- 1 Customize your display
- 2 Improve the biometrics
- 3 Get quick access to what you need
- 4 Make it your own
- 5 Manage apps your way
The Galaxy S10 and S10+ (and S10e) are excellent smartphones. We reviewed them (here and here), and in many ways, they're the very best Android has to offer right now. But they're not perfect, and while some of those imperfections can't be ironed out with a toggle here and an option there, surprisingly many can. We're going to break down 25 of our favorite tips and tricks for making your awesome phone even more awesome, and even Galaxy veterans may find a few things here they didn't know about. Samsung's One UI packs a whole lot of changes, and while many of them are steps in the right direction, we know a few are probably a bit annoying to long-time Android users. We've tried to address issues with the stock software's behavior, appearance, and performance using simple, built-in methods. So, without further ado, let's dive in.
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Customize your display
The S10 has one of the best and brightest panels around, which means it's pretty much the only thing you'll see when you look at the phone. Because of that, let's take a few steps to make it more personal and adapt it to your needs.
Hole punch wallpapers
Samsung previously mocked the iPhone X's notch, making it unlikely for its flagship to have one. Instead, the manufacturer preferred to house the front camera in a hole punch, which is relatively more discreet. What it didn't necessarily expect, though, is that plenty of users would embrace that design feature and use it as a way to integrate it into their wallpapers. So instead of trying to hide that hole, pick a nice wallpaper and show it off!
Choose the color tone you like
By now, you already know the S10 has one of the best displays around. However, its color tone is set to Natural by default, which isn't as sharp as the Vivid setting that offers more intense and immersive images. To activate it, go to Settings -> Display -> Screen mode. If you think it's too hard on your eyes, you can always switch back to the blander option.
Turn on Night mode
Night modes were initially designed to be easier on the eyes, but plenty of people thought they also looked great during the day and wanted to use them all the time. Plus, they help save power on AMOLED displays as the black pixels don't need to light up. In fact, dark modes are so popular that plenty of applications now feature them, and Google is also working on a system-wide night theme for Android Q. As usual, the Korean firm is ahead of Google and has already implemented its own, which applies to Samsung apps and the system interface. You can turn it on by accessing Settings -> Display -> Night mode.
The S10 and S10+ both have impressive Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED screens with a top resolution of 3040 x 1440 pixels. However, in order to save battery, the latter is set to just 2220 x 1080 pixels by default. While I understand this is less power consuming, it's a shame to turn such a great panel into a lower quality one out of the box. Some people claim they don't see the difference, but I'm blind as a bat, and I can assure you I notice the improved sharpness. In any case, it's best if you judge for yourself, so head over to Settings -> Display -> Screen resolution to see which one you prefer.
Change the home screen grid layout
One of the first things many power users do when setting up a phone is to change its launcher. With One UI, Samsung is trying hard to make you keep the default apps by giving you ways to customize them without having to use third-party software. I have to admit the default home screen on the S10 is pretty neat. For instance, you can pick how many icons/widgets appear on the grid to maximize the number of items on the screen or show larger icons. There are other options available such as hiding the Apps button and locking the layout to avoid accidentally moving items. To customize all these, go to Settings -> Display -> Home screen.
Customize font size and style
You can customize your S10's interface by changing the default font size and style. The phone comes with five preloaded typefaces, with more available on the Galaxy Store. This is also helpful if you're far-sighted, as you can use a larger and bold font to use your phone without having to wear your glasses. You'll be able to pick your favorite option under Settings -> Display -> Font size and style.
Customize Always On Display
Always On Display conveniently shows the date, time, and your notifications when your screen is locked. Several elements can be customized such as the clock style, what type of information to display, the brightness, and most importantly the schedule during which AOD should be turned on — I tried leaving it on all the time, but it bothered me at night. AOD is in Settings -> Lock Screen -> Always On Display and Clock Style.
