Oh Nexus 5X, how could you? I found my beloved device was holding my files hostage having succumbed to the dreaded bootloop. But hey, we’re hackers, right? I’ve got this.
It was a long, quiet Friday afternoon when I noticed my Nexus 5X was asking to install yet another update. Usually I leave these things for a few days before eventually giving in, but at some point I must have accidentally clicked to accept the update. Later that day I found my phone mid-way through the update and figured I’d just wait it out. No dice — an hour later, my phone was off. Powering up led to it repeatedly falling back to the “Google” screen; the dreaded bootloop.
Stages of Grief
I kept my phone on me for the rest of the night’s jubilant activities, playing with it from time to time, but alas, nothing would make it budge. The problem was, my Nexus still had a full day’s video shoot locked away on its internal flash that I needed rather badly. I had to fix the phone, at least long enough to recover my files. This is the story of my attempt to debrick my Nexus 5X.
I hit the Internet for research. It became apparent that the Nexus bootloop was a common problem, and not just for the 5X. Other models had suffered similar issues which made searching for relevant information difficult. Just about everybody out there was saying it had happened to them just after an update. A lucky few had success by reflashing an OS image to their phone. Others made warranty claims to the manufacturer and received back refurbished units. But I needed my files and warranties weren’t an option anyway, due to buying the phone in Hong Kong and living in Australia.
After trying in vain to get the phone to boot even into recovery mode, I read whisperings on forums that leaving the phone in the freezer could help. By this point, my phone was completely unresponsive — a total brick. It wouldn’t even show signs of life plugged into the charger; nary a battery filling animation, nor a blinking LED. The freezer sounded only slightly ridiculous, so, being otherwise out of ideas, I gave it a shot. Imagine my elation when it started to boot up! I made it all the way to the home screen before it came to a dead stop, and returned to its looping ways.
The almost-success of the freezer fix gave me a glimmer of hope. It seemed to suggest that the issue wasn’t just one of software, but had a hardware component that could be manipulated thermally. I redoubled my efforts, coming across a video that appeared to solve the problem. [Tony Rednik] used a heat gun on the motherboard, before reassembling. This allowed the phone to boot and [Tony] reported using the phone for several months afterwards.
It’s Getting Hot in Here, So Take Out All the Screws
After a stop by iFixit to check out their Nexus 5X teardown, I felt confident I could disassemble the phone without breaking it. The Nexus really is well designed, using only Phillips head screws of what appear to be equal length all around (are you listening Apple?), with a modular design that makes most repairs quite easy. The only thing the guide didn’t cover was the removal of the metal shields over the main ICs. These popped right off with the gentle application of a flathead screwdriver.
Matching my timing to the video I’d seen, I gave the board a 30 second dose from my hairdryer on its hottest setting. I put it all back together and took a deep breath. Lo and behold, it booted! I was ready and waiting to snap into action, plugging the phone straight into my laptop to dump my vital data. With the video recovered, the phone then crashed after approximately 20 minutes of use.
With my primary objective completed, there was little left to lose. I decided I’d try to get the phone running properly. If I could get it operational, it’d be useful to have a spare phone around – I’d already upgraded to a Google Pixel at the first sign of trouble. It’s tough to be without a phone these days.
Let’s Try a Reflash
I gave the board a heavier serving this time: a full 3 minutes of hot air. Alas, no, the phone wouldn’t boot! My next step was to at least see if we could get into recovery mode. After reciting the sacred incanation of holding POWER and Volume Down at the same time, selecting Recovery Mode, then holding POWER while tapping Volume Up, I finally had a recovery menu, and some real options. Online wisdom said to format the cache partition, before flashing a fresh ROM using ADB (Android Debug Bridge) over USB. Easy enough, right?
Well, no. Historically, the Android Debug Bridge set of tools has been painful and difficult to install. Recent times have given us the 15 Second Installer, and I was excited — until this too failed to work. Half an hour of banging my head against the wall and I then realized the automated script was confused because, through a hamfisted backup attempt, my Desktop folder is on the E: drive. With that sorted, I was in.
With the phone ready and waiting, I fired up the command line and started the flashing process. It started at a glacial pace… 1%…2, 3… but the phone was responding in kind. It was not, however, to be. At 5% the computer reported that the connection was lost and the handset was frozen solid. This was pretty much the worst possible result — the last thing that you want to happen during an update or flashing process is for the device to crash or lose power. It literally doesn’t get worse than that.
