Got yourself Samsung’s shiny new Galaxy S9? Make the most out of your super handset with these tweaks and hidden features.
Whether you’ve jumped ship from an iPhone or want to know all of the new tricks this Samsung’s flagship has learned since the S8, you’re bound to find something useful here.
Android Oreo has brought along a bag of tricks, while the likes of AR Emoji and Bixby Vision should be at the top of everyone’s list for the S9 tour. Who wouldn’t want to turn themselves into a cartoon character after all?
And all you need to do to sign up for this trip around the Galaxy is scroll down and read. You’ll thank us later.
1) SET UP FACIAL RECOGNITION
Gone are the days when you had to type in a passcode every time you want to access your phone. What a slog. With the Samsung Galaxy S9 you can set up ‘Intelligent Scan’, which uses the combination of face recognition and the iris scanner to confirm your identity and unlock the phone.
In order to do this go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Intelligent Scan, enter your passcode and then register your face and iris data via the camera. Finally just ensure the slider is activated for Intelligent Scan unlock.
Not comfortable with Samsung mapping your mug? Return to Lock Screen and Security and you’ll find the option for the Fingerprint Scanner, where you can register your prints. You’ll find the sensor on the rear-side of the phone below the camera.
2) TURN YOURSELF INTO AN EMOJI
Why use a yellow grinning emoji when you can use one of yourself? The S9 allows you to create an avatar based on your own looks. Just open up the camera, swipe to AR Emoji, then hit the Create My Emoji in the blue bubble on the left side of your screen.
Then take a picture of your beaming face, select your sex and then it will take a matter of seconds until your emoji flashes up on screen. Then you can customise its skin tone, hair and clothes in order to capture your true essence. Hit OK and the process is complete.
What you can you do with your new animated clone? You can make it pose for snapshots or short videos which can then be sent via messages or other third-party apps, livening up your mundane conversations.
3) ACTIVATE THE ALWAYS-ON DISPLAY
Unlocking your phone just to see the clock not only takes up your precious time, but also wastes the S9’s battery juice. By activating the always-on display, the clock will always be on show, and since it’s only lighting up the required pixels thanks to the AMOLED screen it’ll barely drain the battery.
Open up Settings > Always On Display and then activate the ON slider right at the top. Further down you can choose what the screen displays (the digital home button, the clock, or both) when dormant and even set a schedule so it’s not flashing up while you’re trying to get some shut-eye.
4) TRANSLATE FOREIGN TEXT
It’s a dangerous game ordering a dish off the menu that you have have no idea what it is. Rather than confess your inability to read spanish to the waiter, you can use Bixby (Samsung’s AI assistant) to translate in real-time.
Do this by opening the Camera. There you’ll see a little eye icon on the left side of the screen, just above settings. Press that and you’ll be asked to sign into your Samsung account and accept all of the terms and conditions. Once that’s done, you’ll be given an option of things for Bixby to analyse, from wine labels to food. What you need for translation is Text, which is found on the far left.
Make sure it’s set to translate into English and then simply hover the camera over the menu (or anything else that you need translating) and it’ll automatically do the work for you. No more mistaken russian-roulette restaurant orders for you.
5) MAXIMISE THE PIXEL POWER
Despite the Galaxy S9’s capability of rendering a glorious 2960x1440 resolution, it actually defaults to Full HD+ to prevent speedy battery power leakage.
If you want to see those YouTube and Netflix video in the best quality possible on your S9, just open up Settings > Display > Screen Resolution and set it to run at WQHD+. Or perhaps you’re happy to sacrifice pixel power for longer-lasting battery life? Then you can cap the resolution to HD+.
6) Choose your app drawer preference
Want quick access to your litany of apps? Samsung allows you to pick how you open the app drawer. You can either have the default option of hitting the drawer icon at the bottom of the screen, or enable it so a simple swipe up or down will do the job. To find these options head to Settings > Display > Home Screen. Now give Apps Button a prod and you’ll be able make your choice.
Just converted from an iPhone and feeling homesick? If you go to Home Screen Layout you’ll be able ditch the app drawer and have all your apps spread across multiples homescreens instead.
7) Set up Game Launcher
Samsung’s handy Game Launcher app is a brilliant control centre for all of your mobile games. Not only will it declutter your app drawer by sucking in all your game shortcuts, but it also offers a high performance mode to boost the S9’s power to the max. Or if it the battery life starts to lag, you can switch to ‘save power’ mode.
It’s also useful for muting games, but not your ringer, so you won’t miss that important phone call. Or if you’d rather be left alone while you’re in the middle of a racer, you can mute all other phone notifications while you play.
To set it up go to Settings > Advanced Features > Games. Then hit the slider for Game Launcher and you’ll get the option of making a shortcut for the app so it’s quick and easy to begin your next gaming session.
8) Customise your audio with Adapt Sound
With Samsung’s Adapt Sound feature you can fiddle with the audio settings create a custom EQ profile personalised for your lugs only. This can make your tracks sound crisper, clearer and more precise.
How do you do this? Head to Settings > Sounds and Vibration > Sound quality and effects, then scroll down to Adapt Sound. It will ask for your age and then run you through a series of sound tests that involve listening to beeps and various pitches, so make sure you’re in a quiet space instead of a rowdy office.
Once completed you’ll get a custom EQ setting tweaked especially for you.
9) Search for anything on your phone
Struggling to track down Instagram now you’ve filled your S9 with an army of apps? Fortunately you can use a search bar to track down anything, from apps to calendar appointments.
First of all though, you’ll need to find the search bar itself. It’s hidden in the app drawer, on the top of the screen. So just swipe down from the homescreen (or tap the app drawer icon if you've got it enabled) and it will pop into view. Now there’s no need to waste time scrolling through every app you own.