Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 has one big problem: it explodes. Return yours now

Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The gorgeous Galaxy Note 7 has been the focus of a massive recall. Replacement units have been catching fire and that forced Samsung to halt production. Samsung officially declared an end to the Note 7 in early October.

“For the benefit of consumers’ safety, we stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 and have consequently decided to stop production,” Samsung told Digital Trends in a statement.

If you have a Galaxy Note 7, please return it immediately to the place where you purchased it. You are entitled to a full refund or an exchange for a replacement device of equal value, as per the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall. Please see our full guide on how to return your Note 7 here. The guide also includes recommendations of which device to buy instead.

Problem: Exploding Note 7 is recalled

A faulty battery cell causes Galaxy Note 7 phones to explode. There is a government recall. Please immediately return your Galaxy Note 7. See our full guide on how to return your Note 7 here. The guide also includes recommendations of which device to buy instead.

Call or visit the place you bought the Note 7 from, whether it’s a carrier store or an online retailer, or you can call 1-800-SAMSUNG to initiate the recall process for your device. You’ll then have the option to opt for a Galaxy S7 Edge or S7 and replace any other Note 7 accessories you have — you’ll be refunded the price difference between devices.

As a token of gratitude, the company is providing a $25 gift card when you use the exchange program. You can read more about the recall here.

Problem: Phone crashes, freezes, reboots, or is completely bricked

This may be the biggest thing new Galaxy Note 7 owners are discussing at the moment. The problem doesn’t seem to be tied to any particular feature, update, or piece of hardware, but the end result is one of three things: their phone crashes unexpectedly, reboots constantly, or has been bricked and rendered useless. On the upside, however, there are many things you can try to fix the issue. Some have found success or temporary relief, while others are still waiting for an official solution.

Potential solutions:

  • For crashes, reboots, and freezes:
    • If you’re suffering from seemingly random crashes, reboots, and freezes, the easiest thing to try is to simply turn the phone off and on.
    • You can also try performing a manual restart — rress and hold the Power key and the Volume down key simultaneously for more than seven seconds.
    • Wipe cache partition. Turn your phone completely off, then press and hold the Power, Volume Up, and Home keys until the Samsung logo appears. If done correctly, the Android icon should appear. After a brief period of time, you should enter Android System Recovery mode, which allows you to use the Volume Down and Power keys to navigate and select options. Go to wipe cache partition > Yes, and when the process is finished, choose Reboot system now when it appears.
    • You can also try to reset the settings. Go to Apps > Settings >  Backup and reset > Reset settings >  Reset settings, then confirm when prompted. This will not affect your personal data.
    • A complete Factory Data Reset is your last option, but this will erase everything on your Galaxy Note 7. First, however, backup your application data, Wi-Fi passwords, and other settings to Google’s servers by going to Apps > Settings >  Backup and reset > Back up my data. To perform a factory reset, go to Apps > Setting >  Backup and reset > Factory data reset > Reset phone and follow the instructions to perform the reset. After this process is done, you can set up your phone again.
  • If your phone is bricked:
    • There are several workaround methods to get your phone up and running again. These methods involve using either SamFirm or Samsung’s own Smart Switch. XDA Developers forum user Dante63 has created a set of step-by-step instructions that’ll work for every Galaxy Note 7 model.
  • If none of the above worked, many have speculated that it could be a hardware issue. If you believe that to be the case with your smartphone, seek out a Samsung Experience Shop at Best Buy to get your phone repaired, or reach out to your carrier or retailer to get it replaced.

Annoyance: Custom wallpaper reverts to default

Some users have noticed that, after changing the wallpaper on their Note 7 and restarting their phone, the wallpaper will return to either the default wallpaper or the wallpaper that was last used. The wallpaper can be changed again, but after a restart, it will revert once again. Hopefully a future update addresses this problem, but for now, there are a few things you can try.

Workaround:

  • If your wallpaper reverts after restarting, change the screen resolution of the display to get it back. Some users have found brief success doing this. Go to Apps > Settings > Battery > Power Saving Mode. From here, choose the Mid tier, then Customize, and you’ll be able to change the screen resolution to FHD, HD, or turn it off completely so you can enjoy QHD, the best resolution your phone can achieve. Just be aware that the next time you restart, the wallpaper may revert.

Potential solution:

  • Reset your phone’s settings to the factory default — this doesn’t affect security, language, and account settings, or personal data — by going to Apps > Settings >  Backup and reset > Reset settings > Reset settings and confirm your decision. Afterward, try setting a new wallpaper and restarting your phone to see what happens.

Annoyance: Media playback repeatedly pauses on its own

A few Galaxy Note 7 owners report that their media — be it audio or video — will pause over and over and the only way to get it to start again is to manually tap the “play” button.

Potential solutions:

  • If you’re streaming audio or video, check your network connection, as something may be causing it to perform poorly, thereby affecting the quality and performance of your stream. You can toggle Wi-Fi on and off again by going to Apps > Settings > WiFi and tapping to toggle it. Additionally, tap the three vertical dots icon (More Options) > Advanced > Smart network switch. This particular feature will automatically switch you to a mobile network connection when the Wi-Fi connection is unusable or poor. Also consider restarting your router, as well as your smartphone.
  • If you’re using Bluetooth, check that connection as well. Go to Apps > Settings > Bluetooth and tap “On/Off” to toggle the setting. Unpair a device by following the aforementioned steps, then tap the gear on the screen (phone settings) next to the currently paired device. Afterward, tap “Unpair.” Pair your device again using these same steps, but instead of choosing phone settings, simply tap the device you wish to pair with.
  • If you have Power saving mode enabled, consider disabling it, as it can affect network performance in an effort to save battery life. Go to Apps > Settings > Battery > Power saving mode.
  • Clear the music cache by going to Apps > Settings > Applications > Music and clear the cache/data.
  • If you have Greenify installed, an app that aims to improve battery life, considering uninstalling it or changing how it affects your phone. It’s been suggested that the app is the culprit, namely due to its the Aggressive Doze feature, which could impact media playback.
  • Reset your phone’s settings to the factory default by going to Apps > Settings > Backup and reset > Reset settings > Reset settings and confirm your decision.
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