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Problems with the Samsung Galaxy S20 series and how to fix them

Most issues can be fixed with a simple workaround.

Published onMay 8, 2022

Samsung Galaxy S20 Back 1
Galaxy S20

The Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, and Galaxy S20 Ultra are some of the best flagship smartphones you can get your hands on. Unfortunately, these phones are not without their fair share of issues, and these are especially jarring when you dropped more than a thousand dollars on a device. Luckily, software updates and simple workarounds help alleviate some concerns. Here’s a roundup of some Samsung Galaxy S20 series problems, workarounds and fixes, and useful how-to guides.

Problem #1 — Push notification issues

Samsung Galaxy S20 Display 1

Battery-saving features and aggressive RAM and task management that are baked into every smartphone nowadays are an excellent way to keep the phone running smoothly for as long as possible. However, this can also cause some problems for your Samsung Galaxy S20, particularly with delayed app notifications.

Potential solutions:

If you notice delayed notifications, you will have to ensure that these apps are not on the “battery optimization” list, so they keep running in the background while you need them. There might be a ding in battery life, but that’s worth it to make sure that you don’t miss anything important.

  • Go to Apps > Configure apps > Battery optimization > All apps. Find the apps you see this problem with and disable them.
  • If you want to make sure that an app keeps running in the background, you can “lock” the app. Open the app. Then launch the Recent Apps page. Tap the app icon and select “keep open for quick launching.” Once done, you can remove it by tapping on the lock icon at the bottom right of the app on the Recents page.

Problem #2 — The refresh rate keeps changing

Samsung Galaxy S20 Display 2

The Samsung Galaxy S20 series of phones come with impressive 120Hz displays. Something to keep in mind is that not every app supports that high refresh rate though. In this case, the phone automatically switches back and forth between 120Hz and 60Hz (if you have 120Hz selected as default).

The refresh rate will also drop to 60Hz if the device temperature exceeds 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 F). You might find this to be the case after taking a lot of pictures, prolonged gaming sessions, and other processor-intensive activities. Things will be fine once the temperature drops below that threshold. The refresh rate will also drop once the battery level goes below 5%.

Some users have come across an unfortunate bug as well, where the switch doesn’t happen automatically. In most cases, the only option is to go into the display settings and manually set the refresh rate to 120Hz. A software update issued by Samsung addresses this problem, so make sure that you keep the phone updated.

Problem #3 — Problems with Smart Unlock

samsung galaxy s20 plus review display in hand 2

Some users find that despite having Smart Unlock set up through the Settings menu, the feature doesn’t seem to work most of the time with the location set accurately. This problem occurs when using Smart Unlock based on location, like a home or office.

Potential solutions:

  • For some, this problem might have been related to the rampant GPS connection issues the Samsung Galaxy S20 devices faced. This has since been fixed with a software update, so the Smart Unlock feature might work as expected.
  • If not, you might be better off setting up a Bixby routine. To do so, go to Settings > Advanced features and tap on Bixby Routines. You will also find a Bixby Routines toggle in the Quick Settings section of the notification dropdown. Tap on the name and not the toggle. Once the page opens, tap on “Details.” You will find “Smart Unlock” on the list of existing presets in the “My routines” section.

Problem #4 — Android Auto issues

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera modile profile times square

Problems with getting Android Auto to work are common across most new smartphones. Unfortunately, the Samsung Galaxy S20s are no different.

Potential solutions:

  • You might be running into Android Auto connection issues if you used the Smart Switch feature to set up your new phone. If that’s the case, find the app in the Google Play Store, uninstall it, and download it again.
  • 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 only by finding it in the Play Store). If there’s a problem with app settings, you’ll find them 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.

Problem #5 — Random reboots

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra face profile times square

Quite a few users are facing a problem with their Galaxy S20s randomly restarting. In some cases, it isn’t actually that random and seems to occur every five minutes. For others, this seems to happen every time they unplug wired headphones.

Potential solutions:

  • 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.
  • You can also try wiping the cache partition. The instructions are in the guide below.
  • Software updates have fixed this problem for many. If you’re still coming across it though, getting a replacement is probably the best option.
  • Go to Settings > Device care > … > Advanced and tap on Disable Auto Restart.

Problem #6: Edge lighting doesn’t work properly

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra screen in the window 2
David Imel / 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. Go through the list and pick the apps you want to receive notifications for. Only the Messages app is selected by default.
  • Adjusting the Duration slider seems to have worked for a few users. If it is set to max, change to a middle setting, and edge lighting should start to work as expected.
  • 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.

