You probably know that Samsung phones come with a truckload of features. Sometimes they’re duplicates of what Google already bundles with every Android phone (like Bixby on the Galaxy S8), but that doesn’t mean they’re all useless.
Below are some of the great features that anyone who has a Samsung Android smartphone ought to try. Some of these will only work on Samsung phones running Android 7.0 Nougat, but others are available on phones running Android 6.0 Marshmallow too.
If you’re interested, we’ve also already covered some of the lesser-known features of what used to be known as Samsung TouchWiz (now called Samsung Experience).
All of these features have been tried and tested on a Galaxy S6 running Android 7.0 Nougat. Unfortunately, not all Samsung phones have the same user interface, so there’s a chance that the steps to enable something may vary depending on your device.
1. One-Handed Mode
Phones have become larger than ever, and a 5.5-inch screen today is considered normal. The newest Galaxy S8 has a tall screen (thanks to a 18.5:9 aspect ratio) measuring in at 5.8 inches, while the bigger Galaxy S8+ has a whopping 6.2-inch display. It’s nice that Samsung has included one-handed mode in most of their phones for a while now.
To enable one-handed mode, head to Settings > Advanced Features > One-handed mode. Now, clicking the home button three times in quick succession will shrink the screen down to about 70 percent of its size.
This makes the top portion of the interface much easier to access with the phone in one hand and is especially useful when you’re lying in bed. Clicking the arrow symbol in the corner of the screen will make it stick to the side you prefer. You can even have on-screen Recents, Home, and Back buttons, if you prefer.
This one-handed mode is also a lot better than Reachability on iPhones, because for that you have to keep double-tapping the home button ring for every action. You can fix one-handed typing on the iPhone, though.
2. Smart Capture (Long Screenshots and More)
Have you ever come across a situation where you want to take a screenshot of something on the screen, but it just isn’t fitting in the frame? So you just end up taking two screenshots, hoping that people will get what you’re trying to convey? Samsung phones have had this feature called Smart Capture for some time now. It does many things, one of which is take long screenshots.
To enable Smart Capture, go to Settings > Advanced Features > Smart Capture. To use Smart Capture, hold down the power and home buttons (power and volume down if you’re using a Galaxy S8), and for a couple of seconds, you’ll see a button called Scroll Capture at the bottom. Click it once, and the interface will scroll downwards and take a longer screenshot. Keep clicking it to take a screenshot as long as you want — there doesn’t seem to be any restriction on how long a screenshot can be.
Apart from Scroll Capture, you can also click on Draw to scribble over a screenshot, or Crop to do some cropping. And if you click on Draw, you can press the Pen button to change to different types of writing equipment or change the color.
3. App Power Monitor
The Doze feature, first introduced in Android 6.0 Marshmallow and improved upon in 7.0 Nougat, prevents apps from draining battery unnecessarily in the background.
However, Samsung has its own App Power Monitor that can prevent any app from running in the background. It monitors which apps you use regularly and automatically puts apps not used for three days “to sleep”. This sleep state means the app will not be able to run in the background or push any notifications but will resume functioning after you open it.
To manage this feature, go to Settings > Device Maintenance > Battery. Scrolling down, you’ll see a list of all the apps that are spared from the App Power Monitor, although you can manually put any of them to sleep.
You can also stop apps from automatically being put into this state by clicking the three dot menu and going to Advanced Settings > App power monitor, and turning off Put unused apps to sleep. It’s also here that you can turn this feature off entirely, if you wish.
4. Blue Light Filter
You’ve probably seen iPhone screens going all yellow after sunset. It’s supposed to help you sleep better by reducing the amount of blue light emitted by your screen. This concept was popularized by an app called f.lux long before Apple implemented it into all iOS and Mac devices, but now it has hit the mainstream.
Samsung’s implementation is simply called Blue Light Filter.
To enable this, go to Settings > Display > Blue Light Filter. Here, you can set it to turn on and off automatically from sunset to sunrise, or even choose custom timings. By moving the slider under Opacity, you also get to choose how yellow you want the screen to be (this is good to have as not everybody loves a screen that discoloured).
Lastly, if you want to turn it on or off at any point, a toggle is available if you pull down on the notification drawer twice.
5. Voice Recorder (Interview Mode, Speech to Text, etc.)
Among the dozen or more preloaded apps each Samsung phone comes with, there’s a Voice Recorder.
It may not seem very special at first, and there are a few good third party ones out there too — but it does have some features you might find interesting, if you use voice recorders often.
When you open the app, you’ll see the Interview and Speech-to-Text modes next to the standard mode. The Interview mode employs the second microphone on top of the phone to record two person conversations better. We recorded a one-minute conversation with music playing in the background in both Standard and Interview modes, and the Interview recording was definitely more intelligible.
Next, there’s a speech-to-text mode that — for up to five minutes — can convert recorded audio to text. It appears to be using Google’s speech-to-text engine, and if you speak slowly, it transcribes fairly well. Though, of course, it’s not completely error-free. There can be a few misspelled words every few sentences.
And finally, if you tap the three dot menu and go to Settings, you can record audio in stereo or set the app to block calls when a recording is on.
Bonus: Time Zone Convertor
Go to the Clock app, then World Clock, hit the three dot menu and choose Time zone converter. Here, you can choose any local time to see what corresponding time it’ll be in cities you’ve added to the world clock.
What’s Your Favorite Samsung Feature?
Samsung devices have a lot of cool features, but there are usually so many of them that people feel overwhelmed. Hopefully you’ll be able to take advantage of some of these now.
Which of these features did you find the most useful? Are there any others you use that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments!