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Some Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 users are reporting that their smartphones are waking up in their pockets. Find out why this is occurring and what to do about it.
Some Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus users have been experiencing an unforeseen problem with their smartphones: The devices have been waking up when placed in their pockets. This is draining the phones’ batteries — and the users’ patience. “My leg, through my [pocket’s] fabric, taps the phone and opens it up. This is draining my battery,” according to a Galaxy S10 user on the Samsung Community forum. He went on to explain, “A Samsung technician walk[ed] me through many steps to isolate this problem. I even factory reset it with no good results. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves by not checking this. FIX THIS NOW!!”
Similar incidents of phones waking up in pockets have led to unintended actions when the lock screen’s buttons were also activated. “With my Galaxy S9, my phone would not turn on in my pocket, but now my Galaxy S10 Plus just keeps turning on and even start[s] recording,” said one person in a Reddit forum. More serious unintended actions have been reported as well. One Galaxy S10 user claimed that his phone woke up and dialed the European “112” emergency service while in his pocket, while another person said his wife accidentally pocket dialed the US “911” emergency service during a walk.
Why This Problem Is Occurring
At the time of this writing, Samsung has not yet officially responded to why these problems are occurring. The problem, though, appears to stem from the Galaxy S10’s proximity sensor not working properly. This sensor is designed to turn off the phone’s screen when something is very close to, or pressing against, the device, such as fabric when a phone is in a pocket or a person’s ear during a phone call.
The screen failing to turn off during phone calls has also been reported by users, which corroborates the idea that the problem lies with proximity sensor. “I have noticed that the proximity sensor doesn’t really work well on a call, either,” said one Galaxy S10 user. “On my S8, I could barely hold it up to my ear and the sensor would go off and disable the screen. With my S10, the phone has to be pretty well pressed against my face for the sensor to pick it up. I’ve actually pressed buttons with my face twice on a call, which is a first in many many years for me.”
What to Do
It might be a while before the pocket wake-up problem is fully investigated and resolved, so what can you do in the meantime if you are experiencing this issue? You might try lowering the sensitivity of the screen and making sure the “Prevent Accidental Touches” feature is enabled. However, be forewarned that these actions have not helped some Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus users struggling with this problem.
A more reliable workaround is to disable both the “Tap to Wake” and “Always-On Display” features. Having to disable two features on a phone that costs around $1,000 to fix the problem is far from ideal, but at least you won’t have to stop carrying your phone in your pocket.
Samsung Logo flickr photo by Jami3.org shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license