Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is unsurprisingly rammed full of all kinds of bonus features and a lot of the best bits can take some serious digging to find. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favourite Samsung features, old and new, for this tips and tricks guide.
Check out our coverage of Samsung’s MWC 2018 launches to see everything that happened, including our full hands-on reviews.
SmartThings on the Galaxy S9
If you have a lot of smart home gadgetry scattered around your house, the Galaxy S9 can help with that. Samsung’s new SmartThings app is like Apple’s Home, acting as a hub to all of your connected gear.
Just log in with your Samsung account and you can quickly pair up with a range of smart bulbs, speakers, TVs and so on. Right now there’s not a massive selection of connected goodies supported by SmartThings. However, we’re hoping that this will change sooner rather than later.
Another new feature that Samsung added to the S9 is the landscape desktops. This switches the orientation of your icons and other bits when you hold the phone sideways, so you don’t need to keep twisting the S9 around when skipping between apps like Netflix and YouTube.
You’ll need to actually activate this feature if you want to use it, however. Just head into the settings menu and then tap Display, and then Home Screen, and Portrait Mode Only. Make sure that’s deactivated and you’re good to go.
Galaxy S9 display customisation
Packed away in that Display section of the settings you’ll find all kinds of other great features, which are well worth checking out. For instance, the Full Screen Apps option allows you to expand the view of any apps which aren’t compatible with the Galaxy S9’s 18.5:9 aspect ratio.
And if you dive into the Navigation Bar section, you can swap around the order of those virtual buttons and even change up the colour.
By default, the Galaxy S9 can display some useful info even when it’s hibernating. This includes handy stuff like any waiting notifications, the battery level and the time and date.
To customise the always-on display or simply turn it off, head to the Lock Screen section and scroll down. From here you can schedule which times it displays and configure exactly what information is shown.
Easier one-handed use with the Galaxy S9
The Galaxy S9 is pretty compact for a 5.8-incher, but it still ain’t small. And if you’re struggling to use it one-handed, don’t worry. Samsung has you covered.
Just head to the Advanced Features section of the settings and then tap the one-handed mode option. From here you can reduce the active display size with a quick swipe or by quickly tapping the home button three times. Either way, this will pull down your desktops and apps to make them easier to fiddle with.
Back in that Advanced Features section, you can also turn on the ‘finger sensor gesture’ feature. With this activated, you can drag down the notifications bar with a flick of your digit on that rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. Very handy if you’re once again struggling with just the one mitt.
The Game Launcher is a great little feature for fast-fingered obsessives who like to blast baddies and tear around racetracks on their smartphones.
First, head to the Advanced Features section of the settings menu again. In here you can activate the Game Launcher, which adds the app to your Galaxy S9. You can add any games that you download so they’re all contained in one handy hub, and do loads more besides. For instance, you can stop any notifications in their tracks when you’re gaming, or stream your session straight to YouTube or Twitch.
Galaxy S9 Camera tips
If you want to take an impromptu snap, don’t worry about unlocking the phone and fumbling about for the camera app. Just double-tap the power button, even when the Galaxy S9 is hibernating, and you’ll be straight into the camera, ready to shoot.
This handy shortcut can be activated by heading to the Advanced Features and then tapping the ‘quick launch camera’ option.
The Galaxy S9 has a few new camera features packed away inside, including a nifty Super Slow Motion mode and the AR Emojis feature. We’ve shown these off in our full S9 camera tips and tricks guide so go check that out for all you need to know.