Thursday, February 4, 2016

SOLUTION: How to Remove the "Launch Quick Remote" Icon from Your Android Lock and Home Screens

My Samsung Galaxy S5 phone received a couple of software updates earlier this week, and beginning yesterday a mysterious new icon appeared on both my lock screen and my home screen...


The icon obscured anything beneath it, and if I tried to drag it out of the way my phone's screen would dim like it was covered by a gray transparent overlay. Once this happened I was also no longer able to touch the screen or use the phone's physical buttons. The only way I could regain use of my phone was to pop out the battery and then pop it back in and restart.

This is what the icon looked like:
Here's how it appeared on my lock screen.

And this is how it appeared on my home screen, with the "Launch Quick Remote" bubble.

I had never seen this icon before, it covered up stuff on my screen, and touching it rendered the phone useless. What in the *bleep* was going on? My web searches came up empty, but I ultimately figured out how to fix the problem. It appears that the recent software updates AT&T pushed to my phone this week included an app called Peel Smart Remote, which seems to be some kind of universal remote app for your phone. I've never used it before, and have no desire to start. My first thought was to simply remove the app. Unfortunately, that's not possible on my phone- it's apparently part of AT&T's bundled image for the S5. I was still able to get rid of the icon though. Here's how:

Regaining control over your phone:
  • My phone is an AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5 (Model number: SAMSUNG-SM-G900A) and it's currently running Android version 5.0 (Lollipop). With that model it's really easy to just pop off the back cover, pry out the battery, and then replace it and power the phone back on. Once the phone boots back up you should be able to use your screen and buttons to perform the steps in the next section.
  • If your phone doesn't have a replaceable battery that you can easily pop out, commenter BiggestU passed along this tip: "You can power off by simultaneously holding down the power button and the volume down button for at least 7 seconds. Wait a minute, then turn the power back on again." (I will add that when I did this the phone restarted automatically, instead of shutting down- but it definitely does the trick.)
  • Another commenter, Renay, suggests that there might be a way to regain control of your phone without restarting: "When the screen is stuck, briefly press Vol-up, Home, and Power together. It will give control back immediately."
Getting rid of the icon:
  1. Once you have control over your phone, open up the Settings app and locate the Application manager.
  2. Locate Peel Smart Remote in the list and tap it to open its info.
  3. You will probably find that the app cannot be uninstalled. However, you should be able to disable it. Press the Disable button.

  4. When you return to the list of apps you should now find that Peel Smart Remote is disabled. If you restart your phone now, you should no longer see the icon.

That's all there is to it. I'm still left with some lingering questions, though:
  • Why are Peel/Samsung/AT&T putting this dumb icon on my screen without telling me what the *bleep* it's for?
  • What purpose is this thing supposed to serve anyway when tapping it makes my phone unusable? 
In the App Age, where both documentation and customer support are but distant memories, we may never know...

76 comments:

Wolfgang said...

I have this exact issue today, except my Galaxy S6 doesn't have a removeable battery so I am stuck just waiting until it dies. I AM SO FRUSTRATED.

Gavin said...

Wolfgang, I've got a bit of a solution that only worked a few times for me. Lock your screen, double tap the home button to bring up the camera. Rotate the phone clockwise to rotate the camera and then try to tap the "settings" icon in the top right. It'll bring up a popup asking if you want to unlock your phone, and you can click ok.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Wolfgang - It's ridiculous, right? I sincerely don't understand- is the the app supposed to be temporarily bricking your phone when you touch the icon? (Like, what is the expected behavior of the thing?)

@Gavin - Good tip!

Phil Lawson said...

I've also got an S5, but on Verizon, for me the app has always been on the phone. It got an update this week. If you have the app configured for your remote then the icon brings up a tv remote. I agree the update was a bad thing for those of us who don't use it. You can also disable the icon by starting the app, going to settings, scroll down to widgets and disable the quick remote widget

-Phil

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Phil - There might be something different between the AT&T and Verizon builds. I had read about the widgets thing you mentioned, but on my phone all I saw was a long list of TV brands; there is no "widgets" option and no other apparent configurable settings. Or could it be because I have no Peel account? Before the list of TVs there is a "Sign In" option which I of course can't use. Here's a screenshot of what I see. Clicking the "More" button just brings up more TVs.

BiggestU said...

