Ever since the Galaxy S4 got the Lollipop update, the old beast has been chugging along just fine. We're so fond of the S4 that we thought we'd share our ultimate list of Galaxy S4 tips and tricks, specifically for the Lollipop update. The Galaxy S4 is still a great phone, but read on to see just how much greater you can make it.
1. Disable S Voice for faster navigation
S Voice can be launched by double-pressing the S4's home key. This shortcut actually slows down the home key response, however, because TouchWiz pauses momentarily after the first press, waiting to see if you press it a second time, before taking you to the home screen. Go to S Voice, press the menu soft key, select Settings and uncheck the box next to Open via the Home Key to make home key navigation faster.
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2. Turn off annoying Samsung sounds
While you're at it, why not turn off some of those annoying Samsung sounds? Even if you like them I can assure you that everyone on the train, at work and in the supermarket hates them. To do the world a favor, go to Settings > My Device > Sounds and Notifications > Other Sounds and un-check the boxes for as many sounds as you can live without.
3. Use shortcuts to call or message contacts
Why use messy menu buttons when a gesture will suffice? In your contacts list you can simply swipe a contact's name to the left or right to instantly call or message them. Now you can stay in touch more easily and save time while you're doing it.
4. Access the Galaxy S4's hidden settings
There's a great app called Note 2 Hidden Settings that also works with other Galaxy devices, including the S4. It won't work with some carrier-branded models, but it's worth installing it and giving it a shot because there's heaps of cool stuff in this app.
5. Secure your lock screen notifications
Lollipop comes with lock screen notifications meaning you don't have to completely unlock your phone just to read a text or email. But perhaps you don't feel comfortable having the contents of your notifications plastered all over your lock screen for anyone see. If so, go to Settings > My Device > Sounds and Notifications. You can select which apps will display content on the lock screen in Application notifications and the level of content in While locked.
6. Use your phone to control the TV
Download the WatchOn app and use it to set up your TV guide, favorite channels, control your TV, set-top box and plenty more. You can even put it on your lock screen or the notifications shade to make sure you're always the couch commando in charge.
7. Use your voice for hands-free control
Did you know your S4 has lots of voice control options? You can use your voice to turn off alarms, take photos, play music and answer or reject calls. Just go to Settings > My Device > Voice Control and flip the switches for the commands you want to use. You can also use S Voice to set reminders or check the weather.
8. Get a better launcher
If TouchWiz feels a little slow to you, why not replace with a faster launcher such as Google Now Launcher, Nova Launcher or Action launcher? Give them a try – they're free and you can always switch back if you want to.
9. Make your own Qi wireless charger
If you want the wireless charging experience that the Galaxy S6 offers, without needing to fork out a fortune to actually get an S6, why not buy a wireless charging pack? All you need to do then is take the back off your phone and align the tab as instructed in the packaging, before replacing the phone's back panel.
10. Activate Smart stay
Smart stay uses your phone's front-facing camera to detect whether you're looking at the screen or not, and makes sure that the screen remains on for as long as you look at it. This is great if you want to have a short screen timeout but also do a lot of reading on your phone.
To activate Smart stay, go to Settings > My device > Smart screen and press Smart stay.
11. Customize your lock screen
Don't settle for a boring old lock screen, add a camera and dialer shortcut, select a clock or private message and give it some pizzazz with a custom wallpaper. Go to Settings > My Device > Lock Screen and check the box for camera, then customize your lock screen widgets.
12. Customize your Quick Settings
Why settle for the standard Quick Settings when you can curate a custom batch of the most useful toggles and switches for the way you use your phone? You can even arrange them exactly how you like. Swipe down from the top of the screen, tap the little grid in the top right corner and then the little pencil to edit and rearrange your Quick Settings.
13. Make the keyboard smarter
If you're using the stock Samsung keyboard, make sure you have both predictive text and swipe typing enabled.You'll be amazed at how much time they can save you. Go to the keyboard and long press the button to the left of the space bar. Tap the Settings cog and make sure Predictive Text is on and that Keyboard Swipe is set to Continuous Input. You could also replace the keyboard with SwiftKey or another keyboard app.SwiftKey Keyboard
14. Use Do Not Disturb mode
Another great Lollipop feature is Priority Notifications, which is also known as Do Not Disturb mode. It lets you set times where you won't be interrupted by any but the most critical notifications or alarms. You can keep calls from your family and boss on the white list, set days and times of the week and choose between calls, messages and calendar reminders. Go to Settings > My Device > Sounds and Notifications > Interruptions and get busy.
