Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus screen standing up 1

Samsung upped its flagship game in 2019 with the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus, two of the best Android smartphones available today. They’re the culmination of Samsung’s improved design efforts during the last few years and are visually striking smartphones.

As good as they are, Galaxy Note 10 devices aren’t without their problems. Here’s a roundup of some Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus problems and potential ways to fix them.

Editor’s note: Not every Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus have these issues. You’re very likely to never run into them.


Problem #1: Unregistered fingerprint unlocks the phone

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus screen upright on bed

Back in October, device owners discovered a major security flaw with the in-display fingerprint scanner. The bug allowed people with an unregistered fingerprint to unlock the phone and appeared on Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 phones.

According to the reports, placing certain transparent objects on the fingerprint scanner lets anyone enter Samsung’s latest smartphones. Objects include everything from a clear screen protector and clear phone case to clear plastic. Samsung believed a screen cover was to blame, particularly a silicone cover.

Potential solutions:

  • Samsung released a patch in October, addressing the flaw. We don’t know if the patch completely resolved the flaw, since the patch notes only mentioned screen covers.
  • If you’re still encountering the issue, remove the screen protector and re-register your fingerprints.

Problem #2: Accidental screen touches

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus bottom half of screen macro

With a huge 6.8-inch display, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus isn’t the easiest phone to hold. Even the Galaxy Note 10 with a smaller 6.3-inch display can be a chore to use for some people. These large displays can lead to accidental screen touches and interactions, such as opening the Edge apps panel and waking the screen.

Complicating matters are the curved sides. They look great in pictures, but can make accidental screen touches more likely to happen.

Potential solutions:

  • Turn on Accidental touch protection with the Display section in Settings.
  • Disable the Edge screen.
  • Disable the Lift to Wake feature. In the Advanced features section within Settings, tap on Motions and gestures. From there, tap Lift to wake to toggle it off.

Problem #3: S Pen isn’t working

S Pen Air Actions photograph

The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus’ highlight feature is what gave the phones their namesakes in the first place: the S Pen. The little accessory converted smartphone stylus skeptics into believers, thanks to features like pressure sensitivity, low latency, and more. On the two new Galaxy Note phones, you can even snap pictures and control media playback with air gestures.

Also read: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 S Pen: Everything you need to know

However, some people have had issues with the S Pen. Issues range from the phone not recognizing the S Pen to inconsistent strokes.

Potential solutions:

  • Remove the phone case. Some cases might contain metals and magnets, which can disrupt the connection between the phone and S Pen.
  • Remove the screen protector. Even if the connection between the phone and S Pen is fine, a screen protector could cause inconsistent motion and pressure when using the S Pen.
  • Change the S Pen tip. If S-Pen strokes are inconsistent, it might be time to change out the tip. Thankfully, the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus include several replacement tips for the S Pen.
  • Use the S Pen with another compatible Galaxy Note smartphone. This can let you know if the issue is with the S Pen or something else. If you don’t have a second Note device available, visit your nearest carrier store or electronics store.

Problem #4: Poor signal strength

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 home screen display

Look around for a bit, and you’ll see people reporting low signal strength. They compare the number of bars on their Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus to the number of bars on another phone, only to see fewer bars for the former.

It’s important to note the number of bars isn’t fully representative of a phone’s signal strength. That said, there are enough reports where it seems to be a genuine problem for some Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 units.

Potential solutions:

  • If you’re on Wi-Fi more often than not, make sure Wi-Fi calling is enabled in Settings. It routes calls through your Wi-Fi network instead of your cellular network.
  • Contact your carrier for assistance.

Problem #5: Apps don’t take up the entire screen

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Aura Blue back in hand

With the move to taller smartphones, app developers thankfully took notice and updated their apps to accommodate the taller displays. However, there are still some apps not taking advantage of the extra real estate. Well-known apps like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more don’t have this issue, but smaller apps might not use the entire display.

