Third-party Note 3 smart covers no longer work following KitKat update, some users report

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 22, 2014

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Users on XDA-developers report that their non-Samsung smart covers have stopped working after they updated their Note 3 units to Android 4.4.

Back in October, Korean media reported that Samsung was planning to fit some of its accessories with authentication chips that would prevent non-authorized accessories from working. These accessories included smart covers and wireless chargers, and the Note 3 was said to be the first device with this security measure in place. Ostensibly, Samsung’s justification for the move was to reduce the usage of shoddy accessories and cut down on the number of accidents involving unauthorized chargers. But, as ETNews reported at the time, such a move would let Samsung milk more profits from its accessory business, at a time when smartphone growth is tapering off.

We haven’t heard anything about the issue since then, but now that Samsung began to update the Note 3 to Android 4.4 KitKat, some users are reporting problems with their Note 3 covers. Non-Samsung smart covers no longer work since the update, including covers from brands like Spigen. People on several XDA threads posted about the issue: 1, 2, 3, 4

People are understandably spiffed, especially since these covers can be quite costly and their S-View “smart” feature is the main selling point. For instance, this Galaxy Note 3 Case Slim Armor View from Spigen currently goes for $60. It’s not clear yet if other types of accessories are affected.

spigen note 3 slim armor view

There are ways around the limitation: one user simply hacked a chip from an original S View cover and replaced the chip found on his Spigen case. There’s also a software-based workaround that involves installing Xposed Framework and a special module. But users should not have to hack their devices to make them work.

This is a pretty serious issue and the fact that neither Samsung nor Spigen were transparent about the issue doesn’t help. We have contacted Samsung to confirm the story and we’ll update the post if we hear anything back. We’ve also contacted Spigen, as well as Otterbox and some other major accessory makers for their views on the issue.

Update: We’ve heard back from Spigen:

[quote qtext=”In regards to Android KitKat, Spigen will continue to support Galaxy devices and their smart functions. We’re currently looking into the issue and will have a more detailed plan of action by next week.” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

Have you encountered any problems with accessories on your Note 3?

  • cycad007

    Good ol’ Samsung…always screwing their customers, suppliers, competitors, etc.. for a few bucks.

    • Jason Yuen

      Good ol’ Apple… always screwing their customers, suppliers, competitors, etc… for a billion bucks.

      • Karan Gandhi

        Can you please elaborate when it comes to Apple screwing with their suppliers?

        • Jason Yuen

          Samsung is Apple’s biggest supplier.

          • Karan Gandhi

            So? Apple is moving away from Samsung because of the issues they have been having with each other since the past few years and most importantly you may be forgetting that they are competitors.
            If I owned a company, I would not want to help my competitor make more money. That would be like digging my own grave.

          • Jason Yuen

            Ok first of all, it was a joke. Secondly, in the business world there are partnerships that are beneficial to both companies even if they are rivals. Apple simply cannot source enough components from other companies to meet their demands. That’s not diving their own graves if it’s a symbiotic relationship that puts both companies ahead of the rest of the industry. Even if they do hate each other.

          • SimonC

            Don’t be so sure about that. Apple tried to use other suppliers but it cost them millions and delayed shipments due to failures and ended up going back to Samsung for the bulk of its components.

        • Maenadery

          The changing of the charging ports. Got an awesome dock for your old iPhone? Sorry, not gonna work with the new one anymore.

    • Stellar

      At least with Samsung you don’t have to “constantly searching for workaround”, like those in Apple garden…

  • AndroidBoss

    These smart covers are so expensive.

    • Robert John Hebert

      And uncomfortable!

      • AndroidBoss

        And, for this one especially, it doesn’t close!
        I used to have a Note 3 and I had this case for it, it never closed like the one on the S4. Therefore I returned both and bought a Nexus 5.

      • Dimitar Gospodinov

        the ones with the window are not that uncomfortable …

  • districtjack

    I’ve heard so many bad things about Samsung. I’m convinced I will never buy one of their phone products. I’ll stick with LG. I know its a lesser known company, but I think they are on their way up in the world.

    Making sure your customers can’t use a CASE is ridiculous. What’s next? Official screen protectors? How about a yearly samsung licence fee? If I was a Samsung customer I would feel like I was being taken advantage of.

    • jfrov11

      We do. And I sent them an email (which will probably never get read) to let them know this would be my last product if this is true.

    • Mike Reid

      What’s next ? We’ll see on the new Note3 Neo. LOL.

      Time for some regulatory bodies to do some smack down.

    • alamoe

      LG?? You do realize LG WISHES they were Samsung right?

      • districtjack

        I’m sure every cellphone company wishes they were number one. If LG ever pulled this kind of crap, I would drop them too. Disabling an accessory because you didn’t sell it to your customer is evil in my opinion. If I buy a third party battery and it fries my phone that is my fault. But trying to protect your customer by restricting which accessories they can use is being a control freak.
        The least Samsung could do is release a patch to let those poor spiegen customers continue to use their now less useful case. Samsung has basically broken or vandalized private property. That makes them slimey tricksters in my view.

        It’s organized crime if they are punished for doing this, and politics if they get away with it. I’m rambling….

    • On a Clear Day

      Samsung will be acting just like Apple if they continue down this path. I can understand trying to stop people from killing themselves by using off brand chargers like the people who were killed when they answered their iPhones in China without disconnecting the bum charger. But making it so that people can’t buy products that they consider better than Samsung’s offerings – is well, just too rotten Apple-like for my taste.

      I have my heart set on a Galaxy S5, but will just have to wait this thing out now before I get one. I sincerely hope it isn’t going to become a pattern, because I will refrain from buying Samsung if they do this.

