If you woke up to find a weird “1 1” notification from Samsung on your Galaxy smartphone this morning, don’t be alarmed: Samsung says it was a glitch of its own, and not a sign that your device was hacked. The weird message showed up as part of Samsung’s Find My Mobile service, which is used to help track down missing phones.
That fact, plus the cryptic content of the message, led to some worried speculation about just what might have been happening. Given that users of Galaxy phones worldwide seemed to have received the message, it looked unlikely to be a hack, but exactly what was going on was uncertain.
Now, Samsung has admitted that it goofed up and sent out the message inadvertently. “Recently, a notification about “Find My Mobile 1” occurred on a limited number of Galaxy devices,” the company confirmed on Twitter. “This was sent unintentionally during an internal test and there is no effect on your device. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”
It’s unclear how many people were affected around the world, with many chiming in on Twitter to say that they’d seen the odd notification. Tapping on the “1 1” message didn’t actually do anything, it’s worth noting, and Samsung says that it “will work to prevent similar cases from occurring in the future.”
Trust in notifications is hard to win and easy to lose
Rogue notifications aren’t exactly new, though while Samsung’s may not have done any lasting damage to Galaxy phones, trust in what we see in the notification menu can be tough to regain. The company already has a reputation for being pushy there, too. Last year, an advert added to the notification bar encouraged owners to consider upgrading to the new Galaxy Note 10, a campaign criticized by many as being needlessly intrusive.
Getting the balance right of avoiding “too many” notifications while still delivering important information is a tricky one. Recently, better tools to control those alerts have been added to Android Auto, while some apps have gone further still and added notification detox options that temporarily snoozes their alerts to cut down on distractions.
Even then, mistakes happen. OnePlus inadvertently sent out a rogue – and unintelligible – message to all of its OnePlus 7 Pro owners midway through 2019, the company later blaming a falsely-broadcast global push notification for the glitch.
Of course, it could’ve been a whole lot worse when it comes to unexpected notifications. Nothing in recent memory quite beats the terrifying missile attack alert that was unintentionally broadcast in Hawaii in early 2018, warning residents that they should take cover because of an imminent threat. After an investigation, the FCC later blamed a miscommunication between officials running a trial of the warning system.