This story was originally published and last update .
Starting with a new smartphone can be a daunting task. If you only update every two to three years, it can be difficult to establish a routine and figure out what needs to be changed, removed, disabled or enabled on your phone, especially if you’re running a version of Android that you weren’t previously familiar with. Choosing a wallpaper, customizing your ringtones, downloading some must-have apps, and designing your home screen are a given, but what about all the settings and features hidden in menus that you may not even know were there to begin with? ? When I get a new phone, as my job often requires it, I’ve found that a few things can make a difference in my happiness, especially when it comes to feature-packed Samsung phones (where features are sometimes a bit too much) When I set up my Galaxy S20, I got down to business, and these are 20 of my top tweaks, tips, tricks, and changes I’ve made. Not everyone will be the right change for every person, but I hope you find some things here that you didn’t know or had forgotten.
1. Use the volume keys for the media
In 2020 I think it’s kind of silly for your volume control to do something but media volume control. We generally keep our phones in silent or vibrate mode, so controlling the system or notification noises with the volume control is quite useless. Samsung is one of the few phone OEMs that still doesn’t make the media the factory default volume control, but changing this is pretty simple: just press the volume control, tap the drop down arrow on the sound menu and enable “Use volume keys for media” in. At that point, you will be ready.
2. Order the app drawer alphabetically
This drives me nuts: Samsung sorts its app drawer grid in the launcher as a home screen – new things go to the bottom of the list, and you need to organize them. This makes no sense! To sort your apps alphabetically, simply open the app drawer, press the 3-dot menu in the upper right corner, and tap “Sort” to find the option to sort alphabetically. Better.
3. Expand the Home Screen and the App Drawer Icon Grid
By default, Samsung surprisingly allows few icons on the home screen grid, but with phones as big as now, there’s really no reason not to maximize your real estate. Touch and hold an empty area of the home screen, tap Home screen settings, and set the home screen and app layouts to the largest setting (5×6). So much space for activities!
4. Change the default browser to Chrome
This is a personal choice, but as much as Samsung’s internet browser can do, I can’t live without Chrome. If it is the same, you will want to access the default app settings (in the app area of settings … app) and change it to Chrome, otherwise all your links will open on Samsung internet.
5. Change the keyboard to Gboard
I consider this mandatory. Samsung’s virtual keyboard is really bad. The suggestions are slow, not very good, and the design just doesn’t seem to be especially good at predicting what your fingers are really looking for. Download Gboard and I can promise you it will never come back.
Based on factory settings, holding down the power key on your Galaxy S20 will not give you the expected options to … turn off (or restart) your phone. This is annoying and silly. To fix it, drag down the notification tone, press the power icon and at the bottom of the screen you will see the “Side Key Settings” button. From here, you can toggle the “Press and Hold” feature to open the power menu instead of Bixby, which, let’s be honest, is really how it should be set up anyway. Who uses Bixby?
7. Show battery% in status bar
I’m a bit smart on the battery, so knowing my exact battery percentage is a must on my phone. It’s easy enough to permanently add this to the phone’s status bar, just drop the notification tone, drop again to toggle the quick setting, and then hit the 3-dot menu button. You will find an “Status Bar” option, which has a lever to show the battery percentage reading. (I also recommend toggling the notification icons to “All notifications” if you want to see all your notifications in the status bar.)
8. Always show brightness slider in quick settings, disable media and device controls
In the same 3-dot menu where the status bar options are located, it’s one for quick panel layout. This allows you to toggle the brightness slider to appear every time the notification tone is opened, rather than just when the full Quick Settings appear. Also at this point, in general, I choose to disable the interface of media controls and devices, because in my opinion it is quite useless, and only takes up space in the notification tone.
9. Turn off Samsung weather notifications
Do you use the Google app? Does it send you weather notifications? So you don’t need a second app to send you another notification for the same weather you’re already receiving. Just go to the Settings app area, search for “Weather” and turn off all notifications from the app. This will not affect the weather widget on the home screen, it only prevents unnecessary notifications about information you don’t need a second time.
10. Increase the screen timeout
Samsung sets the screen timeout for their phones at 30 seconds, which I find annoyingly conservative (may be weird). I generally go into the display settings and set it up in 5 or 10 minutes.