At this point, I was tired of the whole business. I tried a few more cycles of heat and freezing, but could by this point not even reach recovery mode, let alone start to flash the device or run the phone’s own factory reset process. It was a disappointing end, for sure.
I resigned myself to editing the video of the repair and leaving it at that. But it left me scratching my head – what was the true cause of the problem? The YouTube comments turned up this gem:
The LG G4, V10, and the Nexus 5X are all affected by the bonded flipchip substrate breaking off of the BGA package under the CPU, which usually manifests in bootlooping or screen corruption, and eventually a complete brick. It’s not solder related; the only way to fix it is by completely replacing the CPU package with one that isn’t defective. – FrankTheCat
It turns out there’s a class action lawsuit against LG from G4 & V10 owners that have run into this problem. For those following along at home, LG is also the manufacturer of the Nexus 5X, despite its Google branding. Huawei handled the Nexus 6P, however that apparently has a bootloop problem as well.
This leads me to my current conclusion. The fact that the phone does respond to cooling and heating, combined with a lawsuit covering this issue with similar phones, suggests that the problem is indeed related to hardware. I think it’s possible that the community’s belief that the problem is related to software updates is due to their frequency. With Google releasing an update every few weeks or so, it’s likely that at the time your phone does fail, it will be close enough to a recent update that a human looking for patterns will identify the update itself as the cause of the problem. Can I prove this? Not really, no – but I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences. Is this solely a hardware problem, with the stress of installing an upgrade package (which usually includes reoptimization of all installed apps) pushing the failure past the red line?
124 thoughts on “Fix-a-Brick: Fighting The Nexus 5X Bootloop”
Shields are usually added for radiated emissions control, or to shield noise coming into the device and affecting it. The majority of the time it is to stop your device affecting others, and might explain why it has not caused you issues in the past.
It will also cause radio desense. So things like your gps will suck and you will get more dropped calls
One trick I learned for my bootlooped 5X is that first you let the phone completely drain of battery (boot into recovery and let it sit). Then, plug in the phone and boot up. I would get ~1 minute in the phone before it would reset. What did this do for me? It allowed me to recover my 2 factor codes that I was stupid enough not to print or save to begin with. Lesson learned :P
What kind of video shoot would you be doing that you would want to use a smartphone camera for?
Amateur pr0n ^^
What kind of a question is that? Do you have any idea what the statistic is on how much video is done with smartphones these days, or what quality they are capable of?
That makes me wonder how quality of phone correlates with recording in tallscreen. Are people with good taste in phone (at least as far as camera is concerned) more or less likely to record for over-under eyeball configuration?
Are you even vaguely aware of the camera quality on the Nexus 5X/6P? It’s stunning. In addition to very good low-light sensitivity for still photos, the 5X can do 720p at 120 fps and the 6P can do 720p at 240 fps or 1080p at 120 fps (down to a better DSP on the SoC).
Sample video of me abusing a gingerbread house with a hammer (the flickering is actually the LED bulbs in my home flashing, which is imperceptible to the naked eye… and trust me, I hated 60 Hz CRTs). https://goo.gl/photos/SdM3W6LbuQFHe7iJ8
5x also does 240fps but it was disabled, a hacked camera app adds it
So… a software update causes causes the CPU to run hot enough during the update, that it cracks its own substrate?
The metal shields are for EMI protection… But on cell phone its mostly to keep the radiated power from the cellar, WiFi, bluetooth, NFC, etc… antennas out. ;)
From what I’ve figured out on my Sony xperia z3c, yes (except in mine the wifi chip came a bit desoldered somehow and I haven’t got around to fixing it.) It’s an insalely common problem that manufacturers refuse to fix, which is incredibly annoying as I’m sure you’d imagine.
Why fix it? This problem quietly forces users to purchase new phones every year or two. I’m not convinced Google isn’t aware of the problem with updates and maybe they benefit from the phones dying somehow.
Of course they do, you heard him I bought the pixel first then trouble shot. $$$for Google.
Thermal cycling (repeated hot/cold cycles) stresses the chip connections until one heating cycle finally breaks it.
It’s also not that the manufacturers refuse to fix it, but that making hardware reliable, powerful, affordable, and *new and updated* are all competing aspects. You won’t (*can’t*) pay what it costs to have a 100% rock solid reliable ultra-new high performance device… and it’s an impossible task anyway. Instead we have a bunch of necessary tradeoffs to at least get reasonably close to all those goals.
epoxy backfill would also mitigate this problem and only costs $0.01 per device. They don’t do it intentionally to ensure shorter device life.
