Verizon reverses course, will push Samsung's update to brick Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Samsung)
Some 7% of Note 7 devices are still unreturned and presumably in use, but Verizon has waffled on whether to use Samsung's bricking update to take them out of operation.

Verizon will issue Samsung’s software update to brick the Galaxy Note 7 after all.

Samsung said last week that it will issue the update to render its device useless in an effort to encourage users to return potentially defective devices. Verizon initially said it wouldn’t push the update out of fear of leaving its customers who own the phone without a way to cooperate. The other three major U.S. carriers quickly said they would cooperate in bricking the phone.

The nation’s largest carrier reversed course Wednesday, though, saying it would push the software to users on Jan. 5. T-Mobile will push the software update starting Dec. 27, while AT&T and Sprint will do so in early January.

“Samsung has announced an expanded voluntary recall on all original and replacement Galaxy Note 7 devices sold or exchanged in the United States, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and in partnership with carriers and retailers,” the operator announced on its website. “As these devices may overheat and pose a safety risk, Samsung and Verizon are recommending that the safest course of action for customers with any version of the Galaxy Note 7 is to power down their device and replace it with another device of their choice.”

Verizon encouraged Note 7 owners to return their phones to the retailer from which they bought it. Users who bought the phone from a Verizon Wireless store or the carrier’s website can replace it by visiting the carrier’s site.

The CPSC officially announced a recall of the Note 7 after Samsung received 92 reports of batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage including fires. Samsung produced a second wave of devices, but issued a second recall after a replacement phone caught fire aboard a Southwest Airlines flight.

About 93% of all recalled devices have been returned, Samsung said last week.