Activate full notifications on the lock screen
For some mysterious reason, Samsung thought it was better not to display full notifications on the lock screen, but instead to merely show their icon. This protects your privacy, but it makes checking your notifications far less convenient. Thankfully, there's an option to change this to show a short snippet or the full alert on your lock screen. Head over to Settings -> Lock Screen -> Notifications to see which one works best for you. I personally prefer Detailed because it lets me read full WhatsApp messages without having to unlock my phone.
Turn off Edge lighting
Speaking of notifications, the S10 comes with Edge lighting turned on by default. This feature replaces the traditional notification popups that appear on top. Instead, it makes the screen edges glow and shows a bubble in the upper part of the display. To me, this is a gimmick that shouldn't be activated by default; it prevents you from interacting with notifications and shows a much shorter preview of the incoming messages. If you still like the way it looks, I'd recommend restricting it to a few apps. You can do this in Settings -> Display -> Edge screen -> Edge lighting.
Improve the biometrics
The S10 has some neat unlocking options, including identification using your face or fingerprints. Let's look at how to set these up.
Rescan your fingerprints
The S10 uses a new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor housed under the display. While this technology is said to be more precise and secure than optical sensors, it's still not as fast as capacitive ones. Therefore, many users have complained it was harder to unlock an S10 than an S9, but Samsung has already released an update that slightly improves this issue.
Another element to consider is that capacitive sensors are more tolerant in the way they are trained, while in-displays sensors expect to read your fingerprint the way it was scanned. For this reason, we recommend re-registering them a few days after you get your S10, so you scan your fingers the same way you put them on the screen when you unlock the device. To do so, you'll have to go to Settings -> Biometrics and security -> Fingerprints, remove the existing ones, before adding them again.
Turn on face recognition
Even though Samsung got rid of the iris scanner on the S10, you can unlock the handset using your face. Bear in mind this functionality only uses the selfie camera and no IR sensors, so it isn't as safe as FaceID, but it's much faster than using your finger. If you're concerned about someone using your photo to gain access to your device, you can deactivate Faster recognition, which would make the feature a little more secure. All these can be set up in Settings -> Biometrics and security -> Fingerprints -> Face recognition.
Get quick access to what you need
The S10 has a couple of handy features that let you quickly get access to what you're looking for. Here's how to gain time by using them.
Customize Edge panels
This feature lets you slide from the edge of the screen to bring up a shortcut menu. You can customize it to get quick access to your apps, contacts, reminders, stocks, the weather, and more. You'll find these options under Settings -> Display -> Edge screen -> Edge panels.
Customize quick settings and notification tray
In addition to displaying your notifications, scrolling down from the top of the screen also shows quick settings shortcuts, which can be reorganized according to your taste. To do so, slide down from the top of the panel with two fingers (or twice with one finger), click the (three-dot) menu icon on the right and select Button order and Button grid. On top of changing the icon layout, you can also add a battery percentage indicator and adjust how notifications are shown, by tapping Status bar.
First, let's Deactivate Bixby Home: Pinch out from your home screen, slide to the left and toggle off Bixby Home. Now, since Samsung still insists on putting a dedicated physical button despite people not using Bixby, let's use it for something useful. To remap the key to open your favorite app, press it, confirm the prompts that may appear and then click on the (three-dot) menu icon on the right and then on Settings. From there, set everything to Off, and tap on Bixby key -> Double press to open Bixby -> Use single press -> Open app. Keep in mind the button will still open Samsung's assistant if you double tap it or hold it.
Set up motion gestures
One UI features some pretty neat gestures that can save you a few clicks. For example, you can double tap on your locked phone to wake it, lift it to turn the screen on, or even swipe your palm across the screen to take a screenshot. I'm a big fan of the double tap gesture, but I suggest you check which one you like the most in Settings -> Advanced features -> Motions and gestures.