Even if the epoxy only cost 1 cent, there’s also the additional time required per unit to apply the epoxy, not to mention additional machinery. It would also add weight to the final product which they are trying to keep as low as possible
The problem is one of different thermal expansion coefficients (the PCB, the solder, the ceramic, the silicon, etc), and it is unlikely epoxy would solve that – it might even make it worse.
I go with Fred here: I am NOT sure this would ease the problem. And it is not about the connection to the circuit board where you usually can do epoxy backfill. It is the Flip-Chip attachment: tiniest pads instead of the wire bonds of former ICs with much less pins.
Even if they went with fully flexible ICs, which would bend with the movement and thermal expansion instead of cracking, they would still see issues with the interconnects by nature of flip chip. Epoxy back-fill could mitigate it, but then you just have another thermal stress point to worry about.
They made $20,000+ devices with ball grids, that then tended to fail..
Including important stuff that organizations paid extra for to not have fail.
I think we should all get to kick it in the ball grid array. Awful engineering feat…
I wouldn’t be surprised. I had WiFi fail on my tablet when I was playing XCOM on my tablet and it got pretty toasty — the WiFi was completely gone, system log didn’t report seeing it at all and nothing I did changed the situation. It was pretty clear the heat had caused something to come loose. When I contacted my carrier they were quite surprised as they had not heard of this happening to anyone else, but they took the tablet in and sent it to the manufacturer on warranty, where they swapped the mobo out and it’s been fine since then.
Same issue on my MacBook 2008. After a few years it was showing issues with the video. The nVidia’s video chips bonded flipchip would come loose from the BGA substrate, due to heatcycles. Heating the chip would fix it for a while, but it would ultimately fail at some point.
Apple acknowledge the issue and had a program to replace the mainboards for free. I was able to get a new mainboard (thank you Apple, I really appreciated it!).
Now, a few years later, the laptop is experiencing the same issue again. It will reboot randomly, not even run for more than 5 minutes, and is essentially rendered useless. I can run the laptop in ‘safe mode’ for hours, which is most likely because the video chip is hardly used in that case. But in normal mode, it will crash really quickly.
This time, the issue was probably introduced because I had accidentally blocked the air vent outlet and the laptop had overheated. Oh well. The laptop is 10 years old now, so it’s economically dead 2 times over. But it’s a pity. It was a great laptop, and it was still running great for the things that I did.
Ha, I have one of those affected nvidia devices in my 2007 MacBook Pro. It “hung on” for a long time then failed just AFTER the extended warranty expired. Apple’s response was “welp do you have $659?” My response was “that’s 1/3 the cost of a Surface Pro 3, see ya.”
Great write-up and analysis. I love my 5X – it’s going strong at 1.5 years old. Hope it lasts a while longer.
Based on the research I did, there is a way to check the date of manufacture(?) and *typically* phones produced after a given date are less likely to have this bootloop issue.
yes please share. I’ve been looking all over for info like this. The only info I found couldn’t rule out that most bootloops seem to be happening after about a year and newer manufacturing dates are less then a year old.
but I’m really curious if the new manufacturing dates, looks like some are 2017 now, have any chance of the bootloop issue being fixed.
I have an early production 5x. I’m always very nervous about it just dying one day.
Don’t leave flashlight on too long – that’s what did mine in. Had to send it back to LG for new motherboard.
I loved my 5x. I only upgraded because the US presidential election made me the kind of depressed that only irresponsible spending and heavy drinking can assuage. Come morning I was the proud owner of a Pixel XL and a spectacular hangover. It’s the best phone I’ve ever used, bar none, Android, iPhone, or other. The spec sheet doesn’t do it justice.
It’s probably not worth the price of admission if your current phone makes you happy, but it’s the clear choice if your nexus goes to the big box of obsolete electronics on a shelf in corner of a closet in the sky.
A few months ago the boot loop happened to my phone after the update. I had an over heated phone and couldn’t reset after spending days and message boards to find a fix. Fortunately all my files on phone are saved on google drive. I contacted Google and even tho my phone was 2 years old they replaced it! I turned off updates so I don’t have to deal with this again.
[quote] I turned off updates so I don’t have to deal with this again.[/quote]
Right, smart move! Instead of having a hardware failure unrelated to phone updates, you can have hardware failures plus the joy of having your phone hacked by a 14-year-old script kiddy. I just cannot say how clever I think you are!
I always wonder… do the people who turn off updates after a bad patch stop putting oil in their cars if they have a breakdown after an oil change? The logic would be the same, after all.
^^ Try harder.