I have AT&T service and a Galaxy S6. My phone froze up today as well when the "Launch Quick Remote" icon (same as shown above) appeared on my screen. YOU CAN POWER OFF BY SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE POWER BUTTON AND THE VOLUME DOWN BUTTON FOR >7 SECONDS. Wait a minute, turn the power back on again, and follow the above instructions to disable the stupid Peel Smart Remote app.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@BiggestU - Great tip- I just added it to the post. Thanks!

Mike Galusha said...

I have an S6 on TMobile, this POS appeared on mine as well. I was able to force a reboot from the lock screen by holding down the volume down and power button as described by @BiggestU. I have thus far resisted rooting this phone but stuff like this is why I have done so with every other phone I've had. Really, WTF is wrong with the vendors who do this stuff.

Unknown said...

Just had the same thing happen to my Note 4,I am in the UK using EE so this is not just pushed out to AT&T customers. I have disabled it but it's taking the piss to push this app on ppl without telling them first, for ppl who never use it it's pointless.

eric rogers said...

Hold down power and volume down buttons at the same time for a few seconds to restart your phone

Kenzie Kepley said...

Will that delete anything on the phone?

Shannon Marciano said...

Thank you for posting this info. My husband and I were quite baffled. We followed your instructions and we're back in business. Thanks again!

Fabiana said...

Thanks so much! I held down the power and volume keys, and it worked!

Pam Dayney said...

What is this? Did the power down and back up. Trying to go into setting to change. Now phone says, "Retrieving Data". Bad, bad, bad thing this Quick Remote.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Kenzie - This procedure doesn't delete anything. It just tells your phone not to automatically start the Quick Remote icon app when you turn on your phone. You can even re-enable the app if you like... but I don't know who would want to do that. :)

@Pam - Where are you seeing the "Retrieving data" message? Is it in an app, or your phone's settings, etc?w

LadyBreed220 said...

Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information!
#VeryHelpful

Halo said...

If you don't have a removable battery follow the instructions from Note 2 (above) that will help you power off your phone. Then continue to follow the instructions that follow. My phone is an S6 and DOESN'T have removable battery. I did this and it worked. Thanks to the tip provided by BiggestU.

Halo said...

@BiggestU..it worked for me! I have Verizon Samsung Galaxy s6 Thanks!

maxbass said...

Scary, unwanted app.Thanks for identifying it! Did you read the "permissions"? Don't know anyone that would voluntarily consent to those.

maxbass said...

Scary, unwanted app.Thanks for identifying it! Did you read the "permissions"? Don't know anyone that would voluntarily consent to those.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@maxbass - You are right. That's a huge problem I have with the uninstallable apps that come preloaded on so many phones. By simply using your phone you've already "opted in" to using whatever garbage they put on there- and any app that requests permissions like access to your location or texts or contacts that doesn't have any end-user-beneficial reasons for using those abilities is probably mining that data for one reason or another.

Renay Jones said...

When the screen is stuck, briefly press Vol-up, Home, and Power together. It will give control back immediately.

bookerdale11 said...

This just happened to my S6. A simple restart as mentioned above worked just fine. No data lost or anything like that.

K-man said...

I want to thank you my wife is a on rogers but also had it installed and was very frustrating

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Renay - Thanks for the tip- added that one to the post as well.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for posting this !!!

Unknown said...

I popped out the SIM card and when I popped it back in it did a restart which cleared up the problem. I disabled the peel smart crap and all seems to be well.

Tracy Boaca said...

I popped out the SIM card and when I popped it back in it did a restart which cleared up the problem. I disabled the peel smart crap and all seems to be well.

Jennifer Murray said...

Thank you....I uninstalled the peel smart remote....it has been driving me crazy for 2 days! Yay

Unknown said...

Thank you for taking the time to tell your solution to this problem. It was causing my boyfriend to get pretty pissed about it freezing his phone anytime he would touch that remote icon. This information was spot on and helpful! Much appreciated.

Victoria Ramirez said...

Thank you for taking the time to tell your solution to this problem. It was causing my boyfriend to get pretty pissed about it freezing his phone anytime he would touch that remote icon. This information was spot on and helpful! Much appreciated.

Jarrett Meek said...

Thank you!!!

Jarrett Meek said...

Thank you!!!

MarcG said...

