Common Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and 10 Plus problems, and how to fix them

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus are two of the best phones released in 2019, with top-notch hardware, a stellar camera system, and the inclusion of the S Pen, which has made every Galaxy Note something special.

But even mammoth phones of this caliber aren’t perfect, and some issues are bound to pop-up from time-to-time. While bugs and problems are especially annoying on exceptionally expensive phones like the Note 10 range, thankfully, they’re not without fixes and workarounds. Here’s a list of the current issues and problems that plague the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus, and how you can fix them.

Bug: Constant “refining picture” notification

Whether the Note 10 or the larger Note 10 Plus, the camera is a strong reason to buy this year’s Samsung phablet. Unfortunately, following the November update, many users are reporting a persistent notification marked “refining picture”. The notification doesn’t go away and hangs around until the device is restarted.

The notification may be caused by overzealous battery management that restricts the camera app from functioning in the background. If the app is closed before image processing is complete, then the notification doesn’t clear away. Thankfully, this is easily fixed by turning off those particular options.

Solution:

  • You need to turn off background processing management for the camera app. To do this, go to Settings > Device Care > Battery, then find the Camera app and make sure the Put to sleep option is turned off.

Glitch: Signal issues

Another widespread issue with both the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus is poor signal strength. Note 10 owners from a variety of carriers are complaining of oddly low signal strength. People have compared the number of bars with past phones and the same SIM card, and have realized the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus simply aren’t getting the same number of bars — and it seems to be hurting usability.

There’s a lot going on here, and it’s important to note phones measure signal strength in different ways — so three bars doesn’t always represent the same signal strength on different phones. However, it does definitely seem to be an issue for the Note 10, and it’s not clear what can be done to fix it. Samsung has yet to officially address the concerns, despite complaints dating back months. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can currently do to fix this, except avoid low-signal areas.

Workarounds:

  • It may help if you use Wi-Fi calling where available, assuming your carrier permits it. To make sure Wi-Fi calling is enabled, go to Settings > Connections and toggle on Wi-Fi calling. If the option isn’t there, you may need to contact your carrier and ask about it.
  • If you have a more serious signal issue, consider getting in touch with your carrier to find out if there’s anything they can do to help.

Issue: Phone restarts at night

Like other recent Galaxy phones, the Note 10 restarts at night by default. This restart has some benefits, helping to clean out the phone’s memory and keep it running smoothly — but what if you’d rather it didn’t? After all, having to type in a password every morning can be a real pain when you’ve just woken up.

Solution:

Issue: Fingerprint scanner can be unlocked with an unregistered fingerprint

Here’s a more serious issue and no mistake. It has been reported that Samsung’s in-display fingerprint scanner can be flummoxed with a simple film screen protector. While the Galaxy S10 was the phone principally affected, the Note 10’s fingerprint scanner is also likely to fall prey to the same problem. While you think you may be safe by not having a screen protector, all a thief would have to do is apply a $2 screen protector from eBay to get access to your phone — rather reducing the point of the biometric protection.

Samsung is aware of the problem and has said it will be pushing out a software update to fix it. However, it’s not out yet — so what can you do to protect yourself?

Workaround:

  • At the moment, turning off the in-display fingerprint scanner as an unlock option is your only real option if you’re worried about the security hole. Head to the Settings app, then tap Lock Screen > Screen lock type. Enter your PIN, password, or pattern to confirm, then tap the switch next to Fingerprints to turn off the fingerprint scanner.

Solution:

  • Take a look under Settings > Software update and tap Download and install if there’s an update available.

Problem: Bad battery life

The Note 10 and Note 10 Plus have sizeable batteries, but various elements can lead to a battery reducing faster than it should. Many users are complaining the battery lives of the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus are not living up to expectations, with battery use on standby being of particular concern.

There are many reasons why a battery may not be lasting as long as it should, and if it’s not a widespread issue, software and apps are usually to blame. Samsung will likely release updates to improve battery life as the Note 10 ages, but in the meantime, there are a few ways you can improve your battery life.

Workarounds:

  • Check which apps and services are using the most power. Check this by going to Settings > Device care > Battery usage, and look to see if any apps are using more power than is expected.
    • You can also run Samsung’s battery optimization tool here too, so give that a try.
    • If you bought your phone from a carrier, then you may find carrier bloatware is using a lot of battery power. Most of the time you can disable bloatware, stopping it from using your battery.
  • Sometimes third-party apps can help. Naptime is highly recommended, and it speeds up Android’s built-in app management services so they kick in a little faster, saving battery power by disabling background apps and services.
  • Check our battery saving tips for more ideas.

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