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Common Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 problems and how to fix them
Samsung smartwatches are generally known for being solid pieces of technology. The latest Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are no exceptions. That said, smartwatches aren’t immune to problems or issues. If you’re facing an issue with your new smartwatch that you just can’t seem to fix, you’ve come to the right place. We outline the common Galaxy Watch 5 problems and a list of potential solutions to boot.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 problems: Quick fixes
Usually, any issue with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 can be resolved by a simple reboot. That’s true with computers and phones, and it’s just as accurate for even the best smartwatches. Here are a few things you should consider before troubleshooting.
- Before troubleshooting, forcibly reboot your watch.
- To reboot your Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, press and hold the Home and Back keys on the right-hand side of your watch until the Samsung logo appears.
- Rebooting your device before troubleshooting will either solve your issue or provide a clean slate on which to diagnose the issue.
- Additionally, ensure your device’s battery is fully charged if possible.
- This is especially important for diagnosing battery drain and updating problems.
- Finally, if there’s a problem you just can’t seem to fix even after glossing through the help sections below, you may have to resort to resetting your watch to factory state.
- To factory reset your watch: Open the Galaxy Wearable app > Watch settings > General > Reset > Reset.
- If you’d like to back up your data before the reset, head to Account and backup in the Galaxy Wearable app > Back up and restore > Back up data. Select which settings and apps you want to save then tap Backup. Wait until the process is complete, then tap Done.
If you’re still facing any issues, read our more targeted list of solutions below.
Problem #1: Pairing and syncing issues
The Galaxy Watch 5 retains its predecessor’s Wear OS chops so you can expect a similar pairing experience. This process could not be simpler or faster if you have a Samsung smartphone. You’ll need to jump through a few hoops if you have another Android phone.
- If the Galaxy Wearable app fails to find your device, try the following.
- Restart your phone’s Bluetooth radio by switching it off and then on again.
- Still nothing? Restart your phone and the Galaxy Watch 5.
- Ensure that both devices are close together and within line of sight.
- If you can, try pairing your watch with another phone.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 pairing workaround
Notably, not all phones will be able to pair with the Galaxy Watch 5. If your device lacks Google Mobile Services, doesn’t have at least 1.5GB of RAM, or is running at least Android 8.0, you won’t be able to use your watch with your phone. However, pairing may fail on some devices even if your phone meets these criteria. There is a workaround in this case.
- Download the Samsung Health app, and log in with your Samsung credentials.
- In the app, tap the three-button menu, then Settings > Accessories.
- Find your Galaxy Watch 5 model, then tap Register on the next page.
- Follow the prompts, and you should be able to pair your watch with your phone.
If you own a Huawei P30 Pro or Mate 30 series device, this workaround will work for you.
More reading: Master your Galaxy Watch 5 with these tips and tricks
Problem #2: Charging issues
It’s essential to keep your Galaxy Watch 5 charged and ready for whatever you throw at it. If you’re facing charging-related issues, look at our troubleshooting steps below.
- Check if your charging brick is fully functional, connected to the wall, and the wall switch is on.
- Be sure to use the official charging cable that comes with your watch.
- If your watch still fails to charge, force reboot it.
- Still nothing? Contact Samsung. You might have a defective device.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro charging solutions
If you purchased a Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, you’ve probably noticed its most annoying aspect while trying to top up its battery. Thanks to the new D-buckle strap design, the watch can no longer sit flat on a surface or flush on its charging cradle unless you undo the band. There are a few practical workarounds to this.
- You can slide the end of the band out of the clasp, allowing the watch to sit flat on a surface. However, this isn’t really a solution, as you’ll have to do this every time you charge your watch.
- Alternatively, placing the watch on its side and allowing the charging cradle’s magnetic pull to keep it in place works well for us.
- We’ve also seen users online hang the charging dock or cradle at the end of a table or shelf, which allows the watch strap to dangle freely.
- In reality, we find that the D-buckle strap isn’t comfortable. In this case, consider a more bendable strap that’ll allow the watch to sit flush on its charger.
Problem #3: Updating and software issues
Installing updates is an important chore for any smart device owner. Samsung offers lengthy support for its smartwatches and issues regular updates to patch any issues, fix bugs, and introduce new features. That means it’s pretty important to understand and rectify any issues relating to failed updates.
- Before troubleshooting, check if your smartwatch has the latest software version.
- Open the Settings menu > About Watch > Software. Jot down the software number and compare it to the latest software listed in our Galaxy Watch 5 update hub.
- If it differs, you should have a pending update. If it doesn’t, you likely have the latest update, or an update is not yet available in your region.
