The new Samsung Galaxy S4 is undoubtedly an immensely powerful and capable flagship Android smartphone, but we’ve thought up a few tips and tricks to make your experience of using it, even better.
Tip 1: Turn on smart features
Some advanced features on the Galaxy S4 aren’t switched on by default, so how do you make sure you get all the smarts out of this brainbox of a device?
There are two ways, the easiest being to pull down the notifications bar. In the top right is a button with four small squares and a two-way arrow. Tap it to reveal the full list of smart features. From here, you can toggle nearly all 20 of them either on or off as you see fit.
The second way, although longer, is considerably more comprehensive.
Jump into the settings, select the My Device tab at the top, scroll right to the bottom of the list and from here you’ll find all the smart features underneath ‘Motion and Gestures’, including options for Smart Screen and Air View.
We recommend the second, longer method for beginners, as you’ll also see a detailed description of what each smart feature does.
Tip 2: Air View
Without a doubt our favourite smart feature is Air View. This registers a finger hover as an additional means of interacting with your screen.
Turn it on as described in the last tip. Once on, you’ll be able to hover over a gallery album to peek into it, hover over a calendar entry to expand it or hover on part of a web page to magnify it.
There are in fact a number of other ways in which you can interact with the S4 using Air View, so be sure to check out the Air View settings in the My Device menu for a complete run down of its functions.
Tip 3: Turn off Smart Features
Once you’ve figure out which Smart Features you love, turn off the ones that you don’t.
Despite your Galaxy S4 featuring a 1.9GHz quad-core processor and it being the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU at that, it’s still packing a finite amount of processing power.
To ensure the best battery life, smoothest swiping and fastest 3D gaming, pull down your notifications bar and un-toggle all those unused features. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.
Tip 4: Customise your lock screen
If you’re anything like us you’ll probably want to change the Galaxy S4’s default lock screen. As nice as the words ‘Life Companion’ are, we preferred the far more functional clock, lock screen shortcuts and widgets in its place.
The process is a little convoluted so watch the video for the best explanation. Here’s a step by step for setting everything as you like:
- Open Settings
- Select the ‘My Device’ tab
- Tap on the ‘Lock screen’ option
- Tap on ‘Lock screen widgets’
- Tap on ‘Clock or personal message’
- Tap ‘Clock’ and then hit the save button in the top right
- Go back to the ‘Lock screen’ menu
- Tick the ‘Multiple widgets’ box
- Then again tap ‘Lock screen widgets’
- Flip the toggle for ‘Favourite apps or camera’ into the ‘on’ position
- Go back to the ‘Lock screen’ once more
- Flip the ‘Shortcuts’ toggle to ‘on’
- Open the ‘Shortcuts’ menu
- Customise which apps will appear on your lock screen
Once you’ve tweaked and tuned, lock and unlock your device to see your new, more functional lock screen.
Tip 5: Organise your apps tray
If it isn’t clear, there are a ton of organisational capabilities across the Galaxy S4 UI, but knowing how to tidy all your apps away isn’t immediately apparent.
Organising your apps tray is a game of folders. To create one, from within the apps tray, press the menu button, followed by ‘Create folder’. Following this name the folder, something like ‘Social Media’ or ‘Games’ and hit ‘OK’ to create it.
Once a folder is created, you’ll want to fill it with apps. Once again, press menu and tap ‘Edit’, long press an app, then drag it into a folder. Twenty minutes later and you should have a much tidier, more manageable Samsung Galaxy S4.