15 Common Galaxy S9 Problems & How to Fix Them
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is still a great phone even though it’s nearly two years old, but it’s not perfect. In this guide we’ll go over some of the most common Galaxy S9 problems and how to fix them.
Even after the latest Galaxy S9 Android 10 update reports about problems or little issues continue to emerge. In fact, some are from the Android 10 update or the first few updates of 2020, so we’ll help you fix those too. As a reminder, these tips all apply to both the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus.
You don’t need to call Samsung or go to a carrier store for help. You can easily fix most of the problems right from home. We’ll walk you through the biggest complaints, offer fixes, or show you online resources to address them. Keep in mind that everyone uses phones differently, and not everyone will have the same issues. Let’s get started.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Android 10 Problems
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Android 10 update (One UI 2.0) is now available around the globe and in the US, and while Samsung ran a long beta program you still could face a problem or two. It delivers an excellent new experience, fancy features, better night mode or themes, and more. So far, we’re seeing early complaints about battery life, installation problems, WiFi drops, and other sporadic reports. This guide for the Galaxy S10 goes over Android 10 problems, and most of the fixes are specific to One UI and will help you with your S9. For those preparing for or debating the Android 10 upgrade, this guide will help you prepare.
Update: Near the end of February 2020, both the Verizon and T-Mobile Galaxy S9 got Android 10, so we’re seeing an influx of reports and problems. More carriers got it in March, plus Samsung quickly released a bug-fixing maintenance upgrade, so look out for that.
Then, it looks like you can expect an important update to One UI 2.1 in the coming months, which is the software experience on the Galaxy S20 family. We’ll add more info to this post as we see and hear more, otherwise, here’s a generic list of tips we’ve gathered over the last few years.
Galaxy S9 Touchscreen Sensitivity Problems
One of the first real “problems” we see mentioned often for the Galaxy S9 is regarding the touchscreen. Some users are reporting the Galaxy S9 screen doesn’t register taps or touches in certain areas, or they’re having sensitivity problems. We’re seeing reports on Reddit and at the official Samsung product forum.
First, go to Settings > Advanced Features > or Display > and scroll down to and select Touch sensitivity. This will increase the sensitivity of the screen and potentially fix your problem. Especially if you’re using a screen protector as they sometimes decrease sensitivity and accuracy.
Additionally, you can open your phone dialer and type *#0*# then select “touch” from the list of options. This is a hidden test menu on every Galaxy phone. We don’t recommend messing around in here, but you can quickly see if your screen has a physical hardware problem. If so, reach out to Samsung for a warranty replacement. Yes, people with screen touch problems are getting replacement devices from Samsung.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Apps that Aren’t Full Screen
With a big 5.8 or 6.2-inch Quad-HD screen that’s long and skinny, some apps don’t use the entire space. This is simply due to the new aspect ratio, similar to 16:9 widescreen movies back in the day having black bars.
Most apps and games scale up to fit the entire screen, but some don’t. If so follow these steps to fix the issue.
- Pull down the notification bar and head to Settings (gear-shaped icon near the top right)
- Tap on Display
- Select the option labeled Full screen Apps
- Find any app that isn’t highlighted and switch full screen mode to on
At this point, most apps should work fine and developers already fixed this. If not, you can force them into full screen mode. Now it will automatically scale to the new 18.5:9 aspect ratio and fill your entire display with content. Additionally, when you launch an app if it doesn’t look right hit the recent apps button and look for a green “expand” icon. If available, this will instantly toggle full-screen mode on or off for that specific app.
If you notice apps or games look funky after you make the change, just switch it back.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Fingerprint Scanner Problems
The Galaxy S9 has a fingerprint scanner that’s easy to tap, right in the middle of the phone. It’s more accurate and responsive than the Galaxy S10 in-screen option version. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing complaints about it. Whether you’re getting errors trying to unlock your phone or the fingerprint scanner isn’t working right, we have a few tips.
