Samsung has taken the Galaxy S20 series to the next level. We’ve had an expansion at the top with the S20 Ultra – a super-specific phone sitting alongside the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ – with the S20 FE at the more affordable end.
But there’s a lot to master: Samsung offers more features than anyone ready to use, so it’s easy to overlook or never discover some of the hidden gems. We tore the phones apart to put together a detailed guide to everything your S20 device will do and how to master it. With the One UI 3.0 update and Android 11, there are changes – and all S20 devices should now have the new software.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Top Tip: If you’re having trouble finding things, swipe down on Quick Settings and you’ll find a search option at the top. Just start typing your search query and it universally searches your phone returning settings, apps, contacts, calendar appointments. It’s really powerful. You can also launch it by bringing up the application bar and pressing the search bar at the top.
How to turn off or restart the Samsung Galaxy S20: Samsung has reconfigured the side button on the S20, so a long press will launch Bixby by default, rather than unplugging the device like (almost) every other phone on the planet. To turn off the phone, slide the quick settings pane down and press the power icon. Then you can turn off the phone. On this screen there is also a shortcut to the side key settings so you can change the function if you need to.
Tips for the home screen of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, S20+, S20 Ultra
The home screen part of the launcher. It’s where you unlock your phone, where you have shortcuts and app widgets, and where you come back when you’re done doing something in an app. Now compatible with Android 11, you can also choose your navigation style.
Turn on Android 11 gesture navigation
by default, the S20 will offer Samsung’s three icons for navigation. If you want to switch to Android 11 gestures, open settings> display> navigation bar. Here you have the option to use buttons or swipe gestures. You can press “more options” to customize, but with swipe gestures, your phone will then let you swipe sideways to go back, up and down to go home, just like other Android devices.
Customize the navigation bar
if you stick to on-screen navigation controls, you can customize the order. Head to settings> display> navigation bar and you can change the order of the buttons.
Change your home screen
a long press on the screen background on any home screen allows you to change the screen background, themes, widgets, pages or other settings. This area will also allow you to add or remove entire screens, so if you want a widget page, this is where you’ll add it.
Get more on your home screen
you can change the size of the screen grid on which your shortcuts and widgets are located, depending on the desired density of the home screen. Long press on the screen background and select “Home screen settings”. Select 4×5 to keep things fairly clear, 4×6, 5×5 or 5×6 to cram in more. We tend to use 5×6, otherwise things look too big, but it depends on your personal preferences.
Many widgets are resizable. A long press selects them. When you lift your finger, you can drag the blue box that appears and resize your widget. You can even resize or reposition the Google search box.
Customize the status bar
this is the information at the top of the screen. Head to settings> notifications> status bar and you have some options. You can limit to three notification icons or all of them. You can also enable or disable the battery percentage.
Allow your homepage to run in landscape
this option will allow the home screen and the app bar, settings, etc. to display in landscape. It is disabled by default, but you can enable it in settings > home screen settings > rotate to landscape. Enable it to rotate to landscape, so if you switch from gaming to watching movies, you don’t have to switch back to portrait.
Create a folder
simply drag an application onto another on the home screen and a folder is created. To remove an application from a folder, open the folder and long-press an application and you will get a pop-up menu that allows you to delete that application. To add applications, drag them into a folder or press the “+” button in the folder to add applications.
Change the color or name of a folder
Open a folder and enter the desired name at the top. If you do not want a name, leave it blank. To change the background color of the folder, press the dot in the right corner and select a new color, including fully custom colors.
Delete a folder
If you no longer want a folder, hold down the key and then press Delete from Home. The folder and application shortcuts will disappear.
Access Samsung Daily from the home screen
To the left of the home screen, Samsung now offers something called Samsung Daily, which replaces Bixby Home. You can swipe in and it will provide you with news, sports, weather and stuff from the Galaxy Store, as well as additions from some services you might use like Spotify. You can change what it shows you by opening the menu at the top right and selecting the cards you want to see.
Turn off Samsung Daily
If you don’t want Samsung Daily (and we don’t blame you), long-press the screen background and you’ll be taken to the home screen controls. Swipe right and the Samsung Daily panel will appear. There is a toggle switch in the upper right corner. If you don’t want the Samsung Daily panel to appear on your home screen, simply turn it off. Unfortunately, you can’t change it to something else without changing the launcher.
Change launcher (home screen)
you can easily change the experience of your phone with another launcher, such as Nova, if you want more customization. Just download the launcher from Play Store and install it. When you press the home button, you will have the choice to select a new default launcher. Or, go to settings> applications and press the menu button on the top right. Select “default apps” and then “home app”. You will see your choice of launchers there, choose the one you want. Note: If you are using Android 10/11 gesture navigation, it is not supported by all third-party launchers, so you may need to revert to using three-button controls.
Show app suggestions in recent apps
when you press the recent apps button, or slowly swipe up if you’re using Android 11 gestures, you’ll get thumbnails of your recent apps pages, but also a line of suggested apps at the bottom. These are based on what the Galaxy S20 thinks you might want based on recently used apps. If you don’t want this, open the top right menu in the search bar and turn off the “suggested apps”.
Contextual conversations in a separate window
remember Facebook chat heads? Samsung can do this with messaging services on the Galaxy S20, bringing up the conversation in a floating button so you can reply without switching apps – as long as the app supports the use of multiple windows. This is called “smart contextual view” and you can find it in settings> advanced features> smart contextual view. You can toggle which applications you want to see (this used to be the case for email services) and then you can reply to them in a separate window. It is disabled by default.
Managing your digital assistants on the Galaxy S10
Samsung offers Bixby as a digital assistant, while as an Android phone, you also get Google Assistant. Install Alexa and it becomes an option – although Samsung also lets you access the Finder and Samsung Internet via the same route. Here are all the management options for these virtual assistants.
Access Google Assistant
a long press on the virtual home button on the screen will launch Google Assistant. You can then talk to Google and enjoy the full experience as Mountain View intended. This is synchronized with your Google account from the login, so it works with everything you already have configured Google Assistant to do. If you are using Android 11 gestures, swipe diagonally from the bottom corner to launch the Assistant.
Enable the “Ok Google” keyword
The keyword that allows Google to respond only with your voice is part of the Google app, but you’ll need to enable it to respond. Head to the Google app, press “more” in the bottom right corner, settings> voice> voice match> hey Google. Enable the option and as long as there is a voice match linked to your account, it will recognize you speaking and give you voice control of your phone.
Disable Google Assistant/all assistants
if you don’t want Google Assistant on this home button shortcut, you can remove the ability to launch it there. Head to settings> applications and open the menu on the top right and select default applications. Then head to “assistance application” and up to “device assistance application”. You will now see the option to select “none”. Press this option and nothing will happen with a long press on the home button or when you swipe from the corners.
Change your digital assistant to Alexa or Bixby Voice
If you prefer to launch Alexa on the home button, install the Alexa app, then, as above, switch the default assistant app to Alexa – or Bixby Voice if you prefer. This will then mean you have access to Alexa or Bixby via the home screen instead of Google. The Alexa keyword will not work.
Launch Bixby Voice
If you want to use Bixby, hold down the side button and Bixby will launch. You will need to be signed in to a Samsung account to use Bixby. You can also enable the “Hi Bixby” hotword. The easiest way to do this is to launch Bixby, swipe your finger up, and then open the menu at the top right. This will bring up the Bixby Voice settings – tap on “voice alarm” and you can take control with your voice. It’s off by default, so if you’re not using it, leave it off.
Reassign the side button
there is no longer a Bixby button like the last Galaxy S models, but a single button. Head to settings> advanced features> side button. Here you get all the options for this side button, so you can remove Bixby, you can configure it to turn off the phone with a long press, launch the camera with a double press or open an application of your choice. Basically, the choice is yours.
Samsung Galaxy S20 quick settings tips and tricks
The quick settings area is part of Android where you can access the most common settings for your device, such as power saving modes, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It is a selection of shortcuts, accessible when you slide your finger from the top of the screen on the Samsung phone. Samsung also adds a few more items here.
Instantly access the quick settings and notifications pane from your home screen: swipe anywhere on the home screen and the notifications pane will slide down, which means you don’t have to stretch to the top of the page, swipe down again and you get quick settings – really useful on the larger Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra phones. This is disabled by default, to enable it, long press on the screen background and select “Home screen settings”, then “swipe down to notification panel”.
Change quick settings
to change the shortcuts you see when you swipe down for notifications, double swipe down to see the full grid, open the menu by pressing the three dots and select “button order”. The full list of options will be displayed on all pages. You can drag to rearrange or remove shortcuts you don’t need. Tip: Only the first six applications are shown in the compact view at the top, so make these your first settings shortcuts.
Get instant access to device settings from Quick Settings – this is a standard Android trick, but ideal for instant access to settings. Press and hold the shortcut (e.g. Bluetooth) and you’ll instantly jump to the full settings menu. This is really useful for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and power saving options.
Access connected devices in the quick settings pane
By default, you’ll find that connected devices and media are also displayed in the quick settings pane. This means that you can swipe down and tap to access the music you are listening to or the speakers you are connected to. The devices option covers direct connections as well as SmartThings, so if you’re a smart home user, this is a way to access those devices directly. You may find that you don’t have or need this option, so you can turn it off by opening the quick settings and tapping the menu in the top right. Then tap on “quick panel layout” and disable “show media and devices” to remove it.
Quickly adjust the screen brightness
Samsung allows you to access the brightness via the quick settings panel, just drag it down and you will see the slider. If you want to adjust the automatic brightness, press the down arrow at the right end of the slider and it will take you directly to these settings, where you can turn it on or off.
Tips for Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20+ applications
The application bar is part of your phone’s launcher and is the area where your application shortcuts live.
Show all applications on the home screen
this is a popular option for some. If you want to remove the application bar, long press on the home screen and press “Home screen settings”. Then select “Home screen layout” and you will see two options, “Home screen only” or “Home screen and apps screen”. The first one completely removes the application bar, like the iPhone.
Add or remove an application bar button
by default, there is no application bar button and you open the application bar with a simple swipe. If you want the button back, go to the home screen settings as above and select “application button”. Here you can turn it on or off.
Swipe to show or hide the app bar
as above, the Galaxy S20 allows you to show the app bar by swiping up. The application pages themselves then scroll left and right. If you want to go back to the home page, you don’t need to press the home button, you can simply swipe up again and the application bar disappears.
Change the size of the application screen grid
like the home screen, you can change the density of applications in the application bar/page. As above, go to the home screen settings and you will see the option “application screen grid”, with up to 5×6. This will contain more applications.
Sort your applications alphabetically
in the application bar, press the menu in the upper right corner, then “sort”. This will give you the option to sort alphabetically. Just press this option and everything will fall into place.
press the menu button in the upper right corner, then press “sort”. This time select “custom order”. Now you can drag the apps to the position you want them in.
Create a folder in the application bar
you can have a folder for applications, whether you are in custom order or alphabetical. Simply tap and hold an application icon and drag it to another and a folder will be created. You can then change the name and color as you wish.
Search your entire phone with the Finder
At the top of the applications screen is a search bar for the Finder. This will return search results for the apps you have installed, but can also search for content in apps, like Netflix, Play Store, messages, reminder, calendar and more. Tap the Finder bar in the app bar, then tap the menu button on the right, then “manage apps” and you can choose where to search.
Manage apps searched by Finder
if the Finder returns information you don’t want, you can disable some of the apps it accesses. Open the application bar and tap on the top right menu. Then select Finder settings > choose the applications to search in. This will allow you to disable the apps you don’t want to get results from.
Let the Finder give you app suggestions
when you tap the Finder at the top of the app bar, you immediately get suggestions based on the recent apps you’ve used. If you don’t want it, go to the Finder settings as above and you can disable it under “show suggested apps”.
you can uninstall directly from an application icon. Long press on the application and a context menu will give you the option to uninstall an application. If it is a main application (that you cannot uninstall), the same option will allow you to deactivate an application.
Add applications to your home screen
long press on the application shortcut in the application bar. This will allow you to place a shortcut on your home screen by dragging it to the top of the page, or you can select “add to home” from the pop-up menu that appears.
Stop adding new application icons to the home screen
go to the home screen settings (long press on the screen background) and you will find the option “add applications to home screen”. Deactivate this option, otherwise every application you install will be added to your home screen. Or turn it on, if that’s what you want.
Change the default application
Android lets you decide which app is the default if you have several that will do the same thing. Under settings> applications, press the menu button in the upper right corner, then “default applications”. Here you can see what has been selected as the default browser, calling application, messaging application and home screen. The other defaults are selected by the first application you open for a particular task.