You don’t change your engine oil? Poor engine..
What are the chances that the few security updates he didn’t get will cause a 14 year old to hack his phone? I find it funny that people make such a big deal about monthly security updates.
> do the people who turn off updates after a bad patch stop putting oil in their cars if they have a breakdown after an oil change?
Getting offtopic but I saw a really interesting speech at a mining conference once. Apparently after analyzing a ton of real-world reliability data, they determined that operators should double or even triple the service interval for heavy machinery (mine trucks etc.) because at the recommended service intervals, the chances of destroying an engine through maintenance error was much higher than was justified by the slightly longer service life.
The failure is related to the update. Updates normally let run phone quite hot and this heat is the cause for the broken hardware.
Well, see, normally you take all the oil OUT, then put new oil IN, which is what they meant. I sure hope you do regular maintenance on your vehicles. Ugh.
that’s ok to update nexus 5x. Just run it when phone is in fridge :)
I’m hoping that buying mine from Google pays off if (when?) mine gets the boot loop. It replaced a Nexus 5 which suffered from a similar bonding issue with the WiFi radio. I don’t know why I keep backing LG devices as they all have some sort of design flaw along these lines.
I prefer to have important files saved on an SD card, which I can pull out if the phone has an issue. Of course google wants your data, so they don’t include SD card slots to force you to use their cloud and grant them access to the data.
The other reason I don’t like and use cloud services is because you can not get your data when you have a bad network connection.
I rebooted it by holding the power button. That seemed to do the trick and fix it .
I feel i’m reading Engadget now, and i feel dirty.
I was on the phone with LG support for over 8 hours at various times, 14 emails, for supervisors and then they finally promised to send me a refund for my 5X. 38 business days. Horrible customer service by LG. I will never buy another LG product in my life.
Was yours still under warranty? I started with the bootloop issue yesterday but I am 13 months in so it’s out of warranty. Am I out of luck?
The warranty has been extended for the motherboard, so you should be able to get a replacement. I was charged for a new motherboard recently, so am repeatedly contacting LG to get a refund.
I am in the same situation. Where did you hear that the warranty was extended? Do you have more information on this?
Mine went into bootloop on Tuesday. I immediately started a chat with LG (as I had no phone). Bought mine 12-22-2015. Told them what was happening and she agreed that they would fix it. Sent me a shipping label and I sent it to them the same day. If they actually FIX it is another story which I will hopefully update within the 2 weeks they said it would take. Mine was clearly out of warranty…
Where do you live? The same thing happened to me on the 8th, but I bought my phone a month before you bought yours. The only thing they’ve offered to do for me is charge me $150 to mail it away to have the motherboard replaced. I refuse to pay for their defect so I still don’t have a solution. I know they extended the motherboard warranty for Korea, apparently not Canada.
So, if you still have a working 5x, the solution seems to be to put your phone in the freezer during updates.
Mine went into bootloop and I hadn’t updated anything in quite awhile…
This just in, suficently hot air directed at a plastic bag for long enough will melt the bag.
It seems that all these bootloop issues started after the Nexus 4. I’ve had a Nexus 4 since July of 2013, and I’ve never had any kind of bootloop issues, and I’ve flashed different ROMs on it after Google stopped supporting it. My wife’s has worked fine as well.
And what if I will update the phone when it’s sitting on the freezer?
heat from booting will be the issue not to mention moisture control.
Inside the freezer it’s quite dry. But ON the freezer it has room temperature, so no change. The heat comes not from booting, but from the heavy work during the update process. Heaving it in the freezer will reduce peak temperature and probably slightly reduce power dissipation as leakage currents increase with temperature. So the thermal stress could be reduced. But the battery can get weak and interrupt the update process.
Of course if you take it out in a humid environment when it is cold again (after the update) condensation could be an issue.
peltier plate cooling the phone could work
Hair dryer is usually not hot enough, you need higher temperature, so heat gun is a better choice if you don’t have proper (expensive) hot-air rework station. Check out Louis Rossmann’s video about how reflow is BS, he explains why and how you can fix BGA problems temporary. Device will be for trash anyways because fix is not long lasting, but an hour or two with partialy working phone is sometimes enough for important data recovery.
My hair dryer is 2200W, is a heat gun going to get much hotter?
Heat guns typically produce a fairly slow flow of very hot air. Your hair dryer can’t be hotter than ~150C or it would melt your hair. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15578677 – apparently wet hair melts at a lower temperature than dry hair, fancy that!)