15. Supercharge your camera
Install the Samsung Smart Camera app and connect your phone to your camera with NFC to trasfer photo faster, use your phone as a remote viewfinder (hello, selfie sticks) and more. Best of all, your camera will automatically connect to your phone when it's on.
16. Always get the best display
One of the best things about Samsung displays is that they adapt to different conditions, so you always get the best possible viewing experience, whether you're reading, looking at photos or watching a movie. Just got to Settings > My Device > Display > Screen Mode and choose Adapt Display or check out the other options.
17. Try the floating keyboard
Your keyboard isn't actually locked to the bottom of the screen. Depending on what you're doing, a smaller, floating keyboard might be more suitable. Go to the keyboard, long press the button to the left of the space bar and tap the tile with the two overlapping boxes. Your keyboard will shrink a little and be movable.
18. Save battery with smarter Wi-Fi
If you have your Wi-Fi set to disconnect whenever the screen is off, you might think you're saving battery. That's not the case. Most of us turn our screen on an average of 150 times a day, so keeping Wi-Fi connected is actually better than having it turn off and on and search for connections every time. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi, tap the soft menu key and then Advanced and set Keep Wi-Fi on During Sleep to Always.
19. Fix bugs in Safe Mode
If your Galaxy S4 is acting strangely, you might want to restart it in Safe mode until you solve the problem. To do so, simply turn your S4 off and then back on again. As soon as you see the Samsung screen, press and hold the volume down key and you will see that many apps have been disabled when it boots up. To get out of safe mode, just turn your phone off and back on again.
20. Make things simpler with Easy Mode
If you're a bit bamboozled by all the Samsung widgets and doodads in TouchWiz, give Easy Mode a shot. It'll clear things up, so you only see the most important stuff, as well as enlarge icons and make everything easier to manage and navigate. Go to Settings > My Device > Easy Mode to make the switch.
21. Get a custom sound profile
If you have very discerning ears, or simply like to have complete control over what comes out of the device you use to speak to people with, why not get a custom sound profile? Go to Settings > My Device > Sounds and Notifications > Adapt Sound. Put in some headphones, tap Start and follow the prompts.
22. Always get the best photo
Let's face it, not all of us are Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers. So when a moment really maters, why not shoot a burst of pics and have your S4 choose the best one for you? Just open the camera app, tap Mode and Best Photo. Hold down the shutter to shoot a bunch of pis and let your phone choose the best one automatically.
23. Get better battery life
The Galaxy S4 doesn't have the stock Android Lollipop Battery Saver mode but it does have Samsung's Power Saver Mode. Go to Settings > My Device > Power Saving Mode and flip the switch to enable it. It works by disabling certain functions in order to conserve battery life. You can choose which functions these are in the settings.
24. Enjoy Silent Mode
The Galaxy S4 is one of the few devices to enjoy true Silent Mode even on Lollipop. You can go to Settings > My Device > Sounds and Notifications > Interruptions > Sound Mode > Mute or you can use the toggle in the Quick Settings to switch from sound to vibrate to mute.
25. Make security smarter
Why would you want to unlock your phone with a PIN or pattern when you're at home where (I hope) you can trust everyone? That's where Lollipop's cool Smart Lock feature comes in. You can save the trouble of unlocking your phone in certain places by adding a trusted face or voice, or a smartwatch or other trusted device.
26. Make Chrome easier and better
Chrome on Lollipop is a little annoying. By default your Chrome tabs will live individually in your recent apps list (accessed by long pressing the home button). If you prefer the old way – all your tabs contained in Chrome itself – go to Chrome, tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner, select Settings and turn off Merge Tabs and Apps.
27. Get lazy with Hands-Free Mode
If don't want to miss any incoming messages or notifications, but your hands are otherwise engaged, why not use the Galaxy S4's Hands-Free Mode? Incoming calls, messages and notifications will be read out to you, so you always know what's going on. Go to Settings> My Device > Hands-Free Mode and flip the switch. Tapping the entry will let you choose what is possible.
28. Disable pointless gimmicks
Samsung has always been known – at least until recently – for packing its phones with some occasionally less-than-useful features. Some of these features are enabled by default and are continuously sucking battery and processor power to work, even if you never use them. If you're not a gesture kind of guy, why not turn them off? Go to Settings > Motions and Gestures and turn off the features you don't want. The same goes for Smart Screen and Air View.
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Did you try any of these Galaxy S4 tips and tricks? Do you have any others? Share them in the comments.