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The most common Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 problems and how to fix them

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 isn't devoid of issues. Here's how to fix them.
January 19, 2023
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic on a wrist showing the watch face.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series features a major software upgrade with the latest Wear OS on board. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its issues. Below, we detail some common Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 problems and how to fix them. If you own an older Tizen-powered Samsung smartwatch, we recommend visiting our original Samsung Galaxy Watch problems and solutions hub. If you’ve updated to the Galaxy Watch 5 series, check out our Galaxy Watch 5 problems and solutions guide. 

See also: The best Samsung smartwatches you can buy

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 problems: Before we start

Before tackling more detailed troubleshooting guides, be sure to tick the following boxes. Often, you can rectify a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 problem simply by restarting the device. In fact, this is true of most smartwatches

  • Make sure your Galaxy Watch 4 and smartphone have enough charge. They don’t have to be full, but we recommend at least 80% battery life to rule out power issues.
  • Restart your smartwatch and smartphone before taking any other steps. This provides you with a clean slate and should remedy any minor issues.

Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review

Problem #1: Pairing and syncing issues

A Galaxy Watch 4 pairs to a Galaxy A51 phone.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Although the Galaxy Watch 4 now runs on Wear OS, its pairing process may still be problematic for some.

  • You’ll need to install a few essential apps on your phone to facilitate Galaxy Watch 4 pairing. Samsung and non-Samsung phones require the Galaxy Wearable app. Non-Samsung devices also require the Galaxy Watch 4 plugin and Samsung Accessory Service. These two should automatically install when needed.
    • Open the Galaxy Wearable app, and hit Start to allow your phone to search for your watch. Confirm that the six-digit code on your watch matches the code on your phone. Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the pairing.
  • If the Galaxy Wearable app cannot find your watch, follow the steps below.

Potential solutions:

  • Power cycle your Bluetooth service on both your phone and watch.
    • To do this on your watch, head to Settings > Connections > Bluetooth. Toggle it off, wait a few moments, then toggle it back on again.
  • Place the two devices next to each other, and ensure no objects obstruct their path.
  • Still nothing? Try rebooting your smartwatch and smartphone. You can find details on how to restart your Galaxy Watch 4 at the foot of this article.

Other solutions:

  • If you run into the infamous “This watch isn’t supported on this phone” error when setting up your watch on the Galaxy Wearable app, there is a workaround.
    • Instead of using the Galaxy Wearable app to set up your watch, use Samsung Health.
    • Open Samsung Health and log in with your Samsung account. Once complete, tap the three-dot menu button, select Settings > Accessories > Scan for accessories.
    • Once your watch is detected, select your watch.
    • Samsung Health will prompt you to install various apps and add-ons, including the Galaxy Watch 4 plugin. You’ll also need to log in with your Google account.
    • Your watch should be usable on your device when the entire process is complete.

Problem #2: Charging issues

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 rests on a beige cushion while charging.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 uses wireless charging to top up its battery. But like on any other device, this process can be finicky.

Potential solutions:

  • Check these details before troubleshooting your device.
    • Ensure your charger is connected to the wall.
    • Check for any damage to the charger or the charging cable. If either is damaged, use a different charger or cable. You can also try using your phone if it has reverse charging or wireless power share.
    • Check that another appliance works in the specific outlet you are using.
    • Ensure the back of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and its charging dock are clean and free of debris.
  • If none of these easy remedies solves your problem, try rebooting your smartwatch before attempting to charge it again.
  • As a last resort, you may need to reset your Galaxy Watch 4.
    • To do this from the watch, head to Settings > General > Reset. Tap Reset once more to confirm.
  • If your watch still doesn’t charge, take it to Samsung for a diagnosis.

Other issues:

  • If your Galaxy Watch 4 is charging but doing so slowly or heating up, try switching it over to Airplane mode while it’s on the dock. This will stop any active connections, which should take some load off the device.
    • To do this, swipe down from the top of the watch to access the Quick settings panel. Tap the Airplane icon.
    • If your watch is still overheating while charging in Airplane mode, be sure to contact Samsung. It could be a hardware defect.

See also: The best wireless chargers you can buy

Problem #3: Updating issues

A Galaxy Watch 4 user checks for software updates in the watch settings.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Keep your Galaxy Watch 4’s software up to date. Although the watch should handle this process on its own, it might require some assistance from you.

