What to do if Galaxy Note5 won’t install Android update [troubleshooting guide]

Installing over-the-air update is often easy and straightforward but as demonstrated by one of our #GalaxyNote5 user below, this has not been the case for him. In today’s troubleshooting episode, we provide the steps on what a user can do if he encounters the scenario wherein an Note5 is unable to install OTA update.

Today’s problem: What to do if Galaxy Note5 won’t install Android update

I have 2 Samsung Note 5 phones. The 64G version had a cracked screen that I just got fixed. It did not have a SIM Card for the past year. My other Note 5 is the 32G version that I used for the past year. This one is up to date with Android 7.0. I have been using the Note 5 64GB for the past 2 weeks and I can’t update it to A 7.0. It is still on Android 6.0.1. AT&T lets you update once every 24 hours. When I do the update it looks like it is going thru all the steps and tells me at the end that the update was successful but I am still at  6.0.1 after 5 updates. — Andreas Wiening

Solution: Hi Andreas. There’s a number of possible reasons why your Note5 won’t install a system update. These include the following:

  • the device is not from the network that you’re currently using
  • there’s not enough storage space
  • system cache is corrupted
  • there’s an unknown software bug that prevents updates from installing
  • there’s no available update for the device at this time

To see which of these items is causing the issue, you must address them one by one. Make sure to do the troubleshooting in the order provided below.

Note5 is not from AT&T

Devices from other carriers can’t download and install over-the-air updates when used in a different network. We would like to assume that the Note5 you’re having an issue now is AT&T branded, but if it’s not, then you should immediately stop attempting to install the update the device has downloaded. Installing a firmware build from a different carrier can cause serious software issues on a device. If you have a non-AT&T Note5 and it was able to download AT&T’s OTA update (which is impossible), you should not continue with the update. However, if your Note5 was provided by AT&T, then you must continue the troubleshooting below.

Free up enough storage space

Before downloading an over-the-air update, it’s your job to ensure that the device has enough storage space to keep it. Although smartphones are designed to prompt a user that there’s insufficient storage space during an update, sometimes this mechanism may not work at all. To make sure that this is not the case, you want to clear enough space in your device’s storage. Android updates usually needs about 1GB of storage space so be sure that you have that ahead of time.

Deal with the system cache

At times, updates may not be installed if the system cache is corrupted. Clearing the cache partition should easily take care of this issue though so if you haven’t done it yet, follow the steps below on how it’s done.

  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 ‘wipe cache partition’ 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.

Wiping the cache partition won’t delete personal data so you can do it without fear of losing your files.

There’s no available update for your Note5 at this time

If you have an AT&T-branded Note5, then this is highly unlikely since the device has already downloaded the update. Carriers have a system in place that interrogates devices trying to connect to their network to check if they’re running the latest available operating system version, and if there’s an available software update for them. If, for some reason, there’s no available update for the particular Note5 right now, this can be why the update does not work at all. Not all devices receive updates and carriers have their own ways to qualify an update for one. If you’ve already attempted several over-the-air updates before contacting us, then you should stop doing it at this point.

Wipe the phone thru Factory Reset

Factory reset often helps fix update issues so you should do it on your Note5 if all suggestions above fail. As the name suggests, factory reset will wipe the device and return software settings back to their defaults. Be sure to back your personal data up before doing it.

To factory reset your Note5:

  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.

Install update via other means

Ideally, your Note5 should already be installing an update by now but if still doesn’t, that means that the update file package from AT&T may be buggy or incompatible. To see if you can update the device in another way, you can try to use Samsung Smart Switch or even flash the firmware.

Updating via Smart Switch is as simple as running the program on your computer, connecting your Note5 via USB cable, and letting Smart Switch install the update. So, you must first install Smart Switch to your computer then connect your Note5 to it. If there’s an available update, Smart Switch will prompt you the moment your Note5 has been detected. If there’s none, you’re out of luck.

Manually installing an update, also known as flashing the firmware, is another way to force an update to your device. Flashing is a risky procedure though so if you haven’t tried it before, make sure that you do enough research to avoid causing serious problems. Make sure that you look for a good guide first. Remember, flashing steps can vary by phone models so you need to have the exact guide for your Note5. Also, be sure that you use the correct firmware build. Flashing an incorrect one may permanently damage the partition, bricking your device for good. If you want to go this route, we suggest that you visit other Android forums and websites like XDA-Developer Forums for information.