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Samsung refutes Note 7 'remote deactivation' reports

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall saga has been gathering pace in recent days. One of the reports doing the rounds over the weekend pointed to the possibility of Samsung remotely disabling devices affected by the battery issue causing some handsets to catch fire or explode. The story goes that one French Note 7 owner on Reddit was told that every "recalled" Note 7 would be remotely deactivated by Samsung after September 30, thus ensuring that no potentially dangerous handsets could be used after this date.

However the firm's official line is that this isn't happening. We've reached out to Samsung and been told that this is not something the company has stated, and that all official guidance will be published on its website.

In a fast-moving story like this, it's easy for inaccurate info to quickly spread. True, the remote deactivation of defective phones would've been a sure-fire way to prevent any more incidents like the recent report from New York where a young boy was injured by a combusting Note 7. But it now appears a mass-deactivation is not happening anytime soon.

For more background on the Note 7 recall, hit up our guide to everything you need to know.

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

112 Comments
  • Could not Samsung send mass text messages to all the affected devices first? A text urging the phone owner to hand in their phone. And then possibly stating that the device will be remotely deactivated by a certain date.
  • The first part has already started to happen, at least through carriers in the U.S.
  • I have probably gotten three of four emails from Samsung urging turn in so it is happening.
  • I think they should tell everyone that there is a cut off date for returning your Note 7. After this date they will not be responsible for any damage and cost of repairs will be down to the user.
  • That's not a good way to woo over your customer base which you just sold an exploding phone to. But they need to get the word out to every single person who owns one, for sure.
  • Samsung are acting they care when in fact they don't give 2 flying ****. I'm a loyal Samsung customer and my phone started to heat it to the point that it's scary. I brought my concern to Samsung and requested a loaner phone until the note 7 problems is resolved and all I got was a company acting as a dictator. Telling me what to do and what to get or keep the phone running the way it is until. Samsung, if I ******* wanted a Samsung 7 or any other phone I would had gotten it. The reason why i got myself the note 7 from the note 5 is because there are features in the note that I need and use so why in the **** would I get anything else that's not a note? If you tell me it's temporary I would be OK but that's not the case. After 14 days if the note is not fixed by then you are force to keep that phone for the next 1 to 2 years if you can afford to upgrade by then. Why are you treating your loyal customers that are standing behind you throughout this problem this way.. my apologies for cursing I'm just very frustrated. It's not right that I spend $950 dollars on this phone and get treated like this.. I pray to God that my phone doesn't explode because I will be owning some company shares since I already told you guys about this problem..
  • As discussed on the podcast, perhaps they SHOULD deactivate them. It would be one way to ensure all Note 7s in circulation are safe. That would solve the problem of air travel, but also the problem of buying a used one and not knowing if it's safe. Perhaps give a 30 day window to return them, then deactivate them. They could still be returned after the 30 days of course, but it would encourage people to actually send them back ASAP.
  • Yep. I still think it's a good idea once enough time has passed for folks to hand their devices in.
  • that's if three pull their finger out and start giving their customers who got their note 7 via pre order a date!
  • That would be a good idea, as it means that people will have to comply. We're talking safety here.
  • Often there are legal issues with that kind of mass action.
  • so what, you would be crazy not to choose any legal issues that would come from shutting off a bunch of phones any and all legal issues that come from burning peoples houses down and possibly hurting or killing people...
  • I agree. Otherwise it would seem that they might have a legal issue if they don't deactivate them. ???
  • Instead of deactivation, maybe every time you wake the device, there is a reminder to return it for safety reasons that the user can click an ignore button to continue using it. Clicking the ignore button would register with Samsung's servers, and in the event that something happens with a particular device, their records will show that the customer was informed repeatedly, and chose to ignore it.
  • Cruel, but it should work nicely...now, how to do that? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Boom
  • Shakalaka
  • Hes on fire!!
  • I see what you did there!
  • Hi, my antivirus, trend micro officescan, started flagging your pages as "dangerous" because of one of the pages you link.
    The page is from the fearfulflag.com domain...
  • I got the same message last week. My works IT department flagged my internet usage as questionable.
  • I've received texts, emails and messages via the MyGalaxy app. If folks start to threaten to sue them despite all of the warnings, I can't see what other course of action Samsung have.