For one, Here is a guide to setup the Galaxy S8 fingerprint scanner correctly. Those same steps apply to the Galaxy S9. The reason we say that is because if you follow Samsung’s instructions on the Galaxy S9, it asks you to “swipe” your finger across the sensor. This registers and saves your print far faster than tapping 8-10 times to slowly train the phone to recognize your fingerprint.
We’re assuming Samsung added the swipe method to make setup easier, but that might also cause you to have errors. Delete your fingerprint, and redo it. Don’t swipe, but tap at multiple different angles so it really gets a good scan of your finger. We also recommend redoing any saved prints after you install a case. Furthermore, a lot of people add the same finger twice. Once with the swipe, and another with the tap method, for the best possible results day in and day out.
How to Fix Intelligent Scan Face Unlock Problems
Another Galaxy S9 problem we’re hearing about is over the Intelligent Scan face unlock system. With the Galaxy S9 Samsung combines the Iris scanner and the facial scanning technology into one. So if one fails, it tries the other automatically. The goal was to make it work better, but it’s not for some.
For one, make sure the first time you scan your Iris, Face, or do Intelligent Scan you’re in a brightly lit environment. Having enough light is crucial to getting an accurate reading.
Read: 175 Helpful Samsung Bixby Voice Commands
Over the last year or so Samsung improved this experience with software upgrades. We saw fixes specifically for the Iris scanner in the 4th Android 10 beta, so this official update should be better. Get the latest software, or make sure you scan your eyes and face when you have enough light.
Galaxy S9 Freezing & Unresponsive Problems
Are you having problems where the Galaxy S9 keeps freezing or is completely unresponsive? We saw a lot of those complaints on the Galaxy Note 8, and we’re seeing a few for the S9+ too. You might experience this in the contacts app or phone dialer while trying to make a call. Sadly, we don’t have any complete fix that will prevent your phone from freezing.
Read: 20 Best Galaxy S9 Cases
However, we can help you fix it when it happens. If your S9 is frozen or unresponsive press and hold both the power and volume down buttons at the same time, and hold them down for 7-8 seconds. The phone will turn off, reboot, and start fresh. Here is more information for those in need. Samsung fixed stability with the last few updates in 2019, too, like the August patch, and more in November. We’re seeing positive reports regarding stability with the Galaxy S9 on Android 10, but we’ll update as more users get the new software.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 App Drawer Button Missing
Not only are you missing a physical home button like the first six Galaxy S phones, but if you updated from an older phone you’re probably missing the app drawer button too. Some owners are getting frustrated that they can’t find all of their installed apps. Here’s how to fix it.
This is a “feature” and not a problem. Samsung did this by choice, but thankfully we can quickly switch it back to the old style.
- Press and hold down on any blank space on your screen. It will zoom out to an edit and layout page, and give you setting or wallpaper options.
- Tap the gear-shaped settings button.
- Next hit the option in settings labeled “Apps Button” and select the “show apps button”.
This way you’ll have a button that launches a tray with all of your apps like before. Or, if you’re coming from an iPhone select “Home screen only” if you want all the apps on your home screen like iOS.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Slow Wired or Wireless Charging
Another problem you might face is slow wired or wireless charging. We’re still seeing a few complaints that fast charging isn’t working for some users. Fast charging lets the Galaxy S9 go from 0-50% in about 25 minutes, instead of taking hours like older phones. If you don’t use the right cable and the wall plug that came in the box, you won’t get these fast speeds.
One report said the cable that came in the box was the problem, and when he used a different cable fast charging worked just fine. We’ve reached out to Samsung and will report back if we hear more. Buy some extra USB Type-C cables, and use the wall wart that came in your box.
When you plug-in the phone you want to see “fast charging” as shown above. If you don’t, unplug it and plug it back in. Or, try a different cable.
Additionally, your phone might get a little hot. That’s completely normal. Worried Galaxy S9 owners can head to Settings > Battery > and turn off the “Fast Cable Charging” which allows the phone to recharge extremely fast. It will take over 2 hours to charge instead of 80-90 minutes, but it won’t get as hot.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 WiFi & GPS Problems
With every phone release or major update, we see reports about WiFi problems. We’re already seeing comments about poor performance, WiFi drops, connection issues and slow browsing speeds. This is almost never a problem with the phone itself, and usually something else.
