The answer is simple: the infrared proximity sensor turns off your screen during calls when you get your phone close to the ear. That’s how it’s supposed to be. But what to do if, once the call ends, the screen is still off? That’s exactly what seems to bother some users. Namely, the screen goes black (dark) when making calls and it stays like that, rendering the phone unusable until it’s restarted. Don’t worry, we have a few suggestions to help you get out of the trouble. Check them out below.
Table of contents:
- Restart your phone
- Make sure nothing is covering the proximity sensor
- Test and re-calibrate the proximity sensor
- Update your device and reset your Phone app
- Reset the device to factory settings
Why does my screen go dark during calls?
If your screen goes dark during calls and stays dark after the call ends, try fixing it with these steps:
- Restart your phone
- Remove the screen protector and give it another try.
- Recalibrate the proximity sensor.
- Update your device or perform a factory reset.
1. Restart your phone
Start the troubleshooting by restarting your phone. Chances are that this is a bug and, by restarting your device, it should be addressed. Also, you can try and boot into Safe Mode to eliminate the possibility of third-party apps interfering with the proximity sensor in the background.
If the issue persists in the Safe Mode, continue to the next step. If there are no issues with the dark screen during calls when in Safe Mode, consider uninstalling or limiting some third-party apps. Also, make sure to enable Adaptive brightness and give it another try.
2. Make sure nothing is covering the proximity sensor
The next thing you should check is if something, like a protective casing, is covering the proximity sensor. The proximity sensor is there so your screen turns off during calls, to avoid touch interactions with the screen when your smartphone is next to your ear. It uses infrared to determine distance.
And, if it’s covered, it will turn off the screen every time the call starts. In the worst-case scenario, it won’t turn on the screen when the call ends, which renders the phone unusable. That’s where the issues start.
The proximity sensor is positioned above the display, where the call speaker is. Now, if you can confirm that the proximity sensor is not covered but the screen still goes black while making calls, we can continue with the software-related troubleshooting.
3. Test and re-calibrate the proximity sensor
Every Android phone has, in one way or another, something called CIT (Control and Identification Toolbox) which is a built-in tool used for testing the phone’s hardware and diagnosing possible issues. Besides that, it offers options to calibrate certain sensors, including the problematic proximity sensor.
Now, the thing with the CIT is that every OEM has its own code to start it. Some, like Samsung, have it in System Settings while others require a code input in the dialer to access it. So, google your handset to learn how to access CIT on it.
Here’s an example of how you’ll want to use CIT to calibrate the proximity sensor on your Android:
- Open the Phone app.
- Dial the code. In my case, the code is * # * # 64663 # * # *.
- Once you enter the CIT, navigate to the Proximity sensor.
- Bring your hand down to see if the values change. The initial value, when the sensor is not covered is 5.0, and 0.0 when it’s covered.
If the sensor works as intended but the issues persist, try the solutions we recommended below.
4. Update your device and reset your Phone app
Some OEMs have an almost decade-old problem with proximity sensors on their devices. Others are not “as consistent” but many, especially budget devices, have bad and unreliable proximity sensor readings. In this case, like many others, updating your firmware is a good idea. There’s a possibility that an update addressed this problem.
In addition, you can navigate to Settings > Apps > All apps > Phone. Once there, try uninstalling updates for the Phone app. You can do so from the 3-dot menu > Uninstall updates.
5. Reset the device to factory settings
In the end, if none of the previous solutions worked for you, we can only recommend resetting your device settings to their factory values. We are aware that this is quite a task, considering that it erases all your data and it can take more than a few hours to set everything up again.
But, there’s only so much you can do when issues like these happen and this is your best bet to address the problem. Learn everything there’s to learn about factory reset in this dedicated article.
Hopefully, this article helped you address the problem at hand. Thank you for reading and make sure to tell us more about the problem or even provide some alternative solutions. The comments section is below.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in July 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.