Potential solutions:

  • First, double-check that your device’s software version is current.
    • To check your watch’s software version, head to Settings > About watch > scroll down to Software.
    • Compare it to the last software update listed in our Galaxy Watch 4 updates hub.
  • If you’re running an old software version, initiate an update.
    • To do this from your watch, head over to Settings > Software update. If an update is available, install it.
    • If an update isn’t available, it’s possible the patch has not reached your region or hasn’t been released by your carrier. Wait a week or two, then check for updates once more.
  • If your watch fails the update check, you may have an internet issue. If your phone can connect to your Wi-Fi network but your watch can’t, you may need to revoke/add Wi-Fi network access on your wearable.
    • On your watch, open Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi. Remove network details from the watch by tapping Forget.
    • At this point, we’d recommend switching your Wi-Fi off and back on again.
    • Once complete, tap on your network and fill in its passphrase to add it once more.
  • If you have full internet connectivity from your watch, but an update is still not installing correctly, try initiating the update using your phone instead.
    • On your phone, open the Galaxy Wearable app > Watch settings > Watch software update. If it fails, reboot your phone and smartwatch and try again.

Problem #4: Screen issues

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a man's wrist showing the all-apps page.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Like most Samsung smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 4 has a bright, colorful AMOLED display. However, if it fails to switch on, hitches, or experiences any other issues, follow the troubleshooting steps below.

Potential solutions:

  • If you can freely scroll through menus but the watch won’t display its watch face, the face itself might be the issue. We recommend reverting to a native watch face to rule out any potential third-party issues.
    • To switch to a native face, tap and hold the current watch face, swipe left to scroll through the available faces, and tap on the face you wish to use.
    • You can also change watch faces from the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone. Open the app, tap Watch faces, and tap on a stock face.
  • Try rebooting your device, and pay attention to the display during the process. If you see the Samsung logo, that means it probably isn’t a hardware issue. If nothing is displayed, it’s likely a hardware defect.
  • Ultimately, you may need to reset your watch.
    • Your smartwatch’s display might be frozen, so use your phone to reset it.
      • Open the Wearable app, tap Watch settings > General > Reset > confirm Reset.
      • After the reset, you will need to pair your watch to your phone once more.
  • If your Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s display doesn’t show any content, even during the boot screen, you may need to take it to Samsung for a deeper diagnosis.

Other problems:

Is your Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s display not responding to gestures?

  • Enable Raise to wake.
    • To do this on your watch, open Settings > Display > Screen wake-up. You can select Raise wrist to wake to enable the gesture.
  • Still not working? Double-check that Water lock mode, Theatre mode, Bedtime mode, and Power saving mode are all disabled. These modes prevent the display from switching on. 

Problem #5: Notification issues

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a wrist showing the Gmail notification.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Missing notifications from your smartphone? There are several possible remedies to this potential Galaxy Watch 4 problem.

Potential solutions:

  • Double-check that your smartphone is permitted to send notifications to your watch.
    • To do this, open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone, tap Notifications on the app’s home screen, and ensure the master toggle is switched on.
    • If you find that only some apps aren’t sending through notifications, you can check if that app is allowed to do so on this page, too.
  • If you still aren’t receiving notifications in any capacity, check if any power saving or alert restriction modes are activated on your Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Just as they hamper the display, Theater mode, Bedtime mode, and Power saving mode can prevent your device from relaying notifications.
  • Still nothing? Try restarting your watch and smartphone if you haven’t already. Do the same with Bluetooth on both devices.

Problem #6: Battery issues

A user opens the quick settings menu on their Wear OS device.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

One of the bigger Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 problems, at least compared to its older Tizen siblings, is its battery life. If you find your wristwear is spending too much time on its charger, there are several ways to improve its battery endurance.

Potential solutions:

