[Update: May Simply Be Faulty USB Cable) Updated Galaxy Nexus Shows Major Bug That Makes Phone Unusable When Plugged in via USB [video]


We’re really not too sure what to make of this but one of our readers slipped us this video that shows some weirdness going on with his Galaxy Nexus. You can see that screen touches are not being registered correctly, the camera is on a never-ending snapping spree and upon exiting the camera the gallery rolls through all those photos on its own.

Their messaging app also starts up on its own and produces a series of keystrokes without the user even touching the keyboard. He says that the phone only begins acting this way whenever he plugs it in via USB.

We’re not sure what’s going on here, nor are we sure which update he’s working with, but it looks worrisome nevertheless. We’ll be in touch with Samsung and Google to see if they know anything about this. What do you guys think? Video’s above. [Thanks Yusuf!]

[Update]: We’re hearing consistent reports that this only happens with faulty USB cables which have a problem with wiring or grounding. Some are saying this can be easily avoided  by simply using another cable. The software may not be an issue after all here. If you see this at any point in your usage of the phone try a new or a different cable and see if it remedies the issue.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Would be the first person to report this…Maybe a isolated phone.

    1. After I saw this video I plugged my Gnex to the USB charger and then to my PC and thankfully all is well my mine. Also I’m using my charger from my Nexus S, the one it came with was for Europe.

  2. My Thunderbolt does that! Only with certain USB cords, though..

  3. Carrier IQ decided to show everyone what it is really doing.

  4. haha hilarious.  I cant wait to plug mine in to usb on friday just to watch the show!

    1. Tell us how that goes, mine works fine.

  5. This must be an isolated thing right? Probably a defective handset?  Else it would be all over the place by now i’d assume.

    1. Yeah all good here.


      1. I love that link.

  7. HAHA, oh man I guess that means more waiting!

  8. It’s a bad usb cord.  Used to happen when I used cheap China cords on my DInc.  Same exact thing.

    1. I had a very similar experience with a cheap charger I bought for my Eris.  It did some strange stuff.

    2. same here.  on multiple devices.  poor power regulation = screen input goes wild

      1. yeah i have this now on my droid x when i use the china obtained cords.

    3. THIS. I used to have a super long cord (1.6m) that I picked up for $4 at a electronics shop and it used to happen to me all the time. I didn’t care as it was my charging cable at night for my OG Droid (with the screen off the issue is moot) but that cable the end got run smashed in my sidetable, and I bought a new one for $15 and it was significantly thicker and it had a ferrite bead on the end of it.

      No issues since changing.

    4. Agree, had the same thing on my Desire when I used the USB cable that came with a 3rd party dock.

    5. same on my OG inc. only happened to me with cheap chargers. 

  9. Haha, queue the Verizon delay until after xmas.  And we were so close!!

  10. I thought they said that Nexus devices don’t have that demonizing carrier IQ?

  11. it’s acting as if it’s hitting the screen in that one spot over and over.. it’s not a camera issue, gallery issue, messaging issue… i’ve seen very similar behavior when I get my screen wet, or sometimes even moisture..

  12. could it just be related to the single phone?  seems that its the only posting of hundreds of phones already released…interesting non the less

  13. OMG! This looks horrible! :(

  14. I think we’d need to see more evidence before assuming it’s a wide-spread bug…also, since we don’t know which build he is using…

  15. I had a very similar problem with my Original Galaxy S. I found that it was only when I used a certain charger or cable that it happened though.  The screen became super weird with the touch working very strangely. 

    1. Same thing on my Epic. bad charger and the phone acted like it had gremlins in it.

      1. my dad got some cheap USB wall plug adapter, when my mums wildfire was plugged into it the touch screen couldn’t be used and when my dads desire HD was plugged into it, it was making random phone calls at 2am in the morning.. it only happened when it was plugged into that charger.

      2. It might be Samsung-related because the exact same thing happens to me while charging my Epic 4G Touch through the included USB and wall charger.

    2. Agreed, i got some cheap best buy microUSB charger and my OG Droid’s screen has big time input issues.  Definitely the charger and not the phone…  The guy is straight trollin’

    3. Similar problem happened to my buddies Droid 2.  A proper charger fixed it.

    4. I plugged my Galaxy SIII into a after market USB charger and it incinerated it.  SUCKS cause I really wanted to post pictures of the future device here on phandroid.com. :(  Oh well guess you guys will just have to take my word for it. 

