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Galaxy S7 tips and tricks

Master your Samsung smartphone with these handy Galaxy S7 tips and tricks

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a beautiful smartphone with all kinds of hidden depths that may not be immediately obvious. We’re here to help you unlock the true potential of this excellent phone with advice on the core basics, the essential functions and some of the more obscure capabilities. Don’t be content to own a great phone, make sure you’re getting the most out of it with our tempting menu of Galaxy S7 tips and tricks. These tips will also work on the S7 Edge, but if you opted for the curved cousin, then check out our Galaxy S7 Edge tips and tricks as well.

Our first tip is to snag one of the best Galaxy S7 cases to keep your phone protected. If you do encounter an issue with your S7, then check out our guide to Galaxy S7 problems and how to fix them.

How to customize your S7

How to customize your home screens

Just tap and hold on any empty space on your home screen to bring up the customization menu. You can actually tap and hold, then drag whole home screens into the recycle bin at the top to get rid of them. You can also add more home screens, tweak your screen grid size to fit more on, or make it smaller to get bigger icons, plus change themes, pick wallpapers, and set up widgets. Scroll over to the left and you’ll find the option to turn the Flipboard or Upday briefing page on or off. Long pressing on a widget will often let you resize it.

You can always use your own photos as wallpaper by going into the Gallery app and tapping the three vertical dots at the top right to open the menu, then tapping Set as wallpaper. You might want to check out the best wallpaper apps for some inspiration.

How to customize your settings

It will save you a lot of time if you customize your settings. Swipe down from the top to open the notification shade and tap the three vertical dots at the top right, then tap Edit to decide on the Quick settings toggles you want to be displayed, and in what order they’re shown.

You can do the same thing in the standard settings menu to ensure your most commonly accessed settings are the first thing you see. Open up Settings and tap Edit at the top right, and you can choose what gets displayed at the top.

How to use Always On Display

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you go to Settings > Display, you’ll find that you can turn on Always On Display and decide what content it should show. This means that things like the time, date, battery level, incoming emails, and missed calls can be displayed on the screen, even when the screen is off and your phone is locked. Unfortunately, it can’t display notifications from third-party apps, only Samsung apps, so it won’t show notifications from things like Hangouts, Facebook, or Snapchat.

How to use Do not disturb

You can schedule times when your S7 should remain quiet, so as not to wake you or disturb when you’re busy. Go to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Do not disturb and you can set a schedule for different days so that your S7 will remain silent during specific hours. Tap on Allow exceptions at the bottom to find more handy options, such as making sure calls from specific loved ones or repeat callers who may be trying to reach you with important news will get through, even when Do not disturb is turned on. You can also access Do not disturb in the quick settings in your notification shade.

How to organize your apps

Did you know that you can prevent newly installed apps from automatically adding their icon to your home screen? Open up the Play Store and tap the three horizontal lines at the top left and choose Settings, then uncheck Add icon to Home screen.

You can also clean up your home screen by organizing apps into folders. Drag an app icon on top of another and drop it to create a folder. When you open a folder, you’ll see the option to change the name and color at the top. You knew that, right? But did you know the same thing can be done in your app drawer? It can, just by tapping Edit at the top right and then dragging and dropping as before.

How to set default applications

When you have multiple applications that can perform the same task you’ll be asked which one you want to use going forward, and end up setting it as the default option, just to stop seeing that annoying message. What happens if you change your mind, or find a new messaging app you really want to try out. Simply go to Settings > Apps and tap the menu (three vertical dots) at the top right, then Default apps and you can see a list of apps you’ve set as defaults for different things and change them.

How to get rid of apps you don’t want

Bloatware can be a real issue with modern smartphones, so you might be interested in how to get rid of apps you don’t want. The quickest way is to open the app drawer and tap on the three vertical dots at the top right and then Edit. You can tap on anything you don’t intend to use and uninstall or disable it. You can also go into individual apps via Settings > Apps and tap on All apps at the top where you’ll find a tab called Disabled which lists all your disabled apps, so you can easily enable them again if you change your mind.

How to use split-screen multitasking

If you want to use the split screen feature and have two apps on screen at once, then you can hold the multitasking or recent apps button down and you’ll see a list of compatible apps. You can also see which ones support split screen by looking for a double rectangle icon next to the X to close apps in the recent apps list. Tap on it and split screen will open with that app in the top and a list of the others that are compatible on the bottom.

Hit the white dot to expand your menu of options and switch apps, maximize them, resize them, or drag and drop content between them.