  • Worst phone this year and probably ever built, who would've thought that Meanwhile Moto Z blows us away with their moto mods and IPhone 7 hitting stores soon. WoW
  • Hm, nothing from LG? Knowing you, there would be a shower of praise from you when it comes to LG stuff. :P
  • I think Sharky and LG broke up.
  • Considering that he's based in Europe and LG's not releasing the V20 in Europe, probably so.
  • Worst phone bah please !!!!
  • I can't help but feel like this wouldn't have happened if they just called it a Note 6 rofl.
  • I also get that feeling
  • Irregular number notes have been troublesome uh? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just return/exchange the freaking phone.  It's not often a company offers you a Pinto with a fire extinguisher in exchange for your Pinto.  Also forced deactivation would only look worse after a couple of phones still fell through the QA cracks and combusted under someone's pillow.  Much as I dislike Samsung, this really does suck for the users... 
  • It's Samsung's fault for not properly checking their phone before releasing. Samsung has no other than themself to blame. They shouldn't rush to release the phone in the first place. Shame on Samesung.
  • The Note 7 should have a removable battery so that the recall didnt need to happen!
  • But are you willing to give-up water resistance. Some one will find a way to do both and I want THAT phone.
  • The S5 is water resistant and has a removal battery.
  • Thank you.
  • If the unique sized batteries for a Note 7 w/removable battery were recalled it would still result in a device that shouldn't be used until new Batteries had come out. You are correct in that the Note 7 as device would not have been recalled. The batteries would have needed to be recalled. Since the Note 7 has a unique battery not currently shared with other devices...you would have a mobile device that shouldn't be using a battery until a replacement comes in. My opinion is if the Note 7 had a replaceable battery and they battery still explodes. People would argue it could be either the device or a defective battery if only batteries were recalled.
    With a sealed non-user replaceable battery it becomes a 'Blanket failure'
  • it's definitely Samsung's fault but at the same time i think people are blowing this way out of proportion.
    Recalls happen all the time from and no industry is safe from it car, food, toy the list goes on. Things happen
    when your mass producing millions of devices a day. when a product reaches the consumer and a fault has been brought to your attention you do your best to rectify the wrong. Samsung acted quickly and if everyone just listen all future harm can be avoided.
  • Sorry but no. They should overnight replacements to every owner of a Note7. They are leaving us to the wolves dealing with know nothing carriers. This is beyond a debacle and one of the more frustrating consumer experiences of my life.
  • Samsung SHOULD deactivate the affected handsets. For their own sakes and more importantly to remove or limit the possibility of injury or death.
  • They should after they give us a month to find something else sure. They can't deactivate people's daily driver. Then they WOULD have some suits on their hands.
  • "Samsung SHOULD deactivate the affected handsets." Actually, it bothers me that Samsung has the capability of doing such a thing. It's MY phone. No one, not even my carrier, should be able to remotely connect to my phone and mess with features.
  • This!!! Maybe I am not clear on what "deactivate" means in this context. Are you saying deny my phone access to my carriers signal or to services? Or are you using "deactivate" in the sense of make my phone inoperable? In either case, can Samsung remotely deactivate MY phone? Who else can remotely deactivate MY phone? Can the carrier? Can the government? Can some dude in his garage? Why is this even possible? Also, what software or part of the operating system allows for someone, somewhere to deactivate MY phone with a flip of a switch? Also, is this something unique to Samsung phones? Or is this an Android thing? Or is this the case for all smartphones? I am laboring under the misconception that my phone is secure and that no one can connect to my phone remotely unless I let them.
  • Carriers can shut your cell/data off if you don't pay your bill, even if it's your daily driver. Now if they can totally disable it by shutting it off, that's another story....but...buy here pay here places for cars can shut off your car so it's inn operable for non payment. But I see the legality if one purchased the phone outright and they shut it off...
  • Cell phone providers have the ability to block the imei. Which is to restrict the phone from being operable on the network of receiving data and cellular services. It is available on both android, windows and ios devices.
  • This I am aware of. Blocking an IMEI does not sound to be the same thing as 'deactivating' the phone. First, blocking the IMEI does not remotely access my phone. Second, I would still be able to use the phone normal except for accessing a mobile network. I would still be able run all the apps of the phone and access the internet over wifi, etc. Also, say my phone was on a GSM network and one carrier blocked my IMEI what wouldn't I be able to purchase a SIM from another GSM carrier (presuming my phone was unlocked) and still use the phone? Most importantly, as it relates to this article, with only the IMEI blocked I would be able to continue to put my phone at risk for bursting into flames. It is this last bit that seems to indicate the 'deactivate' and block IMEI are not the same thing.
