If you just picked up the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ there are a lot of fun new features to play with and learn. In fact, there are several Galaxy S9 settings to change or features you can enable for a better experience. With those tips in mind, here we’ll go over the first 10 settings you should change.
Some of our tips and tricks we do on every Galaxy phone, while others are new to the Galaxy S9. Including enabling full screen apps, using intelligent scan and more. Use these tips to personalize your phone and do more with it at the same time.
Enable Full Screen Apps on the Galaxy S9
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure every app or game you enjoy takes advantage of the entire screen. Samsung’s beautiful new 5.8 or 6.2-inch screens are taller and skinnier than older phones. As a result, some apps don’t use the fullscreen and you’ll have black bars on the top and the bottom. This aspect ratio doesn’t work right with a few apps, but we can force them into full-screen mode.
Here’s how to enable full screen apps. Or, Just head to Settings > Display > Full Screen Apps > and enable any app that isn’t highlighted.
We specifically had to toggle Snapchat and Clash Royale to use the full 6.2-inch S9+ screen. That said, almost everything else works perfectly. Bonus tip: pinch to zoom will expand YouTube to full screen on the S9.
Setup Iris Scan & Face Unlock (Intelligent Scan)
Older Samsung phones had facial unlock features or Iris scanning, but the Galaxy S9 takes those a step further. There’s an all-new lockscreen and security option listed as Intelligent Scan, and you’ll want to quickly set it up and use it.
It’s a biometric security and authentication method similar to your fingerprint, only an Iris is even more secure. Intelligent Scan uses both Face unlock or Iris scanning, or both, to unlock your phone as fast as possible. To start, go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Intelligent Scan and follow the prompts to get all set up.
One of our favorite Galaxy features is being able to quickly launch the camera at any moment. Perfect for getting photos in any situation, even when the screen is off. Simply double-tap the power button very quick, and the camera will fire up. Then, select “yes” to keep Quick Launch turned on. Or, follow these instructions
Open the camera, go to settings and enable “Double Tap Power Button to Quick Launch Camera”. Now, no matter what you’re doing double tapping the power button will instantly start Samsung’s new dual aperture camera. Snap some photos or quickly record a slow-motion video.
While you’re in the camera settings turn off shutter sounds, and even turn on voice controls so you can snap photos hands-free.
Add an SD Card and Set Camera to SD Storage
We recommend adding a microSD card to your Galaxy S9 so you have extra space for apps, games, music, and videos. Here are some of the best cards you can buy right now. Then, watch our quick video below on how to add an SD card, followed by the steps to make your camera instantly save everything to it. That way you won’t waste precious internal storage on all the photos and video you’ll be shooting.
Once you install a microSD card you’ll want to switch everything to it. Fire up the camera app, tap settings, and scroll down to “storage location” and set it for “SD Card” rather than internal storage.
Change the Screen Resolution to Quad-HD
You paid for a phone with a beautiful 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED display, so use it. Out of the box, Samsung has it set to 1080p Full HD, but we can quickly change it.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ ship with the screen in FHD+ mode. This may help with battery life, but it also means you aren’t getting the full resolution that the screen can offer. Upgrade your screen instantly in settings.
Go to Settings and search for Screen resolution. Slide it over to WQHD+ 2,560 x 1,440 and hit Apply.
Do-Not-Disturb is a great feature that everyone should use. It works great on the Galaxy S9 and only takes a moment to set up. I have Do-Not-Disturb to automatically come on at 10:45 PM each night, and turn off at 6:30 AM. That way nothing bothers me while I’m sleeping.
Head to Settings > Sounds & vibrations > and scroll down to “Do-Not-Disturb” and turn it on with a set schedule. Owners can even customize it so alarms can still get through, or repeat callers in case of an emergency. There are even exceptions like specific friends or family members can still call or text you, while everything else gets silenced until morning. We highly recommend using this.
Then, take advantage of the Blue light filter which works like Night Shift on the iPhone. Go to Settings > Display > Blue Light Filter and customize this too. I have it set to a schedule to come on at night, and turn off in the morning.
What does this do? It actually eliminates blue light from the screen. This helps prevents eye strain and reportedly helps calm the brain at night so you fall asleep easier and faster The blue light is a stimulant, apparently.