Control application permissions
Android allows you to individually manage all permissions for each app. Go to Settings> Applications and select the desired application, then tap Permissions. This will allow you to turn permissions on and off, so you can disable access to location or contacts, for example.
Samsung Galaxy S20 lock screen and permanent display
The lock screen is what you see when your phone is locked. It’s really divided into two parts, one when the screen is off – where the “always on display” can give you information – or the proper lock screen where the screen is fully on, but you can’t access the device.
Always on display
to have the screen show you “always on” information, go to the lock screen > always on and turn it on – it is off by default. This is displayed when the phone screen is in standby, i.e. when the screen is off. You can choose to display it on a calendar – maybe only display it when you are at your desk – or display it at any time or when you press your phone. Don’t forget that it consumes battery power.
Change the permanent clock style
there are a range of different clock types for the S10 permanent display. Go to settings> lock screen> clock style. Here you can change the clock for both the permanent display and the lock screen. You can also change the colors, so if you don’t want mono, you can select something else.
Add a music controller or FaceWidgets to your lock screen or permanent display
FaceWidgets are the name Samsung uses for other information on your lock screen or permanent display. You will probably have a music controller there by default, but if not, go to settings> lock screen> FaceWidgets. Here you’ll find all the options to enable and disable, including Bixby routines, weather, alarms and schedules.
Change the brightness of the permanent display
this is related to the automatic brightness of your phone, but you can manually line up to adjust the brightness yourself. Go to settings> lock screen> permanent display. In this menu, you will see “auto brightness”. Turn it off and you can adjust the brightness yourself. You can also change the brightness manually by pressing the permanent display once it is displayed.
Change the lock screen shortcuts
you can have two shortcuts on the lock screen for quick access (only the lock screen, not the permanent display). These are the default phone and camera, but it can be anything you want. Head to settings> lock screen> shortcuts. Here you can select left and right shortcuts or disable them completely.
Disable/enable lock screen notifications
if you don’t want notifications on your lock screen, go to settings> lock screen> notifications. This allows you to hide content, show only app icons, or turn off notifications completely. Conversely, if you want notifications with content, do not select hide.
Change the appearance of lock screen notifications – not only can you change what information is displayed on the lock screen, but you can also change how it is displayed. Head to settings> lock screen> notifications and you can change the transparency of the lock screen notifications. You can also reverse the text to make it stand out more in the background.
Show a Daylight Saving Clock on the lock screen
One of the coolest features of phones is that it automatically switches to local time, but a daylight saving clock can show you your time zone. Go to settings> lock screen> roaming clock. You can also choose your home time zone.
Also read: How to locate your child’s phone?
Security and unlocking for the Samsung Galaxy S20 series
Security remains more important than ever, with Samsung offering a range of unlocking options.
Biometrics is not foolproof, as if it fails, your device reverts to PIN or password to unlock. Therefore, your device is only as secure as the password or PIN you use, as anyone trying to break into your phone can always choose to go directly to these unlocking methods. Biometrics are there for convenience, not security.
Enable fingerprint or face security
to use your fingerprint or face to unlock, go to settings > biometrics and security. Here you can enroll your face or fingerprint. You will need to set a PIN or backup password at the same time to provide additional security. Tip: If you use fingerprints, enroll the fingers of each hand so you can unlock regardless of how you hold your phone.
Tap the screen to show the location of the fingerprint reader
you can make the fingerprint icon light up by tapping the phone to see where to unlock it. Go to settings> biometrics and security> fingerprint. Type in your PIN or password, then head to “show icon when screen is off”. You can then choose to tap the screen and a fingerprint icon will appear indicating that you should tap.
when you press the sleep button, you want your phone to lock instantly. Go to settings> lock screen> secure lock settings. It is possible to lock the phone as soon as the screen goes to sleep or when you press the sleep button. If you want a delay, there are many time options.
Smart Lock/Bluetooth unlock
Again in the settings> lock screen> there is the Smart Lock section. This is a standard Android feature and you have the ability to designate trusted devices, so that your Android unlocks when it is connected to something else. You can designate Bluetooth devices (like your smartwatch or car), location, trusted voice, etc. Bonus tip: this is basically one of the only places in Samsung’s One UI where you revert to stock Android visuals!
