With Samsung’s latest phones adding tons of awesome features, more people are trading in their old smartphones for Samsung’s innovative devices. Samsung is the future of smartphones, so I don’t blame you when you decide to give up your commitment to Apple like I did.
If certain settings don’t feel quite right on your brand-new Samsung phone, there’s always a way to change it. Samsung (and Android phones in general) come with a plethora of customization options that can make a phone totally yours. Here’s how to customize almost everything about your Samsung phone.
1. Revamp Your Wallpaper and Lock Screen
Changing your wallpaper and lock screen are just baby steps in livening your blank slate of a phone. You don’t have to stick with the generic wallpapers that Samsung gives you. Head to Settings > Wallpaper and themes (or go to your pre-installed Galaxy Themes app) and find an attractive wallpaper that suits your style. While some wallpapers come free, you have to pay for others.
Simply tap on the wallpaper you want to download and apply it to either your home screen, lock screen, or both. You can also choose to add a video wallpaper to your lock screen as I did here:
If you still can’t find a wallpaper you like, download a third-party wallpaper app from the Google Play Store. I prefer Zedge, as it has an enormous selection of high-quality wallpapers and ringtones.
Download: Zedge for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
2. Change Your Theme
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to find a wallpaper and lock screen that match, just install a theme. Themes change your lock screen and wallpaper—some even change your icons too.
You can access themes the same way you get to wallpapers. Go to Settings > Wallpaper and Themes, or just tap on the Galaxy Themes app. Select Themes on the bottom menu bar and browse through dozens of free and paid themes.
3. Give Your Icons a New Look
Samsung also gives you a way to change the appearance of your icons. Whether you hate the look of the default Samsung icons or aren’t too fond of the icons that come with your theme, head to the same Galaxy Themes app and hit Icons on the bottom menu bar.
You’ll find all kinds of fun icons here—some make your icons cute, while others make your phone look modern and sleek. Keep in mind that installing one of these icon themes won’t change every icon that you have. It only affects the standard Samsung apps that come with your phone.
4. Install a Different Keyboard
When I switched from an iPhone 6S to a Samsung Galaxy Note 9, I wasn’t happy with my new keyboard. Instead of suffering with Samsung’s default keyboard, I downloaded several keyboards from the Google Play Store before settling on SwiftKey. The keyboard you choose all comes down to your personal preference.
A quick search on the Play Store yields plenty of keyboard apps for you to choose from. Install the keyboard app of your choice and open it. Most keyboard apps allow you to change your default option with just a few taps.
For SwiftKey, all you have to do is hit Enable SwiftKey, then tap Select SwiftKey. From there, you can officially change your Samsung keyboard to the SwiftKey keyboard.
If you’re still not a fan of SwiftKey, make sure to try out other free and open source Android keyboard alternatives.
Download: SwiftKey for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
5. Customize Your Lock Screen Notifications
By default, notifications pop up inside a solid white bubble, blocking your beautiful lock screen wallpaper. Want to get rid of that annoying bubble once and for all? Go to Settings > Lock screen > Notifications and drag the Transparency bar to High. That way, the bubble will disappear completely.
In the View style option, you can change how much content shows in your notifications. Opt to display a detailed message, a shortened version of the message, or just the app icon. To stay really private, enable the Hide content option.
Sometimes the notification’s text color is too dark or too light to show up on your lock screen. If that’s the case, switch on Auto-reverse text color. This helpful feature changes the color of your text depending on the color of your wallpaper.
6. Alter Your Always On Display (AOD) and Clock
The AOD shows the time and date against a black background when you’re not using your phone. Since it looks a little bland on its own, it’s time to head to Settings > Lock screen > Clock style and give it a makeover.
First, make sure that your AOD is toggled on, then tap on it. From there, you can change the style and color of both your AOD and the clock on your lock screen.
7. Hide or Show Items on Your Status Bar
Your status bar sits at the top of your screen and displays all your phone’s vitals. It’s where you check the time, monitor your phone’s battery life, and see how strong your connection is.
When you get a ton of notifications, it can quickly make the status bar look cluttered. To limit the number of notifications shown, go to Settings > Notifications > Status bar. Hit 3 recent notifications to show only three icons at once. If you want to do away with notification icons altogether, turn off Show notification icons.
You can also add a battery percentage to the status bar by turning on Show battery percentage.
8. Adjust Your Edge Screen
Samsung phones come with a lot of cool features, and edge lighting is one of them. Edge lighting appears when your phone is face down and not in use.
When you receive a call or text, the edges of your phone light up. To change the appearance of your phone’s edge lighting, navigate to Display > Edge screen > Edge lighting > Edge lighting style. Here you can choose different effects, colors, transparencies, widths, and how long the lighting lasts.
As you might already know, when you swipe the right edge of your screen, your favorite apps and contacts pop up on the side of your screen. Not only can you change the contents of this panel, but you can also add or remove entire panels.
Going to Display > Edge screen > Edge lighting > Edge panels shows different panel options. Opt to add weather, smart select tools, finance news, and more to your edge panel. Hitting the three little dots in the corner of this screen and selecting Edge panel handle lets you adjust the transparency and size of your edge panel as well.
9. Increase Your Screen Resolution
When you own a powerful phone like the Samsung Galaxy S10, you should take advantage of its high-quality display. To increase your screen resolution, head to Settings > Display > Screen resolution. You get three different options: HD+, FHD+, and WQHD+.
Don’t hesitate to set your resolution to WQHD+. You might lose a little more battery, but it’s worth it.
10. Personalize Your Navigation Bar
Other phones in the Android family tend to have the Back button on the left side of the navigation bar; Samsung places the Back button on the right by default. Head to Settings > Display > Navigation bar and start customizing. Here, you can change the button order and even opt to use gestures as a form of navigation.
Spruce Up Your Samsung Device
You won’t get the most out of your Samsung smartphone if you leave it with its default settings. The beauty of a Samsung phone comes from all its customization options. Personalizing your phone not only makes it more convenient to use, but also makes it much more attractive.
If you want to customize your phone even more, don’t forget to check out essential apps to personalize your Android phone’s home screen.