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Samsung Galaxy S21 problems and how to fix them

Some problems have simple workarounds.
By
June 3, 2022

The Samsung Galaxy S21 series has been out for more than a year now. Samsung has done a great job fixing any bugs and kinks in that time, but a few issues tend to pop up from time to time, especially after major software updates. We look at some common Samsung Galaxy S21 series problems and how to fix them!

Our verdict: Galaxy S21 review | Galaxy S21 Plus review| Galaxy S21 Ultra review


Problem #1: Samsung Notes not working

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21 Plus vs S21 Ultra in hand
David Imel / Android Authority

After the One UI 4, some users are facing problems using the Samsung Notes app. The ticker keeps moving to random parts of the note while typing or automatically deleting parts of it.

Potential solutions:

  • You can try clearing the app data and cache. Go to Settings > Apps and select Samsung Notes. Then go to “Storage” and tap on “Clear Cache.”
  • Repeat the steps above and clear the storage for the Samsung keyboard as well.
  • Some users have found that resetting the keyboard seems to work. Go to Settings > Device Management > Samsung Keyboard settings and tap on “Reset to default.” In the same keyboard settings menu, you can also try going to Suggest text corrections > Writing assistant and turn off all listed languages.
  • Samsung has acknowledged the issue with the Notes app, and a permanent fix will be available soon.

Problem #2: Notification issues

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra screen in hand 3
David Imel / Android Authority

One of the more common Galaxy S21 problems since the update to Android 12 has to do with notifications. App notifications are delayed or not appearing at all.

Potential solutions:

  • You can try clearing the app data and cache. Go to Settings > Apps and select the problematic app. Then go to “Storage” and tap on “Clear Cache.”
  • Delayed notifications could be caused because of the phone’s battery optimization features. Go to Settings > Apps and tap on the options button (three vertical dots) at the top right corner and select “Special Access.” Select “Optimize Battery Usage” and toggle off the apps you don’t want to optimize. If the entire app list isn’t available, you might need to first tap on the “Apps not optimized” section at the top and select “All.”
  • An update was rolled out to fix the issue where users didn’t hear notification sounds when receiving text messages. If you’re still facing this problem, open the default messaging app, tap on the menu icon (three vertical dots), go to Settings > Notifications. Tap on “Notification Categories,” then tap on “General notifications” (on the words and not the toggle). Set a new default notification sound.

Problem #3: The notification font is too small

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra display held in hand over water
David Imel / Android Authority

After the One UI 4 update, users have noticed that the notification font is too small. Adjusting the system font size doesn’t fix the problem.

Potential solutions:

  • If you have the Galaxy S21 Ultra, go to Settings > Display > Screen resolution. It will likely be set to Full HD+. Set it to Quad HD+ and close the settings menu. Then go back to the same page and set the resolution back to before. That should fix the notification font sizes.
  • With the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus, go to Settings > Display > Font Size and Style, max out the size, and return it to the size you want. This should reset the notification font size as well.

Problem #4: Android Auto problems

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra display standing up 1
David Imel / Android Authority

Problems with getting Android Auto are common with most smartphones. Unsurprisingly, that is also the case with the Samsung Galaxy S21 series.

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. Go to Settings and use the search button to find Android Auto. Everything you need should be there. If there’s a problem with app settings, you’ll find them tucked away in the phone settings.
  • Check the cable you’re using and get a new one if required. If you see frequent disconnections, this might be a hardware problem. On the other hand, if you’re using Android Auto Wireless, you might want to switch to a wired connection if possible for more stability.
  • It should automatically be set to Android Auto when you plug the phone in. However, you might have to change this setting manually. When the phone is plugged in, tap on the Android System notification in the notification panel. Make sure that it is set to “transferring files/Android Auto.”

Problem #5: Random reboots and apps crashing

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra display in hand 1
David Imel / Android Authority

Quite a few users face a problem with their apps crashing on the Galaxy S21, and some face random reboots.

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 a 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: Camera issues

backs of the phones
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Some people notice a variety of Samsung Galaxy S21 camera problems after the Android 12 update. Users see the “Camera failed” error, or the viewfinder appears out of focus.

Potential solutions:

  • You can try clearing app data and cache. Go to Settings > Apps and open the app list. Select the Camera app, then go to “Storage” and tap on “Clear Cache.”
  • Some users say that performing a Factory Reset after installing the latest version of One UI helps clear out some common bugs. It’s not the best solution since you’ll lose all your data and need to set up the phone again, but it’s worth considering if you’re running into many issues after the update.
  • This software issue will likely be fixed in an upcoming update.

Problem #7: Connectivity issues

 USB C
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

You may occasionally come across connectivity issues with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Galaxy S21 owners are facing Wi-Fi problems in particular Until then, you can try these general troubleshooting tips.

Potential solutions:

Wi-Fi issues

  • Turn the device and the router off for at least ten seconds, turn them back on, and retry the connection.
  • Go to Settings > Battery > Power saver and ensure that this option is turned off.
  • Redo the Wi-Fi connection. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and network, long-press the connection name, and tap on “Forget.” Now re-enter the details and try again.
  • Make sure the Wi-Fi router firmware is up to date.
  • Make sure the applications and software on the device are up to date.
  • Go into your Wi-Fi network settings (the gear icon next to the name and tap on Advanced) and make a note of your device’s MAC address, then make sure that it is allowed access in the router’s MAC filter.

