The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a beautiful smartphone with all kinds of hidden depths that may not be immediately obvious. We’re here to help you unlock the true potential of this excellent phone with advice on the core basics, the essential functions and some of the more obscure capabilities. Don’t be content to own a great phone, make sure you’re getting the most out of it with our tempting menu of Galaxy S7 tips and tricks.
Just tap and hold on any empty space on your home screen to bring up the customization menu. You can actually tap and hold, then drag whole home screens into the recycle bin at the top to get rid of them. You can also add more home screens, tweak your screen grid size to fit more on, or make it smaller to get bigger icons, plus change themes, pick wallpapers, and set up widgets. Scroll over to the left and you’ll find the option to turn the Flipboard briefing page on or off. Long pressing on a widget will often let you resize it.
How to customize your settings
It will save you a lot of time if you customize your settings. Swipe down from the top to open the notification shade and tap the wee arrow at the top right, then tap Edit to decide on the Quick settings toggles you want displayed and in what order they’re shown.
You can do the same thing in the standard settings menu to ensure your most commonly accessed settings are the first thing you see. Open up Settings and tap Edit at the top right, and you can choose what gets displayed at the top.
How to use Always On Display
If you go to Settings > Display, you’ll find that you can turn on Always On Display and decide what content it should show. This means that things like the time, date, battery level, incoming emails, and missed calls can be displayed on the screen, even when the screen is off and your phone is locked. Unfortunately, it can’t display notifications from third-party apps, only Samsung apps, so it won’t show notifications from things like Hangouts, Facebook, or Snapchat.
How to set multiple Lock screen wallpapers
You can actually set up multiple images to act as your lock screen wallpaper on the S7 and have them rotate. Go to Settings > Wallpaper and select Lock screen from the drop down menu at the top, then tap From Gallery and you can pick up to 30 different photos.
How to use Do not disturb
You can schedule times when your S7 should remain quiet, so as not to wake you or disturb when you’re busy. Go to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Do not disturb and you can set a schedule for different days so that your S7 will remain silent during specific hours. Tap on Allow exceptions at the bottom to find more handy options, such as making sure calls from specific loved ones or repeat callers who may be trying to reach you with important news will get through, even when Do not disturb is turned on.
How to organize your apps
Did you know that you can prevent newly installed apps from automatically adding their icon to your home screen? Open up the Play Store and tap the three horizontal lines in the top left and choose Settings, then uncheck Add icon to Home screen.
You can also clean up your home screen by organizing apps into folders. Drag an app icon on top of another and drop it to create a folder. When you open a folder, you’ll see the option to change the name and color at the top. You knew that right? But did you know the same thing can be done in your app drawer? It can, just by tapping Edit at the top right and then dragging and dropping as before.
If you’d rather just get rid of the app drawer altogether and have everything on your home screen, go to Settings > Advanced features > Galaxy Labs and toggle on Show all apps on home screen. Just don’t let the Android fanboys find out.
How to set default applications
When you have multiple applications that can perform the same task you’ll be asked which one you want to use going forward, and end up setting it as the default option, just to stop seeing that annoying message. What happens if you change your mind, or find a new messaging app you really want to try out. Simply go to Settings > Applications > Default applications and you can see a list of apps you’ve set as defaults for different things and change them. You can also change your launcher in here, by tapping on Home screen, which is great if you don’t like Samsung’s TouchWiz.
How to get rid of apps you don’t want
Bloatware can be a real issue with modern smartphones, so you might be interested in how to get rid of apps you don’t want. The quickest way is to open the app drawer and tap Edit at the top right. You can tap on anything you don’t intend to use and uninstall or disable it. You can also go into individual apps via Settings > Applications > Application manager, where you’ll find a tab called Disabled which lists all your disabled apps, so you can easily enable them again if you change your mind.
How to use split screen multitasking
If you want to use the split screen feature and have two apps on screen at once, then you can hold the multitasking or recent apps button down and you’ll see a list of compatible apps. You can also see which ones support split screen by looking for a double rectangle icon next to the X to close apps in the recent apps list. Tap on it and split screen will open with that app in the top and a list of the others that are compatible on the bottom.
Hit the white dot to expand your menu of options and switch apps, maximize them, resize them, or drag and drop content between them.
