18 of the most annoying Galaxy Note 4 problems and how to fix them

Samsung Galaxy Note 4
You probably spend more time with your smartphone than anyone else, so what do you do when your significant other is being difficult? Don’t tear your hair out in frustration, if you’ve run into some Galaxy Note 4 problems, don’t worry — it will be okay. Now, take a deep breath and see if you can find a fix to smooth things over right here.

Problem: Gap between screen and bodyGalaxy Note 4 Screen Gap

A bunch of reports sprang up shortly after the Note 4 release in South Korea complaining about a gap all around the screen. There are photos and videos of people sticking business cards into the gap between screen and body, both at the top and sides of the Note 4. But “Gapgate” may have been intentional.

As the user manual states, “a small gap appears around the outside of the device. This gap is a necessary manufacturing feature and some minor rocking or vibration of parts may occur. Over time, friction between parts may cause this gap to expand slightly.”

Samsung stressed that it’s normal. “The reported issue does not impact the functionality or quality of the Galaxy Note 4,” a spokesperson told TrustedReviews. “We assure our customers that all Galaxy Note 4 units meet our strict manufacturing and quality control standards.”

Solution:

There’s a good chance that you wouldn’t notice the gap unless it was pointed out. Since the issue was publicized, a lot of people have shown off similar gaps on the other smartphones, and some Note 4s may be worse than others. All you can really do is ignore the gap, or return your Note 4 if it’s under warranty.

Glitch: ‘OK Google’ doesn’t work

A few people have been reporting issues getting the voice command “OK Google” to work correctly every time. For some people, it worked fine when initially set up, but then stopped working after a couple of days. Others report that the “Always on” function that allows you to use the command when the screen is off doesn’t work properly.

Workaround:

  • The “OK Google” voice command and “Always on” setting shouldn’t be incompatible, but some people have had success turning off Voice wake-up in the Settings menu of S Voice. Others report the opposite  — that S Voice must be on for “OK Google” to work.

Potential solutions:

  1. Make sure that Settings > Language and input > Voice search > “Ok Google” Detection is set to Always on. Try restarting your Note 4.
  2. If you’re still having the problem, there’s a good chance that a specific app is causing it. You could check your apps one-by-one —  start with wearable apps and anything that accesses the notifications. Alternately, you can factory reset your phone and selectively re-install apps until you find the culprit.

Problem: Galaxy Note 4 randomly restarts

A few people have encountered a random reboot issue with their Note 4 handset. The phone will simply restart itself at random intervals with no obvious cause.

Potential solutions:

  • If you’re using a Micro SD card in your Note 4, remove the card from your phone and test to see if the random reboots still occur. If the reboots stop, back up the data from the card on your computer, re-insert the card in your Note 4, and try reformatting it on via Settings > Storage > Format SD card.
  • You can try a factory reset. Make sure you have all your data backed up, and then go to Settings > Backup and reset > Factory data reset > Reset device > Erase everything.
  • If the issue persists, contact your retailer, carrier, or Samsung and arrange a return and replacement.

If you’re upgrading from another Samsung device to the Note 4, you might be annoyed by the lack of a Menu key. The key to the left of the Home button is now Recent apps, in line with the rest of the Android world.

Potential solutions:

  • Most developers have updated their apps to include a menu option as a software button. It’s usually an icon of three dots — you may have to swipe to reveal it.
  • For older apps that haven’t been updated with a software option, you can long-press on the Recent apps key to expose the menu.

Issue: Dead pixels

If you notice that your new Galaxy Note 4 has dead pixels on the screen, not to worry — you have a few options.

Potential solutions:

  • Try using an app like Dead Pixel Detect and Fix to see if you can get them working again.
  • If that doesn’t help, your best bet is to request a replacement from your carrier, or contacting Samsung about a repair.

Problem: Battery life

There have been reports of people suffering poor battery life on the Note 4. It has a big battery that should last a decent amount of time, but there are plenty of apps that can impact it negatively. Bear in mind you’ll be using it a lot more for the first few days, too, and batteries can take some time to bed in.

Workarounds:

Potential solutions:

  • Make sure you restart the Note 4 periodically.
  • Go to Settings > Battery and take a look at the usage. See if you can identify a problem app or service — you may be able to uninstall it or disable it. Check out the free Greenify app, which can help identify and deal with rogue apps.
  • Try wiping the cache partition. Turn the Note 4 off then press and hold Volume up, Home, and Power. When the phone vibrates, release Power, but keep holding the other two buttons until you see the Android System Recovery menu. Use Volume down to highlight wipe cache partition and press Power to select it. When it’s done, press Power to select Reboot system now.
  • You may find it’s quicker to just factory reset and reinstall apps selectively.
  • If you’ve rooted your Note 4, you can get more information by installing Wakelock Detector. You can also use it to remove bloatware.

Issue: Back button sensitivity

A few people have found that the capacitive Back button to the right of the Home button on the Note 4 is not very sensitive. It sometimes fails to register touches and requires a hard press to work.