Bluetooth issues

  • With issues when connecting to the car, check the manufacturer’s manual for the device and the car and reset your connections.
  • Ensure that you are not missing a vital part of the connection process. Some Bluetooth devices have unique instructions.
  • Go to Settings > Bluetooth and Device connection and ensure nothing needs changing.
  • Go into Settings > Bluetooth and Device connection, delete all prior pairings, and set them up again from scratch. Don’t forget to delete any devices you no longer connect to on this list.

Problem #8 — Random reboots or device freezing

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G on the table
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

A few Galaxy S21 owners are facing problems with random reboots, or the device freezing.

Potential solutions:

  • An app is likely causing the problem with random reboots or the device freezing. Boot the phone into Safe Mode (you can find the instructions below) and see if the issue remains. If it doesn’t, it’s being caused by a problematic app. Uninstall any recently installed or updated apps and see if the problem goes away.
  • Go to Settings–>Device care–> …–>Advanced and tap on Disable Auto Restart.

Problem #9 — Touchscreen issues

Razer Arctech Case for Samsung Galaxy S21 5
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

A few Galaxy S21 owners are complaining about touchscreen issues. For some, the middle of the screen doesn’t register touches at all, while the top and bottom still work as expected. Other Galaxy S21 owners say they have a problem with touches not registering when they scroll on the phone. Touch doesn’t register until the scrolling ends.

Potential solutions:

  • An app might be causing this problem. Boot the phone into Safe Mode and see if the issue stays. If it doesn’t, it’s a problematic app. Uninstall any recently installed or updated apps.
  • Go to Settings–>Display–>Touch sensitivity and increase it.
  • A screen protector might be causing touchscreen problems. Remove your screen protector to check if the problem goes away. If you want to keep the screen guard, you should increase touch sensitivity.
  • Some users say that reducing UI animation helps fix the problem where a touch doesn’t register until the scrolling stops. Enable Developer Mode by going to About phone and tapping on the build number multiple times. Open Developer options in the settings menu and reduce the device animation settings to 0.5.

One UI 4/Android 12 problems

Galaxy S21 using split view
Gary Sims / Android Authority

Samsung started rolling out the One UI 4/Android 12 update to the Galaxy S21 series in November 2021. Any major software update brings its fair share of issues, though. Here’s a look at some common Android 12 problems users are facing on the Galaxy S21.

  • Galaxy Buds Pro volume too low: Some Galaxy S21 owners say that the volume on their Galaxy Buds Pro headset is too low after the Android 12. This problem occurs because the volume settings reset. Open the Wearables app and make sure that the touch response on the Buds Pro is enabled. While wearing the earphones, tap on the right earbud and increase the volume to its highest setting. Users say that they can then use the media volume settings on the phone to adjust the volume after that.
  • PC not recognizing the phone: Users say that the PC doesn’t recognize the phone when plugged in. This seems to be a hardware issue with the cable. While a USB-A to USB-C cable works for some users, it’s best to use a USB-C to USB-C cable instead. The cable that comes with the phone is the best option.
  • Volume automatically reduces: Many Galaxy S21 owners are complaining about the volume on the phone automatically reducing while listening to media, and notification sounds seem to cut out. There’s no solution for these problems yet, and the only option is to wait for a software update. Until then, users say that using an app like Extra Volume Booster helps keep the volume at a fixed level.
  • Rapid battery drain: Users complained about seeing rapid battery drain after the Android 12 update. The February update should have fixed this problem.
  • The phone doesn’t vibrate when receiving notifications: Quite a few Galaxy S21 owners had a problem with their phone not vibrating with incoming notifications. Go to Settings–>Notifications–>More (under recently sent). Tap the drop-down menu and change it from Recent apps to All. Then tap on the three vertical dots at the top right corner and select Show system apps. On the list, go to Android System–>Alerts and select Allow sound and vibration.
  • Home and back buttons not working: Galaxy S21 users complain that the home and back buttons are unresponsive. A workaround is to go to the navigation settings and change it to gesture navigation. Restart the phone and then change the setting back.
  • Videos not playing in the browser: Galaxy S21 owners say that the phone doesn’t play videos in the browser since the March 2022 update. Samsung hasn’t acknowledged this issue yet. The only workaround, for now, is to restart the phone.

Guides: Factory reset, boot into Safe Mode, wipe cache partition

back of the phones
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Note: To get into the recovery menu to factory reset the phone or wipe the cache partition, you must plug your phone into your PC first.

Factory 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.
  • Then, press the power button to select Wipe data/factory reset.
  • Press the volume down button to toggle the selection to Yes – delete all user data settings.
  • 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 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.

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.
  • Once again, press the volume down button to toggle the selection to yes.
  • Use the power button to select yes.
  • Press the power button to restart the device once the Reboot system now appears.

What Galaxy S21 problems have you encountered? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. We’ll do our best to help.