  • If you’ve just unwrapped your Galaxy Watch 4, we’d recommend running a software update. Samsung will likely issue improvements to the wearable’s power draw throughout its lifespan, so be sure to check for patches regularly.
    • To do this, open Settings on your watch > Software update to check for updates > hit Install now if there’s an update available.
  • Remove apps you don’t need from sending notifications. You can do this from the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone > Notifications.
  • Switch to a stock watch face. If you’ve installed a new third-party watch face and find that your battery is now draining faster, switch back to a native watch face.
  • Remove apps you no longer use. Apps running in the background are a surefire way to rob your watch of battery life. 
    • To uninstall unneeded apps, swipe up on your watch to open the apps tray. Find the app your wish to uninstall. Tap and hold the app’s icon, then hit Uninstall. Tap OK to confirm.
  • Disable screen features.
    • Some features, like Always-on display and screen wake gestures, are useful, but also drain your battery in the background. Try switching these features off to lengthen your device’s endurance.
      • To switch off the always-on display, open Settings > Display and toggle off Always-on display.
      • To disable screen wake-up gestures, open Settings > Display and toggle off Raise wrist to wake. Select Touch screen to wake or Turn bezel to wake (Galaxy Watch 4 Classic only) instead.
    • It’s also a good idea to adjust the screen timeout.
      • To do this, open Settings > Display > Screen timeout. The briefer the timeout, the more battery power you’ll save.
    • You can also disable Auto brightness by heading to Settings > Display > Brightness.
  • Ensure location services are switched off. Some apps, like Google Maps, require GPS and location data, but you don’t need location services to be on constantly. Switching it off may improve battery life.
    • Open Settings > Location and toggle off the feature.
    • If you need GPS running in the background, you can disable Improve accuracy to stop the watch from using mobile networks and Wi-Fi to bolster accuracy.
  • Disable media auto-sync. The Galaxy Watch 4 can keep images and music synced with your smartphone in the background. This is great for convenience but not ideal for maximizing battery life.
    • Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone > Watch settings > Manage content to disable image and music syncing. Here you can disable auto-syncing.
  • Disable automatic health measurements. Samsung Health automatically keeps tabs on your heart rate, stress levels, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. If you want to save as much battery as possible, you can switch these features off.
    • Head to the Samsung Health app > Settings > Measurement.

Other solutions:

  • Samsung includes a power-saving mode on the Galaxy Watch 4 that automatically disables several background processes. 
    • To enable power saving mode, open Settings > Battery > tap Power saving to enable the feature.
    • Notably, this mode will switch off Wi-Fi and LTE, use grayscale for the home screen, and turn off all functions bar the essentials.
  • Want to go a step further? Watch-only mode will turn the Galaxy Watch 4 into a simple timepiece.
    • To activate it, open Settings > Battery > Watch only. Tap Turn on to activate it. Your watch will now only display the time.
  • If none of these solutions positively impact your battery life, your Galaxy Watch 4 might be faulty. If you suspect a hardware problem, it’s best to take it to Samsung for a professional diagnosis.

Problem #7: Activity tracking issues

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a wrist showing the hiking workout mode with GPS and heart rate icons.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Galaxy Watch 4 packs many fitness tracking and health tracking features, from body composition monitoring to ECG smarts. However, it’s not flawless.

Potential problems and solutions:

  • Check your regional compatibility. Several features advertised on the Galaxy Watch 4 will only function if the wearable is paired to a Samsung smartphone. These include the ECG feature, blood pressure monitoring, and snore monitoring.
  • Is your watch not automatically recording your workouts? Double-check that Auto detect workouts is enabled.
    • To do this, head to Samsung Health on your watch > Settings > toggle on Auto detect workouts. The watch will now detect and record your exercise sessions.
  • The Galaxy Watch 4 doesn’t have the best GPS in the industry, but you can improve its accuracy.
    • Head to Settings > Location > toggle on Improve accuracy. Your watch will now use mobile networks (if you have an LTE watch) and Wi-Fi to calculate your position better. This will use more battery, though, so ensure your watch has enough charge if you’re going out on a longer run.
  • Running into heart rate consistency issues? There are a few practical troubleshooting steps you can take.
    • Check if the Galaxy Watch 4’s sensor is clear of debris. Wipe it with a clean, dry cloth, and make sure your wrist is also clean and dry before use.
    • Ensure that the band is just tight enough around your wrist. Too loose, and the watch’s sensors won’t contact your skin. Too tight, and you might restrict blood flow.

Problem #8: LTE issues

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a desk displays how to download Spotify music to Wear OS.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

As with previous models, Samsung offers LTE variants of the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. This allows wearers to place calls, send messages, and stream content without a smartphone nearby. However, cellular service on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 devices isn’t without problems.

Potential solutions:

  • Firstly, does your model have an LTE radio? Only four Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic models pack the feature, including R865U, R875U, R885U, and R895U. If you have a watch with another model number, your device does not support LTE.
  • Check if your plan is activated.
    • To do this, head to the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone > Watch settings > Mobile plans.
  • If your watch fails to connect to an LTE service, check if power saving mode is on. This will sever connections with Wi-Fi and LTE to save battery.
    • Open Settings > Battery > tap Power saving to disable the feature.

