Android phones can be customised way more than iPhones, and Samsung adds its own little touches that take customisation to another level.
The thing is, Samsung rarely mentions these cool little features when it announces its new phones, and they can go unnoticed for your entire ownership of a Samsung phone.
Many of the features mentioned here aren’t exclusive to Samsung’s new phone, the Galaxy S9. You’ll find most of them in previous models, too, but I added them to the list just in case you missed them.
Check out 11 cool tips and tricks for your Galaxy S9:
1. Make the screen even sharper.
Out of the box, the Galaxy S9’s screen is set to 1080p. That’s somewhat odd considering the display’s native resolution is a sharper 1440p.
You can set the phone to make full use of its sharp display by heading to Settings > Display > Screen resolution,then set it from FHD+ to WQHD+.
Setting the display to a higher resolution means you’ll take a small hit on battery life, but it’s not a dramatic difference by any means. The sharpness difference isn’t massive, but it’s there, and you get the full effect of Samsung’s smartphone displays that are the best in the business.
2. Make the screen less harsh-looking at night time.
Many phones have this feature now. Apple calls it Night Shift, Samsung calls it Blue Light Filter. It basically reduces the intensity of bright blue colours that can appear overly bright and keep your brain awake when you’re trying to wind down around night time.
Head to Settings > Display > Blue light filter > Turn on as scheduled. You can set it for the default sunset to sunrise, or set the feature to run during your own custom times.
3. Squeeze more apps onto your home screen.
By default, the Galaxy S9’s home screen positions its apps pretty far apart from each other, and it doesn’t give you much control of where you want the app icons to go.
Head to Settings > Display > Home screen > Home screen grid. There, you can set it to show more apps that you can position closer together.
4. Make sure apps fill the Galaxy S9’s entire display.
Not every app is optimised to use the Galaxy S9’s taller 18:9 display. Many apps are still optimised for the regular 16:9 aspect ratio that most smartphones used before 2016, and some apps are slightly cut off at the bottom as a result.
That doesn’t stop Samsung from making sure you get the full screen experience. Head to Settings > Display > Full screen apps. There, you’ll see a long list of apps that are already optimised for taller 18:9 aspect ratios. Scroll further down and you’ll find the apps that aren’t optimised. Some might already be enabled if you enabled ful- screen mode when you first open the apps, others might not if you missed that option.
Alternatively, you can just make sure to tap the bottom of the screen when the phone asks you if you want the app to fill the entire screen the next time you open it.
5. Pull down the notification panel from anywhere on the screen.
To pull down the notifications panel, you have to reach all the way to the top of the Galaxy S9’s display, which can be a reach for Galaxy S9 Plus users and its tall, large display.
You can swipe down from anywhere on the Galaxy S9’s display to pull down the notifications panel, even at the very bottom of the display, by heading to Settings > Display > Home screen > Quick-open notification panel, then turn on the setting.
6. Change the vibration pattern for notifications, including phone calls.
The basic default vibration pattern when you receive a notification is a long vibration. You can change it to something more noticeable, and some of the patterns actually create different vibration noises.
Head to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Vibration pattern. You can preview the vibration patterns before setting it for your notifications and phone calls.
7. Reduce the vibration intensity.
The vibrations when you get a notification on Samsung phones are particularly intense. It’s incredibly loud when you rest a Galaxy S or Note phone on a hard surface if you don’t use a case. Even with a case, the vibrations aren’t exactly subtle.
Thankfully, you can change that by heading to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Vibration intensity. There, you can reduce the vibration intensity for phone calls, notifications, on-screen taps, and hard-press taps.
8. Check out some effects that could make music sound better for you.
The Galaxy S9 has a bunch of effects and settings that you might like for music, like Dolby Atmos that makes the music sound like it’s being played in the room you’re in.
There’s also the Tube Amp Pro option that gives bass a fuller richer sound, like you would get with a classic tube amp.
Samsung also includes its UHQ upscaler feature, which can give music quality boost. It only works with wired headphones.
Head to Settings > Sounds and vibrations > Sound quality and effects.
9. Keep the phone screen on while you’re looking at it without occasionally tapping the screen.
This one’s been around for a while on Samsung smartphones. It’s called Smart Stay, and it makes the front-facing camera check if you’re looking at the screen. If you are, it will keep the phone’s display on so you don’t have to keep tapping the display occasionally.
It’s an especially good feature if you’re reading a long article or simply don’t want the phone to go to sleep when you’re looking at something longer than the screen’s default 30-second time-out period.
Head to Settings > Advanced features > Smart stay, and turn the feature on.
10. Customise the look of the Google search bar on the home screen to make it look better with your background.
The Google search bar on the Galaxy S9’s home screen is white by default, but you can change it any colour you want, and you can even change its shape to look more square, or make it more transparent.
On the Google search bar, tap the three dots on the very right > Customise > have at it.
11. Turn on a screen saver when your phone is charging.
The Galaxy S9’s screen while charging is black by default, but you can add a screen saver to add a little personalised zest to your phone while its charging.
Go to Settings > Display > Screen saver > pick a screensaver you like. You can preview what screen savers will look like.