Common Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus problems and how to fix them

samsung galaxy s9 plus review taking photo
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are the culmination of Samsung’s smartphone philosophy. They are big, they’re beautiful, and they are easily some of the most advanced machines that have ever graced our collective pockets. But they’re not perfect, and issues can arise. That is why we scoured forums, comments, and news to find the most common problems with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, and how to fix them.

Bug: Samsung Messages app has sent my entire gallery to a random contact

In one of the more notorious issues that has hit the Samsung Galaxy S9, multiple users are complaining that their entire gallery of images has been sent to another contact, with no indication on their side that this had happened. While the impact seems to have been minimal so far, this is a bug with potentially disastrous side effects.

Thankfully, it might not be as bad as all that. On closer inspection, it seems that the only people affected are those who are on T-Mobile and share a plan with another person, who also has a Galaxy device. That’s a fairly specific subset of the population, and not one that seems particularly large. Still, no fix has been presented for the issue yet, so what can you do to stop all your media being shared with another person?

Workaround:

  • Since the issue only affects Samsung Messages, the problem can be solved by revoking that app’s ability to access your storage. To do so, open your Settings app, then hit Apps > Samsung Messages > Permissions, and then revoke the Storage permission. Doing so will probably make your Samsung Messages app unusable, so take the time to download an alternate messaging app before doing so.

Issue: Bluetooth not pairing to device/refusing to reconnect

Users have been complaining for months that intermittent connection issues are striking the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, with problems including periodic drops in connection, an inability to pair, and a refusal to reconnect to car-based Bluetooth systems. It seems that the periodic drops in connection have been fixed via a software update, but some Bluetooth issues persist.

Possible solutions:

  • If you’re finding that your S9 or S9 Plus isn’t reconnecting to your car’s Bluetooth system like your old phone used to, then the issue might be that your old phone is still listed in your car’s connections. Apparently, the S9 is a possessive sort, and won’t play well with car Bluetooth systems that have other phones still listed. According to a few testimonials, removing your older phone from the list should solve this issue.
  • If you’re having problems getting your device paired with a speaker or other Bluetooth device, make sure you try running through Samsung’s list of steps on possible Bluetooth problems. If that doesn’t help, try holding down your Bluetooth device’s power button for longer than usual to ensure you’ve properly entered pairing mode. If it’s still not working, it’s probably time to reach out to Samsung for a possible fix.

Issue: Dead zone on the touchscreen

Users on Samsung’s official forums as well as multiple Reddit threads are reporting that sections of the touchscreens on their Galaxy S9s are completely dead, and not reacting to their touch. In most cases, the dead section seems to be a band laid horizontally across the device and isn’t in the same place for each person. Some people have attempted factory resets and changing sensitivity options in the phone’s settings, but so far none of those methods have been reported to work.

Samsung confirmed it is looking into the issue, Engadget reports. The company released the following statement:

“At Samsung, customer satisfaction is core to our business and we aim to deliver the best possible experience. We are looking into a limited number of reports of Galaxy S9/S9+ touchscreen responsiveness issues. We are working with affected customers and investigating. We encourage any customer with questions to contact us directly at 1-800-Samsung.”

Workaround:

  • Since this seems to be a hardware issue, your best bet is to speak to whomever you bought the device from and get it fixed or replaced under your warranty. If you received your device from Samsung, it asked affected users to contact them directly at 1-800-Samsung.

Bug: Very dark super slow-motion video

Some users are reporting that super slow-motion video on their S9 devices is showing up with dramatically increased levels of darkness in lower lighting conditions. This bug does not affect all S9 units, but if it affects yours, then you will notice a dramatic difference in the lighting between your Auto camera mode and when you switch to your Super Slow-Motion mode. This can be seen in the video below.

The bug does not seem to be because the mode requires more light than standard video, as one user’s normal video shows good indoor lighting.

Solution:

  • According to a comment on one of the videos, Samsung acknowledged this problem and is working on software to correct it. If you have this problem, hang tight and Samsung should fix it soon.

Issue: Can’t record voice calls

If you record your phone calls for security or archival purposes, then it seems that you will not be able to do so on the Galaxy S9. According to multiple users, no matter which call-recording software is used, the S9 will only pick up one side of the conversation, and will not record the person on the other end of the call.

So far it seems that this issue only affects the international version of the Galaxy S9 equipped with the Exynos 9810 processor, and the Snapdragon 845 is unaffected by this limitation.

Workaround:

  • None at this time. As clarified by moderator BruceH on the Samsung EU forums, call recording is blocked on the S9 and S9 Plus in order to meet Google’s security policies and local laws in the EU. These processes have been specially built up on the S9 and S9 Plus, since similar restrictions on older Samsung phones were able to be bypassed by certain apps. It seems that Samsung has finally managed to close that loop for good.

Bug: Smearing or pixelation around black objects/black crush

If you have noticed that black areas don’t look quite right on your S9 Plus then you’re not alone. Users have noticed that black areas in media and images are failing to blend properly with other colors, resulting in areas that look pixelated, blurred, or just plain odd. When comparing an S8 Plus and an S9 Plus side by side, the issue becomes very clear (S9 Plus on top).

It seems that this is an issue only with the Galaxy S9 Plus, and only affects some units when below 40 percent brightness.

Solution:

  • An update has successfully fixed the problem, so make sure your phone is fully updated if you’re still getting the problem. Go to Settings > System updates > Check for system updates to make sure.