11. Change display to 120Hz refresh
Your Galaxy S20 has a sleek, smooth and buttery 120Hz display. You should use it! Samsung has the Galaxy S20 series in 60Hz update mode by default, because the phone’s battery life is significantly better in this mode. But with a 4000 mAh battery even in the smallest S20, I think it’s going to be fine for most people to use the phone at 120 Hz, and as a result I haven’t seen a really ridiculous drop in estimated usage. Some people say they really can’t see the difference with 120Hz enabled, and if so, it’s better to leave it, but for those of us who do, this is the point of no return. I must have high update phones forever now.
12. Decrease screen “zoom” or font size to show more content
If your vision is not so good, it is probably not good, but for me it is a necessity. Samsung’s default font scale is comically large for my eyes, so I always go into the display settings and lower it a bit. The screen looks less crowded and, uh, less designed for someone in their 70s.
13. Disable edge panels
Samsung’s edge screen feature was always a little weird. I know a few people who love it, but I think it’s something I can accidentally open when I’m going to swipe near the edge of the screen, especially when you enable Android 10 gesture navigation (which is my next tip). Just go to Settings and look for “edge panels” and you will quickly find the toggle to disable them.
For me, there is simply no going back to traditional navigation keys. I have to use gesture navigation now, forever. Enabling it is quite simple: go to Settings and look for “navigation type”, and select full screen gestures. I disabled the “tracks” as I didn’t find them necessary. Android 10 gesture navigation is so intuitive once you’ve used it for a few days, I suggest you give it a try. Change is difficult, but I have not found a single person who has not completely converted once they really gave them an honest try.
15. Enable swiping from the home screen to the notification panel
The Samsung launcher on the Galaxy S20 opens the app giveaway if you swipe up or down on the home screen, but this is easily changed: open the home screen settings and look for the “Swipe down to the notification panel. ” I also disable app icon badges (pretty useless!) While I’m here, and Samsung has a few other options, like landscape mode, that you might want to enable.
16. Turn off smart alert vibrations
Smart alert is a well-intentioned but very annoying feature of Samsung smartphones. Basically, the smart alert will vibrate when you pick up your phone if you received any calls or messages while your phone was idle. I find it disturbing, on the one hand, and somewhat useless, on the other. If I’m picking up my phone, I’m going to see my notifications, I don’t need a reminder! Also, any unnecessary phone buzz is a bad buzz.
17. Disable putting unused apps to sleep
Samsung’s energy saving protocols for One UI employ a behavior called the “sleeping” app that I don’t particularly like. In short, this suspension will cause infrequently used applications to have severely limited (or indeed not) ability to run in the background. The idea here is for people to install a bunch of apps that they never use, and those apps together create an incremental battery drain with their various background and registration processes that reduce the longevity of your phone. For those with limited smartphone knowledge, that may be a good idea, but for me, the thought that I might miss an app notification because my phone decided I didn’t need that app in order to wake up deep down causes significant paranoia. Which leads to my next adjustment.
18. Turn off power optimization for Google Photos
Google Photos is one of my favorite apps, and its near-instantaneous cloud backup feature is one of my favorite features of that app. Except that since Android started queuing up background tasks more aggressively with the “battery optimization” feature, those charges may not start for hours after taking a photo. This kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing. Fortunately, you can disable this behavior by application. This is a hard-to-find type of setup, and it’s not where you’d probably think. Go to Settings and look for “Optimize battery usage” which should take you to the special access menu. Press optimize battery usage, then tap “App not optimized” and select “All”. So, Find Photos and put it in the off position. Now your photos and videos will be uploaded as soon as they are taken, as Google Photos intended.
19. lower notification vibration intensity
One of my least favorite things about the Samsung phone is its shrill default vibrating force for notifications, it’s actually noisy. Compared to the smooth haptics of the Pixel line, it always takes me a while to get used to, but one way to make it a little less aggressive is to go to Settings for sounds and vibrations and set the vibration intensity for notifications to Minimum level. Even at its lowest setting, it’s still pretty loud, but it’s noticeably less irritating to my ears. It’s a small thing in the big scheme, but I think it makes using my phone less stressful. I can’t bear putting it in complete silence, so this is the best compromise I can handle.
20. Turn off Samsung Daily
Samsung Daily, or the artist formerly known as the Bixby panel, is Samsung’s version of a Google Discover-y feed kind of thing. Some people may like it, but I don’t need an app that I never intend to interact with using data and RAM living on my home screen. Just touch and hold the home screen, slide to the Samsung Daily panel, and you’ll see a switch at the top to turn it off. It’s a little hard to find if you don’t know where to look, and I assumed it was there until someone pointed it out to me.