If You Have a Samsung Android Phone, You Need to Try These Features

Rohan Naravane 28-04-2017

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 Samsung Launches the New Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Samsung has taken the wraps off of its next flagship smartphone. Or, more accurately, its two new flagship smartphones. And, on paper at least, these things look spectacularly good. Read More ), 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 7 Reasons You'll Want to Upgrade to Android Nougat If you're thinking about making the jump to Android 7.0 Nougat, maybe these features could convince you. Read More , 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 10 Lesser-Known Galaxy S7 Features You Need To Know About The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are filled to the brim with exciting features, but it can be a hassle to find and understand them all. Let's break down the best of them. Read More 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.

samsung touchwiz one-handed mode


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 How to Effortlessly Type on Your iPhone With One Hand Typing on a smartphone with one hand is often a clumsy and risky affair -- but with one simple app, you can make it much easier and effective to do so! Read More  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.

samsung touchwiz expanded screenshot annotations
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 Get Amazing Battery Life on Android 6.0 with a Root Tweak Doze is Android Marshmallow's best under-the-hood feature, and it can be tweaked if you have root access. Read More , 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.


samsung touchwiz app power monitor

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 Can F.lux and Night Shift Really Improve Your Sleep Habits? Excessive use of computers, tablets, and smartphones can lead to deteriorated sleep quality -- but do apps like F.lux and Night Shift really counteract those effects? The science is pretty clear on this. Read More 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.

samsung touchwiz 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 What's the Best Voice Recording App for Android? There are lots of moments in life you might want to record. Make sure you have a great app to help you do just that. Read More 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.

samsung touchwiz voice recorder

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!

Related topics: Android, Samsung.

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  1. Karl
    May 6, 2017 at 4:51 am

    My favourite feature was an app called "My Places" that was provided by Samsung with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but which Samsung removed with the update to Android 7.
    There was no advice or warning, and Samsung refuses to release the apk for the app or to re-release the app.
    It is not available. Period. No explanation.
    The app would automatically change your phone settings depending on your location - so that, for example, when I entered work, my phone would automatically enter "Do Not Disturb Mode" and I wouldn't get any audible alerts except for the ones I had setup as priority exceptions.
    I've tried IFTTT, but with the other feature "improvements" Samsung made, it doesn't work reliably and I can't invoke the "Do Not Disturb Mode", only mute the phone (which is much more limited)

    • Rohan Naravane
      May 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

      Wow, that sure does sound like a cool feature and it's a shame that Samsung just coldly removed it. If I'm not mistaken, older Motorola phones also had something called "Smart Actions" which had the "if this then" rules to automatically perform tasks. They too later removed the feature in favour of simpler controls built into the Motorola Assist feature.

      Also, Samsung hasn't just killed off software features, but even some hardware features like an IR blaster, which I just love on my Galaxy S6.

  2. Alt+V
    May 1, 2017 at 3:49 am

    The Galaxy S6 and S7 phones have Samsung Pay, a digital pay-by-phone app that lets you use your phone in place of a physical debit or credit card at almost any pay terminal that has an external swipe card reader. If your Visa or Mastercard will work at the terminal, Samsung Pay will likely work.

    Samsung Pay pulls away from the pack of similar services thanks to the phone's unique magnetic transmitter. You place the back of the phone against a magnetic card swipe reader, and the phone transmits the payment data to the reader as if you had swiped your plastic card through it.

    Two caveats: 1) Your bank has to be in the Samsung Pay network (most of the big ones are), and 2) the card reader has to be external, like those attached to keypads or monitors. Readers where you insert your card instead of swiping it -- like at ATMs or gas pumps -- don't work.

    Out of the dozens of times I've used it, Samsung Pay has worked every time but twice. Once was at an airport food court where the cashier got so flummoxed by my placing the phone atop the swipe reader that she froze like a deer in the headlights (I later learned cashiers might have to select "Visa" or "Mastercard" on their POS terminal). The second was at a local pizzeria whose card reader was a third-party add-on, and wasn't quite sensitive enough to pick up the transmitter's signal.

    While Samsung Pay won't let you completely ditch plastic, you won't have to fumble around in your wallet or purse for your cards nearly as often.

    • Rohan Naravane
      May 1, 2017 at 4:43 am

      Thanks Alt+V for an elaborate description of your experience with Samsung Pay. Unfortunately, Galaxy S6 owners in India like me don't get Samsung Pay, even though the phone does support the feature in some other countries.

      Really hope that Samsung adds this to more phones in its portfolio, this should help boost the concept of mobile payments overall, so you won't have cashiers freaking out whenever you use it.

  3. Armakuni
    April 29, 2017 at 6:52 am

    Go get a Honor 6X, it has almost every of these features, too.

    • Bruno V
      April 29, 2017 at 8:36 am

      So what?