Read: 15 Cool Things the Galaxy S9 Can Do
If you used Samsung SmartSwitch to transfer everything from an old phone, the WiFi password likely transferred and connected automatically. That’s nice, but that might also be your problem.
Those experiencing Galaxy S9 WiFi problems have a few things they can try. First, we recommend you forget your WiFi network and re-enter the password on the phone. Do this by heading to Settings > Connections > WiFi. Push and hold your home internet connection and tap forget network on the pop-up. Then search for a WiFi connection, find yours, put in the password and it should work. Better yet, reset your network to default settings. We’ve found unplugging power to the router for 10+ seconds will give it a fresh start. Then try connecting your Galaxy S9.
I also go into WiFi > Advanced Settings > and disable the WiFi sleep option. That way WiFi stays on no matter what, even when the screen is off. Now all your apps and services continue to use WiFi, and you don’t need to keep the screen on while you update apps.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Bluetooth Problems
The Galaxy Android Pie update likely fixed your Bluetooth problems, as both Samsung and Google made a huge effort to stabilize that area. We saw even more in the Android 10 release. Additionally, the problem is likely a compatibility issue with your accessories or car stereo. With so many accessories you’re bound to have an issue here and there.
If you can’t see devices or do see them and they won’t connect, you’re not alone. Sometimes the connection is poor and audio cuts out too. Thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 on the Galaxy S9 most people shouldn’t face any big issues. If you’re experiencing problems try reconnecting to your Bluetooth devices or drop a comment at the official Samsung product support page. If anything surfaces we expect a quick update from Samsung.
Users can also head to Settings > Apps > and find “Bluetooth” and clear the cache. This will erase all pairings, which fixed problems on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. Otherwise, try our biggest tip for ANY problem, and reboot your phone. Yup, just a single reboot usually fixes just about everything.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Screen Resolution
Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ both have big 2960 x 1440 Quad-HD screens. However, to save battery life and improve performance they’re only displaying at 1080p. If you want the full Quad-HD nearly 4k resolution you paid for, you can turn it on in the settings menu.
You probably can’t tell the difference between 1080p and Quad HD, but will enjoy the longer battery life. However, here’s how to change it.
Navigate to Settings > Display > Screen resolution and slide it to the far right for the full WQHD+ and hit apply. This might help some of the scaling issues on certain apps too if they don’t use the full screen.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Wet Speaker Problems
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are IP68 dust and water-resistant. Meaning they can handle depths of 5ft for around 30 minutes and will come out working just fine. Even the dual speaker configuration can handle all that water.
However, if the speaker or grill gets wet your sound might end up muffled. This isn’t an actual problem, and probably nothing permanent either.
Samsung uses a coating on the inside of the device and what they call “surface tension” to keep water out of both speakers. Not to mention there’s a grill over the front top speaker. If your music or speaker doesn’t sound right you just need to let it dry. Or, tap it gently against your hand to push any water out of the speaker. Most likely there’s nothing wrong with your phone, just give it time.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Camera Problems
So far we haven’t seen any major Galaxy S9 camera complaints, but there is a problem with the Super Slow-motion feature. Users are reporting poor lighting and a super dark super slow-motion video experience. I have it on mine, and the video below is one of many showing something similar.
Basically, when you switch to the 960 fps super slow-motion everything gets extremely dark, almost too dark. If you’re not on the latest software you’ll experience this. That’s because Samsung addressed this complaint in July of 2018, and made further camera improvements with updates in December and with the January 2019 update. Then, the Android 10 update fixed a few things and even added new camera controls and experiences.
