Nokia N97 Bug List

Update: Nokia N97 v20 firmware was released on October 27, 2009.
It’s been a week since the N97 arrived at my door, and yet during that time I’ve seen some strange things. And not strange in a good way either. So I’m making my official Nokia N97 bug post here and updating it as I see fit.
Current status of the Nokia N97: The NAM version that I have is pretty stable. However, it sounds like the international versions are *still* having some major issues – see the comments below for more.
To anyone running v10/11/12, make sure you update to the latest firmware via Nokia Software Updater.
The following is my list of N97 problems, bugs, and other irregularities. Note that after the latest firmware update (20), some things have shifted to the “Fixed” heading.
- Playing music seems to cause the phone to run much warmer than normal, which leads to the battery dying very quickly. The strange thing is the phone might not heat up until several hours AFTER you’ve finished playing music, in some kind of delayed reaction. The N97 is rated for up to 40 hours of music playback, and that leads me to believe there’s some kind of weird issue here. Update, sort of: I think this has been fixed.
- The lens cover mechanism has a tendency to scratch the plastic above the lens. Noticeable when the cover is opened. [Thanks Tuan]
Home Screen
- The portrait/landscape wallpaper display is screwy. When you use a standard 300×640 vertical image as your background, it will not display correctly in landscape mode. Basically, instead of rotating the image 90 degrees, the phone will take the middle 300 pixels and make an 640×300 image out of it – meaning you get a nice blown-up image in landscape view. Lovely! Fix: when creating a wallpaper image, use a 640×640 image. See my N97 wallpaper post for more details.
- Hitting certain keyboard keys repeatedly causes the screen to freeze for a lengthy amount of time. Basically, whenever you hit a non-numeric key, the screen clears for a quick second, showing only the background and a broken side menu. Pressing the button repeatedly causes some kind of loop, which lags the phone to all hell. Try it with the Uppercase + top row of keys for a bit ‘o fun.
- No way to enter a url in fullscreen mode without exiting back to windowed view.
- [Help] No help topic for Sensor settings. I would love to know what sensors are affected by the “Off” settings. Proximity? Brightness? Accelerometer? All?
- [Profiles] My N97 randomly plays the Nokia tune for contacts that I have assigned a custom ringtone. Also randomly plays the tune as the default ringtone. Argggghh!
- [Photos] When viewing photos, auto-switching to landscape mode causes the menu options to disappear, but the menu option box remains.
- [Menu] No transitions when switching from one folder to another. Could just be the default themes, but the 5800XM default themes has them.
- [Menu] Quitting the Photos causes a Back button (instead of Exit) to appear in the resulting Menu screen. Pressing the Back button simply refreshes the Menu screen and changes the button to Exit.
- [Music Player] Not quite a bug, but more of a feature request: removing a connected set of headphones while listening to a song should automatically pause the song. I don’t really see the logic in having a song start blasting from the speakers just because you forgot to pause it when removing the ‘phones.
- [Music Player] Switching to another application while simultaneously playing several music files in a row messes up the progress bar. Instead of showing the current song’s progress, the bar will continually scroll from start to finish, cycling through all of the songs that were played outside of the Music Player app.
- [Messaging] The Messaging application sometimes fails to display the menu options upon loading. Instead, the phone just shows the leftover parts of the Home screen. The options are still there, and can still be activated by touch.
- [Messaging] A phone that has the option “Memory in use” set to Mass Memory, and has been disconnected from USB (Mass Storage mode) will show the error “Cannot access selected memory” for subsequent received messages. It will also change the default memory in use to Phone Memory. No fix, but you can switch back by going toMessaging -> Options -> Settings -> Other -> Memory in use -> E:Mass memory.
- [Messaging] There’s no way to transfer text messages from phone memory to Mass memory.
- [Stupid] The applications Boingo, Qik, and Joikuspot cannot be uninstalled, despite all of them being useless.
- [Nokia Messaging] Deleting consecutive emails too quickly in Nokia Messaging using the delete key (with delete confirmation turned off) sometimes crashes the program. Update: The new version of Nokia Messaging ( now shows a dialog box that says “Deleting” without actually deleting anything. It also freezes there unless you hit the Cancel button.
- [Active Notes] Entering a note with the keyboard in Active Notes is uncommonly laggy. This does not occur in the regular Notes application, or if entering notes with the virtual keyboard.
Fixed in N97 Firmware Update 12.2.024
- The lock/unlock switch is still seriously buggy. A good amount of the time the phone will either NOT lock or NOT unlock even though the screen will flash. Come on, Nokia.
Fixed in N97 Firmware Update 11.2.021
- 3G causes the N97 to crash and reboot endlessly. This only seems to happen in certain areas, leading me to believe that the N97 has problems with one of the two 3G bands on AT&T (850 or 1900). Any use of 3G causes endless reboots in any application that uses 3G. Fix: switch your phone to use EDGE, or get a new SIM card from AT&T. More info at [Nokia Support Discussions]
- Unlocking the phone via lock switch will not activate the backlight most of the time. This happens on the first unlock after an idle period – subsequent unlocks will activate the backlight until the phone goes into idle mode again. Seems to be a pretty universal problem. Extremely annoying because I have to hit the unlock switch a minimum of three times, usually more. No fix yet. Workaround: Hit the Menu Key [thanks Jasz] or Camera Key [me] to turn the backlight on before hitting the unlock key.
- Unlocking the phone via slide sometimes shows the message “Use keyguard switch to unlock screen and keys” for 1-2 seconds.
- Unlocking the phone via slide while in landscape mode will sometimes cause the screen to reset to portrait mode for a quick second before reverting to landscape mode.
- The phone can’t be locked or unlocked if the keyboard is open. This comes into play when the backlight bug above is triggered – you can’t just lock and unlock the phone to turn on the backlight. [no more backlight bug]
- Opening the browser and selecting Options -> Exit while loading up a default page sometimes crashes the application.
Final Notes
If you’ve found a bug, please add it in a comment below. Make sure you specify your phone model (RM-5xx) and software version (ie. 10.2.012). You can find your model/version by typing in *#0000# in the Dialer (or go to Settings -> Phone -> Phone mgmt -> Device updates). Thanks!