I’m still using my LG G1. It has been working fine since 2013. It is now one of my projects to see how long I can leep it running… :)
I wanted to do that with my original MotoX, then I dropped it and they refused to fix it. And now I’m here and my 5x is broken. Grr.
Thanks for this article. Interesting read and I’m surprised about the issues with the bonding breaking. Not possible to fix that :(
This is only temporary fix, not long term reliable.
I have spent many years doing failure
analysis of electronic assemblies, and
I can confirm that thermal issues do cause
many failures of flip-chip and BGA bonding,
whether due to solder joint fracture, pad lifting,
solder ball detachment, along with other problems
related to stress induced during thermal
cycling due to mismatch in thermal
coefficients of expansion. The problem is
compounded by solder adhesion problems
(which are frequently due to defects in the
PCB pad finish and brittleness of lead-free
solders). Manufacturers hate to admit to these
problems because repairs are very costly (and
may cause minor defects that result in early
The RoHS solder is so bad the aerospace and transportation sectors have been given an exemption.
Really the should call the law Increase of hazardous substances as that’s what it really does the the waste stream in the end with increased failures.
Plus the mining of the other metals needed is often even more polluting.
In short RoHS was made by people were knew little about engineering or the manufacturing of equipment, and the mining process.
If anyone has a 5X that is still working and its still under Google warranty (mine was bought from GoogleFi and it was at the 10 month mark), should just contact them and tell the support that the phone is problematic, name any problem you want, they will replace it with brand new one for free, with no hustle at all.
My 5x just died of the boot loop two weeks ago. It was leads than a year old. Google made me jump through hoops & essentially put a credit card charge hold for the full ‘new phone’ price for a refurbished replacement. When I sent back my broken device they released the hold. And although there was a Lot I loved about stick Android, I sold my refutb replacement Pronto and bought a Samsung.
Why is that jumping through hoops?
I’ve done this with Google for my Nexus One with 2 bad pixels, and it took five minutes on the phone plus the time to pack and ship the broken one. Yes, I had to put a hold for $500+ on my credit card, but I also had the option to avoid the charge if I would wait for them to receive my phone before they would ship a replacement. They even overnighted me the return box and prepaid FedEx label.
Jumping through hoops would be calling LG and having your warranty voided for some BS excuse. Which supposedly has happened to customers mentioning the “freezer trick” when requesting repair from LG.
And as soon as you have the new device, sell it! I did this for my son’s and my 5x and put the money towards 2 brand new Pixel phones.
I put my 5x on top of an ice pack to get it to reboot long enough to pull off what I needed.
Hey phone manufacturers, hold your vendors accountable…
This happened to my 5x as well. I was able to get it to boot (for no more than two minutes at a go) a couple of times right after the problem first manifested, which gave me enough time to offload the few photos I’d taken since my most recent backup, thankfully.
Then it died for good. Fortunately for me, I’d purchased mine directly from Project Fi, and it was still a bit less than a year old. Project Fi customer support cross-shipped me a replacement device. I popped my SIM out, and when I got the new phone, popped it back in, and voila. They even sent me an RMA label to ship the dead phone back, so I wasn’t out a dime (just some time without a phone).
Same thing for me. Painless other than the sudden phone failure.
I had this problem as well with my Nexus 5X. The Google Store was willing to offer a “warranty exception” even though my warranty expired in October, so they’re being very good about it. As per the technical details, as soon as I let the phone cool down for a long time I was able to get it to boot for a couple of minutes, enough to salvage my data (damn you full disk encryption). I believe Google told me that it’s a defect from early units that they cannot fix since they can no longer source the part. LG has really built some shoddy boards lately. My new refurbished 5X can run at 147 degrees Fahrenheit when in GPS mode. I checked. No device should run that hot.
Aparently some people managed to fix the issue by completly disabling the A57 cores in kernel and effectively turning the device into a dual core device.
Hope that could be work
So to avoid the issue should I install patches with the phone sitting under the air conditioner?
Mines still fine btw although it did restart itself last night.
