Most everyone decides early on whether they’re an Android or iPhone person and stick with it perpetually. No matter which one you chose, you definitely want to add some helpful apps for entertainment and productivity. Tap or click here for the most popular apps of 2020.
Apple gets a lot of the headlines, but you might be surprised to find out Samsung is currently the most popular smartphone brand in the world. It’s most popular model? The Galaxy, of course! With cutting edge features, sleek design and speedy operating system, Samsung Galaxy dominates the Android phone market.
If you have a Galaxy, you may be familiar with many of its features already, but chances are you still have more to discover. Want to uncover more? Read on and we’ll show you some nifty tricks to try.
1. Speed up animations and transitions
The more apps and information we store on our devices, the more they will slow down, like a clogged pipe. One of the ways to keep your Galaxy running smoothly and speedily is to tune your animation scale.
Animation scales regulate the animations that pop up when you use your phone or tablet, and while they may look slick, they take up a lot of space and slow performance. If you don’t mind losing the look, you can increase your device’s speed by disabling animations.
To disable animations on your Android:
- Go to your Settings panel
- Ensure Developer Options are enabled (it may be easiest to do a search on your device to find this option)
- Scroll to the list of three animation scales (Window, Transitions, and Animations)
- Tap on each of the animation scales to disable animations
Keep the Developer Options function enabled so that the animation settings will remain off. Now that you have disabled animations, you should experience faster transitions on your Galaxy device. If you miss the animations’ look after giving this option a try, you can always turn them back on.
2. Keep your info private with screen pinning
Sometimes you may need to allow someone to use your phone, but want to be sure that they can’t access anything you don’t want them to see. You can keep your privacy while sharing your device by using the screen pinning feature.
RELATED: 3 crucial Android security features
Screen pinning will hold, or “pin,” the app being used until you choose to unpin it. Anyone who you hand your phone to will only be allowed to use the app or feature that is pinned.
To turn on the pinning function:
- Go to the Settings panel and select Security
- Tap Advanced settings
- Find the setting marked App pinning and enable it
To pin a screen:
- Go to the screen you want to pin
- Swipe up to find the Overview panel
- At the top of the screen, tap the app icon
- Tap the icon shaped like a pin to pin the screen
Once you’ve pinned your screen, you can share the information you want without worrying that the rest of your phone or tablet will be accessed.
3. Create a shortcut to access your Notification Log
Have you ever cleared out your notifications and then worried you might have missed an important message? There is a hidden function in some Android devices that allows you to pull up a history of notifications. The Notifications Log allows you to access notifications you may have discarded.
To find out if your phone supports this feature, go to Developer Mode and make sure it’s enabled. Once it’s on, you can access the Notifications Log:
- Go to your Home screen
- Tap and hold a space on your Home screen until a menu appears
- Select the Widgets icon
- Scroll until you see the selection marked Setting shortcut
- Click and drag the Setting shortcut widget to your Home screen
- Open the widget and scroll until you see Notification Log
- Tap to add the log icon to your Home screen
Once this shortcut is enabled, you can easily access the Notification Log right from your home screen. Now you can view all notifications, including those you previously deleted.
4. Capitalize text in a simple tap
Here’s an easy trick when you are trying to capitalize letters. Of course, you can always capitalize each letter as you go, but it takes time and can be a chore.
If you are trying to capitalize each word’s first letter in a phrase, highlight the text and tap the shift button to Capitalize The First Letter Of Each Word.
Want to MAKE THE TEXT ALL CAPS? Highlight and tap twice to capitalize every word in the text. Quick, user-friendly and less tedious than clicking the shift key over and over.
5. Try the manual screen lock feature
The smart lock feature will allow your phone to unlock itself when it senses specific signals. This is a feature you will have to enable through the settings menu on your device. Once it is turned on, you can manually lock it again if you like.
To manually lock your screen, look for the lock icon on your screen. Tap and hold the lock icon, and your screen will be locked. With this feature, you can keep your smart lock enabled and still be able to keep your phone securely locked when needed.
6. Use the S Pen to save notes and other content
One of the cool features of the newest Galaxy models is the inclusion of an S Pen stylus. There are many ways to use this handy tool, including turning your lock screen into your own personal notepad. Use your S Pen to take notes on your lock screen and clip items for later access.
To write a note on your lock screen:
- Remove the S Pen
- Use the pen to write the note directly on the lock screen
- Click Save in notes
If you have a Galaxy 8 or newer, you can access the Smart Select app to choose the content you want to save for later use. You can select text, images and videos with your S Pen and save them to your device.
To enable Smart Select:
- Click the Air Command icon to open the menu
- Tap Smart Select
- Select the shape of the image you wish to capture
- Drag the S Pen onto the portion of the screen image you want to save
- Tap Extract text to capture the image
- From there, you can choose to copy, share or save extracted content
With the S Pen, you can save text, images and even videos, which you can then use to create GIFs. If you have a Galaxy model with the S Pen included, be sure to try out all that it can do.
7. Sync Reminders to Microsoft To Do
Reminder apps are a convenient way to make sure you are getting everything done. If you have a Galaxy with Android 10 or higher, you can now sync those reminders to Microsoft platforms such as To Do, Outlook or Teams. You can also sync To Do with Bixby, which is Samsung’s interactive tasks assistant, so that you can connect to your Microsoft account with a voice command.
To sync with Microsoft:
- Tap to the Reminder app
- Go to the Settings menu
- Toggle the button next to Sync with Microsoft To Do
- Sign in with your Microsoft credentials
- When prompted, click Yes to accept permissions
Set To Do as your default list so that any reminders you create from calls, notes, Bixby, etc., are automatically synced. You can do this from the Reminder settings by tapping Save reminders from other apps and then choosing Microsoft To Do. All your reminders will be conveniently located in one place, synced to your Microsoft account.
8. Choose a personalized audio experience
Galaxy devices include advanced audio settings you may want to make use of. You can create a personalized audio experience based on your age, preference and hearing ability.
To personalize your audio settings:
- Go to the Settings menu
- Click Sound quality and effects
- Tap the button again and then click Adapt sound
- Select the applicable age group
- Click the gear next to each group in order to preview the sound selection
- Tap Personalize your sound in order to personalize the audio to your hearing ability
9. Set your phone to Dark Mode
Like all smartphones, your Galaxy emits enough light to cause fatigue and eye strain if you look at the screen long enough. These effects are especially noticeable at night when the light from your phone seems even brighter in dim surroundings. You can help prevent excess eye strain, blurred vision and headaches that come from staring at your screen by switching your device into Dark Mode.
As the name suggests, Dark Mode turns your screen into a darker display so that you can use your device without feeling the effects of a bright screen. There are two ways to switch your phone to Dark Mode, either turning it on manually or setting it to switch automatically as scheduled.
To manually turn on Dark Mode:
- Swipe down on your screen to open the Quick settings options
- Scroll down and tap the Dark Mode icon
- To return to standard display, simply tap the Dark Mode icon again
To schedule Dark Mode:
- Swipe down on your screen to open the Quick settings options
- Find the Dark Mode icon
- Tap and hold the button to open its settings panel
- Slide the toggle next to Turn on as scheduled to enable it
- Click either the Sunrise / Sunset or Custom buttons
- If you select the Custom setting, enter your preferred start and end times
Samsung is continually updating its Galaxy models and adding newer and more comprehensive features for each iteration. Your phone can do more than you think. Try these tips and keep experimenting with features to unlock your tech’s full potential and get the most out of your phone.