      1. Ha! This is the post of the day!! Hilarious… Galaxy SIII
        Well done, Ian. Well done

  16. MY OG Droid does the same thing.  I had to drop it in the toilet to get those results though.

  17. Damn it man, hopefully this is not too serious. I cant deal with the release being pushed back any further.

    Well looks like its a UK phone so hopefully this has nothing to do with ours.

  18. This happens to most of my phones when i use a cable connected to a battery charger. i just have to use the OEM charger to charge it. or the right cable. 

  19. This is obviously a hardware problem, seems only the lower part of the screen is registering touch inputs at a high frequency.

    Damaged phone, production fault or unshielded USB cable?

    1. It’s the cable.

  20. I had the same problem with my Nexus S. A certain charger would distort the electric field or something, making touch input registered incorrectly and making the back button press itself a lot.

  21. Just taking a guess but i wonder if its a grounding issue.  I know if I plug my X into a non OEM power supply or USB my touchscreen won’t register touch, or thinks I touched in a different spot sometimes.

  22. Happened to me on my OG when I tried to use a cheap chinese usb cord. Switched to OEM and problem solved.

  23. Sounds like a bad usb.

  24. Could be plugged into a non-OEM charger.  On my original droid I bought an aftermarket charger and the screen would do funky things when plugged in.  With the OEM charger I could use the phone like normal.  Don’t know what it was but looks like this might be the case in the video.

  25. Mother of God… this phone is a curse!  It’s only cool because it has ICS.  If you take ICS away, there are more cons than pros. :(  Waiting for a quad core phone in 2012Q1.  Thanks but no thanks =

    1. you are a fool, for talking out your ass without knowing NOTHING about the described issue….btw keep waiting for the mythical perfect phone.

      1. I am not talking about just this issue.  There are many issues/limitations to this device.  Samsung has released other devices with better design/features and with less flaws.  There is too much hype about this phone to have so many issues.  With last night’s announcement that the NFC antenna is built into the battery, and ONLY official Galaxy Nexus batteries will allow NFC to work, might as well have been an announcement that Apple manufactured the device and we must submit to their tyrannical methods of business.  It’s a poor choice in that, and etc.  Don’t go thinking that I don’t know anything… I follow the Galaxy Nexus, Phandroid, and other notable websites on an minimum of an hourly basis.

        I know there is no perfect phone… but this is far from perfect.  It’s just the “latest” phone… I would say greatest, but it’s lacking a better camera, an SD card slot, a battery that can be swapped with cheaper batteries (for those who dont like to pay full price for OEM), a good notification light.  And in many tests, the Galaxy S II performs better!

        People just want this phone because it’s our version of an iPhone, and it’s the first with ICS.  But ICS will be available for others, as soon as CM9 is released… which is right around the corner.

        1. Theres only been one other Samsung phone to judge all others by and thats the SGS II. Theres no denying that they knocked that one out the park. However, its not perfect.  For one it suffered from the same release problems in the US that this GNex is facing now. 
          The battery NFC issue while it is a bummer not a deal break. I see this as a good thing. At least you can buy and change the battery yourself opposed to going into an official store to do it. The fact is you can still use another battery that is not OEM on the phone. NFC is still too new a tech for it to make any major impact in your daily use if you’re not using and OEM battery. The battery problems facing MANY android phones is because users buy cheap NON OEM batteries thing that promise longer battery life, then blame Google and android that their device suffers crappy battery life. 
          To address your other statements.
          Better camera? dont tell me you’re a more mega-pixel the better person? I’m going to assume you’re not. From all the test shots shown the camera does what its suppose to and it does it fairly well. Could it have been better yes, but in its current state only puts its lower IMO that the iP4s. The pics on this compared to my SGII looks the same if not better.
          SD need comes down to the user. I personally had to have one when you couldnt get a android phone with nothing more that a gig of mem. Now with 16g and 32g readily available this is becoming more of a non issue/user preference. I dont think you’ll see a SD card in any Nexus device again. And if you need on like you said there will be many device soon with ICS that will support SD cards.
           Notification light? Really? Did you not see the RGB light on the GNex which can create just about any combo for whatever you need?
          You say many test, but everything that has been/seen on Verge, Engadget, Slash Gear shows the GNex as out performing everything SGSII. Now when its get ICS that maybe a different story.
          CM9 users are a small percentage of the Android user community. Most users dont root there phone, arent up on flashing roms or even care to. So lumping CM9 into vanilla android experience is not a fair comparison.
          While you make some valid points your overall argument holds no merit currently.

