Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is a beautiful phone that’s going to prove very hard to resist. If you’ve been seduced, then you’ll be delighted to learn that there’s a lot more to this phone than meets the eye. You’ll find that Samsung has worked hard to add value with a treasure trove of handy shortcuts and extra features. Some of them are familiar from previous Galaxy S phones, some are new entries from Samsung, and some come courtesy of Google’s latest Lollipop-flavored Android 5.0 release. Here are some of the best Galaxy S6 tips we’ve uncovered so far.
Navigation, Themes, Fingerprint Sensor, Split Screen, and Camera Launch
How to streamline your navigation
One of the first things you should do to start customizing your S6 for your own personal needs is to pull down that notification shade and tap on Edit. Now drag and drop all the features, functions, and shortcuts you want to have easy access to into your quick settings menu and ditch anything you don’t need. When you’re happy with the line-up tap Done.
You should also edit the Quick settings that appear at the top of the Settings menu. Once again, there’s an Edit button at the top right and you can choose up to nine specific Settings to appear as large icons at the top of the list. Stick the stuff you most commonly go to in here and you’ll save yourself some time.
How to get the theme you want
You’ll find the usual batch of wallpapers and widgets when you tap and hold on any empty space on your home screen, along with the option to change your screen grid size. You’ll also find Themes in here that can give your phone an entirely fresh look, changing app icons, the font, the backgrounds on your home screen, and elements of many of your standard apps, like Phone and Contacts. You can preview themes before applying them.
There are only three themes on the S6 by default, but you’ll find lots more to download via the Store link at the top right of the Themes page. There is also a theme tool on the way which will enable you to create your own themes.
How to use the fingerprint sensor
The fingerprint sensor is by far the coolest, quickest, and most secure way to unlock your Galaxy S6, so dive into Settings > Lock screen and security > Screen lock type > Fingerprints and follow the onscreen instructions. You can always add more fingerprints later or remove fingerprints in the same menu.
It makes a lot of sense to use your thumb if you want to be able to unlock the phone one-handed. You also have the option to set your backup password. At the bottom you’ll find two toggles that dictate whether you can use the fingerprint sensor for Web sign-in and to Verify Samsung account. That means you won’t have to enter passwords for either, you can simply scan your fingerprint instead.
How to enable split screen
The Galaxy S6 has a stunning, 5.1-inch display and you can have more than one app on it at the same time using the split screen function. All you have to do is hold down the apps or multitasking button at the bottom left for a couple of seconds. The bottom half of the screen will display a menu of apps you can choose from and the top half will go on displaying whatever it was displaying. If you want to change the space allocated, drag the icon in the middle up or down. You can also access more options, such as the option to flip, window, or close apps, by tapping on the circle.
How to quickly launch the camera
The Galaxy S6 has a fantastic 16-megapixel main camera and you can boost your chances of catching those spontaneous moments with this handy camera shortcut. Simply double tap the Home button and the camera app will launch. It works anywhere, even when the screen is off.
It’s worth noting that this shortcut results in a small delay when you press your Home button once, as the S6 is waiting to see if you plan on tapping twice for the camera. If you find it annoying then dip into the Camera settings and toggle Quick launch off.
Selfie, Do Not Disturb, Fast Download, Screenshot, and Google Now
How to take a selfie easily
It’s a pain sometimes framing the perfect selfie and pressing the capture button, but Samsung has an answer. Fire up the front-facing camera and line up the shot you want. When you’re ready simply touch the heart rate sensor, under the LED flash on the back of the S6, and it will take the shot.
How to turn on Do Not Disturb mode
We’re all guilty of using our phones a little too much and it’s important to get a break now and again. This is where Do not disturb mode shines. Go to Settings > Do not disturb and you’ll find a simple toggle to silence all calls and alerts. There’s an Allow exceptions option, which is ideal if you’re waiting for a specific call, but don’t want anything else getting through. You’ll also find a Set schedule tool that enables you to dictate specific hours on specific days that your S6 goes completely silent, or filters your incoming calls and alerts.
Bear in mind that this doesn’t actually stop the alerts or calls coming in, it just silences them, so if you do wake with a burning desire to check, then you can.
How to download in a hurry
If you take a look in Settings > More connection settings > Download booster you’ll find the option to toggle on a speed boost for downloading large files (bigger than 30MB). It works by using LTE and Wi-Fi together, so bear in mind that it will use some of your data allowance.
