Samsung update warning for millions of Galaxy and Note users

06/24 Update below. This post was originally published on June 23.

Apple recently recognized a serious iPhone problem with some iPhones that require replacement hardware. And now the same flaw seems to be affecting several generations of Samsung Galaxy smartphones worldwide.

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Discovered by the always excellent SamMobile, a large number of Galaxy smartphones suffer from a strange flaw on their screens where a green tint colors everything in a swampy hue (example below). Currently, four generations of Galaxy flagship smartphones are affected as threads appear on Samsung’s support forums in the US. The US, EU and India, and it is currently unknown whether this can be solved with the software.

06/24 Update: SamMobile reports Samsung has now begun a massive rollout of its new One UI 2.1 software “in dozens of markets.” The software is for the last two years of the Galaxy flagship and offers a host of features including new Quick Swap, AR functionality, filters, emoji, and more. Samsung has hidden bug fixes in these updates before (see below), so I’ll be on the lookout for any fixes found on the screen. Samsung has also confirmed to me that it is investigating the display problem and the large increase in new cases. If you want to test your Galaxy smartphone, it is better to do it in low light and with a very low screen brightness, which helps to identify borderline cases.

Affected models include Galaxy S8, Note 8, Note 9, S9, S9 Plus, Note 10 Lite, S10 Lite, S10 Plus and all current Samsung flagships: Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra. Sales of these smartphones exceed 100 million units, and although the magnitude of the problem remains unclear, the forums clarify that this affects Galaxy smartphones shipped worldwide.

What links this flaw to Apple iPhone green tint issues? Samsung makes the screens. Interestingly, Samsung quietly recognized this issue in April by implementing a solution designed to address the issue on a limited number of Galaxy S20 models. Samsung didn’t actually list the solution in the release notes, but several affected users reported improvements. Unfortunately, this did not last long and the problem now appears to be spreading.

Now the pressure on Samsung will increase to clarify what is happening here. The problem seems to be more frequent with low brightness (just like on iPhones), and it has started to affect several generations, sometimes after years without problems (just like on iPhones). Since Apple-approved resellers have chosen to replace the displays on some affected iPhones, a software solution may not be as easy as expected.

I contacted Samsung about these reports and will update this post when I know more.


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