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."
- Once you have control over your phone, open up the Settings app and locate the Application manager.
- Locate Peel Smart Remote in the list and tap it to open its info.
- You will probably find that the app cannot be uninstalled. However, you should be able to disable it. Press the Disable button.
- 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.
- 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?