This list of 50 Galaxy S5 tips and tricks will help users learn how to do more with the new Samsung Galaxy S5 without spending months looking through settings.
We’ve also uncovered several Galaxy S5 hidden features that take the user experience to the next level with great features that let you access settings faster, use an Xbox controller to play games, super charger the Galaxy S5 keyboard, use it as a remote viewfinder and even include a few Galaxy S5 features that could save your life.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is packed full of features that are hard to find and sometimes confusing to set up. In this guide of 50 Galaxy S5 tips and tricks we go through the Galaxy S5 features that let users get the most out of the device.
Most of these Galaxy S5 tips and tricks do not require users to spend any additional money, but there are at lease two Galaxy S5 hidden features that will require a $2 accessory to make it work.
There is also no need to root the Galaxy S5 to use any of these features. There are tools to help users perform an easy Galaxy S5 root, but every S5 tip or trick we show below works on the phone right out of the box. 99% of these Galaxy S5 tips and hidden features work on all models, but some carriers and versions remove some features, which limits the usefulness. Thankfully the Galaxy S5 limitations are not as bad as years past.
New Galaxy S5 owners can use this guide to learn everything there is to know about the Galaxy S5, without reading through a 200 page manual or poking around in settings.
Many of these Galaxy S5 tips and tricks are specific to this phone, but we could see some of them arrive on the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 in software updates.
50 Galaxy S5 Tips, Tricks and Hidden Features
These Galaxy S5 tips and tricks will show you how to use the new smartphone to the full potential which delivers a better user experience and that buyers get more for their money. We also include some Galaxy S5 hidden features that will make using the Galaxy S5 more fun.
Galaxy S5 Basic Mode
If you want the Galaxy S5 as your new smartphone, but need a simpler, less cluttered screen to find the apps and features that you’ll actually use Easy Mode is the answer. You can toggle Easy Mode on and off in the settings, making it a simple way to ease into a first time smartphone, and then open up more features when you are ready. The short video below shows Easy Mode on the Galaxy S5 and how to turn it on.
To get started go to Settings -> Easy Mode -> On. You can turn it off using the same directions and switch between the two modes whenever you want. This mode is designed for older users, but it’s perfect for any first time smartphone buyer.
Use the Galaxy S5 With One Hand
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a large smartphone thanks to the 5.1-inch 1080P HD display. For a number of users this is a little to big to use the phone with one hand while walking down the street or just typing out a message on the screen while sitting on a couch having a drink.
In the video above you’ll see how to turn on one hand mode and make the screen smaller for easier use while you only have one hand free. With this on you can move the usable part of the screen around and make it smaller for easier use. Go to Settings -> One-handed operation -> on to get started.
Download Faster with WiFi and LTE
The Samsung Galaxy S5 includes a Download Booster app that lets users combine WiFi and LTE at the same time to download large files faster. This is Galaxy S5 feature is not available on Sprint, Verizon or AT&T, because the carriers opted to remove it.
For users on T-Mobile or with an unlocked Galaxy S5 here’s how to use Download Booster. Go to Settings -> Download Booster -> tap on it to activate. This will combine WiFi and LTE for large downloads, but keep in mind this can use up mobile data much faster.
Automatically Switch Off WiFi When Signal Fails
The Galaxy S5 features a Auto-Switch mode that sounds similar to the Download Booster, but it is actually designed for users that are connected to bad WiFi.
Turn Smart Network Switch by going to Settings -> WiFi -> Check Smart network switch. This will allow the Galaxy S5 to switch to cellular signals when WiFi fails, without the user turning WiFI off. This can lead to more data usage, but is worth it for some users.
Use Air View on the Galaxy S5
The Samsung Galaxy S5 uses a small sensor to detect when your finger is hovering over the screen. If Air Gesture is turned on you can see more details about a calendar entry, see a bigger preview of a photo or even a contact while dialing. This is a handy feature for some users, and a gimmick to others, but it is worth a try.
