The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is still one of the best big Android smartphones. Especially after the Note 7 was recalled. However, it’s not perfect. Now that it’s 2017 the phone is showing its age, and owners are experiencing problems. Here we’ll detail some of the most common Galaxy Note 5 problems as well as any potential fixes.
Following the recall on the Galaxy Note 7 many buyers had to choose something else instead. As a result, millions still use and enjoy the Note 5. Or are stuck with it until the Galaxy S8 arrives. If you’re one of them, our tips could help out. We’ve updated a lot of the information below to match issues and incoming updates for 2017.
The Note 5 is over a year old, and some may be experiencing problems. From putting the S-Pen in backwards, the fingerprint scanner not being very accurate, random reboots, GPS problems, wireless charging issues, and even some cables not supporting the fast charging feature. There is a lot of technology in this phone, and below are some common issues and how to fix them.
For starters, almost all small issues can be solved by doing something most smartphones owners don’t do enough, and that’s reboot the phone. Simply press and hold the power button and hit reboot. This usually fixes signal issues, text messages not coming through, slow performance, and other weird issues here and there.
You’d be surprised how often a quick reboot will get the phone running smooth again. Fix any small problems, or make performance feel as fast as the day you bought it. With that out of the way, lets tackle some of the more serious issues some are facing with the Galaxy Note 5.
Fingerprint Scanner Problems
The Galaxy Note 5 still has one of the best fingerprint scanners, built right into the hardware home button on the front of the phone. Using this to unlock the phone is an awesome feature, but some have occasional issues.
The post above goes over tons of possible scenarios regarding the fingerprint scanner not working, being inaccurate, or other issues. Read through that, or the most common issue is explained below.
If users are experiencing problems with it not being accurate and failing to read a finger, delete it and try again. Simply head to settings > personal > lockscreen & security > Fingerprints > tap your finger to allow access, and long press any of the saved fingerprints and tap “Remove”. This will delete it, and allow you to re-add it to the phone.
Some forum members claim doubling the same finger in the system for a better chance of success. Personally, this just makes the system more confused, so we’d recommend only doing one entry for each finger. Move it multiple different directions and angles during setup for the best result. If you have a case or a screen protector, re-learn your fingerprint after it’s installed for the correct angle you’ll be using it most. This will yield the best results.
If you still have problems make sure it’s clean and scratch free. Sometimes it can struggle for a minute, but usually works after that.
Note 5 Battery Life Problems
The Galaxy Note 5 has pretty great battery life, but those coming from the Note 4 or Note 7 probably noticed a slight dip. It has a small, non-removable battery, but also fast charging and wireless charging. However, if battery life seems to be getting worse try these few tips.
First off you’ll want to make sure no rogue apps are draining the battery. Head into settings > system > battery and see what’s at the top of the list. If there’s a random app there, delete it, or open it and make changes so it can’t drain the battery like it is. Typical Android system, Google services, screen, or games are at the top. If it’s something else, that could be the problem.
Try rebooting the phone, as something could be keeping the phone on and a quick reboot will clear things out. Also close unused apps that are big by following this guide.
We’d also recommend only using the included wall charger that is in the box. This is a “fast charger” or you can buy any 3rd party fast charger or Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 certified charger online and the phone will recharge up to 40-60% faster than old chargers layout around from older phones. This makes a huge difference.
We’re expecting battery life to increase significantly once the Galaxy Note 5 Android 7.0 Nougat update arrives. It should be here in March or April of 2017, and here’s more information.
Galaxy Note 5 GPS Problems
Some users have reported Galaxy Note 5 GPS problems, which could also be a part of the above battery life issues. The best situation here is to turn off GPS when you don’t need it, or head into settings > location > and for “locating method” select “WiFi & Mobile networks”. This will turn GPS off for apps like Facebook, FB Messenger, Google Maps and more and save battery life. Turn-by-turn navigation may not be as accurate, so toggle it back to full mode with GPS when needed.
A few updates over the past year have aimed at fixing GPS and connectivity. At this point most shouldn’t have any problems with the Note 5.
Note 5 WiFi or Connectivity Problems
Another thing we hear about a lot are WiFi issues, or connectivity and data problems. People not being able to access the internet, use Facebook, browse the web and other things. This can often by solved by a reboot, turning WiFi off and back on, or a little “quick setting” you accidentally hit in the notification pulldown bar.
When you slide down the notification bar on the Note 5 there are tons of little icons near the top. Some users may accidentally hit Airplane mode, which turns off all connectivity and the phone can’t make calls, send texts, browse the web or other things. Then, certain carriers have a “Mobile Data” toggle in this area, that can often be touched by accident. Make sure mobile data is lit up and enabled, and airplane mode is not turned on.