How to turn off app permissions
A lot of apps ask for permissions that they really don’t need in order to function properly. Some apps will track your location or take a peek at your calendar, others want access to your camera and microphone for no discernible reason. It feels like developers will often ask for whatever they can get away with. You don’t have to accept it anymore. Go to Settings > Privacy and safety > App permissions and you can see them organized by category and toggle off anything you don’t like the look of.
How to quick launch the camera
The 12-megapixel camera on the S7 is lightning fast and a great performer in low light conditions, but how do you make sure that you don’t miss those spontaneous moments? Samsung’s quick launch function allows you to double tap the Home button to launch the camera. It works from anywhere, even if your S7’s screen is off and the phone is locked. It should be on by default, but if it doesn’t work for you, then open up the Camera app and tap the cog to access Camera settings, then toggle on Quick launch.
How to take a screenshot
Taking a screenshot on your Galaxy S7 is easy. Simply press the Power and the Home buttons down together and you’ll hear the capture noise and see a wee animation indicating that it has worked. Alternatively, take a screenshot by swiping the edge of your palm across the screen, but you’ll have to turn this feature on via Settings > Advanced features > Palm swipe to capture.
Another option in that Advanced features menu worth checking is called Smart capture. Turn it on and you’ll see icons pop up at the bottom of the screen when you take a screenshot. The plus icon enables you to capture more by scrolling down — handy for webpages — the Share icon is obviously for sharing via email or whatever, and the Crop button allows you to cut it down to size and save it in your gallery.
By default, all screenshots go into a separate album in your gallery app, helpfully named Screenshots.
How to fit more into your selfies
You can get a wider selfie shot to fit a crowd of people or a great backdrop into your photo by selecting the front camera and then tapping Mode > Wide selfie.
How to take photos and video hands-free
Open up the camera and tap the cog to access Camera settings and you have the option of Voice control, which lest you take a picture by saying Smile, Cheese, Capture, or Shoot. You can also say Record video to, you guessed it, record video. Gesture control allows you to trigger a short countdown to a photo by holding your hand out with your palm facing the camera.
How to take better photos
If you know your way around a camera, then tap Mode in the camera app and select Pro. You can now change the ISO settings, white balance, aperture level, and more. The Auto mode is generally very good, but some people will appreciate the ability to tweak.
Storage, battery life, and more
How to boost your storage
You can check remaining storage via Settings > Storage and tap Explore at the bottom to dig into your files, manage, and delete them.
If you slide the SIM card tray out, you’ll find there’s space for a MicroSD card, and the S7 can take up to a 200GB card. Apps will be installed into internal storage by default, but go to Settings > Applications > Application manager and tap on apps you’ve installed, then tap Storage > Change and you might find the option to Change storage location to SD card.
Make sure that your photos are being saved to your MicroSD card by opening the camera and tapping the cog icon to open Camera settings > Storage location and choose SD card.
How to save battery life
If you look in Settings > Battery, you’ll find the option to analyze Battery usage and find out which apps and services are draining your power. There are two modes that help you save battery by cutting back on some S7 functions, the basic Power saving mode is fairly unobtrusive or you can go for the Ultra power saving mode, which really cuts functionality and performance for emergencies.
There’s also a special Battery saver option for gamers that reduces the performance a touch to conserve battery. You can turn it on in Game Launcher > Game Tools.
How to use Now on Tap
Google’s Now on Tap feature allows you to scan a page and get more information. All you need to do to launch it is long press the Home button on your S7. If you tap the G at the bottom of the screen, you can launch into Google Now.
How to use Smart Lock
Having to enter a PIN or pattern, or even scan your fingerprint, to unlock your phone every time can be a pain, but in some situations you still want the security. Smart Lock lets you set exceptions. Go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Secure lock settings > Smart Lock and you can set trusted devices, trusted places, trusted voice, or on-body detection. That means you can configure your S7, so that when it is connected to your Bluetooth headphones, for example, or your home Wi-Fi network, it will unlock automatically without the usual PIN.
How to take and end calls with hardware buttons
It can be quite handy to answer a call by pressing the Home button or end it by pressing Power, instead of having to use the onscreen controls. If you want to be able to do this, go to Settings > Accessibility > Answering and ending calls and toggle the options on.
That’s all the Galaxy S7 tips and tricks we have for now, but we’ll add more soon, so do check back. If you want to share a tip, please post a comment.