Get Your App Drawer Button Back
If you recently switched to the Galaxy S9 from an older Samsung or another Android device, you’ll likely miss the app drawer button. Basically, the white button that launches a tray with every app or game on your phone. Samsung removed it, and you must swipe upwards to launch your app drawer. There’s no reason to waste space with a button dedicated to the drawer.
We’re creatures of habit, so here’s how to get it back. Long press a blank space on your screen like you do to add a new wallpaper. This brings up the layout and edit homescreen menu. Tap the gear-shaped settings button. Next hit the option in settings labeled Apps Button and select show apps button. Now hit done and go back. You’ll have that familiar white app launcher icon back.
Don’t get me started on bloatware, those apps that come pre-installed on your phone you’ll never ever use. It’s getting out of hand, especially on AT&T phones. Bloatware is a never-ending battle with smartphones unless you buy unlocked devices. Carriers add these apps as partnership deals to make money, and we have to deal with them wasting space on the Galaxy S9. However, we can disable them to clean up the app tray. Basically, out of sight, out of mind.
Go to Settings > Apps > and simply start scrolling down the list and disable anything from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint. As you see above I’ve selected AT&T Call Protect Blocking (an app I don’t want to pay monthly to use) and then just hit Disable. This is as close to uninstalling bloatware and junk apps as you’re going to get without modifying your phone.
I disabled everything from Amazon, AT&T, AT&T Data Usage Manager, Lookout Mobile Security and a few others. Same goes for Verizon apps, T-Mobile stuff, and Sprint NASCAR additions. Use caution here and only disable things you understand and know what they are. Otherwise, you could cause more harm than good, or turn off features your phone needs.
Use and Customize the Always-On Display
One of the best features over the last few years is the Always-On display. Samsung’s Galaxy S9 screen can give you quick at-a-glance information about the time, date, weather, battery levels and incoming notifications. Even when the screen is off. A small area stays on all the time, as the name suggests. Turn this on, enjoy it, and customize a few of the options.
Head to Settings > Lock screen and security > Always On Display to get started. You can select what does, or doesn’t, show up on the lock screen. Next, go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Clock and FaceWidgets to change the clock styles, colors, or widgets. You can also add background images, a GIF, calendar and more in a low-power always-on state.
Samsung Theme Store, Samsung Pay & More
And for this last category, we wanted to highlight a few other settings to change or things to try that we think are important or worth it. The first one being Samsung’s theme store. It’s extremely powerful and gets better every year. Go to Settings > Wallpapers & themes > and look around. You can customize the entire look and feel of the phone, change the icons, or heavily modify the Always-on display. I’m running a stock Android theme with Google Pixel icons, so my Galaxy S9 looks closer to stock Android.
Customize as much as you’d like and make the Galaxy S9 your own. We also recommend heading to Settings > Display > Navigation Bar > Button Layout to change the on-screen buttons. You can reorder them however you want, so it matches your last phone. That way you don’t keep accidentally hitting the back button.
Next, Samsung Pay is by far the best mobile payment system available, so enjoy it. You can use your Galaxy S9 to pay for stuff anywhere Apple Pay or Google Pay works, known as NFC terminals. However, it’s also backward compatible with magnetic swipe card terminals (MST) and works at 95% of stores in the United States. It’s incredibly convenient. Click the Samsung Pay app to get started.
We also recommend trying Smart Lock. Just go to settings and type “Smart Lock” in the search bar at the top. Once configured, the Galaxy S9 will know when you’re home, connected to a watch or Bluetooth stereo, or at work and will bypass any lock screen security system. Basically, the phone knows when it’s safe to skip a password, pattern, pin or fingerprint so it’s easier to use. Once you leave, the lock screen security kicks into place. That way you’re not using your eyes or fingerprint to unlock the phone when you’re sitting on the couch at home.
Don’t forget to check out the powerful new camera, slow-motion mode, and all of the advanced features and options in the settings menu. In fact, give the settings menu a good glance to learn all about your new phone. For those who have already started having problems, check out this post for more details. Or, buy a case from our roundup and keep your phone and screen safe.