Samsung announced the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ on March 29th followed by the release on April 21st. And as Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly pointed out in a review, Samsung’s latest flagship “might be the most beautiful smartphone ever made.” I am inclined to agree with him after seeing the device up close and testing out some of its built-in features.
Some of the best Galaxy S8 features are obvious, but there are some useful ones that are subtle, yet handy. As a follow-up to my Galaxy S7 tips article from 2016 and Galaxy S6 tips article from 2015, these are 26 Galaxy S8 tips and tricks you should know about:
1.) Activate Edge Lighting
If you have used one of the Samsung Edge devices before, then you may have appreciated the Edge lighting feature. This feature is also built into the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, which is surprising since the newer devices are not as curved as its predecessors. And since it is not as curved, the Edge lighting feature is not as bright. But it might still be worth activating the feature if you would find it beneficial. It can be activated by going to Settings > Edge Screen > Edge lighting. From there, you can decide whether to show Edge lighting when the screen is on, when the screen is off or always.
2.) Adjust The Icon Sizes In The Home And App Screen Grid
Did you know that you can adjust the icon sizes in the Home screen grid? To do so, press down on the Home screen panel. From there, tap on the Home screen settings and then you can customize the Home Screen Grid. The sizes you can select from include 4×5, 4×6 and 5×5. And you can also change the App Screen Grid to 4×6 or 5×6.
3.) Change The Screen Masks On The Iris Scanner
The default setting for unlocking your Galaxy S8 and S8+ with the iris scanner is an impressive biometric feature. However, Samsung made it even more interesting by adding cartoonish screen masks to the iris scanner. You can set this up by going to the Settings app > Lock screen and security > Iris Scanner > Preview screen mask > (Select the mask). After this feature is enabled, you can see some fun cartoon options for the iris scanner.
4.) Create Animated GIFs With The Smart Select Edge Panel
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ makes it easy to create animated GIFs. To set this up, you will have to enable the Smart Select Edge panel by going to Settings app > Edge screen > Edge panels. And then make sure that the “Smart select” Edge panel is checkmarked under that menu. Then open the app that you want to use for creating an animated GIF like YouTube or Netflix. The animated GIF feature allows you to capture up to 15 seconds.
When you start playing the video, you will need to drag in the Edge panel from the edge of the screen and then scroll to the Smart Select panel. Then tap on the Animation button. After you tap on the Animation button, you will see a resizable window on the screen. From there you can set the recording quality of the GIF where high quality hits about 10MB and normal quality hits about 4MB.
5.) Customize The Always On Display
As you may have noticed, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ display is always on in a low power mode. Low power mode shows the time, date, media controls and app notifications on the display. You can customize the Always on display by going to Settings > Lock screen and security > Always on display. In this menu, you can adjust the layout of the clock, the colors and photo backgrounds. And you can also set the time that you want to turn the feature off, which can come in handy if you don’t want to see the display glowing while you are sleeping.
6.) Enable/Disable And Adjust The Edge Panels
The Edge panels on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are customizable. You can turn the Edge panels on or off by going to the Settings app > Edge screen > Edge panels > select on or off.
And if the Edge panel is enabled, you can decide if you want to make it usable on the left or the right. This is configurable by opening the Edge screen and tapping on the gear icon (Edge panel settings). From there, open the “More options” menu by tapping on the three dots icon. Tap on “Handle settings” and change the position to either right or left. Under the “Handle settings” menu, you can also adjust the size, transparency and vibration.
7.) Enable Power Saving Mode
To extend the battery life on your Samsung Galaxy S8, you can make adjustments to the power saving mode. The power saving mode can be viewed under Settings > Battery. Then you can select Mid or Max to extend your battery life up to a certain amount of time. Selecting Max disables most of the apps and shows just a blank screen, but your device could last a few hours with a single digit battery percentage while in this mode. The Mid mode decreases the brightness and temporary disables features like the Always On display. Another great feature in this menu is the App power monitor, which allows you to select apps that you want to stop from using your battery while in low power mode.
8.) Get Rid Of The App Drawer
There is a way to show all of your apps on the Home screen by removing the app drawer. You can do this by long pressing on the Home screen and then tapping on Home screen settings > Home screen layout. From there, you can choose two options: Home and Apps screen and Home screen only. By choosing Home screen only, it will remove the app drawer and all of your apps will be on the home screens instead.
9.) Make Your Apps Full Screen
What makes the Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices unique are the bright and immersive edge-to-edge “Infinity Displays.” And to make the most out of the gorgeous Galaxy S8 displays, Samsung added the ability to full-screen apps. You can full-screen apps by going to the Settings app > Display > Full screen apps. From there, you can decide which apps to enable or disable for full screen.
Another reason why this feature is handy is that the aspect ratio of the displays on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is 18.5:9. This causes large black bars to appear on the sides of apps and videos. Most apps and videos use the standard 16:9 ratio, but the full-screen mode can get rid of the black bars on the sides.
10.) Move Navigation Bar Keys
On older Samsung devices and the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Navigation bar keys are arranged in this order: Recents – Home – Back. But many other Android smartphones are arranged in the Back – Home – Recents order. You may not know this, but there is a way to change around the Galaxy S8 button layout by going to the Settings app > Display > Navigation bar. Then you can change Recents – Home – Back to Back – Home – Recents. From there, change the position of the task switcher and back buttons.
11.) Play Around With Video Filters
In the Camera app, there are video filters built-in that are similar to the ones in Snapchat and Facebook. You can find the built-in video filters by tapping on the camera icon at the top left corner while in selfie mode. Then tap on the bear icon at the bottom right corner.
12.) Prevent Icons From Being Added To The Home Screen
Whenever you download a new app from the Google Play Store, a new icon shows up on the home screen — which may interfere with the way you arrange your icons. You can turn this off by going to the Google Play Store app > Tap on the three parallel horizontal line (hamburger) icon > Settings > Deselect Add icon to Home screen.
13.) Save RAW Copies Of Photos
The camera built into the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is very sophisticated and the photos it takes are very sharp and clear. This is especially apparent when you view the RAW photos.
To save RAW photos on your device, you can do so by opening the camera app and tapping on the Picture size tab. And from there, enable the Save RAW and JPEG filesfeature.