Handwriting recognition broken on latest Galaxy Note models, here’s how to fix it (maybe)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition owners may have noticed that one of the more useful features available on these devices doesn’t work. The default Samsung keyboard includes multiple input options, including one that takes handwritten input.

Samsung’s been offering handwriting recognition since before the company released the first Galaxy Note phone, and it’s one of my favorite features. But when I started testing the Note 3 and new Note 10.1, I couldn’t get it to work and, after a few minutes, the whole keyboard app would crash. Text input via the QWERTY keyboard and voice worked just fine, leaving me mystified.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (2014 Edition)

Googling the problem revealed that I am not the only one to experience this. I dove into a long thread on XDA Developers where users from all over the world had been trying to solve the mystery. Lucky for us all, they did. Bad news is that this is not a problem most users can fix on their own.

According to a Samsung customer service rep, the culprit is the third party software that runs the handwriting recognition. The version Samsung loaded on all the new Notes has a license that expired on September 30th. That’s why it didn’t work out of the box for most US customers and only worked a few days for people in other countries. Samsung apparently knows about the problem and has issued updates to correct it. Here’s where the bad news comes in: that update is not universally available.

I initiated an update on the Galaxy Note 10.1 and did find one waiting. After the install the handwriting keyboard worked just fine. When I went to do the same on the Galaxy Note 3 from T-Mobile, the phone could not find an update. Back on the XDA forums it looks like some overseas owners were able to update, so the patch exists for phones, just not all phones on every carrier just yet.

Galaxy Note handwriting keyboard fail

Until the update rolls out for phones, there are a couple of workarounds. You can try downloading MyScript Stylus Beta app as this might extend the license and make the Samsung keyboard work again. Success at this is not 100 percent. You can also try using the other handwriting input–yes, there are two–which does work. Hover the pen over a text field and you’ll see a little pencil icon appear. Click that to bring up a handwriting input area. It works similarly to the keyboard one and is easier to deal with, in some ways.

One of these solutions should help get you through until the update comes to your phone.

  • Sam Curcio

    Another reason to turn my back in and get a Windows 8 tablet. The software on the Note 10.1 is not performing as advertised.

  • the_real_petur

    Wow…. that probably also means that the feature may stop working some time after warranty expires? Bastards….

    • zdanee

      Yep. If they are too cheap to buy the technology then don’t include it. Or I won’t buy from Samsung. Actually I won’t buy either way, it’s Xiaomi for me :)

  • Stuart

    I’m pissed that the note 2, without a contract, is still just as expensive as the note 3. I hope the Librarian of Congress will consider that in two years.

  • Jose

    I have the T-Mobile Note 3 and the handwriting recognition has always worked.

    • http://ktbradford.com K. T. Bradford

      which one? This doesn’t affect the SNote app or Action memo or the little thing that pops up when you hover on a text area and click the little pencil icon. It only affects the handwriting keyboard you access via the stock Samsung keyboard.

  • deanccd

    Looks like I got the update on my 10.1 wifi version. It is working even though I guess I did not miss it because I am not using the stock keyboard

  • Emara

    I don’t know what to Say thanks a million man you save My time and effort Thanks

  • TJ Murphy

    Excellent Job! Downloaded My Script Stylus Beta and works like a champ now.

  • Tequilah Cat

    My note 3 stopped opening its pop up window for use of handwriting in text boxes and such. I came here to find a fix and was a little panicked after reading the posts.

    DON’T PANIC

    Before you freak out, first try to reset your phone to it’s original settings.

    I used the least extreme reset and my phone is back to it’s old self!!

    I’m back to handwriting my texts and my pop up boxes work fine with my stylus!

    Cheers

  • anon

    Installing MyScript Beta really fixed the problem in Note 3 for me. Thanks