  • Welcome to the modern age of smart phones. It's not just going to be Samsung that can do this, but ALL manufactures. Not only that, but all the info and data that you input into your phone is likely going to be owned by them as well.
  • Technically, I feel they could always disable by means of OTA(Not like a manufacturer sent OTA update that bricked people's phones....) For those of us on the Userdebug build for 'Root' I don't think they can shutdown our devices remotely in the same fashion. Carriers could always block IMEI of selected Note 7s.
  • Samsung should ship all Note 7 users an S7 or S7 Edge, along with a prepaid mailer to send back the Note 7. And then once the CPSC approves the Note 7 replacement, they should ship the new Note 7 along with a prepaid mailer to send back the S7/S7 Edge. Seriously, this is Samsung's fault, and they should be responsible for the hassle of dealing with returning the phones to the telecoms and the retailers. I say this as a Note 5 owner (and former Note 3 owner) who is really glad he didn't buy the Note 7. Though that had more to do with not liking the curved screen than anything else. Leaning toward the V20 as my next phone...
  • Sounds good to me.  Expensive, but good. 
  • This falls under the 2% rule. If you believed that crap, or helped spread it you should be demoted to janitor.
  • You mean a single post on Reddit isn't a trust worthy source? No sir, this will not stand.
  • And this comment above is why they should disable your phone. ^^^^^^^ You say under 2%, but I guarantee if your phone was to explode you would be the first person lined up to complain about it. Don't be stupid, quit using the phone, go get a exchange for it or get a refund. Recalls are recalls for a reason. Regardless of the percentage.
  • And as always....you, ("phonefanatic2014") are correct. +100 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm a Note7 user and I would have no problem with doing this once the new er devices come in cause I'm seeing way to many people saying they are having no issues with their device and their going to hold on to it till an issue occurs and this is just stupid to me.
  • Agreed! They are not only putting themselves in danger but also people around them. Just this morning I read an article about a child being rushed to the hospital after a Not 7 exploded.
  • Why don't they push out at SW update. In the update every time the user unlocks the screen i big red warning message pops up advising them their phone is in need of repair. and to contact their local carrier. That would be pretty simple.
  • This makes a lot of sense. Great idea.
  • It makes sense sure but it would be annoying as hell.
  • That's exactly why it's a good idea.
  • Most people have said on this board that they will return the phone once the replacement Note 7 r in stock, some can't return it because they have been given so much misinformation by their carriers, although the exchange process is getting better. I haven't read one person say they won't return theirs once the new ones r available. Once the new ones r out n with proper notice I believe as well the old ones should be deactivated n that still might not happen.
    This board has taken first place for conspiracy theory in my book....lmao.
  • I have seen people on Twitter say they aren't returning it because "The chances are small" Don't underestimate the stupidity of people.
  • Hence, why I said "Most" and not "ALL or Everyone"....there is that 0.001% of people that won't return it no matter what.
  • Makes me wonder, if there was a guy outside, say, a bank, telling people "if you use this door there is a 2% chance you'll be hit in the face, but there's another door ten metres away around the back that is completely safe". How many people would take the minor inconvenience versus the risk?
  • As long as you accept the consequences of getting a black eye and saying... Yep... I deserved that. And accepting the responsibility / consequences of what ever damaged occurred to the toddler you just fell on etc. Just don't let it be my toddler you fell on. !!!
  • I think the difference is that the consequence of the 2% chance of being hit by a door is.. just being hit by a door and a little pain and plenty of embarrassment for sure; 2% chance of exploding phones can be of a magnitude considerably more severe.
  • But, and correct me if I'm wrong, but WAY less than 2% of these phones explode; that'd be 1/50, where more realistically, it's around 1/50000. Bigger loss if you hit the jackpot, but you have to hit the jackpot.
  • Imei will be disabled and you have an useless phone
  • Here is my thing, what if it takes months to correct the issues. Then they finally re-release the Note 7. What's the chance they release the Note 8 few months later after sending replacements for the Note 7?
    I may just wait it out and see what they bring to the dinner table before I get another Note 7.