Solution:

  • Because this is a hardware issue, you should go back to your retailer, carrier, or Samsung and get a replacement.

Problem: LagSamsung Galaxy Note 4 Screenshot

Quite a few people have complained about “lag” on the Note 4 — small pauses that crop up when they return to the home screen, type on the keyboard, or load apps. Some users have experienced stuttering during general navigation or after waking the Note 4. Switching between apps and opening the Recent apps menu seem to be especially slow.

Workarounds:

  • Open S Voice and tap the menu key at the top right to find the Open via Home key. Turn it off.
  • Go to Settings > About device and tap on Build number seven times. Go back to Settings — you’ll now see Developer options. Tap on it and set Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale down from 1 to 0.5 or even 0.
  • You don’t have to stick with TouchWiz. A lot of people feel Samsung’s UI is to blame for the lag. Try another launcher like Nova launcher and see if it feels better.

Potential solutions:

  • Samsung has released a couple of updates since the Note 4 came out. Check in Settings > About device > Software updates > Update now.

Issue: Bluetooth won’t connect

Quite a few Note 4 owners have encountered issues trying to connect with Bluetooth accessories and car systems. The phone sometimes refuses to connect, or offers limited functionality when it does pair.

Potential solutions:

  • Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for your accessory or car and find out how to reset connections. It’s possible you’ve reached a connection limit and have to delete an old device.
  • Check if there’s a specific button or procedure to get your accessory or car into pairing mode.
  • Go to Settings > Bluetooth on your Note 4 and delete all the pairings, restart the phone, and then try them again.
  • Take a look at the profile in Settings > Bluetooth and see if anything needs tweaking.
  • Try an app like Bluetooth Auto Connect and see if it helps.

Problem: Wi-Fi connection

Every time a new smartphone is released, there are often reports about problems with Wi-Fi and maintaining good Wi-Fi speeds. Here’s what to try if it happens to you.

Potential solutions:

  • Try turning your Note 4 and your router off for a couple of minutes. Now turn them on again and retry the connection.
  • Take a look in Settings > Power saving and make sure that low battery life isn’t restricting your Wi-Fi.
  • Try forgetting the connection by selecting your router in Settings > Wi-Fi and Forget. Enter the details again.
  • Try the free Wi-Fi Analyzer app and see if the channel you’re using is crowded. Change to another channel if it is.
  • Take a look at the settings on your router. Make sure that MAC filtering isn’t on, or add your Note 4’s MAC address, which you’ll find in Wi-Fi > Settings > Advanced.
  • Make sure that your router firmware is fully up to date.

Problem: Camera autofocus won’t work, or very slow

A lot of people have run into issues with the autofocus on the Note 4 camera. When they open the camera app it either refuses to autofocus, or it takes a long time to focus.

Workarounds:

  • Shaking the Note 4 or giving it a solid tap can get the focus working again, but it won’t solve the problem permanently, and you don’t want to have to shake or tap it every time you use the camera.

Potential solutions:

  • Make sure that you have removed any protective film on the camera lens, and clean it gently to ensure there are no debris or fingerprints on it. The camera could be trying to focus on something that’s stuck to the lens.
  • If you use a case, try removing it.
  • Some people have had success after turning the Note 4 off and then slapping the camera onto the palm of their hand several times. Turn it back on and the focus might be working again, but there’s no guarantee the problem won’t return.
  • Open up the camera and tap the gear icon at the bottom left for Settings, then the three dots at the top for the full menu. Choose Metering modes and try changing it to Matrix or Spot. 
  • Some people had success by opening up the camera app and going to Mode > Manage modes and then deselecting everything.
  • Go to Settings > Application manager and slide over to the All tab then find the Camera app. Try tapping Clear data and Force stop. Now open the Camera app and see if it’s working.
  • It looks as though the camera is loose, in a lot of cases. That’s why the shaking or tapping is working for some people. If you’re able to, the best solution is to contact your carrier, retailer, or Samsung and try to get a replacement. A lot of people report that they got a new Note 4 and did not suffer from the same problem.

Glitch: Text messages disappearing

A few Note 4 owners have been complaining about text messages disappearing. Sometimes they’ll write a text message and then upon sending it will disappear. Other times, an incoming text message will pop up and then disappear.

Workaround:

Potential solutions:

  • The first thing to check is in the messaging app. It might be automatically deleting messages because you’ve reached your specified limit. Tap the three dots at the top right in Messages, open up the Settings menu, and then tap Delete old messages. Either turn it off, or increase the limit.
  • If you’re with AT&T this could be down to the AT&T Messages Backup & Sync feature. You can disable this by logging into your AT&T account online.

Issue: “Unfortunately, contacts has stopped working”

Quite a few Note 4 owners have been getting the message “Unfortunately, contacts has stopped working” popping up frequently, and seemingly at random.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Application manager and scroll to the All tab. Find your Contacts app and tap Clear cache and Force stop. Restart your Note 4, and see if the issue is resolved.
  • Check the Google+ app. Tap the three dots at the top right and choose Settings, then tap your name under Account Settings and choose Contacts. Try unchecking Keep contacts up to date.
  • Some people report that they resolved the issue by disabling Google+ or uninstalling updates for it. The options can be found in Settings > Application manager > All > Google+.

