1. alexis's Avatar
    Hi -

    Droid 4, Android version 4.1.2 here.

    Backlight problems - Hard keys' backlight don't turn on anymore. Same with the soft key's backlight (i.e., the icons on the bottom of the phone for "Home", "SpyGlass/Search", "Return/Back", etc.). They all used to turn on when the light was dim.


    The only way I can get the backlights to come on is to turn on the Flashlight app I downloaded.
    Then both the hard keys backlight turn on, and also the "soft" ones come on. Unfortunately, as soon as I leave the app (hitting "Return" or "Home") these backlights go back off.

    I tried to test the sensor:

    1) The "Hold it to your ear while talking on the phone" test - the display used to go to black when I did that ... no longer.

    2) The "Block the light sensor with your finger and see if the backlights come on" test (on the screen-side of the phone, just to the right of the "A" in "MOTOROLA", and just to the left of the front camera) - even in total blackness, with the screen brightness turned as low as possible, the backlights don't come on.

    3) The "Hold it to a bright light to see if the backlight comes on" test (weird-sounding, I know, I've looked through lots of forum posts, and it sounds like at least a few years ago that worked because of screwy programming with an update) ... nope, the backlights stay off.

    All this is with various combinations of turning screen brightness automatic "ON/OFF", blowing into the microphone to get rid of dust, and other stuff I found on old posts.

    Should also say: I powered down and up, and even in "Safe" mode ... same results, the backlights don't go on in dim light or in complete darkness, or at any time except when the "Flashlight" app is on.

    Thinking I might have to "root" (gulp), I looked around and couldn't find something that controlled the backlighting on a Droid 4, so it looks like I won't have to go down that road.


    Since the lights come on when the Flashlight app is on, I know that it probably isn't completely hopeless.
    But I don't know how to have the backlights come on when the light is dim. I'd even live with having them on all the time the phone is on, even with the battery hit, as I can work with the phone charged pretty much most of the time.

    Is there anything I can do to force the backlights on (even if it's a broken sensor issue)?

    Thanks -
    09-24-2014 02:05 PM
  2. delrey1900's Avatar
    Have you tried clearing cache on you mostly used apps? Also, as a last resort, you can always do a factory reset. With the lights working with the flashlight app, it appears to be a software issue, not hardware. My old D4 (which my son is currently using) is now starting to act funky too. The screen is acting up quite a bit. Though it didn't do this until he took over the phone, so who knows. Good luck and let us know how it works out.
    09-24-2014 05:11 PM
  3. alexis's Avatar
    Have you tried clearing cache on you mostly used apps? Also, as a last resort, you can always do a factory reset. With the lights working with the flashlight app, it appears to be a software issue, not hardware. My old D4 (which my son is currently using) is now starting to act funky too. The screen is acting up quite a bit. Though it didn't do this until he took over the phone, so who knows. Good luck and let us know how it works out.
    Hey delrey1900, thanks for that. I went and cleared the cache on *every* app, then powered down/up ... no luck. The factory reset option ... if I have to do that, I might just go buy a non Motorola phone. I don't know if that's logical, but the hours it would take me to get the phone up and running with all the apps, pictures, and other things stored locally would make me feel like doing that.

    We'll see if anyone else has a solution ... though I've spent hrs on the web already looking, didn't see anything that looked hopeful.

    There are some apps for rooted phones to have the backlit keyboard always on, just not for the Droid 4 :( .

    Edit: Forgot to mention - the backlighting behavior is not consistent ... after turning the flashlight on and off in dim light, the soft keys stayed lit (yayy!), though the hard keys didn't.

    Unfortunately, next time around (after the power down/up), it reverted back to the "no backlights at all" behavior that I initially posted about. :-(
    09-24-2014 08:45 PM
  4. delrey1900's Avatar
    Each to their own on backing up. It sucks but if it fixes your problem should be worth it. Also, FYI, if you buy another Motorola, you can use moto migrate. You would love it!

    Posted via the Android Central App
    09-24-2014 09:34 PM
  5. alexis's Avatar
    Each to their own on backing up. It sucks but if it fixes your problem should be worth it. Also, FYI, if you buy another Motorola, you can use moto migrate. You would love it!

    Posted via the Android Central App
    Thanks again for that, delrey1900.

    I downloaded a sensor app, and found that the light sensor doesn't seem to work. I guess that's not surprising, as the backlights didn't come on when I covered the light sensor with my finger.

    So I wonder, does that mean I have to think about getting it repaired ... somehow replace the light sensor? I wonder if a cell-phone repair shop is my next stop?

    Big uggh!
    09-24-2014 10:50 PM
  6. delrey1900's Avatar
    I would imagine that it wouldn't be cheap to fix. Nor will it be easy to find someone that would. One thing you could do is contact Motorola directly and see what they could do. Usually at this point, most will replace their phone. On your case, you don't have one to replace it with yet. Good luck. And if you decide on a new non-physical keyboard, I would recommend the Moto X....
    09-25-2014 06:06 AM
  7. alexis's Avatar
    Well, for an hour or two last night in medium and low light, the phone decided to work like it should - the hard keys and "soft key icons" were lit!

    This morning - nope, it was just toying with me. The hard keys stayed black in dim light. (The "soft key icons" have managed to stay lit for the moment).

    If anyone has a link to a root for a Droid 4* that offers the option to force the backlights to stay ON, please let me know. "Backlight Switch" ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...htswitch&hl=en ) is one I tried that sounded hopeful, but it doesn't do a thing on my phone.

    Thanks much!

    * There is an app to force the backlight keys to stay on ("Keyboard Backlight Controller", https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....kblight&hl=en ), but a commenter said it didn't work for Droid 4.
    09-26-2014 08:59 AM
  8. alexis's Avatar
    Things just kept functioning worse and worse on a day-by-day, until finally I couldn't answer the phone.

    Decided to abandon Motorola ... realizing that the Droid 3 and Droid 4 both failed because of the sliding keyboard mechanism long before the 2 year warranty was up... and that I didn't want to reward Motorola for that kind of quality control with yet another purchase.

    I bought a Samsung Galaxy S5 (bye-bye, physical keyboard), figuring it was the best for me if I were going to stay with Android. That was about 3 weeks ago, and it has been going great so far.

    See you guys on the Samsung forum one day!
    10-31-2014 10:47 AM
  9. delrey1900's Avatar
    Things just kept functioning worse and worse on a day-by-day, until finally I couldn't answer the phone.

    Decided to abandon Motorola ... realizing that the Droid 3 and Droid 4 both failed because of the sliding keyboard mechanism long before the 2 year warranty was up... and that I didn't want to reward Motorola for that kind of quality control with yet another purchase.

    I bought a Samsung Galaxy S5 (bye-bye, physical keyboard), figuring it was the best for me if I were going to stay with Android. That was about 3 weeks ago, and it has been going great so far.

    See you guys on the Samsung forum one day!
    I wouldn't let the D4 keep you from a Motorola. I've owned the OG Droid, Droid 2 Global, Droid 4, OG Moto X, and now the '14 X. Out of all of them, the Droid 4 was the worst in quality, by a long shot. I didn't have the keyboard issues like you but the phone felt really cheap and it's performance just wasn't there. The OG X and the '14 X quality is far superior to the Droid 4 and the '14 X is one of the best phone's I've held in my hand. Anyways, hope you enjoy your S5.
    10-31-2014 09:42 PM

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