Samsung Galaxy S9 seems powered down but notifications play (easy fix)

We’ve been contacted by some of our readers that own the Samsung Galaxy S9 saying that their phones have black screens but notifications still play. For instance, when messages are received, the phone still sounds off like it normally does when messages are received but the screen stays black no matter what they do. This could be a hardware problem affecting the display specifically or it could be just an issue with the firmware.

The purpose of this post is to address this problem and make our readers’ phones respond again. While it’s not a common problem, I’ve actually encountered a few cases before so I already know a thing or two that could fix it. I will share with you the solution I’ve been using to address this kind of issue. So, if you’re one of the owners of the Galaxy S9 or any Android smartphone for that matter, then continue reading as this article may be able to help you somehow.

Before anything else though, if you have other issues with your device, then visit our troubleshooting page for we have already addressed several common problems with this phone. Odds are that there are already existing solutions to your problems so just take time finding issues that are similar with yours. If you can’t find one or if you need further assistance, feel free to contact us by completing our Android issues questionnaire. Please provide us with as much information as possible so that it would also be easier for us to troubleshoot the problem. Don’t worry as we offer this service for free, so all you have to do is give us sufficient information about the problem.

How to troubleshoot Galaxy S9 that powered down but with notifications playing

When the screen is black and your phone may seem like it’s power off but notifications play when messages are received, then it’s not actually powered off. It’s still powered on but the display may not be working as it should. Unlike other problems with similar symptoms, this one is pretty easy to fix provided that there are no signs of physical damage especially on the screen. In case you have this issue, then here’s what you should do:

The Solution: Forced Reboot

That’s right! A forced reboot may be able to fix this problem because it’s possible that some of the core services that control some of the hardware components may have crashed. While majority of the functions of your phone may still be working as it still plays the notification sound when messages are received, others may need to be reloaded so your device will work properly again. The first thing I suggest you do is this:

  • Press both the volume down button and the power key at the same time and hold them down for 10 seconds or more.

Doing this will simulate battery disconnect and force your phone to restart. It’s the same as removing the battery from your device to refresh its memory but since your Galaxy S9 doesn’t have a removable battery, then you can’t do the usual procedure. But rest assured that your phone will respond to this procedure because it’s hardwired to simulate battery pull as long as the correct combination of keys is pressed. However, if your phone still remains to have a black screen after doing this, then you should try the next procedure…

  1. Press and hold the volume down button first and don’t let it go.
  2. Now, press and hold the power key while holding down the volume down button.
  3. Keep both keys held down together for 10 seconds or more.

Your phone should already be booting up by now but there’s no guarantee that the problem won’t happen again in the future.

If the issue keeps happening, I suggest you reset your phone to give it a fresh start. However, make sure that you make a backup of your important files and data as they will be deleted during the process.


For owners whose phones have blank screens and not playing notification, this is what you should do:

  1. Plug the charger to a working AC outlet. Use a wired charger for this.
  2. Using the original cable, connect your phone to its charger.
  3. Regardless whether your Galaxy S9 shows the charging signs or not, leave it connected to its charger for 10 minutes.
  4. Now, press and hold the Volume Down button and don’t release it.
  5. While holding it down, press and hold the Power key.
  6. Keep both keys held down for 10 seconds or more.

This will bring your phone back to life because apparently if the screen and black and the device is seems powered down, it’s a firmware crash and doing the latter will make sure it has enough battery while you try to turn it on.

If you decide to reset your phone, then follow the steps below:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  7. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  8. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you one way or another. If you still have other concerns you want to share with us, contact us or leave a comment below.

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Harold has been in the tech industry since 2008 when he started out as a tech support for companies like Time Warner, Comcast and Tracfone. He’s been troubleshooting phones when the smartphone industry started booming. During his tenure as a tech support, he’s already been writing for various tech blogs and doing some freelance SEO. In 2012, he joined a small team of bloggers to write for The Droid Guy, and he has been with the company ever since. Today, he doesn’t only write tutorials and troubleshooting pieces but also shoots and edits videos for The Droid Guy channel while trading stocks on the side.

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