In case someone else encounters this anomaly . . .
Since couple of weeks ago, I have been wresting with this message. It basically renders the phone ALMOST unusable, especially for any phone related functions (call, messaging, contacts, etc.) I thought it was something I did, like disabling some native Apps but it was not. Searching on the web, it seems many people have been experiencing this and it is quite regular.
My Hardware: Samsung Galaxy S2 (only 2 years old but considered ancient)
My Software: 4.1.2 JellyBean
But this condition is being reported on S3, Note2, etc. and certainly on my S2.
What you can expect when you encounter this problem:
1. Phone refuses to dial out (the key pad would lock up after 3 numbers keyed in). You'll get the message, "Unfortunately, the phone has stopped working" or something similar.
2. You may be able to dial out using Contacts but Contacts could crap out too saying, "Unfortunately, the _______ has stopped working".
3. Messaging also may not work with similar message.
4. You may get just a blank screen when you attempt to use any of the Phone/Contacts/Messaging.
There are numerous solutions on the web, some easy, some not, some laboursome.
1. Reset to factory setting (this is, by far, the cleanest BUT most laboursome & you would have to back-up all data on your phone). Last resort, if nothing else works.
2. Use ADB (android debugging something) - this requires you to debug the phone remotely from PC. This sounded too technical for me.
3. Use Easy Mode (from Home Screen option) - not a good fix if you don't like the Easy Mode and does not always work.
4. Reboot/restart. Tried and did not work on its own.
5. Application Manager > TouchWiz Home > Clear Data (this wipes out all of your widgets & Homescreen pages). This removed the "Unfortunately, the ________ has stopped working" message but I was still unable to Phone/Contacts and Messaging could not send messages.
The combination that worked for me:
#5 then #4. Yes, the homescreen pages & widgets were wiped out and Phone/Contacts/Messaging still did not work properly. Once I Restarted the phone, all functions returned to normal. I would have to re-setup the homescreen pages & the widgets but this definitely was the preferred solution compared to debugging or full backup + factory reset.
I have wasted about 2 weeks trying to troubleshoot this condition and finally found "a" solution that worked.