How to take a screenshot
Hold down the Power button and the Home button together and you can capture a screenshot on your Galaxy S6. You can also turn on Palm swipe to capture in Settings > Motions and gestures.
How to use Google Now
We aren’t too excited to see S Voice is still there, because Google Now is far superior. To launch Google Now you just have to hold down the Home button. You can ask it to launch apps, search the web, set reminders, and lots more. You’ll have a lot more fun with Google Now if you take the time to set it up properly. You can do that by tapping the menu button at the top left in Google Now and choosing Customize. Check out our full guide on how to use Google Now for more great tips.
Private mode, Security, Gestures, Display, and Vibrations
How to use Private mode
Samsung offers a really handy way to hide your sensitive photos and other files from nosy people. Head into Settings > Privacy and safety > Private mode. You can choose what content to hide and how it’s accessed in here. You even have the option to lock it with your fingerprint.
How to make sure people don’t snoop on your S6
The ability to pin apps on your screen was introduced by Google in Android 5.0 Lollipop. On the S6 you’ll find it in Settings > Lock screen and security > Other security settings where it’s listed near the bottom as Pin windows. The idea is that you can pin an app to the screen before handing your phone to someone to stop them from browsing around, it actually locks the screen to that specific app. You tap the multitasking or recent apps button at the bottom left and then look for the pin icon at the bottom right of each open app.
Samsung has taken it a little further because you can tick the Ask for Fingerprint before unpinning box when you turn it on and then hand your phone over without having to worry.
How to use gestures
Samsung offers some handy gesture shortcuts and they are on the Galaxy S6. Go to Settings > Motions and gestures and you’ll find some options.
- Direct call is great — just open a contact and then lift your phone to your ear to call them.
- Smart alert will send you a vibration alert when you pick your phone up if you’ve missed a call or message.
- Mute is a quick way to silence your S6 by flipping it over.
- Palm swipe to capture is an alternative way to snag a screenshot.
How to get the best from your display
Go to Settings > Display > Screen mode and you’ll find a few options to help you unlock the full glory of the AMOLED screen. If you leave it on Adaptive display then it will change automatically, but you can also pick modes called AMOLED cinema and AMOLED photo, which really ramp up the contrast and vibrancy, or you can leave it on Basic if you want something a bit closer to reality.
How to get good vibrations
If you go into Settings > Sounds and notifications and tap Vibrations, you’ll find some handy options. You can turn vibration off for key presses or button presses in here, and decide whether you want the phone to vibrate when it rings. You also can set the vibration pattern you want and change the vibration intensity for different things, so you could have a strong vibrate for calls and a minimal one for notifications.
Smart Lock, Battery Life, Disable/Uninstall Apps, Developer Options, and 100GB Cloud Storage
How to use Smart Lock
Go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Secure lock settings > Smart Lock and you can have your Galaxy S6 automatically unlock when it connects to specific Bluetooth devices or systems (like a smartwatch or your car), or when you are in a specific location (like your work-place or home).
How to save battery life
If you go to Settings > Battery you’ll find detailed stats on your power usage in Battery usage, as well as an estimate of time remaining. There’s also a Power saving mode and an Ultra power saving mode. The basic mode is subtle, the ultra mode is pretty extreme and it cuts down the functionality a lot and turns the display gray.
Samsung has also added a wee Abnormal battery usage section at the bottom, which can be a handy way of identifying a power-hungry app that’s gone wrong. You may also want to check out our general tips for saving smartphone battery.
How to disable or uninstall apps
Open up the App drawer and tap Edit at the top right and you’ll find you can just tap the red minus sign at the top of each app icon you don’t want to get rid of it. Some apps cannot be removed, but you can get rid of or disable most things. You can also uninstall apps by long pressing on the icon and dragging it up to Uninstall at the top left. You’ll also still find the option when you tap on an app in Settings > Applications.
How to unlock Developer options
Go to Settings > About device and tap on Build number ten times then go back to the Settings menu and you’ll see Developer options above the About device option. A lot of people like to speed the feel of their S6 up by setting Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale down to 0.5, but there are various other things you can tinker with in Developer options.
How to get 100GB of free cloud storage with OneDrive
In the past Samsung struck deals with Dropbox, but this time around you can claim an extra 100GB of cloud storage through Microsoft’s OneDrive. If you already have an account then sign in on your S6 and tap Apply 100GB Samsung offer, if you don’t then head to OneDrive and sign up for free, where you’ll get 15GB as standard, which you can boost to 115GB with the offer. NOTE: Unfortunately Verizon and AT&T have removed the OneDrive app and are not supporting this offer. You should get it if you buy an unlocked S6 or pick it up through T-Mobile or Sprint.
