We’ve reached the coda of the sad song of the Galaxy Note 7. The device, recalled twice for faulty batteries prone to thermal runaway and explosions, will be disabled completely by an upcoming firmware update. Samsung has been working to get all Note 7 owners to return their potentially dangerous devices for a refund or another device, with this update being the company’s firmest message yet. The drastic measures reflect how dangerous the phone is considered to be by the company — some users have suffered burns because of the phone catching fire, and Samsung surely doesn’t want to be responsible for any more.
Last Friday, Samsung issued a press release detailing how the update will work. The update, to be pushed out by Samsung on December 19, will prevent Note 7 devices from charging altogether — a previous update limited the phones to charging to 60 percent of capacity. Samsung has also previously issued an update that presents the user with a notification to return the phone whenever it’s turned on. As has been the case since the initial recall, Note 7 owners can return the device to wherever they bought it to claim a refund or exchange it for a comparable device. Note 7 owners can also return the phone to Samsung to get another Samsung phone, with the price difference being refunded. If the phone is returned or exchanged with a carrier, Samsung is also giving away bill credits for participation in the recall.
According to Samsung’s press release, 93 percent of all recalled devices have been returned. The other 7 percent will get the firmware update, which will render the phones inoperable once their batteries fully discharge. While the update will be issued by Samsung on December 19, it appears that it will be up to carriers to decide when they’ll push the update along to consumers. None of the four major United States carriers — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint — will push out the update before Christmas, citing the busy holiday season and not wanting to leave customers without a phone to use if they don’t have time to exchange the phone in the next week. According to The Verge, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will issue the update on January 5, December 27, and January 8, respectively. Verizon has stated that they have no plans to issue the update.
Update 12/15/2016: Verizon has reversed course and now plans to push the update out on January 5.