Samsung Software Update Will Deliberately ‘Brick’ Remaining Galaxy Note 7 Phones

Image courtesy of Reddit

If you’re one of the few folks still using a recalled, potentially dangerous Samsung Galaxy Note 7, you need to find a replacement soon, as Samsung’s next software update for the Note 7 will render it useless.

Samsung announced today that it would push out a software update on Dec. 19 that will prevent all U.S. Galaxy Note 7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices.

“Consumer safety remains our highest priority and we’ve had overwhelming participation in the U.S. Note 7 Refund and Exchange Program so far,” the company said, claiming that 93% of all recalled devices have already been returned.

The update, the company says, is meant to ensure the final 7% of device owners are no longer using the smartphones, which have batteries that can overheat and potentially explode.

“If you have not yet returned your device, you should immediately power it down and contact your carrier to obtain a refund or exchange,” the company said in the update.

The Verge reports that the update will reach all U.S. carriers within 30 days of being released.

Using an update to render the phones useless isn’t a new concept, but it is the farthest Samsung has gone to get the phone out of the marketplace.

Last month, the company said it was banning the Galaxy Note 7 from connecting to cellular networks in New Zealand.

Update: Shortly after Samsung announced the upcoming software change to disable phones, Verizon Wireless and Sprint revealed plans to either hold back the update or roll it out to customers sometime in January.

In a statement to The Verge, Verizon said that it would not take part in the update “because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note 7 users that do not have another device to switch to.”

“We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note 7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season,” the company said. “We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.”

For its part Sprint says it will not push out the update to users until Jan. 8. The Verge points out that because the update would take 30 days to reach all carriers, Sprint’s delay still falls in line with the rollout.