We reveal the best secret features hidden by Samsung in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, including tips and tricks for improving battery life, storage management, working with two apps at once and how to get started with the S7.
Just bought the new Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge (or perhaps exchanged your Note 7 for one of Sammy's less-combustible 2016 smartphones) and want to know how to get the most out of it? Samsung’s flagship has plenty of cool features hidden amongst the dross and here’s our pick of the most useful, in a handy tips and tricks-style guide.
How to use the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge comfortably with one hand
The Galaxy S7 is already a pretty comfortable handset to use with one hand, thanks to its relatively compact 5.1-inch design. However, if you’re still struggling to operate it without both mitts, or you opted for the super-sized 5.5-inch S7 Edge instead, then check out Samsung’s One Handed Mode.
Just head to the S7 or S7 Edge’s Settings, then scroll down to Advanced Features. In here you’ll find the ‘One-handed operation’ setting. In here you’ll find two options: ‘Reduced screen size’, which squashes the usable desktop to the bottom portion of the screen when your triple-tap the home button, and ‘One-handed input’ which moves the keyboard to one side of the screen. Enable whichever option you want with a quick tap.
Read next: Best cases for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
How to fit more shortcuts onto your Galaxy S7's desktops
If you've got loads of favourite apps or widgets and you want to fit more onto your S7's home screen or desktops, you can quickly and easily change the display grid size. To do this, press and hold your finger on a spare bit of desktop space and then tap the 'Screen grid' option that pops up.
The default setting is a 4x4 grid, allowing a maximum of 16 app shortcuts on each desktop. Instead select 5x5 and you can fit up to 25 shortcuts on your screen instead. Hit 'Apply' and you'll have loads more space to fill.
How to free up storage space on your Galaxy S7
Have you downloaded tons of apps or shot reams of 4K video on your new S7 and already run out of space? Then check out our quick and easy guide to managing storage on the S7, which also shows you how to quickly expand the available storage with a microSD memory card.
How to get better battery life when gaming with the Galaxy S7
If your S7 or S7 Edge is almost out of battery life but you’re still desperate to beat your high score on Flappy Bird, then try the Game Launcher’s Save Power mode to preserve your battery dregs.
Open the Game Launcher by tapping the icon in your apps tray, then tap the power modes option beneath the list of available games. There are three modes to choose from. ‘Save Power’ reduces the resolution of your game as well as knocking down the framerate to 30FPS. Or, if you’re almost out of juice entirely, you can choose the ‘Save Maximum Power’ option instead, which bumps the resolution down even lower. With that done, open your game through the Game Launcher and your chosen changes will take effect.
Learn more about the feature in our full Game Launcher review.
How to record your gameplay on the Galaxy S7 to upload to YouTube
Game Launcher can also be used to record any games you play on the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, complete with video commentary from yourself - great news if you’re into shooting Let’s Play vids. Just check out our Samsung Game Launcher feature to find out more.
How to use two apps at the same time on the Galaxy S7
If you want to watch a bit of YouTube as you check your emails, or perform some necessary web research while editing your documents, then the Galaxy S7’s split-screen multi-tasking mode will be your best friend.
Just tap the Recent Apps button beneath the Galaxy S7’s display and you’ll notice that many of your open apps have an icon that looks like two rectangles, to the left of the cross that closes them. Tap this icon on one of the apps you wish to multi-task with and it’ll pop up to fill half of the S7’s screen. On the bottom half you’ll see another list of apps. Poke one and it will open in the bottom half.
You can resize the windows by dragging the white circle between the two apps up and down.
How to copy music to the Galaxy S7
Struggling to transfer your tunes to your new Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge from your PC, Mac or iTunes account? Check out our complete guide to copying music onto the S7.
How to get rid of the Samsung Upday news widget on the Galaxy S7
The Upday news widget which appears when you swipe right from the Galaxy S7’s home desktop is really pretty rubbish, but thankfully it’s also easy to disable.
Just find a blank bit of desktop space and press and hold your finger on it. The desktop will shrink and you’ll find yourself in the edit mode, where you can add widgets and app shortcuts or change your S7’s wallpaper, for instance.
Flick right until you can see the Upday page. You’ll notice a toggle at the top, which simply reads ‘Upday’. Tap this and the Upday page will disappear. Job done.