Set up One-handed mode
In case you didn't notice, the S10 is a pretty large phone, which can make it hard to operate with a single hand. Thankfully, you can use a feature called One-handed mode to temporarily add virtual bezels to your screen, so it's easier to reach across. To turn it on, head to Settings -> Advanced features -> Motions and gestures -> One-handed mode. From there, you'll get to pick whether it'll activate through a gesture or tapping the home button three times.
Customize the camera app
The S10's camera offers many features, most of which you'll rarely use. To clean it up and only keep the ones you're interested in, click on the wheel icon and go to Camera modes -> Edits modes. Thanks to this, you'll only keep the ones you use and order them based on your preference, so you don't have to go through unnecessary ones when you want to switch from one another.
Make it your own
We're almost done, just a few more tweaks to really make this S10 your own.
Set up notification reminders
If you're the type of person that gets caught up and forgets to check notifications regularly, there's an option to get reminded about the ones you might have missed. Thankfully, the feature can be limited to particular apps, to avoid your phone bugging you to check irrelevant alerts. You can set these up in Settings -> Accessibility -> Advanced settings -> Notification reminders.
Change the vibration intensity
Most of us set our phones to vibrate because we want to be discreet. However, when it is on a table and you get a call, it's still going to be quite audible. To limit this, Samsung lets you customize the vibration intensity for calls, notifications, and touches if you're looking for more discretion. These options are found under Settings -> Sound and vibration -> Vibration intensity.
Set up Do not disturb mode
Thanks to Do not disturb mode, you can silence your phone and deactivate notifications during preset schedules. This is particularly useful if you don't want to be woken up by an email at night, but also if you need to use your phone without the trouble of seeing notifications. Exceptions let particular apps or people bypass these settings or allow notifications to be shown. To set up Do not disturb mode, go to Settings -> Notifications -> Do not disturb.
With One UI, Samsung introduced its own navigation gestures instead of Android Pie's. Whether you like them or not is a matter of preference, but I suggest you give them a try. Head over to Settings -> Display -> Navigation bar to activate them and see if you get used to the new feature.
Turn on Dolby Atmos
The S10 has built-in support for Dolby Atmos, meaning it'll sound even sharper when playing music or movies. Surprisingly, this feature is not activated by default, so you'll have to manually turn it on in Settings -> Sound and vibration -> Advanced sound settings -> Sound quality and effects -> Dolby Atmos.
Personalize the keyboard
You'll spend a lot of time typing on your S10. Assuming you're not using a third-party keyboard, the built-in one can be customized based on your preferences. As such, you can pick between a dark or light one, change its size, and disable the top number row. These options are in Settings -> General management -> Language and input -> On-screen keyboard -> Samsung keyboard -> Keyboard layout and feedback.
Manage apps your way
Last but not least, let's tweak how apps behave on your S10, so you can be the one in control.
Turn off auto disable unused apps
By default, your S10 will automatically disable apps you don't use for more than 30 days. While this feature is designed to avoid keeping unnecessary software on your phone, I highly recommend deactivating it. For instance, you might have a loyalty app on your device that you don't use often, but you still want it there when you end up visiting the store. In any case, if you've installed apps on your phone, it's probably because you want them there. To prevent your S10 from disabling apps, you'll need to go Settings -> Device Care -> Battery, tap the (three-dot) menu icon and turn off Auto disable unused apps.
Disable useless apps
Talking about disabling apps, most phones ship with unnecessary software that you'll never use. For instance, I've never opened the Game Launcher, One Drive, and Secure Folder software on my handset, even though they came preinstalled. If there are such apps on your S10, simply press and hold your finger on their icon in the app drawer and select Disable. It won't uninstall it, but at least it'll prevent it from running in the background and necessarily being updated.
Most of the above tips are specific to the S10 lineup. Many of us have a very personal checklist before we set up a phone, so leave a comment below if there are other steps you'd like to share with our readers to improve their S10 experience.
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- Moshe E (for helping us with the screenshots)