It is very easy to permanently damage the Samsung Galaxy Note 5—so easy, in fact, that inserting the S Pen backwards would physically break the stylus detection mechanism. Five months after the issue first surfaced, Phandroid is reporting that Samsung has made a small hardware fix to address the problem.
While Samsung explicitly told users not to insert the stylus incorrectly in the manual and later changed the packaging to more clearly provide a warning, it is still embarrassing for a key feature of the phone to be so easily broken. Breaking the S Pen renders other software features like Screen-off memo and Air Command moot. Earlier Notes did not have this issue and at fault is the Note 5’s mechanism and shape of the stylus.
The Note’s circuit board now appears to have been redesigned to safely eject the S Pen even if it has accidentally been inserted in backwards. This is thanks to a plastic tab that’s attached via adhesive to the logic board. Previously, it would require a bit of force to pull it out. Even if it was removed carefully, the stylus detection features was already broken.
It is unknown when Samsung started implementing this hardware fix to the Note 5. Presumably, newer devices have this fix. However, users probably still shouldn’t risk and still insert the S Pen the right way. If you’re interested in learning more about what exactly gets damaged, read our explainer on the Note 5’s issues.