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Galaxy S4 tips and tricks: get the most out of Lollipop

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 1 month ago

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 the ultimate list of Galaxy S4 tips and tricks with you specifically for the Lollipop update. Read on and see just how great the Galaxy S4 still is.

1. Disable S Voice for faster navigation

The S Voice shortcut using a double-press of the Home button actually slows down your Home button response. The first time you press it TouchWiz pauses momentarily to await the second press. Go to S Voice, press the menu soft key, select Settings and un-check the box next to ''Open via the Home Key''.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop S Voice home button shortcut
Ditching the S Voice shortcut will speed up your navigation. / © ANDROIDPIT

2. Turn off annoying Samsung sounds

While you're at it, why not turn off some of those annoying Samsung sounds? Even if you don't mind 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 as you can live without.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop turn off samsung sounds
Do the world a favor and lose the annoying Samsung sounds. / © ANDROIDPIT

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 write to instantly call or message them. Now you can stay in touch more easily and save time while you're doing it.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop contacts shortcut message call
Call or text your friends even faster with gestures. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. Access Galaxy S4 hidden settings

There's a great app called Note 2 Hidden Settings that also works with a whole host of other Galaxy devices. Some carrier-branded models don't work, but it's worth installing it and giving it a shot because there's heaps of cool stuff in this app.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop Note 2 hidden settings
Hidden Settings aren't visible on all S4's but it's worth finding out. / © ANDROIDPIT
Note 2 Hidden Settings Install on Google Play

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 to look at. 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 your level of content in While Locked.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop lock screen notifications
Choose your lock screen notification apps and content settings. / © ANDROIDPIT

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.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop WatchOn remote control
Use your Galaxy S4 as a remote control too. / © ANDROIDPIT

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. There's also S Voice for everything else, like settings reminders or checking the weather.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop voice control settings
Use your voice and save your fingers from working too hard. / © ANDROIDPIT

8. Get a better launcher

If TouchWiz still feels a little slow for you, why not replace with a faster launcher like Google Now Launcher or a more customizable launcher like Nova Launcher or Action launcher? Give them a try – they're free and you can always switch back if you want to.

nova launcher material
Mix things up with a custom launcher. / © ANDROIDPIT
Nova Launcher Install on Google Play

9. Make your own Qi wireless charger

If you want to get a wireless charging experience like the Galaxy S6 without forking out a fortune, why not make your own Qi Wireless charger? All you need to do is buy a cheap wireless charging case online, prize the wireless inductor off the back and carefully line it up with the points on the back of the S4 and stick it in.

phone battery
You can easily create a Qi wireless charger for your S4. / © ANDROIDPIT

10. Navigate faster with the scroll bar

If you're on the far left home screen and want to get to the far right home screen, do you paw your way across all of them? Or do you use the home screen scrubber bar to fly from one end of the home screen spectrum to the other at faster-than-light speeds? Just swipe on the little home screen indicators at the bottom of the screen.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop home screen slider
The home screen slider is much faster than swiping. / © ANDROIDPIT

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 and then customize your lock screen widgets.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop lock screen options
Customize your lock screen for cool personalizations. / © ANDROIDPIT

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.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop quick settings customize
Customize your Quick Settings for your favorite shortcuts. / © ANDROIDPIT

13. Make the keyboard smarter

If you're using the stock Samsung keyboard, make sure you've got predictive text and swipe typing enabled. If you don't you should try it out – you'll be amazed at the time savings both deliver. 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 Keyboard Swipe is set to ''Continuous Input''. Or you could replace the keyboard with SwiftKey.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop keyboard settings swipe
If you're not swipe typing with predictive you're living in the early 2000s. / © ANDROIDPIT
SwiftKey Keyboard + Emoji Install on Google Play

14. Use ''Do Not Disturb'' mode

Another great Lollipop feature is Priority Notifications, also known as ''Do Not Disturb'' mode. It basically 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.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop priority interruptions
Enjoy a little peace and quiet with Priority Notifications. / © ANDROIDPIT

15. Supercharge your camera

Install the Samsung Smart Camera app and connect your phone to your camera with NFC for faster transferring of photos, using 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.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop smart camera nfc pairing
Pairing your phone to your camera is very worthwhile. / © ANDROIDPIT

16. Always get the best display

One of the best parts of Samsung displays is that they are adaptive to different conditions, so depending on whether you're reading, looking at photos or watching a movie, you always get the best possible viewing experience. Just got to Settings > My Device > Display > Screen Mode and choose Adapt Display or check out the other options.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop display mode adaptive
Make the galaxy S4 display work for you. / © ANDROIDPIT

17. Try the floating keyboard

Your keyboard isn't actually locked to the bottom of the screen either. Depending on what you're doing, a smaller, floating keyboard might be just what you need. Again, go to the keyboard, long press the button to the left of the space bar and tap the tile with the two little boxes overlapping. Your keyboard will shrink a little and be moveable.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop floating keyboard
A mini floating keyboard can be really useful. / © ANDROIDPIT

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 by doing so. Wrong. Considering most of us turn our screen on 150 times a day, keeping Wi-Fi connected the whole time is actually better than having it turn off and on and search for connections all the time. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi, tap the soft menu key and then Advanced and make sure Keep Wi-Fi on During Sleep is set to ''Always''.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop Wi Fi settings off while asleep
Keeping Wi-Fi always on is actually better for battery life. / © ANDROIDPIT

19. Fix bugs in Safe Mode

If your Galaxy S4 is acting strange or you think you've got some serious problems, you might want to restart it in Safe mode until you get things sorted out. 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.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop safe mode
Safe Mode lets you play around with most apps disabled. / © ANDROIDPIT

