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Problems with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series and how to fix them

Some Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra owners are facing issues with their phones.
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Published onFebruary 9, 2024

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra screen straight on close 2
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra delivered everything we expected from a flagship series in 2020. High-end specifications and features, beautiful displays, fantastic cameras, and an even better S Pen made for one of the best smartphones you could get then. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and these phones also have their fair share of issues. Here’s a roundup of some common Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra problems and how to fix them!

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Some of the most common Samsung Galaxy Note 20 issues include things like green tint on the screen, Edge lighting issues, random reboots, swipe discrepancies, S Pen problems, and more. Of course, there is more, so keep reading to learn about other common problems, as well as solutions.


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Green tint issue

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra notes app open with pen
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The OLED lottery strikes once again. Most flagships come with OLED screens, and a handful of them will inevitably have a display tint issue. The Galaxy Note 20 phones experienced said issue. Owners have complained that the displays are tinting green.

This problem is usually caused by lowering the display’s brightness beyond a certain threshold. It’s most noticeable when the screen displays a gray background. The issue was reported by owners of both the Exynos and Snapdragon variants.

There is usually a software fix for this, and Samsung rolled one out already. For now, keeping the brightness at a higher level will have to do. If you’re finding an issue with the display, no matter the brightness levels and color modes, your only option is to pick up a replacement.

Edge lighting doesn’t work properly

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra side profile

Some users find that the edge lighting feature doesn’t work properly. The edge of the screen doesn’t light up as expected when a notification comes in, even with all the settings enabled.

Potential solutions:

  • First, make sure that the proper settings are enabled. Go to Settings, search for Edge Lighting, and select Choose Apps. Only the Messages app is selected by default. Go through the list and pick the apps you want to receive notifications for.
  • Some users are seeing this issue because of using a microSD card from an older device. A folder or directory from the older phone can be carried over and create conflict with the settings of the newer phone. You’ll have to format the microSD card for this issue to go away, but make sure to save everything from it first.
  • Others see this problem because they’ve turned off animations in the Developer Options. If you’ve done so, set the animations to at least 0.5x.

Random reboots/forced shutdown

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 display

A few users are facing a problem with their phones randomly restarting, or these shut down and aren’t able to start. Sometimes, this seems to happen only when the person is using swipe gestures.

Potential solutions:

  • If swipe gestures are causing the problem, you might need to change what each swipe does. Samsung has an app available that will let you customize and control how swipe gestures work. Download the One Hand Operation Plus app from the Google Play Store to get started.
  • An app might be causing this problem. Boot the phone into Safe Mode (you can find the instructions on how to do so below) and check if the issue persists. If it doesn’t, the cause is a rogue app. Uninstall the most recently updated or installed apps and see if the phone works as expected.
  • To force restart the phone, press and hold the power button and volume down button until the phone starts. You might want to plug the phone in to charge and wait a few minutes before force restarting the phone.

Ghost vibrations

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Red 2

Some users are sensing ghost vibrations. The buzz is a short burst, similar to what you get when the S Pen is removed. A restart fixes the problem for only a few hours.

Potential solutions:

  • You can adjust a couple of settings to see if the problem goes away. Go to Settings > Display > Edge screen > Edge panels > Handle settings and turn off Vibrate when handle is touched.
  • Go to Settings > Sound and vibration > System sound/vibration control and turn off touch interactions.
  • A case might be causing the problem as well. Some users find that the issue goes away when the case is removed.
  • The main culprit might be an issue with restoration. Doing a factory reset and setting the phone up manually instead of restoring it from a previous account helps fix quite a few problems that users are facing with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.

Issues with swipe gestures

samsung galaxy note 20 review display

Quite a few users face problems with swipe gestures, particularly with third-party launchers.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Display > Navigation bar > More options to find and enable swipe gestures. You might find More options greyed out. This is likely because the third-party launcher you are using doesn’t support swipe navigation. In this case, your only option is to switch back to Samsung’s default launcher or find one that supports this feature.
  • Samsung has an app available that will let you customize and control how swipe gestures work. Download the One Hand Operation Plus app from the Google Play Store to get started. This might help you set things up so that everything works smoothly with third-party launchers as well.

Washed out screen

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra informal

A few Galaxy Note 20 Ultra owners are coming across a washed-out home screen.

Potential solutions:

  • This problem seems to occur when Dark Mode is enabled on the device.
  • The issue is likely related to a wallpaper setting. Long press on the screen, select Wallpaper, and disable the Apply Dark Mode to wallpaper setting. The washed-out screen should now go away.

