Whether you bought a Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, or Galaxy S10e, you have a powerful device in your hands. There’s so much these phones can do, but many features aren’t toggled on by default. We’ve gone through all the menus and rounded up the key settings you’ll want to change to get the most out of your new phone.
First, you need to know the fastest way to access the Settings menu — swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the gear icon that sits at the very top right of the notification drawer. Alternatively, swipe up from the home screen to open the App Drawer and find the Settings app.
Show more notification icons and battery percentage
The hole-punch camera sits at the top of all three of these phones — it’s the name for the floating selfie camera on the top right. Like phones with notches, it means you’re getting a little less space on the Android status bar for notification icons or even the battery percentage. By default, the phones will only show three of the most recent notification icons and no battery percentage, so here is how to change it.
- Head to Settings > Notifications > Status bar and tap on All notifications. Now you’ll be able to see multiple notification icons in the status bar instead of just three.
- Below All notifications, you will see an option to toggle on Show battery percentage. Turn this on and it will be easier to gauge how much battery life you have left.
Swipe down to open the notification panel
On the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, you can swipe your finger on the fingerprint scanner to pull down the notification drawer. Since there is no fingerprint scanner on the back of the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus anymore, you will have to settle for just swiping down anywhere on the home screen to pull the drawer down, instead of having to swipe down from the very top (which can be hard to reach).
- Go to Settings > Display > Home screen > and toggle on Quick-open notification panel.
Now just swipe down from anywhere on the home screen to pull down the notification drawer. This also works on the Galaxy S10e, which has a capacitive fingerprint scanner.
Turn on finger sensor gestures (S10e only)
Because the Galaxy S10e has a traditional fingerprint scanner (albeit on the side of the phone), you can swipe your thumb down or up on it to control the notification drawer.
- Head to Settings > Advanced features > Motions and gestures and toggle on Finger sensor gestures.
It’s a handy way to open the drawer without having to move your thumb much. Tap on Finger sensor gestures, and you’ll also see an option to open Samsung Pay by swiping up on the sensor on the home screen. Feel free to toggle this on if you think you’ll use it often.
Max out the screen resolution (S10 and S10 Plus only)
The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus have big, beautiful screens. Sadly, by default, they are set to a lower, Full HD+ resolution (2,280 x 1,080). You can leave the screen at this resolution if you want to conserve battery life, but swap it to WQHD+ (3,040 x 1,440) if you want the best experience possible.
- Go to Settings > Display > Screen resolution and tap on the WQHD+ option.
You’ll see there’s also an HD+ (1,520 x 720) option if you really want to save battery life. This setting does not exist for the Galaxy S10e, which only has a Full HD+ (2,280 x 1,440) resolution.
Make Face Recognition a little more secure
The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus have ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors, which means the sensors sit under the glass on the front of the screen. These sensors are secure, and can be used to access sensitive apps like the one for your bank or to authenticate payments using Samsung Pay. The Galaxy S10e only can only rely on its capacitive fingerprint sensor. All three phones, however, also have another way to unlock the phone — facial recognition. It’s not a secure tool, though. It’s purely for convenience, and to unlock your phone from the lockscreen.
By default, Samsung enables Faster recognition so the technology reacts quickly, but this is to the detriment of security — the facial recognition tech can be fooled with just a photograph of your face. Disable this, and it will be a little tougher to spoof the camera, but it still won’t be anywhere close to being as secure as Apple’s Face ID.
- Head to Settings > Biometrics and security > Face recognition (if you’ve already set it up) and toggle off Faster recognition. Now the tech won’t be as easy to fool and it will only take a few milliseconds longer, but remember it’s still not the most secure biometric option on these phones.
If you want to jump straight to the home screen after the camera recognizes your face, you can toggle off Stay on Lock screen in this same menu.
Always show the Always On Display
What’s the point of an Always On Display if it’s not always on, right? By default, the Always On Display, which shows the time, date, battery status, and notifications when your phone screen is off, isn’t set to be on all the time. Here’s how to change that.
- Go to Settings > Lock screen > Always On Display and scroll down to find and tap on Display mode. Tap on Show always to always see it. You can opt for Tap to show, and the Always On Display will pop up for 30 seconds, or you can set it to Show as scheduled.
In this settings menu, you can also toggle on Show music information to control music playback from the Always On Display.
Get rid of the traditional navigation bar for full-screen gestures
Samsung went to great lengths to slim down the bezels surrounding the beautiful Dynamic AMOLED screen on all three smartphones, so why ruin it with the traditional Android navigation bar? If you want to maximize your screen real estate, there’s a way in the settings.
- Head to Settings > Display > Navigation bar and tap on Full screen gestures. Now you just need to swipe your fingers up on where the traditional Android navigation buttons used to be to complete the action. Swiping in the middle, for example, will replicate tapping the home button.
- Toggle off Gesture hints if you want a cleaner look as well.
Our preference is to also follow the button layout all other Android phones use, which is “Back, Home, Recents.” Samsung phones have long used “Recents, Home, Back,” so if you’re used to this, don’t change it, but if you want the more common layout, you can change the button order in the same settings menu.
Customize Bixby Routines
A new feature in Samsung’s trio of smartphones is Bixby Routines, which doesn’t really have much to do with Bixby (the virtual assistant) other than it being in the name. Bixby Routines are very similar to IFTTT (if this, then that) actions if you’ve ever used them before — you can set different profiles for your phone that can be triggered by certain actions. For example, when you arrive home, you can set your phone to turn on volume alerts, and have different app shortcuts show up on the lock screen.
- Access Bixby Routines by heading to Settings > Advanced features > Bixby Routines. There are a handful of recommended routines you can turn on and edit, or you can tap the “+” sign and create a custom one.
Toggle on volume keys for media
Want to use the volume keys to control media volume by default? It’s handy if you want to quickly adjust volume before playing a song or video on your phone, instead of only changing the volume after something has started playing.
- Go to Settings > Sounds and vibration and toggle on Use Volume keys for media.
- You can also toggle this on by tapping on the volume rocker, and swiping down on the volume settings that pop up.
Schedule the Blue Light filter and Night Mode
The Dynamic AMOLED screens on the new phones natively reduce blue light emission by 42 percent, which is genuinely helpful as too much blue light at night can affect sleep, which can have adverse effects on health. But if you still want to use the blue light filter on the phones, you can schedule them to turn on automatically either at a certain time or just from sunset to sunrise. Samsung’s new One UI software also has a Night mode you can use for darker themes throughout the operating system, which helps when you use the phone at night in the dark.
- To schedule the blue light filter, head to Settings > Display > Blue light filter and tap on Sunset to sunrise.
- To enable a darker theme throughout the user interface, go to Settings > Display > Night mode and tap on Turn on now. If you want the white interface back during the daytime, you can tap on Turn on as scheduled and set Night mode to kick in from sunset to sunrise.
Enable Smart Stay
Smart Stay is a feature that has been available in Samsung’s phones for quite some time. Essentially, as long as your eyes are glued to the screen, the display won’t time out and turn off.
- Turn on Smart Stay by heading to Settings > Advanced features > Motions and gestures and toggle on Smart stay.
There are several other neat features in this menu, or even in Advanced features, that you may want to check out — like Lift to wake and Double tap to wake up — but these should all be on by default.
These are our picks for the key settings you’ll want to change as soon as you set up your new Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, or S10e. Enjoy your new phone!