Automatically wipe your device
if you’re worried about your phone falling into the wrong hands and getting cracked, you can have it wiped automatically. Head to settings> lock screen> secure lock settings. Here you will find the option to automatically reset the factory settings if 15 unsuccessful unlock attempts are made.
Lock network and security features
This option means that your network settings cannot be changed when your phone is locked. This makes it easier to locate your phone in case it is stolen. However, it also means you have to unlock your phone to activate airplane mode. Head to settings> lock screen and security> secure lock settings to find the option to turn it on or off.
Encrypt your SD card
If you don’t want people snooping around your SD card if they remove it from the phone, you can encrypt it. Then it can only be read on your unlocked phone. Go to settings> biometrics and security> encrypt SD card and you can get all the details.
Keep your private files and apps in the secure folder
if you’re worried about people accessing your phone and finding things they shouldn’t, you can use the secure folder. This sets up another layer of security, you can then add files, images and applications that you want to keep hidden, whether they are personal photos or business documents. You can also add second versions of applications that you want to be secure and private. This is in settings > biometrics and security > secure folder.
Samsung Galaxy S20 display tips
Samsung is now in its second generation of Infinity-O displays and on the Galaxy S20 series, there is now a 120 Hz option.
Enable 120 Hz mode
there is an option for 120 Hz or 60 Hz on the S20. Go to settings> display> motion smoothness. This will allow you to choose between “high” or “standard”, with 120 Hz aimed at making things smoother. It’s only available in Full HD+ resolution (also the default), but it will also use more battery life than sticking to 60 Hz.
Change the display resolution
“Quad HD+” they say, but the default is “Full HD+”. You can select the resolution you want for the display in settings > display > screen resolution. A lower resolution can save you battery. There is no option to change the resolution on the S20 FE.
Enable dark mode
this has been around on Samsung phones for a while, but it’s much more common and is now a native feature of Android. Just open the settings menu and head to the display. This is the first thing you’ll see at the top of the page, but you can tap on “Dark Mode Settings” and you can set the dark mode to turn on at sunset.
Change the display colors
go to settings > screen mode and you will have the possibility to change the appearance of the display. The default value is vivid with the possibility to make it natural. In Vivid, you can change the color temperature and RGB settings, if you wish.
Turn on the video amplifier
There is a hidden video amplifier on the S20 that aims to enhance videos. It works with a range of apps, including Netflix, Play Movies, Prime Video and YouTube. Head to settings> advanced features> video enhancer to turn it on or off depending on your preferences.
Turn on the blue light filter
this changes the color of the screen to reduce blue light, avoid eye strain and help you sleep better, theoretically. Head to settings> display> blue light filter to change the times and strength of the effect.
Hide the front camera
If you don’t like the front camera, you can hide it in a dark banner. This means that your phone will have a larger top bezel. Head to settings> display> full screen applications. Open the menu to reveal the advanced settings. Here you’ll find a toggle option to hide the front camera, if that bothers you.
go to settings > advanced features > one-handed mode and you’ll find the option of a button or gesture to enable one-handed mode. This must be enabled, but it will reduce the display to give you easier access to things closer to the top – ideal for small hands on large phones. Once in one-handed mode, you can switch from left to right by pressing the arrows. To exit one-handed mode, simply press the black area.
Samsung Galaxy S20 series notification tips and tricks
Samsung likes to notify you all the time, so taming those notifications and getting them to do what you want is a big part of living with a modern phone. Samsung will often replace all notifications with its own sound and vibration, so there’s a lot to do. We covered some notifications in the lock screen section above, but here’s how to master all those beeps and buzzes.
To turn off notifications from an app
go to Settings > Notifications and you’ll see a “Recently Sent” section. Tap on “See All” and you’ll get easy toggle options for all the apps on your phone. Here you can either turn them off completely or tap to control specific notifications.
Show app icon badges
icon badges are an Android feature, allowing each app to tell you how many notifications you have. Samsung applies this across the entire device. Go to settings> notifications> application icon badges. You can enable or disable the options, or tap to change the style (numbers or no numbers). If you tap an app instead, you can disable the dots for a specific app.