      • districtjack

        Its a catch 22 situation. On one hand you don’t want to let them dictate what accessory you buy, and on the other hand you want to buy that next awesome latest device. This article hit me deep because I’m tired of the way large corporations treat me. And I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
        We all used to buy things from companies and we owned physical things that became our “property”, and those companies appreciated our business. Nowadays the large corporations know that everyone wants and needs their products and they are starting to treat us like subjects of their kingdom or slaves, instead of customers. They know their products will continue to sell no matter how poorly they treat us.

        In this day and age, the words “warranty” and “free” are laughable.

        • On a Clear Day

          There is a “truism” – to the extent that anything is an absolute truth “The way to get rich is to sell something inexpensive that repeats. This quote came from W. Clement Stone the insurance billionaire and personal friend of Napoleon Hill, who authored what many consider the ultimate entrepreneurial roadmap to business success – Think and Grow Rich

          Anyway, this little detail has not been overlooked by everyone in business from Apple to Zagat. In and of itself, it is not an “evil” concept – except when applied, twisted and abused with untoward intent by those who would without respect to actually truly serving us, have as their hidden agenda the goal of making us indentured servants to their wills and tasking us in perpetuity with the feeding their cash cows.

          I have never viewed Apple, for instance, as a creator of high tech as much as a craftily crafted marketing machine disguised as a tech company, whose goal if you look below the surface is to get you addicted to their ecosystem and ultimately feel as weak and powerless to escape the addiction they have created as a heroin addict the power of their drug dealer over them.

          Samsung, if the above is true, has not learned the lesson yet that Apple – as evidenced by their precipitous fall from grace of their stock and ever diminishing market share also has yet to learn – that they have not been given a divine rite mandate from on high that allows them to Lord over all of we “little” people.

          • number29

            I think you’re both living in a bit of a fantasy world. Samsung and Apple are at the mercy of the market just like any other company. There’s nothing about what they do that guarantees any level of success. They are very successful because they make great products that people want to buy. I know some sort of twisted conspiracy theory sounds more plausible to those people who can’t understand why some buy Apple products, but it really is just the case that they buy because they think Apple make great stuff.

    • Dimitar Gospodinov

      it is much better to think of a new connector every year and sell adapters right?

  • Robert John Hebert

    My ZeroLemon 10,000 mAhr battery and rubber protector still work fine, but then it will be 6 months until VerizonWireless gets around to an Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade for my Galaxy Note 3. Not that they would be affected anyway, or would they?

    • districtjack

      The direction Samsung has taken with this, I would not be surprised if a third party battery ceased to function after a future update. Hell, they might as well stick it to your expensive earphones as well.

      • The battery has direct link at the back internal of Note3. + and – terminals directly making contact with the extra battery. In electrical system, this is simply a direct link, there is no possibility it can be disabled electronically or by software.
        I am confident 3rd party batteries will not be affected at least in the Note3.

    • It is just a battery. Sure it will not be affected. But if it also has the S-view cover then possibly – but it will only be the S-view that may not work.

  • Jayfeather787

    Then Samsung stops the update rolling out, just like the s3 with 4.3.

  • Mf Lye

    lucky i ditched samsung, nexus 5 FTW!

    • iFaitPlay

      You ditched Note 3 for nexus5 ????? LOL
      Nexus don’t even have View Cover function.
      Not to mention S-Pen, multi view, sensors, SD, …….and many more.

      • Mf Lye

        I ditch S3 for nexus
        Even so note 3 is not even worth it

  • rayzone

    So they stopped it? If it is so then i will have to head to a samsung svc centre to force them to get my note 3 back to 4.3. Just got a spigen slim armor view a few days ago n the 4.4 killed the s-view function..Makes me feel like wasting 76 bucks for the case…

  • I have just completed my online order for ‘SPIGEN Slim Armor View’ Case directly from their store. It’s just an hour ago. I cannot control my urges for this case, it’s simply good looking.
    I have not yet updated to 4.4. I hope Spigen and Samsung settle this matter soon.

  • Mannan

    Just 2 days ago my Galaxy Note 3 updated kitkat 4.4.2 in Singapore after that S view cover doesn’t work any more.

    • May I know the brand of your ‘S-View cover’.

      • Mannan

        It’s a third party S View Cover brand i can’t remember. Last 2 month i used it there is no problem at all. But when i update to kitkat its not working any more.

  • Rick McClenthen

    i am huge fan of Samsung, but this really bothers me.

  • iFaitPlay

    You guys are confused.
    Ppl can use their covers. No problem.
    They only can not use the view function, that is Samsung innovation.

  • Heywood Jablohmee

    For all you Samsung bashers…………Samsung has removable battery and sd card.

    Apple doesn’t . DHS and the cops love Apple users. FYI, people, the only way you can keep anyone from tracking you when you don’t want them to know where you are at is POP the BATTERY out.

  • jaroth

    To get this to work on the 4.3 I am not sure about 4.4 because i do not have it is to uninstall updates of the Samsung Push Service that is installed on there. That fixes it everytime for me on 4.3 not sure if anybody tried it on 4.4

  • khtan

    My Note 3 is having problems after Androind 4.4 update. S-View cover is working but the screen remains black or kind of laggy when open the cover. Also, the clock widget is not updates at all. Hope to get this resolve with next release of update. Anyone

  • Faramarz

    Also second language Samsung keyboard not working after update 4.4.2 kitkat on galaxy S4.

  • bibs_fire

    My note3 neo s view flip cover is not working with kitkat. With kitkat lots of other problems are their like story album is not working and updates are not taking for any application etc. Please suggest how to rectify.

  • Alireza B

    A magic solution for solve this problem:
    When your cell phone turn is
    on, I emphasize that, when your phone is on, separate your (back) cover
    from your phone and then stick it again.
    Most likely, now your s view works well.