I had the same frustrating experience - does anyone know what the actual point of it is? If Samsung allows things like this, it makes me think that next time I should buy an iPhone... never thought I'd say that, but the experience was rather unpleasant - especially not being able to remove the battery, or being shown how to reboot the phone.

Unknown said...

I also have an s6, being ignorant of that restart I thought of waiting for the battery to die as well but the problem clearer after about 30 min all by itself. Still, I didn't like having that annoying icon on my screen so I kept looking for a fix
Found it here, thankfully.

TheAngryYoungMan said...

I had this exact same issue today with my Verizon S5. The Peel Smart remote has always been on the phone. It came pre-loaded. It was only a recent update that caused it to start doing this. But I was able to use this procedure to disable the app and regain control of my phone. Thanks.

Kimberley Stagg said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!So far this works, but I have a question. When I went to disable it, a window opens that states, "Disabling built-in apps, may cause errors in other apps." Has anyone experienced any other issues with other apps once Peel Smart Remote is disabled?

Gil Montano said...

We gained control back by plugging in the charger. We have verizon, not at&t.

Stacy Pearson said...

THANK YOU! Your complete directions here saved me hours standing in line at the phone store after my "update." -Stacy

Dave Holmes said...

I have this problem too. Such a crappy app. Fix this please Samsung and give us the right to uninstall any program we @#$£ing want to! Thanks.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Kimberley - My phone didn't ask me that, but it's just kind of a boilerplate question. The people who make apps like this Smart Remote thing pay millions of dollars to become built-in mandatory components of your Android build, so they naturally don't want you to shut them off. You're not going to be missing out on anything by disabling this app.

Unknown said...

Thanks very much for your advice about how to fix this annoying problem. I have a t-mobile S5. When I disabled the app it gave me the option to uninstall back to the previous version. I did that and then forced stop the app. Didn't even need to power cycle to get rid of the icon.

webpilot71 said...

The only thing I noticed is that my other apps and phone in general still works with the app disabled. I wouldn't worry about this. It's boiler plate anyway. And obviously someone failed big time with this app!

webpilot71 said...

The only thing I noticed is that my other apps and phone in general still works with the app disabled. I wouldn't worry about this. It's boiler plate anyway. And obviously someone failed big time with this app!

Unknown said...

Go to settings, applications, applications manager, all applications, scroll to peel smart remote, Un install updates. Doing this won't have a chance of messing up your other factory applications and other downloaded applications and you'll have full access to you phone again. (Galaxy S6)

lovett said...

Thanks to all contributors who responded to this problem. I didn't even know that I couldn't remove the battery on my s6. Saved me hours of aggravation. I'm was worried about losing data but the Uninstall did not affect other apps or data as far as I'm can tell.

JLynn said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
With your post I was able to fix the issue with my Samsung S6 Edge. (Verizon Wireless)

I was so frustrated, I accidentally hit the stupid icon and BOOM frozen screen AS I was trying to make an important phone call.
I would like to know and understand what this app is and why it was pushed to my phone and ultimately rendered my phone useless.
Poor Call Verizon!

Pen Aldis said...

Pen1
THANK YOU - INCREDIBLY HELPFUL ADVICE THAT WORKED STRAIGHT AWAY!

Frank Kownacki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Kownacki said...

THANKS! The Sprint repair store had no idea about this app or from where it came. On my Galaxy S6 I was able to Disable, Uninstall Updates, and Force Stop. After I restarted the app doesn't even appear in the app manager list. Google Play states that it is NOT compatible with my phone, which makes me wonder why it was forced upon me.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your post. If not for you I would not have found the right procedure for a solution that has had us all confused about what to do.

Tornado said...

I have the Galaxy S3 and went to the peel remote app in my playstore. I hit unintelligible and then unchecked the automatic update box which you can pull up by tapping on the 3 little dots in the top right hand corner. It is finally gone.

Tornado said...

Uninstall

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Tornado - You are lucky- most people I've heard from only have the "uninstall updates" and "disable" features available; they can't actually remove the app. Uninstalling the updates just bumps you back to a previous version of the app and doesn't protect you from future updates unless you go to the extra step of disabling future updates that you mentioned.

Question for you though: Where are those three dots you're talking about? (Like in what app?) I don't see anything like that in the Application Manager. And in Play Store I don't see an option to disable updates on Peel Smart Remote.

Nathaniel Free said...

FIXED IT!