  • Wait it out with a phone that might burn down your house and kill your family?
  • Wait it out for getting another Note 7. I've turned mine in. Just wondering what timeline I'm looking at for the replacement. AT&T said they were investigating and doing r&d on the recalled phones. I have the option to get any phone I want, but don't want to get a phone that will be updated with new hardware in like 6 months.
  • That's my point. But they wanna take back the phone but dictate what you should get. I'm all about a loaner until this problem is fixed because I know that I'm getting back the phone that I need. I don't wanna get stuck with a phone that I don't like or doesn't have the features that I need
  • wait it out, def. Sounds like the smartest thing to do. Give you a Note 8, thats probably exactly what their going to do. Really.??????????????
  • Who said they are giving me the next Note for free. How stupid can you be??????????????
    First of all, I have the option for refund or replacement. My point was if they release the next Note series 6 months later, why get the Note 7 again?
  • I was at my local AT&T Store Friday night and was told the Samsung Rep was there earlier and told them to expect replacement Notes this week. Since I am taking 2 1/2 days off and will be in that area I have nothing to lose by either calling to check or stopping by. I had only gone in to get a case for the S7 Edge which is the loaner and was told no need new Notes are on the way
  • Samsung should do this. Maybe give a warning, and then deactivate them after so many days. Its the safe thing to do.
  • I bought my phone off of Craigslist. Verizon doesn't want to take it back because I have no receipt but they said they would wave my activation fee and other fee's. But I would have to pay for my new phone monthly. I told them this is a new phone which cost me a lot. I also gave them the imei several times because I told them the phone isn't stolen it's on your network as we speak. I called Samsung they also said I need a receipt. I actually talked to three people. The second one which was supposed to be a supervisor didn't even know of a recall. I asked right away to talk to someone higher. Third person connected me to Verizon. I could keep going. I want to return this phone but no one will take it.
  • Your best thing on that is to call Samsung's corporate headquarters. Being that you bought it off Craigslist you still get the factory warranty, plus with the recall they have to accept your phone back.
  • Is there no way to get in touch with the Craigslist seller and try to track down a receipt? They probably weren't aware of the recall when they sold it to you so its not like they scammed you. However, if you found them pleasant enough to buy a $900 phone from, then they just might help you out. Explain to them that you're not trying to return the phone to them, or get your money back from them, but you just need some documentation to participate in the warranty exchange. Its a safety issue that's not the sellers fault, but the manufacturer. If they stole the phone and sold it to you, or don't wish to help, then I don't know what you can do.
  • Like said above. The original owner may have the receipt, or know who to contact to get it. Samsung should def help you out. Carriers are like pulling teeth, some come easy and others are a pain. Also ask the Verizon rep in the store to put down on paper why they will not exchange or replace your Note 7. have them sign it, give them as much grief as you can.
  • So they punish you for telling the truth? If you had told them it came from Verizon as a gift and they lost the receipt, they would have accommodated you. Trust me I know
  • No receipt, or no receipt they would accept? If the former, WHY????
  • I'm sorry dude who's buys a 900 dollar phone with no receipt. L
  • Who doesn't have a receipt? At this stage in the game even if you lost your receipt there's always a paper trail. Especially with your bank.. This is not like the 80's where people was walking around with lots of cash. In these days your cash is a plastic card for heavy expenses
  • "Surre-Fire" Awesome if not intentional pun
  • Shutting down phones in the name of safety? Sounds Big Brotherish to me.
  • But the functionality IS there, the big brother part is already done. Plus I'm fairly certain when Mr Orwell (or Blair, if you prefer) wrote his cautionary dystopian masterpiece, his intention was not to endorse the immolation of six year old children! Also... Which is more big brother? Shutting them down or the fact that the multi camera, multi mic, satellite tracking equipped things exist in the first place? The clever part isn't that they created a device that tracks everything we do, it's that they made us believe carrying it was desirable! So desirable, many are putting their lives at risk just so they don't have to stop carrying it for even a few days! Pure genius! Now, I'm off to fill in a Google opinion reward survey...
  • With the nature of the concern and phones starting on fire Samsung needs to look at the consumers that bought their product and the ones that keep saying "I'm not going to turn in my phone." They need to disable all phones that way it ensures proper safety and the consumer exchanges their phone or gets a refund for their phone.
