There was a fair bit of skepticism about the phablet form factor until Samsung scored a hit with the original Note. The third in the series is bigger than ever, boasting a whopping 5.7-inch display and flagship specs to match. Our Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review found little to complain about, but out in the wild every device has its issues, even a superphone. We’ve gathered together the Galaxy Note 3 problems that have been popping up online the most, and we offer up some potential solutions and advice for sufferers.
Bug: Random restart and boot loop
A number of Galaxy Note 3 owners have reported random restarts where the device just reboots unexpectedly. Some unfortunate people have encountered a boot loop where the phone just continually reboots. It’s not entirely clear what is causing this. It could be something to do with apps trying to update, or it could be related to there being too many apps or services trying to start up.
It seems likely to be a software glitch of some kind and you would expect Samsung to release a patch to fix it, but there’s no telling how long that might take. In the meantime you could take your Galaxy Note 3 back to the retailer and ask for a replacement. Some people report the same issue with the replacement; others have suggested that their replacement model works perfectly.
There are others things to try.
- Remove the battery and the SD card.
- Put the battery back in and turn on the device.
- Try Menu > Settings > Wi-Fi > Menu > Advanced and uncheck Always allow scanning.
- Now you should be able to turn the device off and reinsert the SD card.
- Boot it up and your problem might be gone.
- You could remove the SD card, backup the data, put it back in the phone and try reformatting it via Settings > Storage > Format SD card .
- If it’s stuck in a boot loop and you can’t get in to the main menu, you could factory reset the Galaxy Note 3 using the hardware buttons (but you will lose all data on it). Back up first if you can, and then:
- Turn off the device.
- Press and hold the Volume up, Home, and Power buttons.
- When you see the Galaxy Note 3 logo, let go of Power.
- When you see the Android System Recovery screen let go of Volume up and Home.
- Press Volume down to highlight wipe data / factory reset.
- Press Power to select it.
- Press Volume down to highlight delete all user data.
- Press Power to select it and wait until it’s done.
- Highlight reboot system now and select it with Power and your device will reboot.
Problem: Region lock
Samsung has applied a region lock on the Galaxy Note 3, which means that if you put a SIM card from a different region into it, the device will lock up. This is probably to try and curb people importing phones from different regions, but it’s an obvious pain for frequent travelers. If you have a rooted device then there’s an app that can help you. If not, then we suggest complaining to Samsung customer support.
- Head over to this XDA Developers forum thread for details about an app called Region Lock Away.
Bug: “Prevention information” message
A number of people have encountered a pop-up message on the Note 3 with the header “Prevention information.” It goes on to say “An application has been forced to stop for an unauthorized attempt to access system in your device. It may be safe to delete an application obtained from an unauthorized route. Check now?” and there’s an option to “not show for 30 days.” You can cancel out or click OK, which takes you to your list of apps. Some people report getting this message without installing any apps from unknown sources and it seems to be some kind of bug or false positive rather than an actual issue with an unsafe app.
- Long press on the message and select App info, which should take you to Knox Notification Manager. Try clearing the data and cache, then go to Settings > General > Security and make sure that Unknown sources is not ticked. If you reboot the phone the message might come back.
- You could disable Knox or disable the notifications from Knox, but you’ll probably need to root your Note 3 and freeze a number of apps and services related to it for that to work, and it means you won’t potentially benefit from the security it’s supposed to provide.
- You should get an update to fix this OTA, but it depends on your carrier. You can always check by going to Settings > About phone > Software update.
Glitch: Wi-Fi issues
Some Note 3 owners are having trouble connecting to Wi-Fi networks, finding that the Wi-Fi is very slow, or that the device keeps dropping the connection. There are a ton of potential reasons for this and consequently there are a ton of potential fixes. Here’s what you can try:
Some people with stability issues have been able to get solid Wi-Fi connections simply by making sure that mobile data is switched off. Just drag down the notification shade and toggle Mobile data off.
- Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and tap Menu > Advanced and then uncheck Auto network switch. That seems to have helped some people.
- Try turning off the Note 3 and your router for a few minutes and then turn them both back on again.
- Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and long press on the problem connection, then tell the device to forget it and set the connection up again from scratch.
- Try out the free Wi-fi Analyzer app and see if crowded channels could be the issue. If so then change the channel on your router.
- Make sure that your router firmware is up to date and check settings like MAC filtering.
- If you’re having stability issues then you might try disabling the apps Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Direct Share via Settings > Applications manager on the All tab.
Samsung has packed a lot of technology into a relatively svelte body in the Galaxy Note 3 and that means it’s going to generate heat. All smartphones will heat up when you play an FPS for two hours straight, but if your Note 3 is getting uncomfortably hot during normal or light usage, or it’s having a noticeable impact on performance, then you might have a real issue. Heat can also lead to rapid battery discharge. There are a few things you can try to fix the problem.
- Always start with a simple reboot, turn it off, leave it for a few seconds and then turn it on again.
- Turn it off and try removing the back and popping out the battery and the SD card. Some people have reported issues with specific SD cards. If you can, try using a different SD card or leave your SD card out and pop the battery back in to test if it makes a difference.
- It could be a rogue app that’s causing the problem. You can try uninstalling potential culprits one by one, or you can do a factory reset and then selectively reinstall. This is obviously easier if you notice that using a specific app precedes the heat increase.
- If none of the above works for you, take it back to the retailer, or contact Samsung or your carrier, and try to arrange a fix or replacement.
Bug: Index Service has stopped
A number of people have encountered this problem. The message “Index Service has stopped” pops up frequently on the screen. Some users report they can click it away and continue using the Note 3, while others are suffering freezes and having to reboot the phone. It is related to files that the phone is attempting to index and generally happens when you insert a big MicroSD card with lots of photos or PDFs files on it. It could be a single corrupt file that’s causing the issue. If you can find the individual file responsible then it’s just a case of removing it and you won’t get the message again, but that can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
- Turn the phone off and remove your MicroSD card.
- Back up all files onto your computer.
- Put the MicroSD card back into the phone and turn it on.
- Go to Settings > Storage > Format SD card (you may have to do this twice).
- Now you should be able to copy the files back from the computer by plugging in the phone via USB. Make sure the MicroSD card is empty and then begin transferring the files back onto it. Just watch out for warnings about incompatible files and do it in small groups, so you can identify the culprit if the problem reoccurs.
That’s all the Galaxy Note 3 problems and fixes we have for now, but we will add new issues as and when they arise. If you have a different problem, or a solution that worked for you, please post a comment and share it.