How to Fix It When Your S Pen Is Not Working

Quick tips for fixing a faulty Samsung Galaxy Note stylus

As the Samsung Galaxy Note models become more advanced, more issues crop up with the S Pen, which is a special stylus integrated into Galaxy Note devices. The S Pen can be fragile and susceptible to malfunction. Here are some common issues that may arise with S Pens on Galaxy Note phones and how to troubleshoot these problems.

These troubleshooting tips apply to to the S Pen for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, 9, 8, and earlier versions.

Causes of Samsung Galaxy Note S Pen Malfunctions

Many things can cause the S Pen not to work properly. For example, faulty cases or screen protectors from unofficial third-parties might affect the way the stylus works. Sometimes, accessories manufactured without Samsung's quality standards in mind may not work as expected.

It's also possible the S Pen is getting old, and there's wear and tear on the stylus tip. This happens when the S Pen is used frequently. In addition, Galaxy Note devices sometimes get system bugs that can affect S Pen functionality.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and S-Pen
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

How to Fix a Galaxy Note S Pen That's Not Working

If your S Pen is malfunctioning, try each of these troubleshooting steps in the order presented until you get your S Pen working properly again.

  1. Reboot the device. Sometimes a simple reboot is all you need to solve the problem.

  2. Remove any third-party cases or covers. Many third-party protective cases have metals and magnets that interfere with the connection between a Galaxy Note smartphone and its S Pen. This can leave blank spots on the screen when drawing with the stylus.

  3. Remove screen protectors. Some screen protectors may be too thick to detect the Galaxy Note S Pen correctly. These protectors might also be sensitive to hard, rubbery, and uneven surfaces that affect how the S Pen drags on the screen.

  4. Check for a software update. How you do this depends on your wireless provider, software version, or phone model, so consult the documentation. After you update your Galaxy Note device, restart the smartphone before testing the S Pen.

  5. Reset the S Pen. The S pen might have become disconnected from your device. Reconnecting it is a simple fix.

  6. Reboot the phone in Safe Mode. Similar to Safe Mode on a Windows PC, this is a minimal way to boot the phone without apps or other extras getting in the way. It will help you rule out a low-level problem and figure out what's getting in the way. After rebooting your device in Safe Mode, try the S Pen again.

  7. Replace the S Pen tip. If the Galaxy Note device can't register its S Pen or pen strokes are inconsistent, it may be time for a new S Pen tip. Samsung includes five replacement tips and an S Pen tip remover tool with every Galaxy Note device. Replacing the tip is a simple process.

  8. Perform a factory reset of the Galaxy Note. This process returns the phone to its factory settings. For safe measure, reset the S Pen by pressing its Reset button.

    Back up the information on your smartphone before performing a reset so that you don't lose valuable information.

  9. Replace the S Pen. Sometimes the pen is at fault. Samsung sells replacement S Pens, and you can also find S Pens on sites like Amazon. Make sure to buy the correct S Pen for your Galaxy Note version.

  10. Contact Samsung customer service. If your S Pen doesn't respond to any of these methods, contact Samsung for your repair options. Samsung offers walk-in, mail-in, and at-home services.