Samsung's fix for Note 7 fires: Slash battery life by 40 percent

Here's one way Samsung is trying to keep the Galaxy Note 7 phone you refuse to return from blowing up. Capping how much you can charge the phone.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read
Watch this: Samsung explains what went wrong with exploding Note 7 battery

Samsung has a software solution to keep stragglers who haven't yet returned or exchanged their Galaxy Note 7 phone after a voluntary product recall safe from harm. It's issuing a software update that caps the battery's recharge capacity at 60 percent.

An issue that causes the anode and cathode to touch and erupt in flames has caused physical- and property damage. Although customers are urged to exchange or return the phone, the remotely-administered software update is seen as a quick fix to prevent future problems.


A shot of an exploded Note 7, taken by reddit user Crushader.


Samsung released information about the software update in a South Korean newspaper advertisement, according to the Associated Press. The update will start September 20th for South Korean customers. It is unknown at the time whether the US or other parts of the world will receive the update.

Samsung confirmed the report in an email to CNET and added:

"In the U.S., Samsung is continuing to work with the CPSC and our carrier partners to develop and evaluate solutions that are best for US Note7 owners. "No action will be taken without the approval of the CPSC. Customer safety remains our top priority." The CPSP, or Consumer Product Safety Commission, is a US government organization that officially called for a recall.

What does it mean to artificially limit battery charging to 60 percent? The update will shorten the Note 7's battery life by a considerable chunk, requiring more frequent charging throughout the day. Coupled with the fact that the Galaxy Note 7 is a phone with a premium price, this may upset existing Samsung users.

If Samsung does cap battery life, we expect it to be temporary until the new Note 7 crop passes future inspection. If you have the phone, we strongly recommend that you return or exchange your Note 7.