The stunning Samsung Galaxy Note 9 remains one of Samsung’s best smartphones to date, even though it’s now been long superseded by upgraded models. It’s powerful, comes with an amazing camera, and has even improved the Note’s signature feature: The S Pen. But it’s not perfect, and every device has its share of problems and issues.
If you do run into a problem, don’t cry or throw your phone in the bin — we’ve dug around to find some of the most common Galaxy Note 9 problems and issues, plus the fixes that’ll keep your device running smoothly.
General solutions to try for most issues
The Note 9 can fall victim to a number of different issues, but many of those issues can be fixed with some fairly generic advice. So, rather than listing them for each individual problem, here are a couple of general solutions you can try to fix any problems you might have come across.
- Restart your phone. Restarting your phone can help to fix any small issues you might be having, like app slowdowns.
- Make sure your phone is up to date. Updates can fix various software issues and may even fix problems with battery drain or charging problems. Head to Settings > Software Update > Download and Install to check for updates.
- Hardware problems can be a stickier problem to fix, but if your phone is new, try reaching out to your carrier or the retailer where you bought your device. If you have a warranty, then that would be a good way to get a faulty device replaced or fixed.
- Otherwise, if your device is getting quite old or it’s out of warranty, it might be time to consider getting an upgrade. Check out our list of the best smartphones to get a good start on which devices are worth your attention.
Problem: Phone can no longer fast charge
Smartphones like the Note 9 are capable of charging at rapid speeds, so it’s a bummer when the feature doesn’t function properly or at all. Users reported their Note 9s are unable to fast charge, though normal charging still works. There isn’t a finite solution yet, but here are some remedies that may do the trick.
- In order to fast charge, make sure your charging brick and cable are compatible. The set included with your Note 9 comes with adaptive fast charging, but wear and tear may cause it to lose functionality. If that’s the case, you may want to invest in a new USB-C cable.
- It also helps to clean out the charging port. The best practice is to spray the opening with a compressed air duster, followed by a light brushing with a cotton swab.
- You may also want to clean it out with rubbing alcohol — just make sure you use at least 99% alcohol to get as little water into the port as possible.
- Your culprit may also be the fast charging setting itself. Go to Settings > Device Care > Battery > Charging and make sure Fast Charging is toggled On. Plug in a fast charger to see if it works.
Problem: Screen discoloration after updating
The Note 9 is still a beast of a smartphone in 2020, thanks to consistent software updates. However, while intended to improve performance, many users have reported issues of screen discoloration after updating. What looks like a permanent blue light filter fills the display of the Note 9, and factory resetting doesn’t remove it.
- While there isn’t an official solution, users have found success by wiping their phone’s cache partition. Before doing so, make sure your data and files are backed up. Turn off your device, then turn it back on by holding the Power + Volume Up keys. Release them when the Samsung boot logo appears, and you should see a list of options. Navigate down by pressing the Volume Down key and select Wipe Cache Partition by pressing the Power key. Select Yes > Reboot System Now.
- Samsung has suggested users experiencing the screen issue should have their phones replaced at a local service center. While this most likely fixes the problem, it requires time and money.
Problem: The Note 9 is overheating
Samsung fans get understandably worried about their phones heating up following the Note 7 debacle. But that’s not to say overheating shouldn’t be taken seriously. Quite a few Note 9 owners have noted their devices are overheating significantly. This seems to come with other problems, such as a decrease in battery life. In the worst cases, people complain the phone is too hot to hold, with the back and sides becoming extremely hot.
Your phone getting hot while gaming and performing intensive tasks shouldn’t be too much of an issue — after all, the Note 9’s cooling is based around moving heat from the inside of the phone to the outside — it shouldn’t be getting uncomfortable to hold.
- Contact Samsung or your retailer immediately. While phones can get warm during fast charging and intensive tasks it shouldn’t be getting too hot to hold, and shouldn’t be doing so outside of those activities. If your phone is overheating consistently, it could point to a problem with the battery, and faulty batteries can be a serious fire hazard.
Bug: Navigation bar still shows while using gestures
One UI with Android 9.0 Pie has added a lot of useful features to the Note 9, and gesture controls are one of them. However, some users are finding the software keys aren’t going away as they should after turning the new controls on. While it’s not a phone-breaking complaint by any stretch, it’s certainly annoying. Thankfully, fixing it seems easy.
- Samsung suggests wiping your cache partition to deal with these sorts of issues. To do this, turn off your device, then hold the volume up and Bixby key. Then, press and hold the power key as well. When the Android logo appears, release all three keys. When the Android recovery system appears, use the volume keys to select Wipe cache partition, and tap the power button to select it. This should not delete your personal data, but we would still recommend backing up your phone before you start, just in case.
Issue: Camera buzzes when zooming
The Galaxy Note 9 is possessed of an exceptional set of snappers, but that doesn’t mean it’s without some issues. Complaints about the camera freezing and lagging have died down, but they’ve been replaced by another problem. Users are complaining of a buzzing noise while using their camera, and it seems to be linked to using the telephoto lens. While some say the noise is nothing but an annoyance, others have found the problem has also come with focusing issues while using that lens.