View your app’s notifications by long-pressing an app shortcut
this is a fairly advanced extension of icon badges. You can press and hold on an app icon that displays a badge and the notifications will be revealed in a pop-up menu. Head to settings> notifications> app icon badges and you’ll find this option at the bottom of the page under “notifications on app icons”.
Disable a notification you received
this is a standard Android feature, but it is really useful. If you receive a notification from any application and you never want to see it again, slowly slide the notification to the right and you will see a settings wheel. Press it and you’ll see the option to disable notifications for that app.
Samsung Galaxy S20 volume controls, sound and do not disturb
Learning how to master do not disturb is a key skill of Android. You can get it to give you the notifications you want when you want, you can silence your phone when you want without needing a mechanical slider, and still let those vital notifications through. On the Galaxy S20, you have five volume sliders. That’s right, five: ringtone, media, notifications, system, Bixby voice.
Enable live captioning for everything
Live captioning is a system-wide offering that will give you subtitles for video apps. It’s hidden in the volume controls. Simply press the volume up or down and when the slider appears, press the drop down arrow. This will show all your volume controls, but at the bottom of the list you will see the option to turn off live subtitles.
Ignore the media volume rocker
in the volume settings (swipe down on volume or in settings > sounds and vibration), you will find the option to use the volume keys for media. This is disabled by default, but if you enable it, when you press the volume buttons, only the multimedia volume moves. Leave it off and it controls the ringer volume, but switches to the media volume when you have media playing, for example in Netflix or Spotify.
Change vibration levels for everything
Go to settings > sounds & vibration > vibration intensity and you can change vibration levels for calls, notifications and touch.
Quickly switch to vibration alerts
If you want silence, but still want vibration alerts, tap the volume button and tap speaker icon in the pop-up. This will switch to vibrate. Or you can hold down the volume button so it slides all the way down to vibrate.
Set your phone to silent – normal volume controls only vibrate. To silence your phone, swipe down to the quick settings and press the sound shortcut. This will cycle through the sound/vibrate/mute. Don’t forget to turn the sound back on, or you’ll miss all your calls and messages, or use Do Not Disturb instead.
Disable charging sound, unlocking sound, keyboard sounds
Samsung would make your Galaxy beep and vibrate with every action and touch. Head to settings> sound and vibration> system sounds/vibration control and you’ll find all the options to disable these elements. Just do it please.
Enable and control Dolby Atmos
This can be enabled in the quick settings, or go to settings > sound & vibration > sound quality & effects. In the Dolby Atmos section, you have the option to use car, movie, music or voice as individual options for audio enhancement. There is also the possibility to automatically activate Atmos when you start a game.
Tailor the sound quality to your needs
You can customize the sound output of the S20 devices. Go to settings> sound and vibration> sound quality and effects and you will see “adapt sound” at the bottom. You can take a profile based on age or you can create a custom setting based on a short listening test.
Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb is an Android feature that allows you to turn off your phone but configure a series of exceptions. Swipe down from the quick settings and tap the Do Not Disturb button to turn it on. You can also set it to a schedule, such as at night or when you’re in the office. Simply tap and hold the quick setting to access all menu options.
Allow alarms and exceptions in Do Not Disturb
if you want silence, Do Not Disturb is ideal. But if you want notifications, then you need to designate allowed exceptions. Go to settings> sound and vibration> do not disturb> allow exceptions. Here you can allow alarms (essential if you want to wake up in the morning), but also allow repeat calls or designated contacts – such as favorites for messages and calls – as well as reminders. It’s worth checking what can and can’t get through.
Allow notifications in Do Not Disturb
Although sounds and vibration are disabled in Do Not Disturb, you can still have silent notifications. In settings > sound and vibration > do not disturb > hide notifications, you will find options to allow or stop notifications. Hiding everything will mean that nothing appears, but you can choose – you can disable icon badges, the notification list, pop-ups and status bar icons.
Samsung Galaxy S20 camera and photo tips
The S20 and S20+ cameras are quite different from the S20 Ultra – but they have a lot in common and a lot to master. Here’s how to take control of the camera.
Turn on 108MP mode (S20 Ultra only)
the S20 Ultra has a 108-megapixel camera, but by default it’s set to 12 megapixels. If you want full resolution, press the aspect ratio button in the viewfinder and you’ll see the “4:3 108MP” option.
