There’s been a bit of controversy around Google Wallet on Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Flip 5, since it doesn’t really work on the cover screen. At first, it seemed like Samsung was intentionally blocking the feature, but now it’s clear what’s preventing Google Wallet from working, and, interestingly, the function does work but in a strange way.
9to5Google has been digging into this issue after discovering Google Wallet doesn’t work on the Z Flip 5’s ‘Flex Window’ — the name Samsung gave the phone’s cover screen. Given that Samsung Wallet works fine on the outer display, and Google Wallet works fine on other cover screens (for example, Motorola’s Razr+), it seems there’s no functional reason why Google Wallet wouldn’t work. That’s what led some to think Samsung was intentionally blocking the feature.
Oddly, users were able to enable Google Wallet on the Flex Window, but tapping it would show a pop-up asking users to open the phone to continue. That prevents users from accessing Google Wallet from the cover display, which is way more convenient than unfolding the phone every time you want to make a purchase.
However, 9to5 reports that the issue stems from how Samsung implemented apps on the Flex Window. To use an app on the cover screen, you need to use Samsung’s ‘Good Lock’ and manually enable the app from a list. That list of apps is the same as the one you see in your app drawer. But Google Wallet isn’t an app — what you see in the app drawer is effectively a shortcut to the Wallet functions powered by Google Play Services. (This is actually a pretty common thing Google does, with some of its other apps like Google Podcasts just being a shortcut to the functionality in the Google app.)
Because of that, you can’t actually enable Google Wallet. Play Services doesn’t appear in the app drawer, so you can’t enable it to work on the Flex Window through Samsung’s Good Lock. And enabled the Google Wallet shortcut doesn’t work because when you try to open Wallet on the cover screen, nothing happens.
Further, 9to5’s senior editor Ben Schoon reports that Google Wallet can actually be used for payments in this state, but there’s “absolutely no UI to show that it’s working.”
Hopefully, Samsung will roll out an update that fixes the issue, but I’m not sure I’d hold out hope, given Samsung Wallet and Google Wallet are competing products. That said, now that the root of the problem is exposed, I imagine it won’t be long before someone figures out a workaround.