10 troublesome Moto G4 problems, and what to do about them

Motorola Moto G4 Plus
Kyle Wiggers/Digital Trends

At the budget end of the Android market, the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus reign supreme. These are great Android smartphones with big displays, good cameras, and decent battery life. We think the G4 Plus is worth the extra $50, but neither of these smartphones is flawless. We’ve been trawling through user forums and comment sections gathering some common Moto G4 problems and trying to find solutions, or at least workarounds.

The two phones have almost identical innards, so it’s no surprise that the Moto G4 Plus is suffering from many of the same issues. This troubleshooting guide covers both phones, as does our Moto G4 tips and tricks.

Problems with freezing, camera, SIM detection, and more

Problem: Freezing or restarting by itself

Quite a few people have been experiencing freezes or unexpected reboots, seemingly at random. A couple of our readers asked about this issue, and you can find a discussion of it at the Lenovo forum. Though some report that low battery seems to be a factor. It’s unlikely there’s one cause for this, but there are some troubleshooting steps you can try working through.

Potential solutions:

  • Because it’s quick and easy to do with no potential downside, we recommend wiping the cache partition first. Turn your phone off. Press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons until the Moto G4 starts up. Use Volume down to highlight Recovery mode and press Power to select it. You should see the Android mascot on screen. Hold down the Power button and tap Volume up once, then release the Power Use the volume buttons to highlight wipe cache partition and press the Power button to select it. When done, use the Power button to select Reboot system now.
  • If you find that the problem returns, then it’s time to test safe mode and see if a third-party app that you’ve installed might be causing the issue. Press the Power key, then tap and hold on Power off, and then tap OK when Reboot to safe mode The Moto G4 will reboot and you should see Safe Mode in the bottom-left corner. If the problem is gone in safe mode, then a third-party app is the culprit. Now, you just have to uninstall apps one by one and test until you find it. You can simply restart your phone to get out of safe mode.
  • If that didn’t work either, then it’s time to contact Lenovo and ask about a repair.

Glitch: Camera error

We’ve seen a lot of complaints from Moto G4 and G4 Plus owners about the camera failing. Here’s a Lenovo forum post about this glitch. A lot of people are seeing the message “Camera Error, Please restart camera.” You might also get the “Camera has stopped” message.

Potential solutions:

  • The first thing you should try is go to Settings > Apps and find the Camera app, then tap Force stop and tap Clear cache in Storage. Hold down the Power button and tap Power off, then use Power to turn your phone back on and see if the camera works properly.
  • If it still doesn’t work, then there’s a good chance that a third-party app is to blame. You can test by going into safe mode — hold the Power key, then tap and hold on Power off, and then tap OK when Reboot to safe mode Your phone will reboot and you should see Safe Mode in the bottom-left corner. If the camera works, then an app you’ve installed is causing the problem. Consider uninstalling any app that uses the camera first, including flashlight apps that use the camera flash, then restart your phone and test again.
  • If your camera still doesn’t work in safe mode, then it’s time to contact Lenovo and ask about a repair or replacement.

Issue: Can’t download apps from Play Store

If you find that you’re unable to download apps, games, or updates from the Google Play Store, then you’re not alone. Here’s a Lenovo forum post about this issue, and here’s what to do:

Potential solutions:

  • This may be related to the Android Nougat update. It seems that downloads from the Play Store might be blocked if you’re roaming using mobile data. If that’s the case for you, then the only option right now is to connect to Wi-Fi.
  • If that doesn’t seem to be your problem, then go to Settings > Apps and find Google Play Store, then tap Force stop and go into Storage and tap Clear cache.

Problem: Screen burn in

Sadly, quite a few people are suffering from image retention or screen burn-in on the Moto G4 or G4 Plus. They are seeing a faint shadow of previous menus or apps still on screen when they move to something else. Here’s a Lenovo forum post and another post at XDA Developers about this problem.

Workarounds:

  • Turn your screen brightness down and reduce your screen timeout. You can do both via Settings > Display and then Brightness level and Sleep.

Potential solutions:

  • You could try an app like Screen Burn-in Tool and see if it helps. A few people report that it has helped them.
  • Back up everything and try a factory reset via Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset.
  • If you do a factory reset and problem persists then it’s time to contact Lenovo.

Issue: Can’t detect SIM or signal loss

It seems to be quite common for Moto G4 or G4 Plus owners to run into trouble with SIM detection. In some cases, the SIM card can’t be detected at all and in others, it’s unreliable leading to signal loss and data drop outs. You can find a discussion of this issue at the Lenovo forum.

Potential solutions:

  • Press and hold the Power button down for ten seconds until your phone restarts.
  • If you cut down your SIM to fit the Moto G4 or G4 Plus, then you need to get a new one. Trimmed down SIM cards can definitely cause issues.
  • It’s worth turning your phone off, removing the SIM and inspecting it. Test it in another device, if you can, and see if it works there, just to make sure there’s nothing wrong with it.
  • If you haven’t used the SIM before, then check with your carrier that it has been activated or authorized.
  • Back up everything and try a factory reset via Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset.
  • If it still doesn’t work, then you need to contact your retailer, carrier, or Lenovo and ask about a repair.
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