Some Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 owners are reporting a design flaw that can break the screen

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 slightly bent, and being held in a hand. (Image credit: Future)

Some Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 users are reporting that their phones cannot fully open, and in some cases that their internal screens are breaking – and ironically the issue appears to be caused by a possible flaw with Samsung’s unique hinge design intended to protect the hinge mechanism.

Since the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung’s foldables have featured a lining of tiny brushes inside the hinge mechanism for sweeping away dirt and debris when the phone is opened and closed to keep the mechanism free from obstructions.

However, it’s believed the adhesive holding the brushes in place has broken down on some phones. This, in turn, could cause the bristles and loose adhesive to jam the internal folding mechanism, which could lead to some users being unable to fully open their phones, or, in extreme cases, handsets breaking when opened.

We contacted Samsung for comment on this story and got the follwing response: “Samsung is committed to providing the best possible mobile experience to customers and conduct a series of rigorous, industry-validated tests designed specifically to simulate real-world conditions. We encourage customers with questions regarding their Samsung device to contact their local Customer Service representative.”

Managed to Open Fold 4 Flat - Evidence Against Samsung's Warranty Denial from r/GalaxyFold

However, one Reddit user who posted about their phone becoming stuck claims that their request to have their phone repaired was rejected by Samsung. They attempted to repair the mechanism by themselves. Their post includes images showing bits and pieces of material which they claim to be the brushes, with an explanation of how they got them out of the mechanism using improvised tools.

However, the Redditor recommends that other users experiencing similar problems should contact Samsung first, as trying to repair your phone yourself could result in damage to the mechanism or screen, and might invalidate the warranty.

Users have replied to the post, claiming to have had the same jamming issues with their Galaxy Z Fold 4, and noted tipster Evan Blass weighed in, posting on X that he believes it’s a design defect. He clarified stating the issues weren’t caused by any rough treatment by him, and asked his followers if they had encountered the issue. 

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As for what’s causing the adhesive to become unstuck and gum up the mechanism, this is thought to be due to the device becoming too warm, which can happen with intensive activities like gaming. 

One Redditor posted that he’s awaiting a fourth hinge replacement after his phone was stuck at 90 degrees, with the hinge feeling “mushy” after a short gaming session. A hot environment could also cause the adhesive failure according to another Galaxy Z Fold 4 user, who posted on X that his phone would no longer open after being near a hot tub. 

Which phones are affected?

This unfolding issue may not be limited to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, as another Reddit user complained of the same problem with their Galaxy Z Fold 3, claiming that their screen cracked. The Redditor said they could see bristles hanging out of the phone and adhesive trapped in the hinge. Another user has pulled what appears to be the whole brush in one piece out of their Galaxy Z Fold 3. This was thought to be after the adhesive holding the brush deteriorated causing it to become trapped.

The latest Galaxy Z Fold 5 could also be susceptible to similar issues, as some users on the Samsung community forum are posting about hinge sticking problems, although they don’t appear to mention the brushes.

Based on these reports it seems that there is a serious issue with some Galaxy Z Fold models that use this brush system. Hopefully, Samsung will recognize this problem and offer an extended warranty and repairs to those affected by this issue.

Foldable manufacturers have worked to iron out hinge issues over the first few generations producing improvement with each iteration, so we are surprised to see issues like this cropping up again. If this is indeed a long-standing design defect, then Samsung may need to consider going back to the drawing board for the rumored Galaxy Z Fold 6.

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Staff Writer, Mobile Computing

James Ide is a writer for TechRadar specializing in phones and tablets, having previously worked at The Daily Mirror since 2016, covering news and reviews.  

James loves messing with the latest tech, especially phones due to their incredibly rapid pace of development.

When not surrounded by various devices and/or tinkering with gadgets while putting them through their paces, James has a love of handheld consoles.

He is almost the textbook definition of a geek, who loves sci-fi, comics, games and of course, all things tech. If you think you have a story for him or just want to challenge him at Smash Bros, get in touch.