Bug: GPS keeps losing fix

A lot of Note 4 owners are unhappy with the GPS function. It’s either taking ages to get a fix, or it’s dropping the connection pretty frequently. It seems to be a lot worse when people are moving than when they’re stationary.

Potential solutions:

  • Start by going to Settings > Location and make sure that High accuracy is selected under Mode.
  • If you have a case on your Note 4, then try removing it. Some people have found that GPS works perfectly after removing the case, especially if it has any metal parts.
  • Some people resolved the issue by removing their microSD card. Apparently, some older cards can cause issues.
  • You could try wiping the cache partition by turning your Note 4 off, and then holding down Volume up, Home, and Power. Let go of Power when you feel a vibration, but keep holding the other two. Use the Volume down button to highlight wipe cache partition and Power to select it. When it’s finished, you can tap Power to select reboot system now.
  • If you’re still having issues, you could try a factory reset. Back up all your precious files first, and then go to Settings > Backup and reset > Factory data reset > Reset device.
  • If nothing works, then it’s time to contact your carrier, retailer, or Samsung to see if you can get a replacement handset.

Problem: Automatically redials last caller

A few people have reported that their Note 4 automatically redials the last caller as soon as they end a call. This can obviously cause some embarrassment, but it’s easy to sort out.

Workaround:

  • Try installing the free Call Confirm app. It will show a pop-up when you make a call asking you to confirm before it goes ahead, so you’ll get a chance to prevent the redial.

Potential solution:

  • There’s a good chance that this is down to the auto redial feature, which is supposed to automatically reconnect you if you get cut off during a call. It’s definitely worth checking in Settings > Call > More settings > Auto redial. Turn Auto redial off and see if that helps.

Glitch: Photos and videos not in Gallery

Some Note 4 owners have been puzzled by disappearing photos or videos.

Potential solutions:

  • Try switching your phone off and on again.
  • It’s possible that you have Private Mode turned on. If you take a look in Settings under Personalization, you’ll see Private mode. Turn it off. You’ll see the private icon at the top left on photos that are included in private mode. To put them back to normal, tap the Menu button at the top right, scroll down the list, and tap Remove from Private.
  • You could try wiping the cache partition. Turn the Note 4 off. Press and hold Volume Up, Home, and Power. When the phone vibrates, let go of the Home and Power buttons. Keep holding Volume Up until you see the recovery menu. Use Volume Down to highlight wipe cache partition and Power to select it. Once you’ve done that, press Power to select Reboot system now.
  • You might have to resort to a factory reset. Make sure that you back everything up first. Then, Go to Settings > Backup and reset > Factory data reset > Reset device.

Bug: Facebook freezing

A lot of people have been encountering issues with the Facebook app on their Note 4. It frequently freezes up when they try to watch videos or access links.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Application manager, scroll to the All tab and find Facebook. Try Clear cache and Clear data to see if that makes a difference.
  • It’s worth clearing your cache partition as well. Turn the Note 4 completely off, then press and hold Volume Up, Home, and Power. When the phone vibrates, let go of Home and Power. Keep holding Volume Up until you see the recovery menu. Use Volume Down to highlight wipe cache partition and Power to select it. Once that’s done, press Power to select Reboot system now.
  • The problem appears to stem from Facebook app. If it came preinstalled on your Note 4, you won’t be able to uninstall it. However, you can go to Settings > Application manager > All, find Facebook, and tap Disable or Turn off. If you do have the option to uninstall it, then do so, and reinstall a fresh version from the Play Store. Also, don’t sync your contacts if prompted.

Issue: Auto-rotate not working

Sometimes you might find that your auto-rotate feature stops working properly. Assuming you’ve already checked that Screen rotation isn’t turned off, there are some things you can try.

Potential solutions:

  • Check that you don’t have a sensor issue by dialing “*#0*#” in your Phone dialer. It should bring up a hidden service menu — you can tap Sensor to test it out.
  • Try clearing your cache partition. Turn your Note 4 completely off, then press and hold Volume Up, Home, and Power. When the phone vibrates, let go of Home and Power. Keep holding Volume Up until you see the recovery menu. Use Volume Down to highlight wipe cache partition and Power to select it. Once you’ve done that, press Power to select Reboot system now.
  • If it’s still not working, try pulling the battery out for a couple of seconds and then put it back in before restarting your Note 4.

That’s it for Galaxy Note 4 problems and fixes, but we’ll post more in a future update. If you want to share a problem or solution then please hit the comments below.

Article originally published 10-30-2014. Updated on 5-20-2015 by Simon Hill: Added solution to battery life and new problems on camera autofocus, text messages disappearing, contacts stopping, and GPS losing fix.

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