To get started go to Settings -> Air View -> On. This will turn the feature on and show you where you can use it. The short video above demonstrates the Galaxy S5 Air View feature and some motion controls.
Switch from iPhone or Android to the Galaxy S5
Odds are the Galaxy S5 is not your first smartphone. If you are switching from iPhone or Android there is an app that will automatically pull in most of your information, photos and data easily.
Download the Smart Switch app from Google Play to switch from Android or another Galaxy smartphone to the Galaxy S5 without plugging in to a computer. Or if you are switching from the iPhone to Galaxy S5 you can import your information from iCloud or plug in to switch from an iTunes backup.
Make Galaxy S5 Battery Life Last for Days
There is an Ultra Power Saving mode on the Galaxy S5 that turns the screen black and white and limits app access while still letting you make calls, send texts, use the internet and other features. This is designed to help you make even a 5% of the battery last all night when you can’t get to a charger.
In the video above you can see how the Ultra Power Saving feature on the Galaxy S5 looks. With 30% battery life the phone can last almost 5 days in standby. To use this go to Settings -> Ultra Power Saving -> On and the system will switch over in a few seconds.
Use Galaxy S5 Buttons The Right Way
In the short video below you’ll learn how to use the Samsung Galaxy S5 buttons to access features faster. There is one physical button with three functions and two touch screen style buttons with two features each. Watch the video or read on to learn what they do.
Here’s what each Galaxy S5 button does, so you can do more with the Galaxy S5.
- Home Button Once – Home
- Home Button Hold – Google Now
- Home Button Double Tap – S Voice
- Back Button Once – Go back
- Back Button Hold – Turn on Multi-Window Mode
- Multitasking Button Once – Open multitasking menu
- Multitasking Button Hold – Acts as a settings button.
This is a nice change from the GalaxY S4 and Note 3, and allows users to do more faster on the Galaxy S5. The home button is also a fingerprint reader.
Quick Access to Galaxy S5 Settings
If you are constantly toggling settings on the Galaxy S5 this tip will save you loads of time every day. Instead of pulling the notification drawer down with one finger and then tapping on the settings icon or scrolling through quick settings pull own with two fingers. Watch the short Galaxy S5 video below to see this in action.
This will take you right to the settings drawer in the notification area. From here you can tap once on any setting to turn it on or off. You can also tap and hold to go to the settings for that option. Tap on the pencil icon in the upper right ot change the settings you show and include recommended apps in the notification drawer if you want them.
Use S Finder to Search the Galaxy S5
The Galaxy S5 includes a tool called S Finder that can search your Galaxy S5 for apps, content, contacts and more. This is an easy way to quickly find something on your phone.
Go to the quick settings and tap on S Finder to launch this. Start typing to start searching. Press the menu icon in the upper right to quickly add filters for time or type of content. If you are in the main settings you can also use search to find the setting you want by tapping on the search magnifying glass.
Use a USB Drive with the Galaxy S5
The Samsung Galaxy S5 supports a USB drive as external storage which makes for an easy way to carry a bunch of movies or large files that you only need occasionally. This is also a handy way to get data from a computer to the Galaxy S5.
You’ll need a $2 USB OTG cable and a flash drive. Plug both in to the Galaxy S5 and My Files will automatically open and let you start playing movies or accessing files.
Unlock the Galaxy S5 with a Finger
The Galaxy S5 home button includes a fingerprint reader that allows users to unlock the phone with a swipe. The short video below covers how to set this up and how it works.
In addition to unlocking the Galaxy S5 this can also allow users to make mobile payments with PayPal and can hide files in Private Mode.
Use the Galaxy S5 Hotspot
The Samsung Galaxy S5 can act as a personal hotspot that connects other devices like a laptop, portable game system or a tablet to the internet. This is included in many shared plans, but is an additional fee for others.
To get started you will need to go to Settings -> Tethering and Wi-Fi Hotspot -> Mobile Hotspot -> On. Tap on the Mobile Hotpot and then tap on the settings icon in the upper right to change the network name and password.