- Unfortunately, this seems to be a hardware issue, so there’s not much else you can do other than send your device back to Samsung, or take it to a third-party store to be repaired.
Some users have noticed video volume lowers several minutes into media playback. The problem is occurring on YouTube and other video apps, including Samsung’s own video app, and it seems to happen exclusively several minutes into playback. The issue persists into safe mode — which indicates the problem isn’t caused by a third-party app.
A now-deleted post on Samsung’s forum indicated a software update could fix the problem, but this is at odds with other advice from another deleted post where one of Samsung’s official moderators recommended a replacement unit. Unlike some other issues, it seems this one hasn’t been fixed by the Android 9.0 Pie update.
- While Samsung hasn’t officially acknowledged the problem, it seems one user may have figured out the issue: Dolby Atmos. If you’re having problems with your sound lowering, head to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Advanced sound settings > Sound quality and effects, and make sure Dolby Atmos is enabled.
Issue: Quiet notifications
Many have expressed concerns the Note 9’s ringtone and notification volumes are quieter than other comparable phones, and especially when compared to last year’s Galaxy Note 8. It seems while the earpiece kicks in for music and video, only the bottom speaker is used for notifications and ringtones.
- One user claims the quiet speaker is a hardware fault. According to aritra.hamarimuskan, both of their Note 9’s speakers fire during notifications while headphones are plugged into the phone, but only the bottom speaker fires without headphones plugged in. One speaker firing is obviously quieter than two, and is probably the culprit of the issue. However, this particular user had some trouble getting a Samsung representative to accept the fault, but they have recommended you run the headphone test if you’re suffering this problem. You may be able to use it as leverage with Samsung for a replacement unit.
Problem: Top speaker is inconsistent during calls
The Note 9 uses a lower speaker and the earpiece at the top of the phone to deliver stereo sound. Unfortunately, it seems that the earpiece at the top of the phone is working inconsistently for some users during speakerphone mode in calls. According to some posts, the top speaker will work sometimes when the phone is moved, but will cut out at other times.
This is a particularly interesting problem because, as some users have pointed out, the top speaker is only meant to work for music and videos and shouldn’t kick in for speakerphone at all. It seems the sensor at the top of the phone is cutting out or lowering the earpiece speaker when blocked. While this may seem annoying, other users have highlighted this is a safety feature, as the top earpiece is a full-fledged speaker in its own right, and if the proximity sensor detects something it thinks is an ear, it lowers volume for safety.
- Try to keep objects away from your phone’s top sensors, and try not to move it around.
Problem: S Pen not registering on certain parts of the screen
The S Pen is a wonderful tool for the Note 9, and it comes with some great features to boot. But it’s just another piece of the phone that can go wrong, and some users are having issues with the S Pen not working on certain parts of their Note 9’s screen.
- Are you using a protective case with a magnet? Many wallet cases use magnets to hold the cover closed, and those magnets can interfere with the S Pen and the Note 9. Try taking off the case and trying again.
- Samsung has several solutions you can try if your S Pen is malfunctioning:
- Perform a soft reset by holding down the volume down key for 10 seconds. Then hold the Power button while still holding the volume down until your phone reboots.
- Ensure your S Pen is connected properly. Head to Settings > Advanced Features > S Pen > S Pen Remote, and then make sure the switch is toggled on.
- If that doesn’t work, you may have a defective screen or S Pen. Contact Samsung about a replacement.
Issue: Navigation keys unresponsive
Some users report the software-based navigation keys at the bottom of the Note 9’s screen are freezing and becoming unresponsive. Users have said the issue is intermittent, but when it does occur, it can take up to 10 to 20 taps to push through a command — and often, the problem doesn’t go away until the user restarts the phone.
It appears that the problem is pretty localized to devices that run Samsung’s default Samsung Experience launcher. One specific user did note that he experienced the issue after opening his Note 9’s home page while using Nova Launcher.
The issue isn’t caused by the Note 9 itself; It’s actually linked to a recent update for Samsung Pay. The root of the problem could be fixed with another update.
- It seems that a restart of the phone will clear the issues, at least for a time.
- One user reported that changing his Note 9’s theme through the Samsung Themes app solved his issues. This is highly anecdotal, but it’s worth a shot if you’re getting the issue consistently.
- Samsung Pay can often experience a brief glitch or malfunction that causes an invisible window to pop-up on your screen. It can block your entire onscreen keyboard. Luckily, the cause is straightforward; this bug happens when users haven’t set up the program entirely. After configuring your device, this issue should then disappear.
- Some consumers noted that updating to Android 9.0 Pie fixed the glitch. We recommend keeping your software up to date to help eliminate these issues.
Problem: Camera lags or freezes
Several people on official Samsung forums and XDA Developers have shared their Note 9 camera has experienced complications. They reported the camera would freeze randomly, regardless of whether they were taking video or stills. When the camera froze, some users also received a “Camera Failed” message. Several users tried clearing the cache, changing the MicroSD card, and turning their device off and back on again, but none of those methods seemed to stop the freezing problem.