Fixing some Galaxy Note 5 screen problems [troubleshooting guide]

Together with boot problems (phone won’t turn on), black screen issue, also sometimes called black screen of death, is one of the most common problems for smartphones. Today, we address some screen issues on the #GalaxyNote5. We cover two particular issues from two users who reached out to us. We hope you’ll find this page useful.

If you are looking for solutions to your own #Android issue, you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page.

When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.

Below are specific topics we’re bringing for you today:

Problem 1: Galaxy Note 5 vibrates but screen is unresponsive and remains black

Actually, i own galaxy Note 5. i have it since 2015. The phone was working fine for a year and half then after the latest update which is 7.0 has started to acts up crazy with restarting and shutting down itself and freezing hardware. I had this frozen screen like 2 times. first time it was easy to fix with the power and volume down. the second time i tried everything but it didn’t work at all. the device just vibrates with blue light sometimes but no response for 3 hours till it worked on its own and i lost all of my data for sure. the third time which is today, its been over a day now and have tried everything from soft to hard boot with no action. I just can feel the vibrates but that’s it.i cant get it back powered on. Also my phone doesn’t have any crack on the screen or anything. Looks exactly like a brand new. so i good take care of my device. — Hossameldin Abdellatif

Solution: Hi Hossameldin. Causes of a smartphone’s failure to boot up can both be software- or content-related, or bad hardware so your main task here is to determine which one is it. Software-related problems are usually easier to fix and they can be done at your level. They’re also the most common reason why older smartphones (phones have very short lifespans nowadays) malfunction. Software troubleshooting are what we provide in our blog so we hope we’ll be of help in this one.

Another reason why an issue such as the one you’re experiencing occurs has something to do with hardware. Some phones may suffer from poor maintenance while others become problematic due to user misuse. Hardware problems vary a lot and can be more difficult to diagnose at a user level so we don’t provide support for them. Our rule is simple. If all software troubleshooting steps have already been exhausted, then bad hardware must be to blame, thus, we recommend repair or replacement.

Speaking of software troubleshooting, below are the things that you must try in this case:

Refresh the system cache

Because the particulars in your case seemed to have occurred after a system update, this troubleshooting can possibly help. Samsung Galaxy devices use a system cache to quickly load apps and services. This system cache is stored in the cache partition. Sometimes, updates or app installations can corrupt the system cache, resulting to unexplained bugs. To fix issues arising from these bugs, one must simply delete the current cache so the device can rebuild one after some time. If you haven’t tried this yet, below are the steps on how it’s done. Remember, this troubleshooting step only works if you’ll be able to successfully boot the phone to Recovery Mode. If it doesn’t at all, try other suggestions below.

  1. Turn off your Samsung Galaxy Note 5 completely. If you can’t turn it off normally as the screen is unresponsive, wait until the battery is drained and the phone shuts down on its own. A good way to know if the phone has powered down is to check if the LED light, or by calling your number. If it doesn’t ring anymore unlike before, it must be dead.
  2. Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Up and the Home buttons first, and then press and hold the Power key.
  4. Keep the three buttons pressed and when ‘Samsung Galaxy Note5’ shows, release the Power key but continue holding the other two.
  5. Once the Android logo shows, release both the Volume Up and Home buttons.
  6. The notice ‘Installing system update’ will show on the screen for 30 to 60 seconds before the Android system recovery screen is shown with its options.
  7. Use the Volume Down key to highlight the option ‘wipe cache partition’ and press the Power key to select it.
  8. When the process is complete, use the Volume Down key to highlight the option ‘Reboot system now’ and hit the Power key to restart the phone.
  9. The reboot may take a little longer to complete but don’t worry and wait for the device to become active.

Do a factory reset

If you can successfully boot the device to Recovery Mode but nothing changes after a cache partition wipe, the next logical step to do is to see what happens if you perform a factory reset or master reset. This is a necessary drastic step to determine if there’s an operating system level bug or an app bug that causes the problem. After a factory reset (and when there are no third party apps installed yet), all software settings will be returned to their known working state, which means that the problem should disappear. If you’ll continue to encounter the same problem though, that’s an indicator of a deeper issue with the hardware. In this case, you’ll have to submit the phone to an extensive hardware diagnostics. Contact Samsung or a third party service center for support.

Here are the steps on how to factory reset your Note 5:

  1. Turn off your Samsung Galaxy Note 5 completely.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up and the Home buttons first, and then press and hold the Power key.
  3. Keep the three buttons pressed and when ‘Samsung Galaxy Note5’ shows, release the Power key but continue holding the other two.
  4. Once the Android logo shows, release both the Volume Up and Home buttons.
  5. The notice ‘Installing system update’ will show on the screen for 30 to 60 seconds before the Android system recovery screen is shown with its options.
  6. Use the Volume Down key to highlight the option ‘Yes — delete all user data’ and press the Power key to select it.
  7. When the process is complete, use the Volume Down key to highlight the option ‘Reboot system now’ and hit the Power key to restart the phone.
  8. The reboot may take a little longer to complete but don’t worry and wait for the device to become active.

