Warning: Recent Galaxy S10 update is locking folks out of their handsets

Some Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus owners are encountering a significant problem following a recent device update, it has emerged. After installing the update, affected users are unable to unlock their smartphones.

One of our readers, who encountered the issue themselves, alerted us to this issue via email. It has also been discussed in Samsung’s forums and on Reddit in the past two days.

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Following the device update, the Galaxy S10 or S10 Plus restarts and asks users to enter their password or PIN to unlock the phone. However, upon entering the password, it’s said that the screen simply goes black, before asking the user to input the password again.

This is said to happen even when the owner had never set up a password or PIN for the handset.

I’ve reached out to Verizon, AT&T, and Samsung regarding the matter and will update this page should I receive a response.

What else do we know?

After looking over the comments on responses online, here are some things I’ve gathered:

  • The problem seems to have arrived after a very recent update, around July 8 and 9.
  • It doesn’t seem to have affected every updated device.
  • It can’t be directly linked to devices with an existing password set up, since some people say they never had a password and now can’t enter the phone.
  • At least one person says the problem didn’t occur immediately following the update, only sometime later.
  • Most reports are for Galaxy S10, but S10 Plus has been noted to have the problem too.
  • Several people mention they are with Verizon, at least one says they are with AT&T. Both of these carriers rolled out S10 updates in July.
  • To the best of my knowledge, it’s only happening with U.S. devices (please reach out if you’ve experienced it elsewhere).

Samsung Galaxy S10 Prism Green in hand - back

What solutions have been suggested?

The comments suggest device owners have contacted Samsung and carrier support channels for solutions. The most common solution that’s worked for most people is a hard reset, which doesn’t require the device to be unlocked (the steps for this process can be found here).

This process does reset your device to a factory fresh state, meaning all of your data will be lost. Of course, since affected users can’t log into the device to back up their data first, this might be a painful step for some.

One suggested way around this is rebooting the device in safe mode (instructions here), which can grant temporary access to the device to back up your files. Some people say this still doesn’t allow them to unlock the phone, though.

What’s next?

Most software bugs can be patched out quite easily in a future update. Of course, in this scenario, affected users can’t get into their phone to hit the update button. It might be possible for Samsung to force the update to internet-connected handsets, as it once did with a Galaxy Note 7 battery update, but I can’t say for certain Samsung would take this action.

My advice right now is to contact Samsung or your carrier and hold out for a few more days for more information. And if an update notification has landed on your unaffected Galaxy S10 or S10 Plus, then you might want to hold off for now. If you have experienced the issue, let me know in the comments where you’re based and what your situation is. You can also reach out to me on Twitter @scottadamgordon.

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