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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.
May 14, 2022

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

Problem #1: Green tint issue

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra notes app open with pen
David Imel / Android Authority
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 are experiencing said issue. Owners have been complaining that the displays of their devices are tinting green.

The issue is usually caused by lowering the brightness of the display beyond a certain threshold. It’s most noticeable when the screen is displaying something with 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 has rolled one out already. Keeping the brightness at a higher level, for now, will have to do. If you’re finding an issue with the display no matter what the brightness levels and color modes are, your only option is to pick up a replacement.

Problem #2: Edge lighting doesn’t work properly

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra right edge
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

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 is carried over and is creating a conflict with the settings of the new 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 are seeing 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.
  • Until a software update is available to fix this issue, a third-party app might help. Try Edge Lighting+ in the Samsung Good Lock Suite or AODNotify which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

Problem #3: Random reboots/forced shutdown

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra punch hole
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

A few users are facing a problem with their phones randomly restarting or have shut down and aren’t starting. In some cases, 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.

Problem #4: Ghost vibrations

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra S Pen peeking
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Some users are seeing 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:

  • There are a couple of settings you can adjust 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 though might be because of 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.

Problem #5: Issues with swipe gestures

samsung galaxy note 20 review display
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Quite a few users are facing 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.

Problem #6: Washed out screen

samsung galaxy note 20 review front
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

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.

Problem #7 – 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, and the stylus has gotten better 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. Make sure that you don’t tap it too hard as that might cause it to break. That said, you should 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 a lot of 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 useful step to remember if you come across any other Galaxy Note 20 S Pen problems as well.

Problem #8 – Issues with the fingerprint scanner

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra informal
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

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, particularly if it is of the tempered glass variety.
  • A few people have faced issues with the fingerprint scanner after the Android 11 update. You will have to go to Settings–>Biometrics and security–>Fingerprints, tap on each fingerprint that is listed, and tap on Remove. Go back to the previous page and register your fingerprints again. It’s also a good idea to register the same fingerprint twice.

Problem #9: Android Auto issues

Android Auto Apps
Adam Birney / Android Authority

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 because of how you set up the phone. If you used Smart Switch to set up your new phone, you might notice these problems. Find the Android Auto app in the Play store, uninstall it and install it again. (It is a system app so it won’t be removed from your phone entirely).
  • You may notice that you don’t see the Android Auto app in your app drawer anymore (also, the reason why you can uninstall it fully in the Play Store). 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
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

A hardware issue will require a replacement. Most Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra problems are software-related 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, and this seems to affect the Exynos version in particular.
  • “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.

Problem #10: Problems with One UI 4 and Android 12

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Red 2
David Imel / Android Authority

The Galaxy Note 20 series started receiving the One UI 4 and Android 12 update in January 2022. Here’s a roundup of some of the common Galaxy Note 20 One UI 4/Android 12 problems that users are seeing.

  • Gmail and VPN apps don’t work with Microsoft Intune: This is a known issue affecting any Samsung device with Android 12. Samsung has a solution that is pending approval from Microsoft. Until then, Microsoft has listed potential workarounds that seem to work.
  • Bixby not working: Plenty of Samsung users are facing problems with Bixby not working on their phones since the Android 12 update. Samsung hasn’t directly acknowledged this bug, but some users say that the March 2022 update has fixed the problem.
  • Fingerprint scanner not working with third-party apps: After Android 12, users say that the fingerprint scanner doesn’t work with third-party apps. The April 2022 update comes with a fix for this bug.
  • Auto-rotate not working: This is another issue that is affecting all Samsung devices with One UI 4/Android 12. Toggling the auto-rotate option temporarily fixes the problem. Some users say that only a factory reset fixes the problem.

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

selfie cameras
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

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

Soft reset

  • 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.

Hard reset

  • Turn the phone off.
  • Press and hold the volume up and power buttons.
  • Release both buttons when the green Android logo appears.
  • Press the volume down button to toggle the selection to Wipe data/factory reset.
  • Use the power button to select Wipe data/factory reset.
  • Press the volume down button to toggle the selection to Yes – delete all user data setting.
  • Press the power button to select Yes – delete all user data.
  • Once the reset is finished, press the power button to select Reboot system now.

Boot into Safe Mode

  • Turn the phone off.
  • Press and hold the power button past the Note 20 name appearing on the screen.
  • Once Samsung appears, release the power button and immediately press and hold the volume down button.
  • Continue to hold down the volume down button until the phone finishes restarting.
  • Let go of the volume down button when you see Safe mode on the bottom left corner of the screen.

Looking for help with other problems? If your problems and bugs aren’t specific to the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, check out our roundups for Android OS problems and fixes. We also have some useful tips and tricks to get the most out of your phone’s battery.