Vibrate When Picked Up for Missed Alerts
If you want a small notification that you missed a call, text or other notification while the phone sat on a desk, this handy Galaxy S5 tip will make the phone vibrate when picked up so you know to check. Go to Settings -> Motions and gestures -> Smart alert -> On.
Answer the Galaxy S5 by Picking it Up
The Galaxy S5 sensors know when you pick the phone up and place it next to your head and can automatically answer a call so you don’t need to spend the time tapping on answer if your hands are full or you are busy. Go to Settings -> Motions and gestures -> Direct call -> On.
Keep the Galaxy S5 Display On When Looking at it
The Galaxy S5 features a sensor that can detect when you are looking at the device. This handy feature can keep the display on while you are reading, looking at photos and using the device. To make sure this is open the quick settings with a two-finger pull on the notification drawer and tap on Smart Stay. As long as the phone detects your eyes the display will stay on.
Use Air Gestures and Smart Pause
If you like controlling your phone without touching it, or with a little motion this Galaxy S5 hidden feature is one that is exciting. Go to Settings -> Motion and Gestures -> Toggle on Air Browse.
With this on you can wave your hand across the display to go up or down a web page and you can use it to move through images or control song playback.
Use Galaxy S5 Multi-Window Mode
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Multi-Window mode lets users put two apps on screen at the same time to use them. This is a form of multitasking that is very useful. To get started go to Settings and tap on Multi-Window and choose On.
The Galaxy S5 multi-Window video above shows how to do this and how it works, but in short you need to tap and hold the back button to toggle Multi-Window mode on then you can drop an app on the top or bottom of the phone to start using two apps at the same time.
Use the Galaxy S5 With Gloves On
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a high touch screen sensitivity option that lets users control the phone even with gloves on. Pull down on the notification drawer with two fingers then tap on Touch Sensitivity to enable this mode. Just be careful with it as it may now work in your pocket and could unintentionally call emergency numbers or contacts.
8 Galaxy S5 Camera Tips and Tricks
The Galaxy S5 features a fast focusing 16MP camera on the back and a new camera interface that will help users take the best looking photo automatically. In the short video below we show several Galaxy S5 camera tips and tricks to take better photos.
To use these make sure you tap on the mode and choose shot and more.
- Live HDR – see what HDR looks like on the screen before you take the photo.
- Drama Shot – show action as a user or object moves across the screen.
- Best Face – pick the best looking face for the subject.
- Eraser – Remove unwanted objects or people from a photo
- Panning Shot – Show motion on a moving subject by blurring the background.
- Dual Camera Mode – Use the front and rear camera at the same time to be in the photo.
Another cool feature is Selective Focus, but you need to pick this from settings and line up the shot right. With this on you can pick the focus after the shot to blur a background for dramatic effect.
You can also turn on Burst mode in the same settings area to hold the shutter and take a lot of photos very fast. This helps capture one perfect photo for fast moving subjects.
Use a Remote Viewfinder on the Galaxy S5
If you are with someone that has another Samsung Galaxy S5 or an older Galaxy smartphone you can use the other phone as a remote viewfinder and control. With this enabled you can mount the Galaxy S5 on a tripod or hold it over an edge or across the room and see the viewfinder on the other device. You can then use the second device to take a photo and change settings on the Galaxy S5 camera.
Check out the Galaxy S5 remote viewfinder demo above to see how this works. You’ll need WiFi and NFC on to pair them using a tap on the back.
Use a Micro SD Card with the Galaxy S5
The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with 16 GB of storage in the US and almost 11GB is available to users, which is better than the Galaxy S4, but not enough for many users. Buy a 32GB or larger Micro SD card on Amazon and pop it in to store photos and videos on the Galaxy S5 and save that internal storage for apps.
Use an Xbox 360 Controller with the Galaxy S5
If you like to game on the Galaxy S5 you should buy a $2 USB OTG cable and an old wired Xbox 360 controller. With this adapter and a wired controller you can use the Xbox 360 controller to play games on the Galaxy S5. Check it out in action in the video below.