How to tweak or disable Samsung’s Always On Display on the Galaxy S7
Another crap Samsung feature on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge is the Always On Display. This is good in theory, allowing you to quickly check the time and any waiting notifications without powering on the display, thus preserving battery life. However, the lack of notifications from any non-Samsung apps means that you won’t be warned of any waiting Gmail or WhatsApp messages, for instance.
As you’ll therefore end up constantly turning the screen on anyway, you might as well disable the Always On mode to save a bit of battery. To do this, just pull down your notifications tab by dragging your finger from the top of the screen. Then repeat the motion to pull up all of your power options. Tap the ‘Always On’ icon and the Always On Display mode will be disabled.
If you want to keep the Always On display, but wish to tweak the look of it, then head to your Settings and then Display. In here you'll find the 'Always on display' option. Give this a tap and you can change whether to display the time, your calendar or a pre-selected image (you have a choice of three).
How to disable Quick Charge on the Galaxy S7 to prevent battery overheating and damage
The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge support Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging, which means that the S7 phones charge up more quickly when using Samsung’s bundled cable and plug. However, if you usually charge your phone overnight, we’d recommend turning off fast charge to avoid any potential overheating issues or long-term battery damage.
To turn off Adaptive Fast Charging, head to the S7’s Settings menu and then tap the Battery section and scroll to the bottom. You’ll find the ‘Fast charging cable’ setting at the bottom. This is enabled by default, so tap it once to disable it.
Master the Galaxy S7’s camera modes with our complete guide
We really like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge’s 12-megapixel camera, but there are loads of bonus camera and video mode, and it’s difficult to know what each one does and when to use them. That’s why we’ve created a guide to the biggest Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge camera modes.
Check out our full Samsung Galaxy S7 camera review
How to use and disable Samsung's gesture features on the Galaxy S7
Head to the Galaxy S7's Settings and then scroll down to Advanced Features. In here you'll find toggles for all of Samsung's infamous gesture controls, which are still alive and kicking on the S7 (and enabled by default).
So for instance, you can capture a screenshot by swiping the edge of your hand from right to left across the screen. You can also call a contact simply by raising the S7 to your ear with their contact details on-screen. More usefully, you can mute your calls by flipping your phone over onto its screen.
How to uninstall Samsung's Good Lock launcher on the Galaxy S7
Samsung pushed out an update at the start of October 2016 that included its new own-brand launcher, called Good Lock. It dramatically alters the way the Galaxy S7's lock screen, notifications drawer and multi-tasking features look and behave.
Some might appreciate the huge amount of new customisation options it brings to the user experience, but if like many S7 owners it just stands as another app you didn't ask for, you might want to know how to uninstall it, and that's not immediately obvious.
As it doesn't come from the Google Play Store and there's no option to uninstall it from within the Galaxy Apps store or as you would other apps (tapping 'edit' followed by pressing the '-' icon from within your apps tray), you might find yourself at a loss.
To uninstall Good Lock (although you're more accurately just removing any updates for it and disabling it), open your apps tray and look for the Good Lock app itself. Open the app and instead of heading straight into the profile customisation menu, scroll to the bottom of the list and tap 'Uninstall'. You'll then be prompted for confirmation (just tap 'OK') before your S7 restarts and everything reverts back to the way it was. Then you can once again, breathe easy.
How to enable/disable the apps tray on the Galaxy S7
By default, Samsung's customised interface mirrors stock Android in that it keeps all of the app installed on your phone tucked away within the apps tray. Should you want to pin one to one of your home screens it's simply a case of pressing and holding on an app and then dragging and releasing your finger when you're happy with the placement.
If you'd rather have every app you've already installed live on a desktop and cut the apps tray out altogether, you also have the option available to you if you deep dive into the settings.
Open the settings menu, head to 'Advanced features', scroll down to 'Galaxy Labs' and under 'Show all apps on home screen' flip the toggle on to disable the apps drawer or off to re-enable it.
How to enable/disable Quick Dial on the Galaxy S7
Quick Dial lets you place a call simply by long-pressing the home button saying the name of the contact you want to call. As with enabling and disabling the apps tray, you can find the toggle to active/deactivate Quick Dial by going to Settings, Advanced features, Galaxy Labs.
See all of these Galaxy S7 tips and tricks in action in our video below:
Big thanks to Carphone Warehouse for our Galaxy S7 review sample. You can grab the S7 from Carphone now, from £36 per month or £569 SIM-free.