An issue Samsung claims only affects its South Australian customers could be more widespread than first thought as reports of a botched software update surface in other parts of the country.
Thousands of South Australians have reported a prompted Android software update that renders their Samsung devices unusable – the only solution is a factory reset.
For those who don’t have the forethought or know-how to back up their device, precious memories, contacts and other important data can be lost forever.
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On Wednesday, Samsung Australia said reports of the problem were limited to South Australia, but people from other states have since told news.com.au the problem is affecting them too.
Melbourne native Frank Massimino was furious when his latest update rendered his phone “inoperable”.
“It just died even though it was fully charged, despite being in pristine condition, and it certainly wasn’t dropped or submerged in water,” he said.
“I took it to the Samsung Service Center in Chadstone and they told me there wasn’t really anything they could do about it.
“Well that was so disappointing as I had several years of contacts that I just lost, not to mention the other data and pictures that I lost.”
“No refund, no redress, really sad because I was very happy with the device until his death.”
Paul, from New South Wales, said the timing could not have been worse as in-store support was all but unavailable over the Christmas and New Year break.
As their primary means of communication, their smartphone, became unusable, other affected customers reported being unable to reach any support hotline or online portals.
“I spent two very frustrating days reverting the changes Samsung made,” said Paul.
“Luckily I’ve got everything back now, except my Fitbit still won’t sync to my phone.
“Hopefully Samsung has learned not to roll out an update before a public holiday without support.”
At ground zero, part-time Adelaide Uber driver Richard Arnoldt’s phone is essential to earning his extra income, according to Samsung Australia.
He joked he was “one of the lucky South Australian winners of this gannet award”.
“Having religiously installed every update since I bought my phone, the infamous ‘blue screen’ was something I didn’t need,” he said.
“Aside from losing messages, photos and contacts, I also drive for Uber part-time and of course no phone equals no work during the busiest time of the year.”
He said he had to go to JB Hifi at Adelaide Airport on Christmas Day to have his phone replaced as he and thousands of others were left without their vital communications link.
“$750 later and I was on my way,” he said.
“No doubt the attorneys would love to get their hands on this and start a class action lawsuit.”
“I would love to be a part of this campaign given the stress and inconvenience of this event, not to mention I spent the better part of $800 on a new phone and case that I didn’t need. “
Bruce, also from Adelaide, has yet to have his phone repaired but said to expect a $65 “evaluation fee” and possible additional repair costs.
“[They said]the phone would be sent away for a couple of weeks,” he said.
“Really? And what do we do in the meantime? Are you traveling without a phone?”
“It’s an unrealistic response to a problem they created.”
He also claimed he needed to buy a new phone to make ends meet.
Phone repair services have taken it upon themselves to warn customers not to click the latest Android software update.
“Tell your Samsung friends not to update their phones,” one store told its customers on social media.
“The recommendation is do not update your phone until the bug is fixed,” said another.
Frank, Paul, Richard and Bruce are among the potentially thousands affected by the problem after crowds were reported flocking to South Australian service centers on Wednesday.
Tech experts recommend all smartphone users to back up their devices regularly to avoid such disasters.
In December, the Android and Samsung operating systems had a market share of 42.82 percent, with Apple’s iOS retaining the lion’s share of 57.08 percent.
Samsung Australia has confirmed that they are aware of and are investigating the issue.
The company has yet to confirm which models in its range will be affected, nor has it confirmed the version of the software, although news.com.au understands it is the One UI 5.0 (Android 13) update.
Samung Australia was contacted for further comments.
Originally posted as “Really?”: The Samsung update issue is causing havoc across Australia