We’ve seen several instances where super slow-motion isn’t dark at all, so this is clearly a problem on some devices, but not all. In the meantime, drop us a comment below if you are dealing with any Galaxy S9 camera problems. And finally, try heading to Settings > Advanced Features and turn off Smart Stay. This feature causes camera problems on occasion.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Samsung Pay Problems
While there are a few different Samsung Pay problems we see on occasion, most of those are related to your bank, credit card, or settings on the phone. Overall, Samsung Pay works great on millions of phones.
However, lately, we’re seeing severe battery drain from the Samsung Pay Framework app on the Galaxy S8, S9, or even the Note 9.
If you’re getting terrible Galaxy S9 battery life suddenly, go to Settings > Device Maintenance > and see what’s using the most. If Samsung Pay is within the top few, something isn’t right. We’re waiting for Samsung to fix this problem, but for now, go to Settings > Apps > Samsung Pay Framework > Battery and toggle battery optimizations to “Not optimized” which fixes this Samsung Pay problem.
Reboot the Galaxy S9 to Fix Most Problems
Before we share our last tip, try a simple reboot. Almost every problem we hear from friends, family, or see online can quickly be fixed by rebooting your Galaxy S9. Not receiving text messages, reboot your phone. The sound isn’t working, reboot the phone.
Simply press and hold the power button on the right side of your Galaxy S9, then tap restart. Within about 1 minute you’ll be up and running with almost every problem gone.
Also, go to Settings > Device Maintenance > and tap the 3-dots in the top corner and select Auto Restart. Now, choose the time and day of the week, like Wednesday at 4 AM. Now, the phone will reboot once a week at night so performance stays at its best, and problems are a thing of the past.
How to Factory Reset the Galaxy S9
Most owners won’t experience any major problems with the Galaxy S9 or S9+. If you tried everything we mentioned earlier and checked with your carrier for help, we do have one last step for you. The last resort to fix big problems is doing a factory data reset. This will erase all user data, apps, messages, and content from the phone. Only do this if something is seriously wrong and not working right.
Keep in mind that you might want to backup any data before you proceed. Go to Settings > General Management > and hit Reset to get started.
The entire process will take a few minutes, restore the original software as it was out of the box and delete everything. Galaxy S9 owners can use Samsung SmartSwitch or Google restore to get all their apps back. Again, this is the last resort if you have major problems. If this doesn’t fix it, consider reaching out to Samsung or your carrier for a replacement phone.
Or, you could just get the Galaxy S10 or even the new Galaxy Note 10+.
In closing, here’s what you need to know about what’s coming next. Samsung updated the Galaxy S9 to Android 10 in early 2010 in select regions around the globe, and it’s still slowly rolling out. As more people get this final version of Android 10 and use it, they’ll be able to gather information about any big issues that fell through the cracks and testing phase.
If you experience issues with One UI 2.0 and Android 10, just sit tight. Aside from these general issues, Samsung is still delivering and refining the software. Expect the first “maintenance update” to Android 10 for the Galaxy S9 that fixes initial problems sometime in March or April. Then, we’re already seeing reports of One UI 2.1 coming soon, which is what the Galaxy S20 phones are running. So that’s what is coming next, not to mention Android 11, but we don’t need to start talking about that until we get closer to 2021. For now, sit tight for some bug-fixing updates to Android 10 on your Galaxy S9.
Otherwise, drop us a comment below with any other issues you’re experiencing and we’ll do our best to help. In the meantime, consider buying some of these official Galaxy S9 accessories made by Samsung.
15 Best Official Galaxy S9 Accessories
|Most of the Galaxy S9 accessories will be familiar to Samsung users because a lot of them are similar or the same as other years. However, the one that we like the most is brand new.
Our first recommendation is the all-new Galaxy S9 Hyperknit Nylon case from Samsung themselves. Yes, this case is made from real Nylon and has a comfortably soft yet durable fabric that covers the entire case.
Samsung explains it as a unique, soft, lightweight yet durable cover that protects your phone. It fits like a glove, it’s thin, and you’ll be proud to show it off. Sadly, this only comes in a sleek gray color or Nylon Red.
Get it from Samsung for $34.99