Potential solutions:

  • In Settings, tap on Display. For any app that isn’t full-screen, tap on the app and tap Full Screen.
  • Any app that doesn’t use the entire screen will have a small pop-up on the bottom of the screen. Tap on it to toggle the app to full-screen mode.

Problem #6: Poor battery life

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 charging on the sofa

The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus feature large batteries to go with their large sizes, but people reported disappointing battery life with the two phones.

The problem is this could be due to a variety of factors. Maybe an app went rogue and is sapping your phone’s battery. Maybe your phone exhibits poor signal strength. Maybe it’s a combination of the two and other factors. Whatever the cause is, poor battery life can be detrimental to the smartphone experience.

Also read: The best Android smartphones with the best battery life

Potential solutions:

  • Restart your phone. This is a meme at this point, but you’d be surprised how a simple restart can improve battery life or solve other issues.
  • See if an app’s battery usage is abnormal. In Settings, go to the Device care section and tap on Battery usage.
  • Each Samsung smartphone includes the company’s battery optimization tool. To use it, go to the Battery section within Settings. From there, tap the apps you want to optimize and tap Save Power.
  • Make sure your phone has good signal strength. Poor signal strength means your phone works harder and drains the battery quicker.
  • If you bought the phone through a carrier, odds are it came with bloatware. These are carrier-branded apps pre-installed on your phone. You can disable these apps in Settings.
  • Enter Safe Mode. This lets you know if your phone’s poor battery life is due to an app you downloaded from the Play Store or elsewhere. You can see below how to enter Safe Mode on the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus.

Problem #7: The “refining picture” notification

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera review hero shot

The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus pack some of the best cameras available on smartphones. However, the November update seemingly brought with it the “refining picture” bug. According to affected device owners, the notification doesn’t go away and is only dismissed when they restart the phone.

Potential solution:

  • Turn off the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus’ background processing management. To do this, tap on Device care within Settings and then tap Battery. From there, find the Camera app and turn off the Put to sleep option.

How to soft reset, hard reset, boot into Safe Mode, and wipe cache partition

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 back view with S Pen

Soft reset the Galaxy Note 10/Note 10 Plus

  1. If the screen is responsive:
    1. Press and hold the power and volume down buttons, then tap Power off twice.
    2. You can also swipe down to open the notification panel, tap the Power icon next to the Settings cog, and tap Power off.
  2. If the screen is unresponsive:
    1. Press and hold the power and volume buttons for about 10 seconds.

Hard reset the Galaxy Note 10/Note 10 Plus

  1. Turn the phone off.
  2. Press and hold the volume up and power buttons.
  3. Release both buttons when the green Android logo appears.
  4. Press the volume down button to toggle the selection to Wipe data/factory reset.
  5. Press the power button to select Wipe data/factory reset.
  6. Press the volume down button to toggle the selection to Yes – delete all user data setting.
  7. Press the power button to select Yes – delete all user data.
  8. Once the reset finished, press the power button to select Reboot system now.

Boot into Safe Mode

  1. Turn the phone off.
  2. Press and hold the power button past the Galaxy Note 10 or Galaxy Note 10 Plus name appears on the screen.
  3. Once Samsung appears, release the power button and immediately press and hold the volume down button.
  4. Continue to hold down the volume down button until the phone finishes restarting.
  5. Let go of the volume down button when you see Safe mode on the bottom left corner of the screen.

Wipe cache partition

  1. Turn the phone off.
  2. Press and hold the volume up and power buttons.
  3. When the Android logo appears, release the volume up and power buttons.
  4. You will see an Installing system update message for anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds.
  5. In the system recovery menu options, press the volume down button to toggle the selection to wipe cache partition.
  6. Press the power button to select wipe cache partition.
  7. Press the volume down button to get to toggle the selection to yes.
  8. Press the power button to select yes.
  9. Press the power button to restart the device once the Reboot system now option appears.

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