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

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra app drawer

A hardware issue will require a replacement. Most problems are software-related though. If a workaround isn’t available, an upcoming software update will likely address it. Some major bugs like the green tint problem found with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and GPS issues have already been fixed for most users.

  • Wi-Fi randomly slows down — Some users have found that the internet speed, when connected through Wi-Fi, seems to slow down significantly after a few minutes. Toggling the Wi-Fi setting on the phone off and on helps, but only for some time. Keep in mind that you will notice some throttling if the phone overheats, but this problem is mostly unrelated.
  • Microphone problems — A few users have reported issues with the microphone seemingly cutting in and out when using a chat app and during a phone call. This is likely a hardware problem, and the best option is to get a replacement.
  • Overheating — There have been numerous reports of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra overheating (a problem for many Samsung phones), and this seems to affect the Exynos version in particular.
  • 5G doesn’t work — Users find that 5G causes the network signal to drop completely whenever the phone switches to the 5G network. For now, simply switching the mode to 4G LTE seems to do the trick. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to take advantage of blazing-fast 5G speeds until a software update is available.
  • Slow-motion video lagging: Quite a few users are facing issues when trying to record slow-motion video. The video ends up looking choppy and has missing frames. This problem seems to affect the Exynos versions of the Galaxy S20 series, and some Galaxy S21 users are reporting the same.

One UI 4/Android 12 problems

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Updating Android Updates Generic
Adamya Sharma / Android Authority

The software update for One UI 4/Android 12 started rolling out to the Samsung Galaxy S20 series in January 2022. Unfortunately, it brought with it a slew of new bugs and issues for the phones. Here’s a roundup of some of the common Galaxy S20 One UI 4 problems that users have come across and those that have been fixed already.

  • Home and back buttons not working: Galaxy S20 owners are complaining about how a recent update has broken the home and back buttons. A workaround that has worked for some is to go to the navigation settings and change it to gesture navigation. Restart the phone and go back to button navigation. In more extreme cases, users say that the only option is to perform a factory reset.
  • Videos not playing: Some users say that videos aren’t playing on their phones, whether through the browser app or YouTube. Samsung hasn’t acknowledged this problem yet, and the only workaround, for now, is to restart the phone. This problem appeared after the March 2022 One UI 4 update.
  • A green or purple line on the screen: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus users report a green or purple line down the screen since the One UI 4 update. There is no fix or workaround available for this problem.
  • Auto-rotate not working: Users say that the February 2022 security patch update has broken the auto-rotate function on the phone, and standard troubleshooting doesn’t seem to help.
  • Gmail and VPN apps not working with Microsoft Intune: Samsung has provided a solution that Microsoft is currently checking. Until then, Microsoft has listed potential workarounds for this problem that has worked for many users.

Fixed problems

  • The first software update in December 2021 included a lot of bug fixes. Samsung fixed problems like fingerprint authentication issues, display brightness problems, rapid battery drain, improved connection with Windows, and Galaxy Watch 4 compatibility problems, to name a few.
  • Samsung fixed the green screen bug when using the camera in portrait mode with the January 2022 update.
  • A February 2022 update addressed battery drain issues again. Users say that the phone’s battery life has improved significantly since the update.
  • OpenGL emulations are now working as expected following an update in February 2022.

Guide — How to enable fast charging

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra S20 Plus S20

Most Samsung phones come with some form of fast-charging capabilities. The Galaxy S20 takes things up a notch and introduced “super fast” charging as well. If your phone isn’t charging as fast as expected, the setting is probably disabled. Make sure that you’re using approved chargers and cables to charge the phone.

  • Go to Settings > Device care > Charging.
  • Tap on the toggle next to “Fast charging” to enable the feature.
  • Do the same to enable “Super fast charging” as well.

Guide — How to soft reset, hard reset, boot into Safe Mode, and wipe cache partition on Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in the park

Soft reset

  • If the screen is responsive:
    • Press and hold 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 power and volume buttons for about 10 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.
  • With the power button, 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 Galaxy S20 name that appears 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 screen’s bottom left corner.

Wipe cache partition

  • Turn the phone off.
  • Press and hold the volume up and power buttons.
  • When the Android logo appears, release the volume up and power buttons.
  • You will see an Installing system update message for anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds.
  • Press the volume down button in the system recovery menu options to toggle the selection to wipe cache partition.
  • Press the power button to select wipe cache partition.
  • Use the volume down button to get to toggle the selection to yes.
  • Tap the power button to select yes.
  • Press the power button to restart the device once the Reboot system now option appears.

Looking for help with other problems? If your issues and bugs aren’t specific to the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones, check out our roundups for Android OS problems and fixes, as well as some useful tips and tricks to get the most out of your phone’s battery.