How to turn off app permissions

A lot of apps ask for permissions that they really don’t need in order to function properly. Some apps will track your location or take a peek at your calendar, others want access to your camera and microphone for no discernible reason. It feels like developers will often ask for whatever they can get away with. You don’t have to accept it anymore. Go to Settings> Apps and tap the menu (three vertical dots) at the top right, then App permissions and you can see them organized by category and toggle off anything you don’t like the look of.

Camera, storage, and battery life

How to quick launch the camera

Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

The 12-megapixel camera on the S7 is lightning fast and a great performer in low light conditions, but how do you make sure that you don’t miss those spontaneous moments? Samsung’s quick launch function allows you to double tap the Home button to launch the camera. It works from anywhere, even if your S7’s screen is off and the phone is locked. It should be on by default, but if it doesn’t work for you, then open up the Camera app and tap the cog to access Camera settings, then toggle on Quick launch.

How to take a screenshot

Taking a screenshot on your Galaxy S7 is easy. Simply press the Power and the Home buttons down together and you’ll hear the capture noise and see a wee animation indicating that it has worked. Alternatively, take a screenshot by swiping the edge of your palm across the screen, but you’ll have to turn this feature on via Settings > Advanced features > Palm swipe to capture.

Another option in that Advanced features menu worth checking is called Smart capture. Turn it on and you’ll see icons pop up at the bottom of the screen when you take a screenshot. The plus icon enables you to capture more by scrolling down — handy for webpages — the Share icon is obviously for sharing via email or whatever, and the Crop button allows you to cut it down to size and save it in your gallery.

By default, all screenshots go into a separate album in your gallery app, helpfully named Screenshots.

How to take photos and video hands-free

Open up the camera and tap the cog to access Camera settings and you have the option of Voice control, which lest you take a picture by saying Smile, Cheese, Capture, or Shoot. You can also say Record video to, you guessed it, record video. Take a look in Ways to take pictures and you’ll find Gesture control which allows you to trigger a short countdown to a photo by holding your hand out with your palm facing the camera.

How to fit more into your selfies

Image used with permission by copyright holder

You can get a wider selfie shot to fit a crowd of people or a great backdrop into your photo by selecting the front camera and then swiping left to right to open the modes menu and choosing Wide selfie.

How to take better photos

S7 pro mode
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you know your way around a camera, then swipe left to right in the camera app and select Pro from the available modes. You can now change the ISO settings, white balance, aperture level, and more. The Auto mode is generally very good, but some people will appreciate the ability to tweak.

How to boost your storage

You can check remaining storage via Settings > Device maintenance > Storage. You can choose to clear space, or you can tap the three vertical dot menu at the top right and choose Storage settings to get the usual Android breakdown. If you tap Cached data in here, you can delete it to clear space.

If you slide the SIM card tray out, you’ll find there’s space for a MicroSD card, and the S7 can take up to a 200GB card. Apps will be installed into internal storage by default, but go to Settings > Apps and tap on apps you’ve installed, then tap Storage > Change and you might find the option to Change storage location to SD card.

Make sure that your photos are being saved to your MicroSD card by opening the camera and tapping the cog icon to open Camera settings > Storage location and choose SD card.

How to save battery life

If you look in Settings > Device maintenance > Battery, you’ll find the option to analyze Battery usage and find out which apps and services are draining your power. There are two modes that help you save battery by cutting back on some S7 functions, the basic Mid Power saving mode is fairly unobtrusive or you can go for the Max power saving mode, which really cuts functionality and performance for emergencies.

There’s also a special Save power option that can put power guzzling apps to sleep. This will prevent them from getting updates until you open them again.

How to use Google Assistant

Google Assistant allows you to search for information, pose questions, and a lot more. All you need to do to launch it is long press the Home button on your S7. If it’s your first time using it, then you’ll be prompted to say “OK, Google” and teach it to recognize your voice. You can find out more in our guide to Google Assistant.

How to use Smart Lock

Having to enter a PIN or pattern, or even scan your fingerprint, to unlock your phone every time can be a pain, but in some situations, you still want the security. Smart Lock lets you set exceptions. Go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Secure lock settings > Smart Lock and you can set trusted devices, trusted places, trusted voice, or on-body detection. That means you can configure your S7, so that when it is connected to your Bluetooth headphones, for example, or your home Wi-Fi network, it will unlock automatically without the usual PIN.

How to take and end calls with hardware buttons

Samsung Galaxy S7
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

It can be quite handy to answer a call by pressing the Home button or end it by pressing Power, instead of having to use the onscreen controls. If you want to be able to do this, go to Settings > Accessibility > Answering and ending calls and toggle the options on.