Other solutions:

  • We’ve seen several users online concerned about overheating issues, specifically with LTE models. There doesn’t seem to be a sure fix just yet, but you might be able to mitigate this Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 problem by taking the following steps.
    • Try receiving and placing calls when your watch is connected to your phone via Bluetooth, not in standalone mode.
    • Limit the use of LTE services to areas with a strong LTE signal. If the watch has to hunt for service, it may accelerate battery drain and heat dissipation.
    • Be sure to keep your watch updated. Samsung may issue patches to improve the watches’ performance over time.
    • If this Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 problem becomes unbearable, we recommend returning the watch to the manufacturer for a closer look.

See also: The best unlimited data plans in the US

Problem #9: Bixby issues

A user queries Bixby on their Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Occasionally, Bixby might refuse to function correctly on the Galaxy Watch 4. But there are several ways to fix the issue.

Potential solutions:

  • If Bixby fails to wake to voice commands, double-check if your Voice wake-up setting is enabled.
    • Navigate to Bixby on the watch’s home screen, then tap Settings. Tap Voice wake-up and ensure it’s toggled on.
    • Test it by saying “Hi, Bixby.” If Bixby responds, you’ve fixed the problem.
  • You can also set Bixby to activate using the power key.
    • Head to Settings > Advanced features > Customize keys > Double press > select Bixby.
    • You can now call up Bixby by double-pressing the power key.
  • If Bixby still refuses to acknowledge your commands, check if the correct permissions are enabled.
    • Head to the watch’s Settings > Apps > Permissions > Bixby. Ensure all permissions are togged on.
  • If all else fails, try force-quitting Bixby.
    • Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone > Apps > App Info > Bixby > Force stop.

Other solutions:

  • Turn your phone’s Wi-Fi off and on. Several users online have reported success with this method, but Samsung doesn’t recognize it as an official fix. That said, it’s probably worth a try.
  • If you haven’t yet checked for any updates, now is a good time to do just that. It’s possible that Samsung might fix any issues you’re experiencing.

See also: Everything you need to know about Bixby

Problem #10: Google Assistant issues

A user queries Google Assistant on their Wear OS device.
Andy Walker / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 also offers Google Assistant support. While the feature allows users to ping their watch with useful voice queries and commands, Assistant on your wrist may not be completely bug-free.

According to several users, Google Assistant causes their smartwatches to suddenly unpair or refuse to reconnect to their phones. If this is the case, there are a few things you can try.

Potential solutions:

  • If you can still access your watch through your phone, make sure you have a backup on your watch at hand.
  • If you haven’t yet, try restarting your smartphone and smartwatch. If it’s a temporary problem muddying the connection between the two devices, a restart should remedy it.
  • You could also try uninstalling Google Assistant on your Galaxy Watch 4.
    • To do this, open your app list by swiping down on your home screen, find the Assistant icon, long-press it, and tap Uninstall. Once complete, restart both devices once more.
    • If the problem lies with the Google Assistant app itself, this should solve it.
  • Finally, if all else fails, users have reported that a factory reset is an extreme but confirmed fix for the problem.

Other issues:

  • If Google Assistant is draining your battery a little too quickly for your liking, ensure Hey Google voice activation is disabled.
    • On your Galaxy Watch 4, open the watch’s Settings app, then head to Google > Assistant. Toggle off “Hey Google” to disable the hot word activation.
  • Is Assistant not available in your region? Try changing Google Assistant’s language on your phone.
    • Open Assistant on your phone, then tap the Explore button > your profile icon > Settings > Languages. Set English (United States) as the default then restart your phone and watch. Try setting up Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 4 once more.

See also: Google Assistant not working? Here’s how to fix it

Problem #11: Band issues

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 face-down on a table showing the silicone strap lug.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Like its siblings before it, the Galaxy Watch 4 series landed with several stock band options, available in silicone, leather, and metal finishes. However, if your watch band carries a factory defect, you can check if your device is still within Samsung’s warranty period. In the US, Samsung’s wearables are covered by a one-year warranty.

If Samsung’s standard band options are too conservative for you, browse our list of the best Galaxy Watch 4 bands. Additionally, you can find something a little different below.

How to restart your Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Restarting the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic is simple:

  • Press and hold both buttons on the watch until the screen switches off. The watch will then reboot.
  • You can also swipe down on the home screen, tap the Power button, and tap Turn off to confirm.

More reading: The top Galaxy Watch 4 tips and tricks

What Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 problems have you encountered? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. We’ll do our best to help.