          1. I’m not saying that the SGS II is perfect.  Nothing is perfect.  I’m sure both of us can find negatives on any phone, without getting into user preference.
            No, the NFC/battery thing isn’t a deal breaker.  I think NFC is a gimmick, just like 3D TV. If you ask me, NFC is more of a security concern than a convenience. It’s more “COOL!” than practical. Any phone that I get in the future will have NFC disabled because I am security conscious.  I’m just saying that it’s kind of a stupid idea to build the antenna inside the battery.  It’s obvious that it would cause a ruckus (like this & others in the future; hence last night’s post on Phandroid).  I simply meant that people who buy non-OEM batteries to save some cash aren’t going to have the same transparency as they did before, because it will break NFC if they use it… or it will drive up the cost of a generic battery because they will build an NFC antenna inside their product.

            No, more MPs doesn’t mean better pictures.  I am with you on that.  I have seen sample pics, and they look pretty good.  But I’ve seen sample pics of other cameras that look better, sharper, etc.  Hardware should evolve.  More MPs means a better picture, if everything else evolves with it.  And from a marketing standpoint, they should have installed a 10MP camera with all other factors equal to the SGSII.  But, it doesn’t matter to me so much.  If you’re serious about taking pictures, you have a DSLR camera, and don’t rely much on your cell phone camera.  The Nexus camera is certainly sufficient for Google+ and Facebook pics.

            The SDcard issue is definitely not an issue to all people.  But, I would say that it is to most.  There’s no reason not to have one.  If they say anything about it being too tight to fit a an SD slot in the phone, they can reference the Droid RAZR because Motorola has proven that you can do it in even the thinnest device.  But I think the SD card slot should be included for ease of keeping your own data.  Let’s say you have your phone in your pocket and it accidentally gets thrown in the washer.  With only internal storage, that’s basically all gone.  With an SD card, it’s highly likely that your data/pictures, etc will all be there because you can just pop it out, dry it off and pop it in a new phone.  Or, they could adopt a hybrid model, such as 16GB internal/16GB SD, like some versions of the SGS1, or the Motorola Droid RAZR.  Or… they could perform market research and see what people really want… or just read the xda forums.

            Yes the notification light is present.  But it’s poorly placed, in comparison to other brands, and it’s been said that it’s dimly lit and not noticeable.  It’s Samsung’s first notification light in an Android device, and it seems that they’re just learning.  It’s one feature that I wish my Droid Charge had.

            CM ROMs are definitely a small percentage of users.  But CM is gaining popularity.  Samsung has Mr. CM himself on their side, so there may be a point where installing a custom ROM on your phone isn’t forbidden by your provider.

            And speaking of merit… Verizon has been very secretive about this phone, and most reviews/specs are about the European version of the phone, and not the LTE model.  So, absolutely nothing holds merit from you or myself.  This whole website, XDA, RootzWiki, etc… it’s all about speculation and anticipation.  Nothing holds merit.  We just hold strong arguments.

            I personally will not be buying a Nexus.  The negatives outweigh the positives.  And opting for a curved screen is really nice, but it cannot be gorilla glass due to the manufacturing process.  I tend to drop my phone a lot, or take my frustrations out by tossing it, rather than placing it on my desk.  So, the Gorilla Glass is important to me.  I’m not knocking it as an impressive device.  It’s definitely impressive.  But, with all the anticipation that us blog authors/commenters, forum posters, consumers write about… well, it just doesn’t live up to the hype.  I really think we’re all more excited about ICS than the phone itself.

            Also, I believe the SGSII has a better processor than the Nexus.  But nevertheless, 2012Q1 will be the time of the quad core processor phones, and all Nexus purchasers will have phone-envy for the SGSIII and other awesome-sauce phones that will be released.

        2. Have you ever used a Nexus device? If not then you have no idea that what your saying is dead wrong. This phone isn’t like all the others, most are about specs and nothing else. Any Nexus is more 70% software and 30% hardware. Updates can makes up for what seems like bad or crappy hardware. When the G1 went from 1.1 to 1.5 it doubled the battery life, DOUBLED. Yeah I understand that you are going to root and install CM9 and I’m sure that CM will make ICS even better but only 0.6% to 1% of Android users have rooted phones so that doesn’t really help anybody. Your no different all the people who said this about the Nexus One vs the Incredible, EVO 4G, Galaxy S, Droid X and so on. In the end the only Android phone to last more then a few month were the Nexus One and Nexus S. Everyone was very mad about the Nexus S but no dual core phone was able to surpass it until the GS2 and that is because they put a super high powered dual core in that phone to beat an old March 2010 single core! I know the if the GS2 gets ICS then it will handle it’s own for a while but I can’t see Samsung even trying to upgrade it with the GS3 just around the corner, it’s what Samsung has done since the first Galaxy phone in 2009.

