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T-Mobile Note 3: Do NOT download the Android 4.4 KitKat update!
My goal with this post was to get users together rather than a million separate posts to talk about their issues with KitKat. Now that T-Mobile is sending out this update to the masses automatically we should see an influx of users and issues. Before users had to manually search for and download the update and we still had a ton of complaints so imagine how many will be here when every Note 3 owner with T-Mobile in the US has it! I'm happy they are still releasing it nationwide now as this will mean more people are affected and will force T-Mobile to do something quickly! Please also go to the link below in the T-Mobile Support Forums and let T-Mobile know if you are having issues!
Do NOT download the Android 4.4 KitKat update! | T-Mobile Support
As the title says, DO NOT download the Android 4.4 KitKat update if you want to keep your Note 3 usable! This update is riddled with serve phone disabling bugs and removes the ability for apps to write to the SD card in your phone! If WiFi calling is necessary then stay away! The update will kill your battery by half or more (I used to get two days or a little less and now I'm lucky if I make 8 hours). The update was nominally under the hood updates and nothing really changed other than for the bad. There is now a 5 bar signal indicator (which will make your phone look like it has a better signal as the one bar you used to get in your home will now be two bars. The keyboard is darker and has a few new emoji and emoji are the same throughout all apps (hangouts now uses the traditional Samsung emoji rather than a complete different Google set), icons in the notification bar are now white and the font is Roboto Light vs the old Samsung font. Also persistent notifications no longer have their own section in the notification bar (they are now bunched with everything, EG: Music apps, remote controls, etc), which is annoying at best. That is about it... So the chances are you'll have a million headaches over white icons and a few emoji. DON'T UPDATE!
Long list of detailed issues: Huge battery drain (with Android system and Android OS taking the top two spots next to screen time), GPS issues (takes forever to lock, sometimes will show me at old locations, never shows exact location, always a few hundred feet from spot EG: while driving it looks like I'm on the road parallel to me), S-Pen sensitivity issues (where the S-Pen has to be pressed very hard to get the phone to write on the screen), unable to come out of sleep mode (when you press power button fails to turn the screen back on), data connection drops constantly and slow speeds via data networks, auto brightness issues (auto brightness has to be selected and then unselected to make it work correctly), proximity sensor staying on 24-7 (restart fixes), screen freezing & random restarts (sometimes the phone comes back after a while sometimes a battery pull or soft reset is necessary),WiFi Calling issues (works for the first half hour and then calls and texts stop coming in but the phone looks like normal but you miss call and texts and once you leave WiFi or turn it off you get hit with all your missed texts), WiFi calling also when leaving WiFi area the phone is unable to switch the normal cell radio back on and I get a no smoking sign where the signal should be and I am unable to make calls or text, only a phone reset fixes it) and finally writing to the SD card via third party apps, I know this is a "feature" as Google calls it but the SD card needs to be modified so it can be written to (KitKat be darned Samsung needs to find a way as it can be done if you root).
SD card info for those who don't know: Google changed the SD card policy in KitKat where only system apps can write to your SD card (if you phone has one). Their goal is to stop manufacturers from including them in devices anyway as they say their speeds range and make the overall Android experience suffer. This is BS and makes them more like Apple than anything. They also don't want you to have capacitive buttons or button on your phone in general and they want to do away with removable batteries too (dumbing down for the least common denominator) but that's for another day. Now you may think you don't use the DS card in your phone that much but I beg to differ. Also what's the point of having a 64GB or 128GB microSD only to have it do nothing! With KitKat the SD card can not be written to by third party apps, only system (Samsung) and Google apps. So if you use an app to download music it won't work, if you put your music on your SD card and want to edit the song title or ID3 info won't work, if you save flixster/xfinity/vudu movies to your device it won't work, if you download pics from a internet browser or use a wallpaper app picker, won't work, want to use a file manager to manage your files... too bad! Hell some apps simply used the SD card to cache information which can no longer be done. Some apps will simply go to internal memory while others will not function altogether or crash. If Google wants to disable SD write access they should stop manufacturers from making new phones with it, simply not disable the SD card currently on devices! T-Mobile should have to give us all our money back as they said nothing about this update disabling our SD cards before the update?! We don't have it too bad on the Note 3 as we have 32GB of memory but phones like the s4 and s5 will have less than 8GB (16GB total and 8GB for Samsung Software) for movies, games, music and apps! WTF?!
The battery drain issues supposedly comes from a bug in KitKat which runs the CPU in the background for the camera-daemon. And force closing the camera app or associated apps does nothing to fix it. Users on the Note 3 and Nexus 5, or any device running a Snapdragon 800 (+)(credit: Mostafa Hefny). This update will halve your battery life on your Note 3 so it's best not to update if you already haven't.
After doing T-Mobiles recommendations of a SIM pull, battery pull, reset, and finally a hard reset (master reset which deletes everything on your device) my issues are right back. They wanted to send me a replacement (used mind you) and I refused. My phone is in mint condition and worked fine the day before the update and I didn't spent $800 (bought outright) for a used phone! If they offer me a new one with Android 4.3 I will take it and I'm writing an article for consumerist and a few other outlets now. I really can't wait till they push this update to all the Note 3 owners as that will be the only way to get them to fix it ASAP! I have two Note 3's on my account and my parents have two on their account in another state and all 4 have these issues! The OTA push should be happening today or in the next few days! Then more people will have the issue and we will see some movement on the issues. And T-Mobile still won't admit there is an issue but they will have to once every Note 3 owner gets the update. Many haven't experienced the bug because they don't use WiFi calling and I believe this is the catalyst for many of the signal issues.
Please also go to the link below in the T-Mobile Support Forums and let T-Mobile know if you are having issues!
Do NOT download the Android 4.4 KitKat update! | T-Mobile Support