Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 bug reportedly breaking smartwatch — what to do

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on wrist
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect comments from Samsung.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is still one of the best smartwatches on the market, even if it has been replaced by the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. But the latest firmware update for the generation-old smartwatch could have users panicking.

First reported by SamMobile the latest firmware update for the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic has been rendering some users’ smartwatches useless. The update, R8xxXXU1GVI3 (on my Galaxy Watch 4 Classic it is R890XXU1GVI3), was designed to improve system stability and reliability. Ironically it seems to accomplish the opposite.

Also, do not let the battery die. The bug seems to trigger specifically if the Watch hits zero percent battery life. Some Redditors have reported being able to power off and restart their watches despite having the update, but they also had some charge left. So there is a chance that the bug is only triggered when the battery dies. Still, I personally would not risk it. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Bug: Official comment from Samsung

After reached for comment, a Samsung PR representative was able to provide us with the following:

"We are aware that a limited number of Galaxy Watch4 series models are not turning on following a recent software (VI3) update. We have halted the update and will release new software shortly.

We recommend consumers who may have experienced this issue with their Galaxy Watch4 series to visit their nearest Samsung service center or call 1-800-Samsung."

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Bug: How widespread is the problem? 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 at Unpacked 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

Users from all over the world are reporting issues with this bug. SamMobile said that there were reports in Samsung’s Community Forums in South Korea but we were unable to locate these complaints. However, Samsung has since confirmed to us that there are a limited number of Galaxy Watch 4 models experiencing issues, so South Korean users experiencing issues are likely.

Outside of South Korea, there are several complaints in the r/GalaxyWatch subreddit. Multiple Redditors are claiming to have issues including users from Sweden and Malaysia. For now, the best advice appears to be to avoid installing the new firmware at this time and make sure your battery doesn’t die. I am located in the US and have updated already to the firmware in question. I will definitely not be letting my Galaxy Watch 4 Classic die until a new firmware update comes out.

If you need a new smartwatch and you prefer Android phones your best bet is probably the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. The Galaxy Watch 5 is currently one of the best smartwatches we’ve reviewed and is the top choice among the best Android smartwatches. It seems to have avoided this bug so if you get one you should be good to go.  

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.