20. Make things simpler with Easy Mode

If you're a bit bamboozled by all the Samsung widgets and doodads in TouchWiz you want to give Easy mode a shot. It'll clear things up so you only see the most important stuff, enlarge icons and make everything a little easier to manage and navigate. Go to Settings > My Device > Easy Mode and switch. Do this in reverse to switch back to Normal Mode.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop easy mode
Easy Mode is great for beginners, grandparents and those with vision impairments. / © ANDROIDPIT

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, then 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.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop adapt sound
Getting a custom sound profile makes everything sound better. / © ANDROIDPIT

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 pp, tap Mode and Best Photo. Hold down the shutter to shoot a bunch of pis and then enjoy the best one automatically.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop camera best photo
Best Photo always knows which shot is best. / © ANDROIDPIT

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. Just check the boxes for the settings you can live without for a bit of a battery boost.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop power saving mode
Power Saving Mode will get you even more battery life. / © ANDROIDPIT

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.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop mute mode
The Galaxy S4 is one of the few Lollipop devices still with mute mode. / © ANDROIDPIT

25. Make security smarter

Why would you want to unlock your phone with a PIN or pattern when it's in your pocket or you're at home where (I hope) you can trust everyone? Try out Lollipop's cool Smart Lock feature. You can add a smartwatch so you don't have to unlock your S4 when your watch is close by, avoid unlocking when you're at home or the office or even set a trusted face or voice.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop smart lock trusted device
Smart Lock is one of the coolest Lollipop features. / © ANDROIDPIT

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). Maybe you like this, but if you prefer the old way – all in Chrome itself – then go to Chrome, tap the three dots in the top right hand corner, select Settings and turn of Merge Tabs and Apps.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop merge chrome tabs
Keep Chrome old-school and don't merge tabs and apps. / © ANDROIDPIT

27. Get lazy with Hands-Free Mode

If you're busy doing something else with your hands but don't want to miss out on any incoming messages or notifications, why not use the Galaxy S4's Hands-Free Mode? Incoming calls, messages and notifications will be narrated to you so you always know what's going on even without looking at your phone. Go to Settings> My Device > Hands-Free Mode and flip the switch. Tapping the entry will let you choose what is possible.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop hands free mode
Samsung has even more hands-free options for the lazy amongst us. / © ANDROIDPIT

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.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Lollipop motions gestures
If you're not using it, disable it. / © ANDROIDPIT

Did you try any of these Galaxy S4 tips and tricks? Do you have any others?

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

15 comments

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  • Colleen Martin 5 days ago Link to comment

    I received a s4 as a gift 2 weeks ago with a new replacement battery, and my phone screen went into sleep mode and now it won't turn on or take a charge. Also, when charging phone I had to power off the phone and play with the charger connection to phone so it would charge up. This is my very first Samsung phone and if this is how these phones work, I think I will be going back to Apple... Also, this phone has never been dropped and has a Otterbox protective case on it.

    • Jody Hagedorn 4 hours ago Link to comment

      Dont give up on your droid; I much prefer t it over the iphone. It sounds like u received a used phone & the charging port is worn out. It is an inexpensive repair. U can even buy the part on ebay for $5 if you're up for doing it yourself. Watch the video on how to. In the meantime, wrapping thr chargng cord tightly around the phone activated mine to charge until I got it repaired locally. Sleep mode may just be a setting issue but obviouly u need it charged first.

  • Gail Maxwell 1 week ago Link to comment

    Just updated my phone to lollipop and now I can no longer use my widgets nor can I mute or put my phone in silent mode. How can I default back to old system? I don't even like how it looks. The screen almost looks like something designed for seniors with large print.

  • Shane 1 month ago Link to comment

    Before the update, my lock screen would show percentage of battery charge while it was plugged in. Now, nothing but the battery symbol. Is their a way to change it back? It was nice seeing 55% charged versus a battery image that's half full :-(

    • Jamie Rose 1 week ago Link to comment

      The option is located in the settings under Display. At the bottom of the display settings list there is an option to "Show Battery Percentage". :D hope this helps

  • Douglas Nolan 1 month ago Link to comment

    Root, and install Cyanogenmod 12.1 Lollipop.. Runs sweet..!!!

  • Amber Harmon 8 months ago Link to comment

    I have tried to flip the switch on the Favorite apps and camera to on but it's grayed out and won't turn on. How do I turn it on?

  • joy kant 9 months ago Link to comment

    tips & tricks for note 2???

  • Edward Netherton 9 months ago Link to comment

    It's good to know the hidden features of Galaxy S4 to make the most out of it. The features and functions of your S4 should be all in used.

  • Nelson Ford Jan 21, 2014 Link to comment

    With my Galaxy S4, I have more hiden features when I unlock that.
    There are a few tutorial where you can unroot samsung galaxy s4. You should see that you can use more hidden features. Thank anyway for these insights.

  • Ali Raza Dec 29, 2013 Link to comment

    I love Smart camera app

  • Dr. Alan Mandel Dec 28, 2013 Link to comment

    I have the MSL code from sprint for my phone and can get to the #data# page, but what can I modify on it to to improve my phone? I used to have the HTC evo3d and modded some settings but I have no idea what to do on the galaxy s4. Any info and ideas would be helpful and appreciated. Happy holidays!!

  • Angel Ramos Dec 23, 2013 Link to comment

    ha just when I think I figured this phone out there is more to learn. plenty of pretty neat options with this