Enable 8K video capture (S20, S20+ and Ultra only)
If you want to capture video at the highest resolution, go to video mode and press the aspect ratio icon – you’ll see the option for 16:9 8K. You lose some functionality at this resolution – there are no advanced features, just 8K capture.
Use night mode for better low-light shots
Samsung has improved low-light shooting both in the normal camera and with a night mode. When it’s dark, the camera suggests you use night mode – tap the notification. Or, go to shooting modes and tap night mode. When shooting in low light, keep the camera as steady as possible until the little moon in the shutter release is filled with yellow.
Get a better macro shot
The large aperture of S20 cameras means that things up close can look blurry around the edges. This is partly due to the f/1.8 aperture. Step back and use the telephoto lens instead – the narrower f/3.5 (on the S20 Ultra) or f/2.0 (on the S20) can get things in focus closer.
Use Single Take for moving subjects – if you’re looking at something interesting that’s moving, like a street performer or maybe your dog, Single Take can capture a range of images and video for you. Note: Single Take does not capture sound by placing its own soundtrack over the video.
How to get out of camera mode
If you find that you are stuck in camera mode and don’t know how to get back, look for the back arrow in the left corner of the phone. This will return to the normal viewfinder.
Disable ultra wide angle distortion correction
When you take a picture with the ultra wide angle camera, the software corrects some of the distortion that goes with it. This could be a straight line that is curved when it shouldn’t be, for example. If you prefer the phone not to do this, go to the camera settings > recording option and you will see the option to disable it.
Activate the suggested shot mode
a feature introduced on the S10, it will analyze the scene and suggest the best composition. The camera will suggest the best shot and help you align it with an on-screen guide. Open the camera and press the settings wheel at the top and you will find the option to activate it.
Use Scene Optimizer to improve your photos
the new Scene Optimizer uses IA to improve your photos, while allowing longer handheld night shots. In the viewfinder of the Camera application, you’ll see a swirling icon in the corner. If it’s blue, the Scene Optimizer is on and will identify the scene and choose the best settings for you. If there is no swirling icon, go to the camera settings and turn on the scene optimizer. You can also change its operation in the same section.
Quick launch of the camera
By default, a double press on the side button will launch the camera. If you want to change this – as we mentioned for the side button controls above – go to settings> advanced features> side button and you will find the controls.
Change camera mode
the camera loads and you can browse the modes from the photo, browsing the modes you see to the right or down. Basically, you can browse this list by browsing a single shot, photo, video, etc. You can drag your finger on the camera screen to move through the modes. In addition, you will find the other functions, like pro (manual control), night, live focus, hyperlapse and so on.
Change the available camera modes
you don’t have to stick to the default options above – you can add or remove modes you find more useful. Head to “more” and you’ll see a pencil appear at the bottom. Press it and it will allow you to drag the modes of your choice onto the list, so you can easily select them without opening the “More” menu every time.
Quickly switch from rear to front camera
there is a button to switch between front and rear cameras, but you can also do it with a simple swipe. Just swipe up or down to switch to the other camera (basically, swipe in the opposite direction to the one that changes the shooting mode as above). Or, you can press the power button twice more and the cameras will switch.
Enable raw capture
If you want the dng files to be recorded as well as the normal jpeg, go to settings > recording options. Here is the option to record both raw and jpeg files. To use it, however, you’ll need to be in Pro mode, so if you want raw files, turn it on and shoot in Pro – you can’t switch to 108MP in that mode either, so you can’t get that huge raw file.
Enable video stabilization
to stabilize your video on the rear camera, just press unicorn on the left with a hand and wavy lines. This activates the super stable mode. It is yellow when it is on. You can’t have super stability on 8K video.
Shoot HDR10+ video
HDR10+ is a beta (or “lab”) feature. Head to video mode, then open the camera settings> advanced recording features. You can switch to HDR10+, but be aware that you can only view them on an HDR10+ compatible display, otherwise they look like a low quality video. You can also only capture HDR10+ at 1080/30p, not the full range of resolutions offered by the camera.
Take a portrait selfie
Rather than offering a portrait mode, Samsung offers “live focus”, which will blur the background. Simply switch to the front camera and select live focus from the menu. There are four different bokeh effects to try. Note that skin smoothing is enabled by default, so tap the wand icon if you want to make changes.