Troubleshoot possible screen issue

Since you mentioned that the phone still appears to work as it still makes vibrations, the main problem may be screen-related. Try to do these quick checks:

  • make sure that your screen isn’t cracked, chipped, or damaged.
  • if you have a case or screen protector, take it off.
  • if you’re wearing gloves, take them off.
  • if you’ve put any stickers over the screen or sensors, peel them off.
  • make sure that your screen is clean.

When troubleshooting the screen, it can also be a good idea to see if it’s being caused by a bad third party app. To do that, you need to turn the phone off (refer to our suggestion above on how to make sure that the device is totally off), then restart it to safe mode. Safe mode blocks third party apps and services from running so it can help you determine if our suspicion is right. In order to restart to safe mode, here’s what you must do:

  1. Turn off the phone completely.
  2. Press and hold the Power key.
  3. Once ‘Samsung Galaxy Note5’ shows, release the Power key and immediately press and hold the Volume Down button.
  4. The phone will restart but keep the Vol Down button pressed.
  5. Once the phone has finished restarting, ‘Safe mode’ will be display in the lower-left corner of the screen.
  6. You may now release the Volume Down button.

Repair or replacement

Should nothing in our suggested troubleshooting above won’t help in fixing the phone, that’s the time that you consider sending it in. There must be a hardware failure or malfunction that makes the screen to stop working. The only way to know what this particular failure may be is to let a technician physically check the phone so components can be examined closely. If the device is still covered by a warranty, it’s better if you can use it to lessen costs and ensure only trained personnel handle the repair process.

Problem 2: Galaxy Note 5 screen turns green then fades to white

My Note 5 is weird. Phone is 18 month old and had no problems. Then 2 months ago, the screen goes all green, then fade to white. The screen was still working. What i mean is that the touchscreen still worked but i could not see what i was pressing. it was a long weekend and could not have time to check. then on 3rd day i was angry and i squeezed the phone and bang, everything was back to normal like new. And now 2 months later it happened again this time i was reading the news on it at the time and it does the same green then fade to all white but this time no matter what i do it wont come back. the carrier (Telus) doesn’t even want to check it. They say buy out your contract and buy new phone. Little service shops just say we replace screen for $200++ but  i don’t even know if the screen is the problem or a connection with the board. what should i do? — Chris

Solution: Hi Chris. The display assembly of your Note 5 has 3 major components — the LCD, the digitizer, and the flex cable. The LCD is the monitor that displays the image you see on the screen. The digitizer is a thin transparent sensor on top of the monitor that receives your analog touch inputs so they can be converted to digital signals that Android can recognize. The flex cable transmits the inputs from the digitizer to the motherboard. In your case, we believe the problem has something to do with the monitor. We don’t have the full history of your device so we can’t tell you exactly what may have caused it to malfunction. There are two possibilities for the monitor, either it works or not. If it works, fine. If it doesn’t, you have to have it fixed. Unfortunately, there’s no software fix for it. You’ll have to send it in so it or the entire display assembly can be replaced.

Before you have the phone repaired, be sure to check if the screen continues to fail when it’s booted to alternate modes — Recovery Mode or Download Mode. If it does, continue with repair. If the screen works fine when in Recovery or Download Mode, there must be a problem with the software. In this case, continue to boot to Recovery and perform a master reset.

For reference, here’s how to restart the phone to alternate boot modes:

Boot in Recovery mode:

  1. Turn off the phone completely.
  2. Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Press and then hold the Home and Volume UP keys, then press and hold the Power key.
  4. When the Samsung Galaxy logo shows on the screen, release the Power key but continue holding the Home and Volume Up keys.
  5. When the Android logo shows, you may release both keys and leave the phone be for about 30 to 60 seconds.
  6. You can either wipe the cache partition or do a factory reset when in this mode.

Boot in Download Mode:

  1. Turn off the phone completely.
  2. Charge the phone for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Press and then hold the Home and Volume DOWN keys, then press and hold the Power key.
  4. When the Samsung Galaxy logo shows on the screen, release the Power key but continue holding the Home and Volume DOWN keys.
  5. Wait until the Download screen appears.
  6. If you can boot the phone in download mode but not in other modes, that means that your only way out may be to flash a stock or custom firmware.
  7. Use Google to look for a guide on how to do it.