Heat can not be the issue. I got this phone from a friend who barely used it and I kept it around on the desk. Never took it out or did any game play on it so it was not used much. Although I did have the nougat beta program and it ran for the month, on the day of the release I got a notification and ignored it. Later on the phone was dead. No boot loop or anything else. Although plugged into the charger at the time to charge in the morning. I can see an issue with long term high temperature causing problems but just by charging? Or flashing an update? It was around 50% charge in the morning. We can talk about all the problems, but the thing is, for a phone that was not abused or heavily used and not even barely used for it to die after an update. I know what I did and what happened. It died dead. Not even a peep.. I dont buy any of these explanations.Although normal users wont know the difference and would think it is normal wear and tear on a badly made product. Not a single scratch on it and never drooped. Heck I had to have been using it other than it just sitting around most of the time. So even googles explanation dont make any sense. There is another explanation.. Some of the SOC’s had defects. Google did not even use all the features of the SOC even though like the 6P had them. Also some have got their devices unbricked by people who know how to factory flash the device which not even LG service centers do. Or replacing the flash which also rewrites all the needed data. There are things going on here that Google is indeed hiding. And indeed it must be serious in some way.
My 5x failed in bootloop while I was overseas three months ago, just as I was about to board my last plane home. Not a fun way to spend 14 hours of traveling! Google kindly replaced the phone even though it was just past the one year mark, but in the meantime I took the device to a local phone repair shop. Nothing I had read about online worked: whacking it, opening it up and resetting all the connections, etc. They had it for weeks and bless them, were actually able to fix it so I could recover my full-res photos and videos (not the resized Google Photos version). Apparently it was a connection to the power button, which specifically had to be microsoldered back, and took so long because it was so finicky that several attempts failed. Using the replacement 5x now, warily awaiting the day I am forced to upgrade to a Pixel.
At least LG have a 24 month warranty. Mine hit boot loop a couple of weeks back, but LG replaced the main board within 24 hours.
My advice would be to just phone or e-mail support.
my lg g4 bootlooped because of this too. :/
luckily lg replaced it even though it was bootloader unlocked and rooted
never buy lg anymore
So is this the same phenomenon as the RROD and the Nvidia cards several years ago?
Where is the difference? Did you think, that the trouble in the phone would NOT be caused by RoHS compliant (lead free) soldering? Of course mobile phones also have to be RoHS compliant
RROD was die bonding. The running theory is that this is due to soldering of the PoP memory.
I’m from the original days of the clone PC’s. This article reminds me of the Seagate ST 225 HDDs If they stopped spinning up, throw them in the freezer.
Or that model of Quantum HDD used in Mac LCs that came back to life for another couple of years if you whacked the end with a mallet while powering up.
My 5X crashed and started bootlooping today as well… sigh
I had the same loops. A few attempts resulted in a power on. Heat and cold both attempted but nothing ended stable. Only time I had functionality for 5 mins was after a full wipe. Didn’t last long tho. Reported to Google, reatiler and LG. All seemed to be a little to familiar with the issues. LG fixed in under a week and replaced the battery.
Something went very went but after sales support was good, by LG at least.
If someone could give me the attorney number please. I want to join the lawsuit. I have the same problem on my phone and LG is being jerk about it.
Just followed the same steps everything is working just fine but, it will only last for a few hours.
My Nexus 5X did this less than 8 months after I bought it. I was in the process of applying an update, the phone got extremely hot and suddenly shut off, followed by a never ending boot loop. Tried doing a reflow on the main board as well as other fixes.. Nothing worked so I sent it into LG for warranty repair. They sent it back with a note starting a power regulator was to blame.. Cracked open the case and find they had completely replaced the main board after flashing the chip with my original IMEI.
Bootloop for me as well… since yesterday, no help from google or LG… Unplugging batterie and keeping my phone outside (on the snow) make it boot for a while. I finally manage to do a factory reset from the bootloader and from the gui as well. I’m setting up the phone as a new one but after about 1min it freeze again… getting further every time though so Id like to remove it from beta program and revert to 7.1.1
My first 5X bootlooped in September ’16. Google (Project Fi) replaced it under warranty with a refurbished device. The refurbished 5X bootlooped this morning. Project Fi is replacing it again under warranty (original purchase was November ’15). I think Fi recognizes the issue with the 5X and continues to do replacements while they have them available (and assuming you bought the phone from Fi or Google). My Nexus 5, 6, and 6P are all still functional. The 6P is touchy with its noise cancelling microphone, so I generally have to mod those cases to expand the hole on the back of the case out to 1/4″ with a stepper bit (get that nice smooth bevel!).
This is why I prefer devices with removable flash and put all the important files there.
My Nexus 5x recently went into bootloop. I read about users experiencing lots of issues with their Nexus 5x’s, but I never had any issues until this bootloop! I was able to get about 5 minutes with it after a stint in the freezer, but I ended up sending it to LG hoping they would repair it even though I am 3 months out of warranty. No such luck! I ended up paying 77 bucks to have LG fix it. I would love to get a new phone, but the $77 is about all I can afford at the moment. I hope I don’t end up regretting my decision. After all, I loved my Nexus 5x, right up until the bootloop!
