Spontaneous restarts when wifi is on


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Sep 6, 2015
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I bought a new-in-box Tab S2 8" a little over a year ago (so conveniently out of warranty). I know that this is an older model, but it meets my needs.

It has worked great the whole time I've owned it until recently. I usually use it from 30 minutes to an hour a day. Sometimes when I'm reading I might use it on the charger for 4 hours. It still works perfectly with the wifi off. The battery life is still good, and it takes a charge just fine. I've never had it in a case.

The problem that has started recently is that when I turn the wifi on, at some point it will spontaneously restart. I say "at some point" because it might happen within a few minutes of booting, or it might run fine for 20-30 minutes. But at some point it will restart if the wifi is on. This happens whether it's on the charger or not, and regardless of the current state of the battery.

Things I've tried (in order):
  • Clearing the cache partition
  • Full factory reset
  • Full battery drain and recharge
  • Tried booting into safe mode

On the safe mode, I say "tried" because while I can get it into safe mode (the words "safe mode" appear on the bottom left of the screen) when I try to enter my password it restarts.

I have done a lot of web searching, but while there are dozens of posts about the wifi itself spontaneously turning off, I haven't seen anything that matches my problem.

Before the factory reset I was very consistent in applying updates to both the OS and the apps. It's on Android 7.0, Security patch level is 2019-07-01. I never really had that many apps installed on this device, but it's still restarting with the wifi on even after the factory reset. I haven't installed anything, just logged in with my usual google account.

I suspect that what's happening is that something is running in the background when it detects that the wifi is on, crashing, and taking the whole thing down with it. But I have no evidence to support that theory, just a feeling based on my experience.

So my first question is, does this sound familiar to anyone, and is there an easy solution? :D If not, is there a way that I can better diagnose why it's crashing? If that's a dead end, I'm more than willing to try throwing a mod on it if there is any indication that it might be software instead of hardware. I've also seen lots of posts about people disconnecting and/or replacing the battery to solve mysterious issues, which I'd be willing to try if warranted, although that's not my first choice.

If all else fails, what's the new hotness in android tablets nowadays? :p

If you got this far, thanks for sticking with it, and TIA for any assistance.

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