S Finder, USB Storage, Home Screen, Sound, and Find Lost Galaxy S6
How to find things in a hurry
Don’t scroll around aimlessly searching for that app you’re sure you downloaded or that elusive setting that you need to find – use S Finder instead. Pull down the notification shade and tap on S Finder. It will search all your settings, files, apps, and contacts. It’s the quick and easy way to find what you’re looking for.
How to expand storage
The lack of a microSD card slot was a real disappointment for some people, but you can plug extra storage into your Galaxy S6 quite easily. All you need is a micro USB to USB OTG adapter. This StarTech one is $5 from Amazon. It gives you a USB port that you can plug any USB thumb drive or external hard drive into. You could also get a microSD card to USB adapter for transferring files from your old microSD card. Here’s one on Amazon from Sandisk for $5.
How to fit more on your home screen
Did you know that you can actually change the size of the grid on your home screen? This allows you to fit more app icons or widgets on there. Just tap and hold on a blank spot on your home screen and then tap Screen grid. By default it’s 4×4, but you can select 4×5 or 5×5. If you want more options, then consider installing another launcher.
How to boost sound quality
You should spend some time customizing your Galaxy S6’s sound profile. You’ll need to plug in headphones and find a quiet spot, then go to Settings > Sound & notifications > Sound quality and effects and tap Adapt Sound. You’ll also find a couple of nifty sound effects in here – SoundAlive+ is meant to create a surround sound effect, and Tube Amp simulates a tube amplifier sound.
How to find your lost Galaxy S6
Head into Settings > Lock screen and security > Find My Mobile and log in. You should find that Remote controls is on by default. This enables you to go to Samsung’s Find My Mobile website on any device, log in with your Samsung account details, and make your Galaxy S6 ring as loudly as possible.
You’ll also find options for Google location service which enables Google to track your phone. This means you can just type “find my phone” into Google if you’re logged in with your Google account and it will show you a map with your phone’s location.
The last option is Reactivation lock, which you’ll want to use to prevent people from reactivating your device without your Samsung account details.
Easy Mode, Force Restart, Wireless Charging, Cache and Camera Shutter
How to enable Easy Mode
If the Samsung Galaxy S6 is your first smartphone, or you just want less clutter on the screen, you should consider enabling the phone’s Easy Mode. Apps and text are larger in Easy Mode, and the Home screen layout is more streamlined, which makes contacts and apps like Email, Phone, and Camera easier to find.
You can turn on Easy Mode by going to Settings > Personal > Easy Mode. Scroll down the page, and you’ll find toggles for apps you want displayed in this particular mode. To return to the default mode, follow the previously mentioned steps, but choose Standard Mode instead.
How to trigger a Forced Restart
Unfortunately, there will be times when your device freezes, becomes unresponsive, or begins acting strange. At times like this, a forced restart is your best bet for a quick fix, and the way to trigger it is incredibly easy. Simply press and hold the Volume Down and Power/Lock buttons for several seconds and your Galaxy S6 will restart.
How to use Wireless Charging
The Samsung Galaxy S6 can be charged using the packed-in cable and plug, or you can charge the device wirelessly, which is likely the more convenient option. The Galaxy S6 supports universal wireless charging and is certified by the WPC (Wireless Power Consortium) and PMA (Power Matters Alliance), meaning it’ll work with most — if not all — charging pads you can buy. But if you need one at home or at work, you can order one from Samsung for $50.
How to clear the App Cache
The more time you spend with your Galaxy S6, the more the cache will build up. With time, the cache could impact on your device, compromising its performance and slowing it down. You should regularly clear the cache, not just to avoid sluggish performance, but because it may also be the fix you need for some smaller issues you may run into.
To clear the application cache, go to Settings > App Manager and choose the app you want to clear the cache for. Then, select Storage > Clear Cache. To clear the cache for all apps at once, go to Settings > Storage > Cached Data and hit OK when prompted.
How to turn off the Camera Shutter sound
Sometimes you want to take pictures without hearing the shutter sound. There are a few ways to do this, with the easiest way being to open the Camera app, tap the gear icon to open Settings, then scroll down until you find the Shutter sound option.
Depending on your carrier, this option may or may not be there. If it’s not, there are several apps you can download from the Google Play Store to achieve the same result. SilentCam Switch disables the shutter audio, for instance, and Silent Camera gives you an entirely separate camera app to use.