The stunning Samsung Galaxy Note 9 remains one of Samsung’s best smartphones to date even though it’s now been superseded by the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It’s exceptionally 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, and the fixes that’ll keep your device running smoothly.
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.
- Contact Samsung or your retailer immediately. While phones can get warm during fast charging and intensive tasks — like gaming — 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 issues like this. 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 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.
Problem: Volume lowers during media playback
Some users are noticing that video volumes are lowering 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 that 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 that 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 pointed out 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 addition to the Note 9, with some great new features being added to the latest version of Samsung’s huge phone. 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 are reporting that the software-based navigation keys at the bottom of the Note 9’s screen are freezing and becoming unresponsive. Users have reported that the issue is intermittent, but when it occurs it can take up to 10 to 20 taps to push through a command — and often the issue doesn’t go away until the phone is restarted.
It seems that the issue is restricted only to devices using Samsung’s default Samsung Experience launcher — one user using Nova Launcher said he only had the issue while on his Note 9’s home page.
The root of the problem is apparently a recent update to Samsung Pay — which explains why the issue hasn’t been around since the Note 9’s launch.
- 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.
- Since the problem is linked to Samsung Pay, setting up Samsung Pay is apparently enough to solve the issue. It seems that some form of invisible pop-up from Samsung Pay is blocking the keys, and that box goes away once Samsung Pay is set up. It’s a weird solution, but apparently, it works.
- The problem appears to have been solved by the Note 9’s update to Android 9.0 Pie.
Problem: Camera lags or freezes for a few seconds
Users on the official Samsung forums and XDA Developers have been complaining of lagging and freezing while using the Note 9’s camera. This issue seems to happen both when taking images and recording video, and clearing the cache, changing the MicroSD card, and restarting the phone have had no impact. The “Camera failed” warning also seems to be linked to this issue.