If users are having WiFi or Bluetooth issues it’s always a good idea to reboot the phone, reboot the wireless router in your home, or turn Bluetooth off and back on. Another idea is to forget a wireless network, then reconnect, which will redo the connection and pairing and fix any issues some may experience. Same goes for Bluetooth. Repair it.
Note 5 Performance Problems
After owning the device for a while, playing games, downloading apps and accepting updates things can often times start to slow down a bit. This is typically because the phone is just used too much, and often a reboot will fix it. If not, we have a few other more extreme measures that can improve performance.
Download Clean Master from the Google Play Store and clear the “cache” on the phone. Don’t let this app delete photos, video, or apps, but clear the cache, then uninstall the app. Another way, which we’d recommend, is boot into safe recovery mode and clear the cache right on the phone.
The first potential fix that we recommend is a process that will clear the cache partition. To clear the cache partition on the Note 5, follow these steps:
- Turn the Note 5 off.
- Press and hold Home, Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously until the device vibrates.
- When the Samsung logo appears, release them.
- Tap Volume Down repeatedly until you reach Wipe Cache Partition. Select it with the power button. Select Yes. (do not wipe data, or this erases the entire phone)
- Wait for the process to complete. It could take awhile.
- Reboot your Galaxy Note 5.
It’s also a good idea to not have too many apps installed, pay attention to how much “internal storage” is leftover on the device. Since there’s no micro-SD slot if you use all the internal storage, the phone could slow to a crawl. Especially now that many have owned it for over a year. Clean up some storage and make room for the operating system to be more efficient. We’d also advise against live wallpapers, and other intensive apps.
However, if you really want to make the phone feel fast, try this trick that takes less than one minute and has big results.
Headline news surfaced during the release of the Galaxy Note 5 about people putting the S-Pen stylus in backwards, and it getting stuck. This is obviously a design flaw, and Samsung should have made it so the pen cannot go in backwards, but it can. Due to the new clicking mechanism to easily click the pen in and out of the phone, if you put it in backwards it will get stuck, and likely be broken forever when you pull it out. Later they improved the design on the manufacturing floor, so most should never have this problem.
Obviously don’t put the S-Pen in backwards, just like you shouldn’t use the wrong oil in your car or vehicle. Be careful, cautious, and don’t let kids mess with the S-Pen, or you could find yourself in trouble. If the stylus goes in backwards and gets stuck, we’ve heard some users had success retrieving it using this guide.
Note 5 Wireless Charging Problems
The Galaxy Note 5 features wireless charging. Allowing owners to drop it on a pad, plug in nothing, and charge it. The phone is also the first to support the new “fast wireless charging” standard. It’s a fancy feature, but still doesn’t charge as fast as a wired connection like what comes in the box.
Samsung Note 5 works with both wireless charging technologies that are popular today. Using powermat, Qi chargers and others. Then, it’s backwards compatible with another type that is used at some hotels, in newer vehicles, or places like select Starbucks locations. We’d simply suggest using the cord to charge it, but if you’d like to use this feature, here’s what to consider.
Don’t use a case, as that puts a gap between the wireless conductive charging, and could cause wireless charging to be slow, or randomly stop every 10-15 minutes. We’ve also found that many 3rd party wireless chargers on eBay or Amazon, or ones that claim to be “fast wireless chargers” don’t work for more than a few minutes at a time. Buy the certified Samsung Quick Charger, don’t use a case, and make sure its centered properly for the best results.
Other Note 5 Problems & Fixes
If you’re facing other types of problems feel free to leave us a comment below. Most common issues can be fixed simply by rebooting the phone, disabling things that are unnecessary, or wiping the cache as mentioned above.
If nothing else works, you have two options. Either root the phone (Android’s version of Jailbreak) and flash custom software from sites like XDA Developers, or do a factory data reset. A factory reset wipes out everything, and returns the phone to a stock state just as it was out of the box, or from the factory. This is what I do after every major update (like the upcoming update to Android 7.0 Nougat) or if I’m having issues on a phone. This often makes a phone feel much better, as it cleans things up and gives it a fresh slate to work with.
This is a last resort, and will erase everything on the phone. Go into Settings > accounts > Google > and make sure all your information, contacts, apps, app data and more has been backed up or hit “sync”, then do a factory data reset which will fix any issues.
To factory reset the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, go into Settings > Personal > Backup and reset. From there, select Factory Data Reset. Then just select Reset Device. It will reboot and be brand new again. Sign into Gmail, start over, and be more cautious of what you download and how you use the phone. Again, get ready for Android Nougat, which should make things better than ever.