Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is the most feature-packed smartphone on the planet. With both Android 4.2.2 and Samsung’s own extensions, this powerful, popular device can be customized in dozens of different ways. That’s one of the reasons we’ve given it a slew of Editors’ Choice awards and 4.5-star ratings across a bunch of different carriers.
Not all of the Galaxy S4’s features are obvious. You may have heard about Group Play, Smart Stay, and WatchOn, but that’s only the beginning of the unusual powers of this super-smartphone. These 10 tips and tricks will hopefully show you something new and will give your Galaxy S4 even more wow.
Switch from an iPhone or BlackBerry. Samsung’s Smart Switch PC app will transfer contacts, text messages, wallpapers, the call log, and other data over from an iTunes backup of an iPhone or a BlackBerry Desktop backup of a BlackBerry, so your new Galaxy feels more like your old phone. Find it at http://www.samsung.com/us/smart-switch/.
Make it easy. The Galaxy S4 is so full of settings and options, I can understand how some people could get stressed out. That’s okay! Try Easy Mode instead. Go to Settings > My Device > Home screen mode > Easy mode to dramatically simplify the home screen.
Don’t go over your data cap. Do you have a limited data plan? Go to Settings > Connections > Data Usage and you can set both your monthly limit and when your device will warn you about reaching it. When you hit the limit, your cellular data will be turned off to prevent overages. To make even more of your limited data, download the Onavo Extend app from Google Play, which compresses the data you use.
Customize the audio for voice calls and music. One of my favorite secret Galaxy S III features has returned on the Galaxy S4: the ability to tune in-call and music audio to your own hearing. Different people have different levels of bass and treble they can hear. Hit the Call button, then hit Menu and pick Settings. Scroll down to Personalize Call Sound, and pick Adapt Sound. Pop in some headphones and follow the prompts for your own custom EQ.
Get rid of that horrible bloop noise. Why do Samsung phones make a “bloop” noise every time you touch the screen? Do you hate that? I hate that. Go to Settings > My Device > Sound and turn off “Touch sounds” for a quieter life.
Use the phone with gloves. Go to Settings > My Device > Display > High Touch Sensitivity to turn on a touchscreen mode that works when you’re wearing gloves.
Jump to your favorite apps. Put your finger at the far upper right hand corner of the lock screen and drag left. Now you can jump into a list of favorite apps without unlocking your phone. You can customize the list, too.
Customize your shortcuts. You can customize both the “quick settings” which you see when you pull down the window shade from the top of the screen, and the shortcut icons at the top of the camera app. I like to replace the screen rotation toggle with Airplane Mode, for instance.
To pick your quick settings, go to Settings > My Device > Display > Notification panel. Press and hold on the setting you want to move into the top group, then drag it into the top row.
To customize camera shortcuts, go into the camera app and tap the gear at the top of the screen. Then press and hold on the gear icon at the top left. If you want to replace one of the shortcut icons, press and hold on the new icon you want to move into place, and drag it to the top bar.
Get all the shortcuts. Are five settings shortcuts just not enough? From any screen, swipe down with two fingers. You’ll see 19 different feature toggles.