          1. I think it’s funny how everyone is defending a phone that none of us have even so much as held in our hands.  I am not bashing ICS, I am not bashing the phone.  I’m sure it’s a killer phone.  But there are some things that if I were Samsung, I would have designed differently.  And if I were Verizon, I would have made sure to have released this phone closer to the SGSII release dates, because of the upcoming quad core phones next year.  There is too much hype over the specs of the device.  And yes, if I had a Nexus, I would root/rom the phone.  Samsung/Google both welcome romming.  Google has provided factory roms for the phone for when you rom it and brick it, so you can get yourself out of dodge.  Pretty awesome of them to go to that effort.

            It doesn’t matter if I’ve owned a Nexus device or not.  It’s about performance and choices.

            And who said anything about battery life?  Battery life on Android is really terrible.  Cell phone cameras are pretty bad assed in general these days.  Processor specs are great, storage is great, Super AMOLED Plus/HD is great…. It’s time to focus on battery life.  It’s a huge issue for all of us.  But factory roms are usually a big part of it, as well as user education.  There are a lot of people who “hate” Android/Samsung because of the poor battery life, but don’t think twice when enabling GPS or streaming Pandora.  They dont think it consumes any more power than in standby mode.  My Droid Charge has great battery life, especially after I installed Gummy Charged.  But, I use the hell out of my data plan with music/video, etc.

            Regardless… I’m not bashing anything.  I’m venting and giving my two cents.  The Nexus is a really cool device, but it could be better.  We are all just lusting over ICS.  Here’s how to test this.  Take your phone… which I assume is a Nexus S… install the ICS port for it… and see how excited you are once you have a Galaxy Nexus in your hand.  The phone will lose much of its charm, and you will feel underwhelmed.

            Yes, you make valid points that software is a big part of it.  Yes, the Nexus S performs well even without a dual core processor, even when other previous phones were shipped with a dual core processor.  But you have to remember that the Nexus S was PURE Android, without any kind of tweak from a provider, and here’s the kicker… if it performed well with a single core, WHY NOT ship it with a dual core to make it rock even harder?  Tiny silicon chips are very cheap these days.  Sure it might have cost a little more to build the phone… but they make more money on service plans than the phone itself.

          2. OK OK. First off I have been with Android since day one and I have only used stock Android non-bloatware phones that include the G1, Google Ion, Nexus One, Nexus S and now the Galaxy Nexus. Now when it comes to battery life the Gnex has the biggest jump in battery life that I have seen since the G1. After the G1 the Google Ion, Nexus One and Nexus S all had the same battery life and they would have had more but Android added more features that kept it at the same number of hours through out all those devices. Also you have to remember that it is very very hard to say well this phone get x numbers of hours when everyone uses their phone differently so it varies greatly. Now going from the Nexus One to the Nexus S I installed the same widgets and apps and saw the same battery life under my normal usage. With the Galaxy Nexus I did that and my battery life has almost DOUBLED. I usually find that after 24 hours my old phones will finally die and this has been the same since May 2009 but checked that with the Gnex and found that in the morning I was still sitting at 45% battery! Now after saying all this you also have to keep in mind that I have very good coverage and good data speeds all day but I am on 3G+ and not LTE so I wouldn’t doubt it if the LTE version has a lot less battery life, I also can’t even turn my “4G” off. Another thing that I have noticed from rooting skinned phones and installing CM is that skins drain a lot of battery like you  said which takes me back to the whole 70% software point again. I have two friends who told me that once the rooted their Evo that it added many hours of battery life and they are now hooked on rooting but why if there are easier ways to achieve this with the Nexus and also they have to turn their WiMax off just to get close to my battery life, which I find defeats the purpose of WiMax and LTE, at the moment. 

            So like I said Android is all about the software more and I hope that one day all phones will be stock and then you can customize them after. What I am hoping is that once you root and install ICS that you will also get a lot more battery life because I know that is what made the difference in this phone because the battery is only slightly bigger then my Nexus S and Nexus One and not double. Good luck and I hope to be installing CM9 on some friends phones next month myself.

  26. Grounding/Shielding issue
    interference going to the digitizer making it have a non working touchscreen

  27. Like all the others above have mentioned – Can we verify this person is using the USB Cord that came with the device? My TBolt has serious touchscreen issues when I use certain cables. 

