Troublesome Galaxy Note 5 problems, and how to fix them

Galaxy Note 5
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

As phablet fans flocked to the fantastic Galaxy Note 5, many experienced issues. Every smartphone has its troubles, but there’s usually a way to get around them. We’ve been gathering some of the most common Galaxy Note 5 problems, along with the workarounds and potential solutions you might need to address them. You can find more useful advice in Galaxy Note 5 tips and tricks you need to know about.

Problems with S Pen, Wi-Fi, freezing, and more

Problem: S Pen jammed

There has been a fair bit of fuss over the dangers of putting your S Pen into your Galaxy Note 5 the wrong way round. It’s obviously supposed to go in nib first. This was a tricky mistake to make on earlier Note models, but with the Note 5, you can slide it in end first and it may become stuck. A few people have broken the detection feature when pulling it out again, so the S Pen no longer automatically launches the Air command menu or the quick note option.


Note 5 S Pen
Malarie Gokey / Digital Trends
  • Do not put the S Pen into your Note 5 end first. It’s pretty easy to avoid. If you get into the habit of clicking the end to make sure it’s the right way round before inserting it, then you’ll be fine.
  • You could take preventative measures if you fear it will happen. What actually gets stuck is the lip on the clicky mechanism on the end of the S Pen. You could file off the protruding sides, though it leaves the S Pen looking pretty ugly. Alternatively, you could attach something like a small rubber band, or a piece of tape to the end so it can’t fit in backwards easily.

Potential solutions:

  • If you’ve already got your S Pen stuck, it’s important not to use force to pull it back out. There’s a chance the clicky end will come off completely, and you’ll break the detection feature. Cut a piece of paper or really thin card the same length as the S Pen and slide it in the side where the stylus is stuck. That’s going to be towards the body of the phone, so on the left of the S Pen, if you’re looking at it from the bottom with the screen up. It should trigger the clamping mechanism to open, and you’ll be able to slide the S Pen out without damage. Here’s a video on how to do it.
  • Contact Samsung and see if they’ll fix or replace it. There are mixed reports about the responses to this, but some owners have been able to return it for repair under warranty.
  • Apparently, Samsung has slightly updated the design of new Note 5 models, so that a wrongly inserted S Pen can be removed without breaking the mechanism.

Glitch: Wi-Fi won’t connect, disconnects, or slows

A few people are having trouble getting the Note 5 to connect to a specific Wi-Fi network, even though it may work on a different network. Others have reported issues with disconnecting and slow speeds. Wi-Fi problems are really common with new phones, and you can usually find a fix. Here’s what to try:

Potential solutions:

  • Turn it off and on again. Try switching off your Note 5 by holding the Power button down and choosing Power off. You should also turn the router off and back on again.
  • Pull down the notification shade and tap and hold on Wi-Fi or go to Settings > Wi-Fi. Find the problematic network, and tap and hold on it, then select Forget network. Turn Wi-Fi off and on again, and try setting up the connection afresh.
  • Take a look in Settings > Wi-Fi and tap More at the top right, then tap on Smart network switch, and make sure that it’s off.
  • If your problem is with disconnecting, go to Settings > Wi-Fi > More, and make sure that Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep is set to Always.
  • It’s worth trying a wipe of the cache partition. Turn the Note 5 off by holding the Power button and selecting Power off. Hold the Power, Volume up, and Home buttons together, and you should see the Android mascot and then the recovery menu. Use Volume down to highlight wipe cache partition and then Power to select it. Once it’s done, press Power to select reboot system now.
  • Take a look on the website for your router manufacturer to see if there is a firmware update.
  • You may be trying to use a crowded channel. Wifi Analyzer is a good, free app that allows you to check how crowded the channels are. Refer to your router manufacturer or ISP for instructions on changing channels.
  • Make sure that you aren’t using MAC filtering on your router. If you are, then turn it off, or add your Note 5’s MAC address. You can find it in Settings > About device > Status, listed under Wi-Fi Mac address.
  • Your last resort is to try a factory reset. Back up anything important, and go to Backup and reset > Factory data reset > Reset device.

Issue: Screen keeps freezing

Quite a few Note 5 owners have been struggling with the screen freezing. It seems to occur randomly, and the screen will freeze and be unresponsive for between two and five seconds. There are a few different possible causes of this.

Potential solutions:

  • The Note 5 has really thin bezels on the sides, and it’s very easy to accidentally press on the screen with part of your hand when you’re holding it. This can make it feel as though the screen is freezing. Try altering your grip, or use a case that stops you from touching the screen.
  • Turn the Note 5 off by holding the Power button and selecting Power off. Hold the Power, Volume up, and Home buttons together, and you should see the Android mascot and the recovery menu. Use Volume down to highlight wipe cache partition and then Power to select it. Once it’s done, press Power to select reboot system now.
  • It could be a specific app that’s causing your problem. You can check by holding the Power button and tapping Power off. Now press and hold Volume down and the Power button. Let go of Power when the Samsung logo comes on the screen, but keep holding Volume down. You should see safe mode in the bottom left corner when the home screen loads. To get out of safe mode just hold down Power and select Restart. If you don’t experience any screen freezes in safe mode, then the problem is definitely being caused by an app. You can uninstall one by one and test, or you can back up anything important and factory reset, then install apps selectively and test after each one.
  • Try a factory reset by going to Backup and reset > Factory data reset > Reset device.

Problem: Won’t turn on

If you find that your Note 5 has gone completely unresponsive, and it won’t turn on when you press the Power button, don’t panic.

Potential solutions:

  • Hold down Power and Volume down together for around ten seconds. The Note 5 should vibrate and reboot. If you get a Maintenance Boot Mode menu, just select Normal Boot.
  • Plug your Note 5 into the charger, and let it charge for at least half an hour. Then try turning it on. If it doesn’t respond, try holding Power and Volume down together again for ten seconds.
  • Plug your Note 5 into your computer or laptop to see if it responds.
  • Try holding the Power, Volume up, and Home buttons together. You should see the Android mascot on screen, followed by the recovery menu. Try highlighting reboot system now and press Power to select it.
  • If it still won’t respond, then it’s time to contact Samsung, your carrier, or the retailer.

Glitch: Fast charging doesn’t always work

A few Note 5 owners have found that fast charging doesn’t always work. You can check if your Note 5 is fast charging by pulling down the notification shade. Keep in mind that fast charging is designed to quickly charge your phone from 0 percent up to 50 or so, but will slow down thereafter and charge at a slower pace. A full charge will take 90 minutes. You should leave the screen off while the Note 5 is charging and refrain from using it.

Potential solutions:

  • Make sure that you use the Samsung charger and cable that shipped in the box. It should say Adaptive Fast Charging on it.
  • Some people have actually had trouble with the cable that came with their Note 5, so you may want to try a different cable with your original charger.
  • Make sure that you are plugging directly into a wall socket and not a computer, extension cord, or surge protector. Try more than one socket.
  • Make sure that your Note 5 case isn’t blocking the cable from plugging in securely.
  • Some people have found success by repeatedly unplugging the cable and plugging it in again, or pushing harder when plugging in. This sounds like it might be a faulty port and something is loose. If you keep pushing it in hard, then it’s pretty likely to deteriorate further. It might be best to contact Samsung, your carrier, or retailer to, see about a repair or replacement.
  • Make sure that your cable and the charging port of your Note 5 are clean.
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