Glitch: Samsung Pay is not working

Given it’s Samsung’s payment service, you would expect Samsung Pay to work with the Galaxy S9 right out of the box. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and multiple users are reporting Samsung Pay is showing up as an “incompatible app.”

Solution:

  • Make sure you updated to the latest version. Samsung rushed out an update as quickly as possible, and that seems to have fixed the issue. If you’re still having issues with the app, try uninstalling it and reinstalling it.
Smart Home

Samsung’s S9 and S9+ Prime Day bundles include an Echo and an Echo Spot

Samsung's Amazon Prime Day bundles include an Amazon Echo, Echo Spot, and a Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Starter Kit for no extra charge with Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+ smartphones. The bundle savings equals $430.
Mobile

The best Galaxy S9 cases to safeguard your Samsung smartphone

The Samsung Galaxy S9 sports the same curved design and Infinity display as the S8, so you'll want to get a case to protect it. Here are our top picks for the best Samsung Galaxy S9 cases so far.
Mobile

Samsung mocks iPhone X download speed in new ad for Galaxy S9

Samsung’s smartphone division loves to mock Apple and its devotees at every opportunity, with its latest ad highlighting a recent test that showed the Galaxy S9 to have faster downloads speeds than the iPhone X.
Mobile

Apple fixes its battery drain issue with iOS 11.4.1 update

Apple's iOS 11 is the latest version of the company's mobile operating system, but it still has some issues to be worked out. We've searched the internet to find the biggest iOS 11 problems, along with some potential solutions.
Mobile

Google is replacing some Pixel 2 handsets due to faulty rear cameras

Google’s Pixel 2 smartphones have plenty to recommend them, but they’re not perfect. We've rounded up the most common Pixel 2 issues and Pixel 2 XL problems here and identify workarounds or fixes to help you cope with them.
Mobile

Apple stops offering free repairs for iPhones with grayed speaker buttons

Getting a new iPhone should be a pleasurable experience, but if you run into an issue, it can quickly become frustrating. Luckily, we’ve gathered a few potential solutions for any iPhone 7 problems you may be facing.
Mobile

Samsung’s moon-hopping VR experience in NYC is like space camp for adults

For the next year, Samsung will let you simulate walking on the moon, thanks to the Gear VR, Galaxy S9 Plus, and a complicated harness system that was developed in partnership with NASA.
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy S10 could have an in-display fingerprint sensor

It may be no more than a sparkle in Samsung's eye, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 is definitely coming. Here's everything we know about what's sure to be Samsung's most amazing creation so far.
Gaming

How to sync and troubleshoot your PS4's DualShock 4 controllers

Sony's Bluetooth-enabled DualShock 4 controllers for PlayStation 4 are some of the best on the market, but connection issues aren't unheard of. Here's how to sync them to your console, un- and re-pair them if they drop signal, and reset…
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2018

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Wearables

At least one new Galaxy Watch may upstage the Galaxy Note 9 on August 9

Samsung may introduce a sequel to the Gear S3 smartwatch in 2018, but this time it may have a different name or even multiple versions. Rumors are spreading about a Galaxy Watch coming alongside the Galaxy Note 9.
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will likely come with a steep price tag

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will surely be big, bold, and pricey, but will it be foldable, or have an under-display fingerprint sensor? Those are just some of the rumors swirling around one of 2018's most anticipated phones.
Computing

Apple repair program won’t upgrade older MacBook Pros to new keyboard

Apple's quieter third-generation keyboard is exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro. This means you shouldn't expect a free keyboard upgrade if you take your older MacBook Pro in for keyboard repairs related to the issue with sticky keys.
Mobile

How to improve your Android privacy

If you have an Android device and you’re concerned about your privacy, then we have a few tips for you. Learn about the settings you can change to improve your Android privacy and safeguard your personal data.
Mobile

Garmin’s latest fitness wearables get a workout boost from Gold’s Gym

Owners of Garmin's latest fitness wearables get a workout boost thanks to a new partnership with Gold's Gym that merges Garmin's fitness tracking with the coaching and music of Gold's AMP app.
Mobile

Samsung's Bixby speaker may launch in August at a higher-than-expected price

Samsung's reportedly working on Bixby, a speaker to rival Amazon's Echo, Google Home, and Apple'sHomePod. Here's what we know, including the latest and best estimate info on design, specs, price, and launch date.
Mobile

Here’s how to turn off camera shutter sound on your Android phone

That clicking shutter sound on your Android phone can get annoying if you like to take lots of pictures. Fortunately, you can disable it. We will walk you through how to turn off the camera shutter sound on your Android phone.
Outdoors

The AllTrails app gets even better, adds more details in new map layer

AllTrails updated its app with an all-new map layer that is easier to read, more clearly defines state and national parks around the world, and offers more points of interest for hikers.
Mobile

Samsung patent shows 'hidden display' on Galaxy X foldable smartphone

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display technology for a few years now and a folding smartphone might finally become a reality. The Galaxy X may be the company's first example, and here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

Android Q will likely make its way to the Essential Phone in 2019

The Essential Phone (PH-1) was one of the best-reviewed phones of 2017, and it comes from Andy Rubin, the co-creator of Android itself. It has a striking design with a bezel-less display and the price is now down to $500.
Mobile

The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 has a tablet-sized screen and a huge battery

Do you need a phone that's around the size as your head? Then check out the Xiaomi Mi Max 3, Xiaomi's latest addition to its huge Mi Max range. Here's everything you need to know.