you are, or even if you've been helped or want help. So the number you pull, is a place-holder, an "interrupt" if you will for the butcher to recognize you are waiting for the next opportunity to be served. This is something you and I can't fix and will likely be addressed in future updates.

Keep the faith. It's a great phone and you will love it, once it works as you expect.

Good luck! :biggrin:
Fox cat, I respect you took the time to stay with me on this despite the fact how annoying my issue is and how unrelated it is to you. I appreciate you trying with me.
BTW, i do love the phone but I realize I love the backlight to the keyboard the very best. If I can't find a solution I will nt keep it beyond the 14 days. What I am going to do is next time I reboot or when it goes out again consistently despite how much I reset the dimmer switch, I will do the safe mode, close out then reopen the phone. I dont have any apps to get rid of so not sure what I could do other than open in safe mode, close it the reopen normally and hope the setting just STICKS for Goodness sakes. This is what I hope. Gee, what is going to happen when I do download apps. ugh
Foxcat, one more question, sorry, you mentioned "Powercycle your device" in Safemode. What does that mean? Does it mean power off, wait 30 seconds then cme back on (that is a power cycle)?

Also, I thought powering off would exit safe mode or is there a button or another press/hold thing I need to do to exit safe mode? Your instructios ask me to power off then back on "in safe mode" so I assume then to exit safe mode you have to press a button or do something outside of powering off? How do I exit safe mode before a power off and after?
BTW, I just had an epiphony...the "power cycle" is a known issue with Droids (just googled it to find out what it means). Found multiple "issues" with the droids powering off for no reason. Ok, Now I stated my keyboard light was working fine straight out of the box once I un-checked the display/brightness setting not auto. It only started not working yesterday morning, AFTER my 2nd day recharge. I also read recently that the "manual" which I dont have was quoted as it recommends you turn your phone off the first 2 charges (interesting that my phone worked fine the first 2 charges), it was the 3rd charge it didnt. And every since it works only hours after the initial re-start (power cycle). Not only this, LAST NIGHT, when i put the power cord in it to recharge it, I touched the cord again to be sure it was charging..then I put my finger on the face of the phone to be sure it was turned off).. I DID power it off and the screen was black. but at first it gave me the symbol of 20% charging, etc. then went black. When I touched the screen again it POWERED ON BY ITSELF during a charge when it was powered off WITHOUT ME TOUCHING THE POWER BUTTON. This to me, is similar to a power cycle. I physically turned it off but the phone while charging in the first few minutes turned back on by itself? It didnt do it again when i turned it off the second time but wondering if this has something to do with why my keyboard light doesnt work now?

I think it is connected to the full (powering on/off). As that was when I first saw the problem. The first time I charged was fine with the setting the next day but that was day one out of the box (not fully charged yet). The second charge was the seconf full charge over night with the phone off..didnt notice any issues the next day. It even went 2 full days after that not needing a charge. The 3rd charge was when the next morning it would not work and since thereafter.

Just another thought to troubleshoot. Not sure if it helps but it is definitly related to the reboot (powering off), related to turning back on. I also think it is what you said about the UI not feeding the "interrupts" well, not recognizing the code change of the setting,e tc. So this is a problem in many facets and honestly can't believe that getting another Droid 4 will make a difference. Not when we have several people out there complaining about power surges, and now I have the continued keyboard light issue despite the fact this is already a brand new droid 4.
No, I would have to say that how you charge should have nothing to do with the problems you are experiencing.

As for leaving Safe Mode, it's done with a "reboot", also called "power cycling". You can do a battery pull, or you can press and hold Power, then select "Power off" from the menu. Once powered off, if you power up normally, you will be back to normal boot mode.