S Pen issues

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with S Pen

The S Pen is one of the biggest selling points of Samsung’s Galaxy Note series. The stylus has improved with every iteration. However, users have come across a variety of issues with the accessory.

  • S Pen sensitivity problem: Some users are reporting that they need to use extra pressure to make sure that the S Pen registers on the screen. Lightly tapping the tip of the S Pen on a flat surface at an angle seems to help. Ensure you don’t tap it too hard, as that might cause it to break, or it can scratch the screen. That said, your best bet is to get a replacement stylus.
  • S Pen not working on certain areas of the screen: This issue seems to be caused if you have a case with a magnet, like many wallet cases. Simply removing the case, while not ideal, fixes it, and the S Pen works as expected.
  • The on-screen pointer is off the marker: When using the S Pen, some users find that the pointer on the display is a few mm off position. Dial *#2663# and tap on WACOM FW UPDATE to make sure the firmware is up to date. This is a valuable step to remember if you come across any other Galaxy Note 20 S Pen problems as well.

Issues with the fingerprint scanner

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus in display fingerprint reader

The under-display fingerprint scanner works well for the most part, but some have faced problems with it on the Galaxy Note 20 devices.

Potential solutions:

  • A screen protector might be causing these problems, mainly if it is of the tempered glass variety. If this is the case, the only solution is to remove it.
  • You can also try re-entering your fingerprints. Go to Settings > Biometrics and security > Fingerprints, tap on each listed fingerprint, and tap on Remove. Go back to the previous page and register your fingerprints again. It might also be a good idea to register the same fingerprint twice.

Android Auto issues

dashboard android auto

Android Auto problems are common with most smartphones. The Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are no exceptions.

Potential solutions:

  • Android Auto connection issues are usually caused by how you set up the phone. Many relate such issues to setting up the phone using Samsung Smart Switch. Find the Android Auto app in the Play Store, uninstall it, and install it again. (It is a system app, so it won’t go away from your phone entirely).
  • You may notice that you no longer see the Android Auto app in your app drawer. This is because Android Auto is now baked into the phone settings. Go to Settings > Google > Device connections > Android Auto. You will find all the settings here.
  • This might also be a hardware problem, if you find frequent disconnections. Check the cable that you’re using in the car and replace it if needed.
  • If you’re having problems with Android Auto wireless, you might want to set up the initial connection using a cable. Once a wired connection is established and Android Auto shows up in the car’s system, Android Auto wireless should work as expected after that.

Problems where the only option is to wait for an update or get a replacement

rear cameras

A hardware issue will require a replacement. Most Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra problems are due to software, though. If a workaround isn’t available, an upcoming software update will likely address it.

  • “Camera failed” error: This is an error that comes up for a few users every time they open the camera app. A software update might fix this issue. It’s probably a hardware problem, though, and since the camera is unusable, you’ll be better off getting a replacement.
  • Phone not switching to LTE: The phone automatically switches between 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G. However, some users are finding that the network doesn’t switch automatically but seems to disconnect instead. Only a reboot fixes the problem.
  • Overheating: There have been a few reports of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra overheating, which seems to mainly affect the Exynos version.
  • “Black screen of death”: Quite a few users are facing an issue where the screen is completely blank, even though everything works on the phone when connected to DeX or when you cast the screen on a TV. Some users find that running multiple soft reboots, and gently tapping or pressing across various points on the screen seems to work. It’s a hardware issue, and your best bet is to pick up a replacement if available.

How to soft reset, hard reset, and boot into Safe Mode

Galaxy S22 Ultra Noted Wallpaper 3

Except for the hard reset, these are the first troubleshooting steps to go through if you encounter any Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra problems and bugs.

How to restart a Galaxy Note 20:

  • If the screen is responsive:
    • Press and hold the power and volume down buttons, then tap Power off twice.
    • You can also swipe down to open the notification panel, tap the Power icon next to the Settings cog, and tap Power off.
  • If the screen is unresponsive:
    • Press and hold the power and volume buttons for about 15 seconds.

Factory reset a Galaxy Note 20:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into General management.
  3. Hit Reset.
  4. Select Factory data reset.
  5. Tap on Reset.
  6. Enter your credentials.
  7. Select Delete all.

If the the device isn’t working or you can’t access the UI, there is another way to factory reset your device using Android Recovery. Here’s how to do this:

  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. Use 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 finishes, press the power button to select Reboot system now.

How to boot into Safe Mode on a Galaxy Note 20:

  1. Turn the phone off.
  2. Press and hold the power button past the Note 20 name appearing on the screen.
  3. Once the “Samsung” logo 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.

Can’t fix your Samsung Galaxy Note 20 problems? Maybe it’s time to get some help from Samsung Support.