- Notably, not all regions receive updates simultaneously. If your area hasn’t yet received the latest update version, give it a week or two for Samsung to make it available.
- In any case, we recommend checking for updates once again. Head to Settings > Software update.
- If your watch returns a failure message, you could have an internet issue, or your watch may have a problem connecting to your local Wi-Fi network.
- To ensure this isn’t a problem, open Settings on your watch > Connections > Wi-Fi. Remove your network details from the watch by hitting Forget. Input your Wi-Fi network’s details once more.
- If your internet connection is not an issue, and you can connect to other services, try pushing an update to your watch through the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone.
- Open the app, then head to Watch settings > Watch software update.
- While updating your Galaxy Watch, you may also encounter a “server has reached the daily download limit” error. Although this is more prevalent on the Galaxy Watch 4, you may run into it on the Galaxy Watch 5.
- There’s no known solution for this problem, but we recommend trying to update your device at another time.
- If a recent update seemingly introduced a new problem — perhaps your battery is draining faster than ever, or some apps and features no longer function correctly — consider factory resetting your device.
- Generally, you may experience slightly higher battery usage after an update. We only recommend this nuclear option if your watch becomes borderline unusable.
Problem #4: LTE connection issues
Both of Samsung’s new smartwatches feature option LTE support, allowing users to place and receive calls without their phone. However, you may run into an issue or two while setting up this feature or while trying to use it.
- Some users have reported that while they can receive calls, they can’t make calls without their phone in range.
- In this case, calling your service provider is a good idea. It’s possible that your watch isn’t provisioned to place calls on their network.
Problem #5: Battery issues
For all its positives, Wear OS devices still lag behind the pack regarding battery endurance. Sure, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s much larger battery largely solves this issue, but you may occasionally run into some battery drain problems. Here’s how to fix them.
- Check if you have the latest update installed. Generally, Samsung issues updates to address battery consumption problems.
- Alternatively, an update can also cause battery issues. Be sure to visit Samsung’s forums, Twitter, and Reddit to verify if other users are experiencing an issue with a newly minted update.
- If an update is causing battery drain problems, many have found a complete reset to be the best course of action.
- Google Assistant’s voice activation was found to drain the Galaxy Watch 4’s battery in some instances. Switching this off may improve your battery life on the Galaxy Watch 5.
- Open Settings on your watch > Google > Assistant. Toggle off “Hey Google” to disable the hot word activation.
Reducing battery consumption
If battery life is a top priority and you don’t mind nerfing your smartwatch, you can eke out a little more battery life by switching off or tweaking the following features.
- Disable always-on display. The screen is often the biggest battery hog, so ensuring that it’s switched off will give you plenty of spare juice.
- Open Settings > Display > toggle off Always On Display
- Disable Raise wrist to wake. This feature can sometimes light up your watch erroneously.
- Open Settings > Display > toggle off Raise wrist to wake.
- Instead, toggle on Touch screen to wake.
- Decrease the screen timeout duration. Realistically, we still feel 15 seconds is still far to long to have your smartwatch screen stay lit, but it’s the lowest available value for now.
- Open Settings > Display > Screen timeout > set it to 15 seconds.
- Disable GPS and location when not in use. You don’t need your watch connection to location services when you don’t need it.
- Swipe down from the top of your watch’s home screen > toggle off Location on the Quick panel.
- Alternatively, open Settings > Location > toggle off Location.
- Disable continuous heart rate and stress monitoring. Toggling off this feature will make the Galaxy Watch 5 a less useful heart rate monitoring watch. It might be worth taking the battery hit to leave these features on.
- Open Samsung Health > Settings > Heart Rate and Stress > select Every 10 mins while still.
- Uninstall apps you’re not using. Apps running in the background that you don’t actively use are just sapping resources and battery life.
- Swipe up from the bottom of your watch’s home screen to access the apps list. Tap and hold the app you wish to uninstall. Tap Uninstall to confirm.
- Disable notifications for the apps you don’t need. Your Galaxy Watch 5 will ping your wrist on each notification it receives. Reducing this number to the essential apps will reduce your battery usage.
- This is more easily managed via the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone.
- Open the app > Watch settings > Notifications > toggle off apps under the Most recent on phone or watch section.
- Activate Flight mode. Flight mode disables all radios, so it’s a good way to reduce battery consumption without killing any other features.
- Swipe down from the top of your watch’s home screen > toggle on Flight Mode on the Quick panel.
- Alternatively, open Settings > Connections > toggle on Flight Mode.
- If all else fails, activate Power saving mode. If you’re really tight on power, activate Power saving mode until you get to a power source.