  28. is not the phone…had that problem when i use some usb power cable….was like that since the G1 

  29. My Galaxy Nexus works fine plugged in to USB. 

    1. Mine too. ^_^

  30. Has nobody at Phandroid heard of this?

    This is a “safety feature” some phones have where there’s a magnetic sensor (or something similar) that will throw your phone out of whack if you use 3rd party chargers. You aren’t supposed to use 3rd party chargers at all, they are supposed to void your warranty.

    Carriers ask to have this in place so A. Phones don’t short out and B. so they can charge you a premium for branded chargers. It’s a known issue on dozens of phones and happens when I hook up any 3rd party charger to my OG Droid.

    I would update this article so you don’t create false panic… This is a non-issue.

    **And it’s not a faulty USB cable either. It’s a normal USB cable that does not have the carrier-mandated “sensor.” So it throws the phone out of whack.**

    1. A “safety feature” as you call it would be a message in the phone stating that you’re not using the correct cable or charger. That is probably not the issue here since the phone reacts the way it does.

  31. don’t care. still getting it.

    1. You better. ;-)

  32. USB grounding issue.  My work computer has this problem.  Whenever I plugged in my OG Droid or the Bionic even using an oem cable, the touch screen will do funky things or not work at all.  This is not a phone issue otherwise we would hear more cases of this since it has been out for a week already in the UK.

    1. this happens with my Droid1 with third party usb cables.

  33. It’s the charger, same thing happens with my HTC Desire HD and my friends Experia Arc when using a crappy charger.

  34. happens to my og droid when using the cord that came with the phone. Bought another cheap usb cord and works just fine. If its defective, its defective regardless of cheapness. Ofc being cheap will probably make it more likely its a p.o.s. thats why its cheap, but i found it funny that in my case that an oem one fails me and cheap one worked fine.

  35. have the same issue with my OD when using a 3rd party usb cable…when reading the headline of this article, i thought it was such a serious issue that i would have to pass on the phone for now.  it’s NOT that serious. using the words ‘MAJOR BUG’ and ‘UNUSABLE’ will hype the article up tho…

    1. That kind of thing happened to my EVO 4g when it had “water” under the screen issues, and guess what?  It was a big deal and it was pretty damn unusable.

      1. Damn it! Verizon is putting water in our phones now?! God damn bloatware I tell ya!

  36. this appears to be coming from a floor model in the UK.. this happened on my droid2 phone if someone touches the screen with something “sticky” lets say peanut butter, honey, or just plain pussy juice,  the screen thinks someones finger tip is still touching the screen and it will start doing the poltergeist  thing with the screen and as far as crappy USB cables this also happens on non OEM car chargers

  37. I love you Phandroid, but really?  Now this headline is popping up all over the ‘net.  Way to scare people off.

    1. You’re complaining because they are telling the truth?  The article is supposed to alert potential buyers.  And they are doing that.

  38. The epic train of fail that is the Galaxy Nexus keeps on rolling. Chooo Chooooo

    1. LMAO, it is the charger and not the phone.

  39. Ditto on my original Moto Droid with a poor quality charger. I have many non-OEM chargers – but only one of them causes odd screen problems.

  40. This happened on my OG Droid. Just replaced the USB cable and it was fine.

  41. I also have a similar issue on my OGD but only when I charge it from my laptop.  I am assuming it’s because my laptop’s reference to ground is off just enough that it confuses the OGD.  This doesn’t happen on any other machine that I plug it into, be it a DC -> DC vehicle charger, an AC -> DC wall charger, or any other of the dozens of computers I have worked on and needed a quick charge from. I use the same USB -> micro USB cable that I carry with me at all times so it isn’t the cable.

  42. My t-bolt locks the screen with certain USB cords or chargers. Now I only use good quality stuff no china junk.

  43. My Motorola Cliq and Samsung Vibrant both do that with aftermarket Chargers from  Amazon.com 

  44. Its not a bug, its CIQ responding to the law suits

  45. Seriously?? Thats like saying: Galaxy Nexus suffers from major bug that allows it to make phone calls (UPDATE: oh wait its a phone)

  46. I can confirm this problem when using a bad power charger (those with usb port), the cable itself is fine. 

    Also my Galaxy Nexus did a FACTORY RESET while charging on the faulty power charger. All apps, settings, pics, movie clips – all gone. Not sure wheter this was related to the charger, but if it is a grounding issue or similar this is my best guess.

    Anyone seen this?

  47. Used a higher end USB cable and fixed my file transfer issues to Windows 7 64-bit. Sped up the recognition on the system and I had zero hitching of the file copying as I was getting with the supplied cable. Thanks guys!

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