You’ll need the wired version and this adapter cable, but there is no need to hack or root the Galaxy S5 to make this work.
Take Your Pulse on the Galaxy S5
There is a small pulse reader built-in to the flash area of the Galaxy S5. You can use it and the S Health 3.0 app to take your pulse and track it to see if there are changes over time and to see how your heart rate is at rest and during activity.
Open S Health -> Tap on Heart Rate -> place your finger on the flash area as shown in the video above and wait for the result.
Track Workouts and Meals with the S5
The Galaxy S5 can play an important role in helping you get in shape with the S Health 3.0 app. This app can track your steps taken and other activity as well as the calories you consume to help you live a healthier life.
Open the S Health app and tap on the menu in the upper right to switch between areas. You can search for popular food items to automatically add them to your meals and can track exercise. The Gear Fit is not needed, but can simplify some of the tracking.
Use S Voice Without Touching the Galaxy S5
Samsung includes S Voice on the Galaxy S5 as a Siri competitor that can perform many actions. Normally you double tap the home button to access this S Voice, but you can set it up to respond to a command even when the display is off.
Open S Voice – Tap on the Settings icon in the upper right -> Choose Settings -> Voice Wakeup On -> tap on Voice Wakeup to set the wake up command.
Pop Up Video Player on the Galaxy S5
If you want to watch a video while you are doing something else you can enable the pop up video player from the Video app. This only works in the Samsung video app, so it won’t handle Google Play Movies.
Open the Video app, tap on the small pop-up video player button in the bottom right and the video will pop out and over your home screen. You can go into other apps and still use it.
Fingerprints for PayPal Purchases
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a fingerprint sensor that you can use with PayPal to make payments at local stores. There are a growing number of retailers that take PayPal in stores and with this setup you can pay with a swipe of your finger on your phone.
Go to Settings -> Finger Scanner -> PayPal then install FIDO Ready and link your PayPal Account. Register your fingerprints and you’ll be ready to make a payment when you go to a store like Dollar General, American Eagle or other places.
Secure Photos and Documents with Private Mode
The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with Private Mode, a feature that lets users lock some files behind their fingerprint to keep the details safe and a secret. Turn this on by Going to Settings -> Private Mode -> On.
From there you can follow the options on screen to Move items to private mode by tapping in settings or on a three dot icon in Gallery and other apps.
Activate the Galaxy S5 Emergency Mode
The Samsung Galaxy S5 includes an emergency mode that automatically extends your battery life, limits non-essential apps and offers an option to send your location by text message and fast access to a flashlight.
Hold your home button and turn Emergency mode on from the pop up. It will take a second and then you’ll see a mode like that shown in the video above. This will help keep the Galaxy S5 battery going as long as possible and still allow you to communicate when needed.
Turn on Severe Weather Alerts on the Galaxy S5
If you want to know when you will get bad weather you can turn on severe weather alerts on the Galaxy S5. Tap on the weather widget, then on the settings icon in the upper right and on Settings. Scroll down and tap on weather notifications and pick the time you want to be notified.
You can also go to the Geo News widget on the home screen, tap on it to turn the feature on and get alerts about wild fires and earthquakes. Check out these Galaxy S5 features in action in the video above.
Use Galaxy S5 Flash as Notification
If you want a bright alert when you get a phone call you can use the Galaxy S5 flash as an alert for incoming calls and alarms.
To do this go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Hearing -> Flash notification -> check the box. Keep in mind this will be very bright in some settings.
Use the Galaxy S5 as Your Wallet
If you download Google Wallet from the Google Play Store you can carry all of your credit and debit cards on the Galaxy S5 and switch between them as needed. The app guides you through the setup process, and once it is complete you can tap your Galaxy S5 where you see a PayPass icon and make a payment. This is possible at many grocery stores, vending machines, McDonald’s and many other places.
Use the Galaxy S5 as a Remote Control
There is a small IR port in the top of the Galaxy S5 that lets users control an HDTV, cable box and other components with the phone. This is one of the most used Galaxy S5 tips for many owners.