- Open Settings > Battery > toggle on Power saving.
- Reduce power consumption even further by toggling on Watch only mode. This will disable all smart features on your watch.
Problem #6: Screen issues
The Galaxy Watch series has always worn some of the best displays in the business, but this doesn’t mean they never experience any issues.
- If you’ve installed a third-party watch face and your screen no longer recognizes touches, reboot your watch. Once it boots up, change the watch face to a stock Samsung face using your Galaxy Wearable app.
- Open the app > Watch face > select a new watch face.
- Alternatively, your display may simply not respond to touches, even with a default Samsung watch face installed.
- In this case, reboot your watch once more.
- If the problem continues, contact Samsung support. Your issue may be related to faulty hardware.
Watch face problems
- You may occasionally run into a “problem connecting to the network” issue while trying to download a watch face via the Galaxy Wearable app.
- At present, there’s no known fix for this issue. We were unable to reproduce it. However, consider trying another Wi-Fi network or your phone’s data connection if it’s available.
- You could also reset your Galaxy Watch 5 if it’s new, although the problem doesn’t seem to be related to the watch.
- Consider uninstalling and deleting any data associated with the Galaxy Wearable app before reinstalling it on your phone.
Problem #7: App issues
Sometimes, the problem you face on the Galaxy Watch 5 may not be related to the watch. You might run into a problem with an app you’ve installed. Here are a few common issues and their known fixes.
- Google Assistant doesn’t arrive ready to go when you boot up your Galaxy Watch 5. You have to update it and activate it.
- Ensure Assistant is installed on your phone. Then, open the Google Play Store on your watch, tap on My Apps > select Assistant > Update. Next, follow the prompts to activate it.
- If you run into a problem during the process, or can’t get Assistant to fire, consider uninstalling the app from your watch and phone. Then, reinstall the app on both, and log in to both with the Google account you intend to use. This should fix the problem.
- Some users have highlighted issues with Spotify on their watches.
- If you can’t download or play music from your watch, check if you’ve reached Spotify’s device download limit.
- Try removing downloaded songs from one of your devices, then try to download tracks on your watch once again.
Problem #8: Fitness tracking issues
If you find your watch is tracking phantom steps or not following your run correctly, you may be able to remedy these problems relatively quickly.
- Is the green light at the back of your watch flashing even when it’s not on your arm?
- Rest the watch side-down to ensure it doesn’t react to any reflections on a surface. This should force the watch to shut down the sensor.
- You can also toggle off continuous heart rate monitoring.
- Open Samsung Health > Settings > Heart Rate > select Every 10 mins while still.
- Some users have noted that the Galaxy Watch 5’s GPS performance isn’t the best. While we didn’t have any particular issues, you can improve the accuracy.
- Open Settings on your watch > Location > toggle on Improve accuracy. This will let your watch use cellular networks (if you have an LTE watch) and Wi-Fi networks to boost the accuracy of your location tracking.
- You may have to wait for Samsung to issue an update if this doesn’t improve things. A more recent patch did address GPS performance, so it’s clear that Samsung is aware of the issue.
Problem #9: Payment service issues
Forgetting your wallet at home is no longer a problem when you have a credit card with a screen strapped to your arm. The Galaxy Watch 5, like its predecessor, can also make payments using Samsung Pay or Google Wallet. However, you may face a few issues with these apps.
- If payments previously worked on your watch but no longer does, here are a few quick, general fixes.
- You will need NFC activated to complete payments.
- Swipe down from the top of your watch’s home screen > toggle on NFC from the Quick panel.
- Alternatively, open Settings > Connections > NFC > toggle on NFC.
- Is the card you have on your watch still active? If it has passed its expiration date, you’ll need to apply for a new card at your bank.
- Try a different payment app.
- Select your default payments app by opening Settings > Connections > NFC > Payments > select your preferred payment app.
- You will need NFC activated to complete payments.
Google Wallet problems
At the time of this writing, there is a Google Wallet issue relating to Mastercard and Maestro cards. According to this Google Support forums post, the cards are not tokenizing correctly, so you can’t make payments via Google Wallet using these cards.
Google is aware of the issue, but there’s no ETA on a fix. For now, you may want to set up and use Samsung Pay instead.
Problem #10: Band issues
There are plenty of official and third-party band options across the two Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 models. However, if the band you purchased the watch with has a defect of some kind, you should contact Samsung. In the US, Samsung’s wearables are covered by a one-year warranty.
If you want to spruce up your wearable, browse our list of the best Samsung Galaxy watch bands. Alternatively, hit up the button below for more band options.
What Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 problems have you come across? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. We’ll do our best to help.