Keyboard, notifications, data, and sound

How to type quietly

Do you really need a sound effect or a vibration every time you type a letter? It’s annoying, and it’s an extra drain on battery life. Go to Settings > Sounds and vibration and consider turning off Keyboard sound and Keyboard vibration. You should also turn off Touch sounds and Screen lock sounds while you’re in there.

How to swipe type

If you want to be able to type more easily one-handed, then you might want to turn on the swipe option. It allows you to drag your thumb or finger from letter to letter without lifting it off the screen. You can either tap the gear icon on the bottom row of the keyboard or go to Settings > General management > Language and input > Virtual keyboard > Samsung keyboard, then you want to find the Keyboard swipe option and choose Continuous input.

How to turn off auto replace

Sometimes you’ll type out a message and quickly hit send only to receive a puzzled reply, because the overzealous Samsung autocorrect has switched a word. We’ve all done it, but you can make sure that it doesn’t happen again. If you take a look in Settings > General management > Language and input > Virtual keyboard > Samsung keyboard you’ll see a few options listed under Smart typing. The most annoying by far is Auto replace in Predictive text. If it thinks you’ve typed a word wrong, it will substitute it for a word of its own choosing. Tap on it and turn it off. You can also tap the arrow on the right of the word suggestion box when you’re typing to find a quick toggle for Auto replace.

How to get rid of unwanted word suggestions

Predictive text can be a great time saver. You’ll see word suggestions popping up in a box under your message as you type, and you can tap the arrow at the right to find more. It learns the words we type in, but there are some examples that you might not want to repeatedly show up. If you see a word you don’t want it to suggest, then tap and hold on it, then tap OK to remove it from learned words. If you prefer to do without altogether, just go to Settings > General management > Language and input > Virtual keyboard > Samsung keyboard and toggle Predictive text off.

How to manage notifications

If you want to dictate which apps should be allowed to send notifications, you can do it in Settings > Notifications. You’ll see a list of apps, and you can just toggle them on and off. If you tap Advanced in the top right, then you can go into detailed notification settings for each app and decide whether they should appear on the lock screen, be set as a priority, or show preview pop-ups at the top of the screen.

You can also deal with individual apps when notifications pop up. Simply tap and hold on the notification you don’t like, and tap the “i” icon on the right to jump straight to the notification settings for that app.

How to limit data usage

If you have a data limit every month, then it’s well worth setting your Galaxy S7 up so that you receive a warning when you’re approaching the limit. Go to Settings > Connections > Data usage and toggle on Set mobile data limit. You can drag the black line to serve up a warning when your limit is close. The red line will set a hard limit, which will automatically turn your mobile data off when you reach it. It’s a good way to avoid overage charges. You can also tap the dates at the top to change the date range to match your contract.

How to control Wi-Fi connections

You may find that your Galaxy S7 quickly connects to any Wi-Fi network or hotspot it can find, even if you don’t want it to. After all, open Wi-Fi networks can be dangerous. For the sake of security and privacy, you should choose which Wi-Fi networks your Galaxy S7 can access. Go to Settings > Connections > Data usage and select Restrict networks. You’ll see a full list of the networks your S7 has recognized, and you can block access to any that you don’t trust.

How to print from your S7

You can print things like webpages directly from your Galaxy S7. To do this in Chrome, simply tap the three vertical dots in the top right, tap Share, and select Print. Then, tap Save as PDF at the top and choose All printers. Your S7 will search for printers nearby. If it doesn’t work, however, you might need to install a plugin. You can do that via Settings > Connections > More connection settings > Printing > Download plug-in. Google Cloud Print works well, but you can also get plugins from specific printer manufacturers.

How to download files faster

If you want to download a file in a hurry, then you can use the Download booster. It speeds things up by using Wi-Fi and your mobile connection at the same time. To turn it on, go to Settings > Connections > More connection settings > Download booster. If the option doesn’t appear, then your carrier has probably disabled it.

How to use the Equalizer

You can change the audio settings on your Galaxy S7 by going into Settings > Sounds and vibration and scrolling down to the bottom to find Sound quality and effects. You’ll find an Equalizer at the top and you can tap on it to choose preset options for different types of music. You can also turn the dials or tap Advanced to get adjustable sliders and set up your own Custom profile.

How to tailor sound for you

Below the equalizer, you’ll see a handful of options like UHQ Upscaler, Surround, Tube Amp Pro, and Concert hall. The first three only work if you have headphones plugged in. You can also scroll down to the bottom in Settings > Sounds and vibration > Sound quality and effects to find Adapt Sound. Connect your headphones and work through the instructions to tailor your Galaxy S7’s sound for your ears.

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Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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