Go to Apps and pick Smart Remote. Follow the setup steps listed to personalize your channels and favorite programs as well as connect your HDTV and other home theater parts to get started. You can use this to control all types of devices and brands and the smart app recommends shows you might like. Check out the video above to see how to get started using the Galaxy S5 as a remote control.
Customize the Galaxy S5 Lock Screen
It is possible to customize the Galaxy S5 lock screen to see what you want to know when you look at the phone and to display an owner message or more. Go to Settings -> Lock screen and then you’ll be able to change many options.
You can pick how you want to lock the phone, when you want the lock to turn on, adjust the clock size, camera shortcut and even display Owner information on the display in case the phone is lost.
Use Do Not Disturb Galaxy S5 Blocking Mode
If you don’t want to be disturbed by calls and texts at night you can turn on Blocking Mode. This is essentially Do Not Disturb for the Galaxy S5. The video below shows how to use this and covers the major Galaxy S5 Do Not Disturb features.
To get started go to Settings -> Blocking Mode -> pick the times you want it to automatically turn on, what it should block and who it should let through.
Super Charge the Galaxy S5 Keyboard
The keyboard is where you’ll find a few tricks and at least one Galaxy S5 hidden feature that will help you type faster and more accurately. The video below shows how to supercharge the Galaxy S5 keyboard.
Learn how to link up with social media and gmail for better auto correction that is personalized. You can swipe to type and set up shortcuts for faster typing and much more on the Galaxy S5.
Send Help Messages When in Trouble
If you are walking alone at night or get into a sketchy situation you can trigger an SOS from the Galaxy S5 with three quick pushes of the power button. Once this is triggered the phone will start sending your location, photos and videos to primary contacts you select.
The video above shows how to use the Galaxy S5 help mode. It is important to remember that this is not a direct line to police, and while you should test it out ahead of time don’t use it as a prank or you’ll risk being the boy who cried wolf.
Make the Galaxy S5 Display Look Better in Any Situation
The Samsung Galaxy S5 display features an Adapt Display mode that automatically picks the best settings for the display based on what you are doing and the external environment.
This will automatically switch between Dynamic, Standard, Professional Photo and Cinema. Users can also pick a mode like Professional photo to see colors accurately or Cinema for watching a movie in a dark room.
Get an Alert When a Baby is Crying
The Samsung Galaxy S5 can alert users when a baby is crying. This is an accessibility feature aimed at users who might not otherwise hear a child. With this setting on users can get a vibration alert and a flash alert.
Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Hearing -> Crying baby detector. Turn it on to get started and press the Play button to start listening.
Use the Galaxy S5 Toolbox for Shortcuts
If you want fast access to five Galaxy S5 apps you can use the Toolbox. This small widget floats on top of other apps and lets you quickly jump to five apps that you choose.
You can access the Toolbox from the Quick Settings and customize the apps by long pressing and dragging to the upper left side of the display. The video above shows how to use this hidden Galaxy S5 feature.
Smart Sound on for Better Audio
You can turn on Adapt sound to get better sounding phone calls on the Galaxy S5, which can also combine with noise reduction to deliver a better phone call experience.
Go to Settings -> Sound -> Call -> Personalize call sound. Pick Adapt Sound for an automatic mode or sot or clear if one of those sounds better.
With Adapt sound you’ll place headphones on and listen to some tones to tune the Galaxy S5 to your hearing. The process takes a few minutes.
Customize Home Screen & My Magazine
The Samsung Galaxy S5 home screen is customizable with wallpapers, widgets and more screens, but that’s not all. To the left of the home screen is My Magazine, a customizable magazine of updating news and info that you can quickly access. If you want to add widgets, long press on the multitasking button to the left of the home button and home screen settings will show up. You can quickly change the wallpaper and add widgets or tap for more settings.
Tap on the Home screen settings to pick the transition effect, which allows you to choose no transition, a card stack or 3D rotation. This changes the animation you see when you switch between home screens. You can also turn My Magazine off from this menu.