My 5X bricked about a week ago while I was sending a text. It was about 14.5 months old and this was NOT after an update because I hadn’t loaded the update yet. After reading / watching your video, I put the phone on the dash of my van in the sun for the afternoon. (Hawaiian sunshine beats a hair dryer and I don’t have the tools here to open up the phone to expose the board.) Though it did not initially work, after several hours indoors I tried once more to turn the phone on and the red battery light blinked, so I plugged it back in to charge. After charging for a while, I tried to boot in recovery mode and was amazed when it actually worked! It took several failed boot cycles and the phone automatically loaded the update (I wasn’t sure this would be a good thing, but didn’t know how to prevent it), but eventually the phone was on and appeared to be working normally. I plugged it into my computer to pull as much data as possible from it. It died again during the backup as I was trying to copy off all the photos. Several more failed boot cycles eventually brought it back up and I got most of the data off. (Some apps store data in forms that my MacBook Air can’t recognize, so I don’t know whether I’ll be able to restore it.) After the data was backed up, the phone died again and hasn’t been willing to boot again since.
The evening of the initial death of the phone I contacted Google service. The phone was out of warranty, but they clearly had been dealing with the problem and agreed to a “warranty exception” to replace it with a refurbished unit. They did place a hold on my credit card to send the replacement, but swear it will be released when I send them the defective phone. The replacement came today and is working great.
My next step is to try the afternoon in the sun again to see if I can get the old phone up again long enough to complete the setup of the replacement so that I don’t have to reload everything.
I regret choosing the 5X in that it doesn’t have an SD option and I hate using cloud backup. (The phone was actually a gift as my previous one had almost total battery failure just before a scheduled vacation and the 5X went on sale just then…) Had there been more time for more thorough research to find the perfect phone, I don’t think this would have been it. However, I am not in a position to be able to buy a new one at this point. One precaution I use is to always wait a few days before installing the updates to see if they spark problems for other users.
I have found that the phone runs extremely hot when using Waze (presumably the GPS mode is to blame.) I don’t know whether this contributes to the problem with the chip mount, but I have always found it to be a bit concerning and that any GPS use runs the battery down very quickly.
Thanks for posting your process and results. For those who don’t have the wherewithal to open and fix their phones themselves, the heat of a car left in the afternoon sun appears to be an option. :)
Sad to see all those recent failure…
My 5X just died today as well. 13 months after purchase. Emailed LG Canada and hoping for a decent answer from them…
So there’s a Class Action Lawsuit for G4 and V10… seems like adding the 5X would be a good idea… and I hope the extend that Lawsuit internationally.
Don’t think I’ll ever buy another LG…
Mine died today also 13 months (and 9 days) after I bought it. I’m USA, so I contacted LG USA about a refund that I keep reading about. I have seen some posters on various forums say that they “extended” the 12 month warranty to 18 months for this mobo issue, but I have not been able to find any official sources on that. I would honestly rather have the refund than to have to obtain another 5x. This phone should’ve lasted way longer than what it did, and I cannot go without a phone for months on end while whomever decides how much they are going to give the runaround.
I agree about the 5x being included in the lawsuit. From what I understand, it is the same issue.
My first one died last August with this issue. My replacement refurbished died this week. The day before it died I dropped it three feet into carpet and had no visible external damage. The next morning it stopped working after watching a snapchat video. I thought it was a lost cause due to the original purchase being soon after launch but I will give it a try.
My wife’s phone had a battery problem a while ago. LG replaced it, then 3 weeks after the warranty ended we got the dreaded bootloop on the refurbished phone. After putting it in the freezer I got into the OS for less than 10 seconds and never made it back into the OS. Then I pulled it apart and removed the main board. I wrapped all the parts besides the large heat sinked sections (assuming the problem was somewhere under there) with tinfoil, shiny side facing out. I put it in the oven floating on tinfoil balls on a cookie sheet where the temperature was between 360-389 for about 10 minutes. Let it cool with the oven off and the door cracked open for 1 hr. When I put it back together surprisingly it worked. If you don’t hear back from me it is still working.
I can’t believe this trick works…At first I thought it was software related so I ignore this video and bought Xiaomi phone. Google Pixel was too expensive for a phone. But after a month I have a spare time and doing this stuff which actually simple which is heating a motherboard. That’s it. It works…I didn’t find a problem to open up a phone because I tried opening nexus 4 before. Everything is similar. But 5x is better and easier to open than Nexus 4. Thanks again posting this video. Very useful. I tried using hairdryer for 40 – 50 seconds and it works. I don’t know how long this would survive….
