Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is one of the best phones available right now, but nothing is perfect. Following the March release date, we’re seeing a lot of reports about Galaxy S9 problems. The same goes for the bigger Galaxy S9+. With that said, these are some of the most common problems and how to fix them.
You don’t need to call Samsung or go to a carrier store for help. Most problems can easily be fixed right from home. We’ll walk you through the biggest complaints and offer fixes or resources to address them. Keep in mind that everyone uses phones differently, so some problems are likely unique to your situation. Either way, here’s where to start.
Galaxy S9 Touchscreen Sensitivity Problems
The first real “problem” we’re hearing about so far 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. Most of the complaints are from Galaxy S9+ owners, as it has a bigger screen. That said, we’re seeing reports on Reddit and all over the official Samsung product forum.
So far, it looks like people with screen touch problems are getting replacement devices from Samsung. That said, we’re not sure how widespread this issue is yet, or if it’s just a few unlucky owners.
First, go to Settings > Advanced Features > and scroll down to and select Touch sensitivity. This will increase the sensitivity of the screen and potentially fix your problem. Additionally, you can open your phone dialer and type *#0*# then select “touch” from the list of options. This is a hidden menu to test aspects of your phone. We don’t recommend messing around in here, but you can quickly see if your screen has a problem. We’ll update as soon as we know more, or Samsung issues another statement.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Apps that Aren’t Full Screen
A big problem we saw with the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 is about apps using the 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. We’re seeing this again on the Galaxy S9. This is simply because of the 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. We’re expecting most apps to work, and if not, developers will release updates soon.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Fingerprint Scanner Problems
Finally, the Galaxy S9 has a fingerprint scanner that’s easy to tap, right in the middle of the phone. However, Samsung’s new register system is causing a few problems. Whether you’re just 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.
How to Fix Intelligent Scan Face Unlock Problems
One early Galaxy S9 problem we’re already hearing about is over the new Intelligent Scan face unlock system. If you don’t want to use a pin or fingerprint, you can scan your eyes or face. With the Galaxy S9 Samsung combines the Iris scanner and the facial scanning technology into one. So if one fails, it tries the other. The goal was to make it work better, but we’re not sure they succeeded.
That said, we’re hearing some people are experiencing problems. 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.
Additionally, we’re hearing Samsung already started sending out a quick software update for the Galaxy S9. The two big changes are improvements for face unlock, and camera fixes. Those go together and will improve face unlock. Get the latest software, or make sure you scan your eyes and face when you have enough light. We’ll report back if we hear more from Samsung about this problem.
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 starting to see 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.
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.
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 already 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, we see reports about WiFi problems. We’re already starting to see 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.
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.
We haven’t heard too many complaints about GPS yet, but we usually do with every new Galaxy phone. Drop us a comment below if you’re experiencing any issues with GPS or WiFi.
How to Fix Galaxy S9 Bluetooth Problems
Just like the Galaxy S8, we’re seeing a few complaints about Bluetooth problems. Google made a lot of changes to Android 8.0, so we’re expecting most of the BT complaints to fade away. Plus, this is likely a compatibility issue with your accessories or car stereo.
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 last year. 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
Like its predecessors, 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 new 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
We haven’t seen any major Galaxy S9 camera complaints, but a day-one update did specifically mention improvements to the camera. Samsung already has some fixes in the works for something regarding the camera. Only unlocked models received that, but expect carriers to push it out shortly.
In the meantime, drop us a comment below if you are dealing with any Galaxy S9 camera problems. If so, try heading to Settings > Advanced Features and turn off Smart Stay. This feature caused problems in the past and could be your solution today.
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.
A quick reboot should also fix the problems users are facing while making phone calls. We’re hearing reports of muted voices and other distortion. However, a permanant fix is included in the May maintenance update, which started rolling out on May 5th.
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. A 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.
Samsung’s fancy Galaxy S9 is still fairly new. We’ve only received two updates here in the United States. Future updates can and will fix some of these small problems. As more users get one, we expect this list to grow. As it does we’ll continuously update this post to help you get the most from your phone.
In closing, here’s what you need to know about what’s coming next. This is Samsung’s first phone with Android 8.0 Oreo, so expect bug fixing updates in the coming months. Samsung is still working out a few glitches, and the May update had a bunch of improvements on board. Then, they’ll likely start on Android 8.1 Oreo or jump right to Google’s recent Android P reveal. Especially now that we know Android P will arrive earlier than any prior release thanks to Project Treble.
For now, drop us a comment below with any other issues you’re experiencing and we’ll do our best to help. Otherwise, sit tight and bug-fixing updates are coming soon. In the meantime, consider buying some of these official Galaxy S9 accessories made by Samsung.