  • I have two and sleep with them plugged in under my pillow every night...
  • LMAO.....stop it, u know the crazies r going to go wild on u.....lol. They won't get it.
  • Glad someone has a sense of humor. People always take everything so serious all the time.
  • I charge mine in my pants. That way i can get a new implant. Bigger is better.
  • What I see is a bunch of people being stubborn thinking they know more than the people who made the phone hence why a six year old boy got burned by one recently and why people still have them. Samsung did what they had to, if the customer refuses to get it swapped out and suffer for a bit that's their choice and Samsung shouldn't be dealing with them complaining after their phone blows up half a butt cheek
  • It's like the sticky has pedal incident with Toyota, but everybody was scared of bulldozing through people so they traded it in but no one suspects a phone to blow up ;)
  • Oh I bet they definitely will deactivate the phones. Specially since my note 7 just got a pretty hefty update and it stated in bold "safety precautions"... Tried to screen cap but for some reason screen capture and screen shots wouldn't work... Said "this app has disabled screen capture"...
  • Should have used a another camera. But this just goes to show how involved they are in controlling devices "we own" ...sure
  • This actually would have been the smart thing to do, but in doing so it would have raised other concerns. That said, it's obvious the issue is widespread and not as isolated as they say. If it were just a mere few devices, they would recall those specifically but to recall them ALL....people this is a business! They don't spend $ and increase costs if they could prevent it! It's rudimentary
  • I think they might want to reconsider given there are now reports of a 6 year old kid getting burns. This is going to continue to be very bad for them.
  • Samsung has already begun sending emails to people, urging them to power down their Note immediately and return them. I got the email over the weekend, and I'm only waiting for my loaner to arrive so that I may do so.
  • "In a fast-moving story like this, it's easy for inaccurate info to quickly spread. " THIS......Some of these fire stories....house , car are turning out to be inaccurate . Media has a responsibility to properly vet these stories before publishing. Some of these are turning out to be people trying to make a quick buck.
  • They ought to consider doing so after a certain period.
  • Everyone that's shrugging this off as not a big deal, if u lose an arm, azzcheek, etc, I'll be playing the world's smallest violin for u
  • Two more samsung reps are confirming that all recalled devices will be remotly deactivated on sept 30 in FRANCE. All customers will receive new Note7 on sept 19 with free Gear VR handset and ticket to send back the old phone. They are calling all Note7 owners one by one, somes are being promised to receive new phone by the end of this week and you can ask for an S7Edge right now until you receive the new Note7
  • Well, damn! I wanna move to FRANCE!!!
  • I'm in london and I got a call from three saying they will replace my note 7 when they get the new stock in from the 19th onwards.
    They didn't seem too bothered about me using my note 7 until then.
  • Surely they should be able to send a notification which cannot be dismissed to affected note 7s urging them to exchange their device?
  • I got an email from Samsung saying to turn of my Note7 and participate in the exchange program. The problem is that when I went to T-Mobile this weekend, the team there told me to keep the Note7 and wait for a replacement. The program really is a fiasco at this point. When the point of sale is telling you the complete opposite of what we are reading in multiple articles, I don't know what to do. Today, I used the chat feature on tmo website and the rep told me that I was being mailed a note5. I have no idea if this is really going to happen, as I have no confirmation at all.
  • The same thing happened with my Nvidia Tablet. Recalled over battery safety. When I received the replacement tablet, the original was deactivated once the replacement was activated. Samsung is not going to deactivate phones until they are able to replace phones with the new "updated" phone.
  • Conidering you will have thick headed people that won't return their phones, and the possibility of it having an issue while on a flight or something, that could cause greater problems then burning down a house etc, SAMSUNG is fully within their right to deactivate the affected note 7s. I hope they do. You know there will be Dummies trying to pack them in luggage for flights etc.
  • See my post above. Some of us dummies tried to return them only to be turned away by the carrier reps.
  • That is correct.. kiddos to you for writing this.. so if our **** burns our house down somebody is gonna be held accountable. **** Samsung they just lost a loyal customer. I'm going back to apple. At least their phone are not catching fire
  • Can happen to any phone...here are 3 iphones...more if you would just google. http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/apple-faa-investigating-after-ipho... http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/5-on-your-side/iphone-explodes-in-st-pete... https://9to5mac.com/2016/08/02/iphone-6-fire-cycling-fall-australia/