Thank you.

F*** Peel Smart Remote.

I Am Cn said...

You don't need to pop-up your battery to control again your phone, you just need to tilt your phone landscape and it will disable it. To disable it permanently follow the instruction above.

r4vni said...

Thank you so much for this post. I was worrying it was some kind of virus or so. Why does Samsung feel we want this update forced upon us.

SimonPDean said...

Thank you so much for this. This is why I am counting the days (I cannot believe I'm saying this!) till my contract is up and I can switch back to an Iphone!

Maureen said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you!!

Teresa Wu said...

Thanks for the fix! I don't understand why touching an icon would brick my phone and render it useless. It's not even turning my S5 into a "remote", which is what I assume, it's suppose to be.

Josh Moore said...

@wolfgang hold lock button and volume down button at same time - will shut down phone allowing you to reboot. simplest "quick"fix" ive found.

cory martin said...

I had the issues, The instructions were of course awesome and I can use my phone again.

I have a co-worker that states;

"Must be an issue with fresh installs. Samsung used to have their own remote app, but dropped it for some reason last year. They recommended the Peel app, an I installed it back then myself. They must be trying to push it now since they no longer have a default app to use the ir blaster."

The app is generally a very highly rated app, NOT IN MY EXPERIENCE! :)


Here is what is suppose to do. However it being forced on my phone to mess it up is still a mystery.

Peel Smart Remote revolutionizes your home entertainment experience by combining universal remote control and live or streamed TV listings into one simple-to-use app. This is the only remote and TV guide you need.

Unknown said...

I really want to slap ATT and Samsung around for this.

Stevie Zenith said...

I have a sprint phone and it is doing the same thing, its not soley an ATT thing, but now that I've disabled it thanks to your instructions the remote icon is gone.
Thanks!

Raw Sugar said...

This stupid remote icon popped up on my phone and froze my phone rendering it useless....and during a CRITICAL work meeting. Ripped out the battery and finally disabled the app. THIS APP IS HORRIBLE and completely inexcusable that it takes over the phone. Samsung S5 with Verizon.

jetetour said...

Restarting by holding down the power and volume button was the only thing I could do. Whose stupid idea was this thing?

THE GRAY said...

@ Wolfgang, the same thing just happened to me and I have an S6. Try it, it works. My phone is now back operable.

Vanessa said...

This really makes me nervous that it can't be uninstalled. The solution I use when it pops up is a quick restart and it disappears. Thanks for the tip to disable. I have a note 4 on T-Mobile.

Vanessa said...

This really makes me nervous that it can't be uninstalled. The solution I use when it pops up is a quick restart and it disappears. Thanks for the tip to disable. I have a note 4 on T-Mobile.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for your post! Totally fixed the problem.

Bev Springer said...

Thank you for posting this fix. Had this problem for 2 weeks now with my phone locking off. This was a massive help ��

Michael Wenzel said...

Great post. Super helpful. Thanks.

AmyLK LK said...

OMG! THANK YOU! I thought I was crazy that this crap started showing up. Guess I'll have to update all my apps and then go through to disable the new AT&T stuff.

Christian Tobin said...

Good morning. I actually used the app yesterday because I ran out of batteries for my regular remote and didn't want to go into the rain to get new batteries. It worked fine and was convenient. However, it remains in my draw down notification screen. It isn't blocking anything. I just cannot swipe it to the right to get rid of it until I need it again. It isn't taking over my phone screen like others described. Is there anything I can do other than disable the entire app? I just don't want it running in my notification window all the time for no reason. I have Verizon service on my Galaxy Note 4. In advance, thanks for any insight.

Unknown said...

We actually misplaced our TV remote and the phone HEARD us discussing it. It put a highlighted message in the pull-down screen, "Someone trying to hide the remote? Psst, your phone is a remote too!". It didn't take over my screen, and I have disabled the app but WTF!? Our phones (and goodness knows who, via them) are listening to us. Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

Not just Samsung. It has appeared without invitation on my HTC One M8 and, likewise, I am unable to delete it. I am a UK EE subscriber. I have to accept with any phone that it will come preloaded with many apps that I don't use or need, but to push uninvited and unwanted additional apps on our phones, as opposed to updates to existing ones, is a bit of a liberty and disgrace. If I want an app, I either buy it or accept one of the many free apps. But at least I have a choice in the matter.