Not anymore :( maybe I should get heatgun to heat it up
I put the motherboard in the oven for 10 minutes at 150º degrees and work perfectly fine, 2 days from that. try it! sorry for my bad english, im from Buenos aires
Done that… Put in oven 10 minutes on 200C… Still after a day bootloop again… I guess I’ll need looking at the sparepart replacement
Car dash ftw. Freezer didn’t work.. placed phone on dash.. heated to 120f.
Phone worked long enough to backup data.
One extra step to add… Tried a few times with various hetagun settings (1st @200C, within 24 hrs issue returned, 2nd @250C, within 24 hrs issue returned) Finally (last ditch nothing to lose mode) I set the heatgun to 300C for 1:30. AND (this is the bit I think made a difference) before I preformed the heating I (gently) flexed the board across a few axis directly over the Smasung/Snapdragon IC – to the point that I felt a noticeable set of creaks (like cracking knuckles sop to speak)… A friend suggested this as a way to “loosen up” bad BGA joints so that when reflowing there’s a bit more space. Sounds nuts I know…. BUT, I’m now a week into a previously dead 5X working flawlessly. YMMV of course but if nothing to lose, why not.
Thanks for the suggested hack. I used the blow dryer fix and it worked! I quickly transferred the photos and videos off and then a few minutes later it bricked. Thanks again…
“The LG G4, V10, and the Nexus 5X are all affected by the bonded flipchip substrate breaking off of the BGA package under the CPU, which usually manifests in bootlooping or screen corruption, and eventually a complete brick. It’s not solder related; the only way to fix it is by completely replacing the CPU package with one that isn’t defective.”
If I replace the motherboard with a new one, will it include that “flipchip” ?
While this was a very intriguing amount of various kinds of information and even with a little flare of drama in the form of belittling, I have nothing on my bricked 5x that I don’t have somewhere else. So I went straight to calling the Google play store, where I purchased my device in 11/2015, and after about 30 minutes on the phone I was filling in my shipping address for a replacement.
Unlike some of the above scenarios, I hadn’t had any recent update I can recall. I was simply playing with my phone on some webpages when it froze for 6 or 7 seconds then went black. I plugged the phone into the wall outlet and cable that was provided with the phone for over an hour. I did this because this is one of the troubleshooting steps they have in their playbook. FYIW, I actually did have my Nexus 5 phone come completely back to life after it had a persistent restarting fit by leaving it plugged in and off for about 15 hours. On this phone, all I got after leaving it plugged in to the original charger was “Google” in white letters for 10 seconds and then it went black again.
I told the rep about the bootloading forums and stated that I read in some cases a replacement was issued as it is a known manufacturing problem. Even if you have data on your phone you want to retrieve I would suggest you make the call right away. Replacement delivery is 3-7 business days and you have 21 days too return your busted device. So you can tinker away while your waiting for delivery.
I will mention that I bought the insurance which would expire this November but those people are dicks. I had to use them about 14 months ago for a replacement when my 5x had some kind of power problem that fried the C port – melted plastic and all. But since I also happened to have a little crack in the screen they made me pay the deductible. I told them I was lucky I didn’t get hurt or have a fire. They cared none. Cracked screen = $79 deductible. I am certain going through the insurance for bootloader would also have been $79.
One little tip for everyone on any Android device – go into the developer’s option menu and unlock the OEM bootloader. Should you brick a phone but be able to get into the recovery menu you can collect all your data though the computer connection. The bad is that if someone steals your phone they will be able to bypass all security and see your naked pictures and naughty texts.
Thanks to everyone who came before and posted their results. It made it easy to get myself squared away.
LG is now repairing the out if warranty. I just sent mine in and then turn around was about a little more than a week.
This worked for me. It will make your phone quite a bit slower however, because it disables the A57-cores, but it’s better than a bootloop (or in my case, strangely enough, it kept crashing very frequently and rebooted 5-10 times during the boot sequence, sometimes freezing at the colorful animation, other times not getting past the google logo, before finally booting and then crashing again within 30 minutes)
I read through this and other posts and realised the problem is the thermal compound between the processor and heat sink. Got the compound replaced and my phone is working perfectly. Only issue I got as a slight screen burn at the top area where I guess the processor is.
This used to be a problem when I used to repair computers. I hope this can help others as well. I guess it’s not just a problem with my Nexus 5x
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