Use AR Emoji
This is now a completed mode in the menu. It will allow you to capture an emoji that looks like you or use various AR characters. Just tap on AR emoji and have fun.
To take a long exposure photo
Open Pro mode. On the right side/bottom you will see the ability to change the exposure time with a symbol that looks like a camera shutter. Use the slider to select the desired time. The exposure compensation icon will indicate whether you are going to over or underexpose, switching from + to -.
Change the gallery display
if you are looking at your photos and want to display more or less, you can pinch the zoom to change the thumbnail display.
Tips for the Samsung Galaxy S20 edge screen
Ever since Samsung introduced the Infinity Edge Screen, it has been trying to find things to do with it. If you don’t want any of the features, you can disable everything.
Add or remove edge panels
go to settings > display > edge screen and tap on edge panels. Here you will see the selection of available panels and you can add and remove the ones you don’t want. Stick to the point, otherwise you’ll spend more time navigating and less time doing. Smart selection is worth studying.
Move the edge panel handle anywhere
you can move the edge handle (where you have to drag to open the edge panels) anywhere on the left or right side of the screen. Just press and hold and you can drag it anywhere you want. If you don’t want to be able to move it, you can disable this option in the settings, as below.
Change the size and transparency of the edge panel handle
go to settings > display > edge screen > edge panels. Then press the menu in the upper right corner and select “handle settings”. In these settings you can modify the handle – including making it invisible, changing the color, size and whether you want it to vibrate when touched.
Enable edge lighting for notifications
You can turn on the edges of the screen to send you notifications. Go to settings> display> edge screen> edge lighting. You can change the style of the edge lighting and designate which applications it will notify you about. You can have it for everything, or only for the apps you really want.
Disable the edge screen
go to settings > display > edge screen and disable the edge panels. They will be banished to the bucket of features you never use.
Bixby tips and tricks
Bixby is Samsung’s assistant. It debuted on the Samsung Galaxy S8 in 2017 and then appeared in subsequent phones. The AI assistant can do a range of things, but it’s basically split into Bixby Voice (with its own screen) and Bixby Vision. We covered some Bixby Voice tips in the digital assistants section above. If you want to learn more about Bixby, we have a full Bixby feature you can take advantage of.
Set up a Bixby routine
go to Settings > Advanced Features > Bixby Routines and you’ll find this option. This will allow you to set up various If and Then recipes. For example, when you travel abroad, turn off mobile data. You can create custom routines based on the opening of an application, which is ideal for games, for example.
Use Bixby to access your phone’s settings
One of the benefits of Bixby is that it can be used to access your phone’s settings. Press and hold the Bixby button and Voice will start listening, then say what you want to change on your phone.
Use Quick Commands to change the state of your phone
there are a range of quick commands that will adapt your phone to particular settings, like driving, for example. They’ll let you use Bixby Voice to activate them in a flash. Open Bixby via the button, swipe up to open the main Bixby page, open the menu at the top right and you’ll find “quick commands.” Here you configure what you want to happen when you say a particular thing. It’s like Bixby Routines but for voice.
Make sure Bixby only responds when it’s connected to a Bluetooth device
it’s fun. Head to Bixby Settings> Voice Response and you’ll find the option to make sure Bixby only responds by voice when connected to a Bluetooth device. This makes it ideal for hands-free control, in the car for example.
Use Bixby Vision to translate
open the camera and you’ll find Bixby Vision in the camera modes. Press it and it will open Vision. By default, it’s set to read barcodes and purchases – but open the menu and you’ll find the option to turn on translation, which is much more useful. Then it will find text and translate it live for you.
Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20+ Screen Capture
Take a screenshot: press the Volume Down and Sleep buttons simultaneously. A screen shot will be captured.
Palm Swipe for Screen Capture
If you don’t want to press the buttons to take a screen capture, go to settings > advanced features > movements and gestures and enable palm swipe to capture. This prevents you from having to press two buttons at once. It should be enabled by default.
Use smart capture
Samsung gives you more options for screen captures. Head to settings> advanced features> movements and gestures> smart capture. This will allow you to scroll to get more than one page, with instant editing and sharing options too. It’s great for capturing entire web pages. There is also a tag generator that will analyze the image and suggest tags to add.
Capture a gif from the screen
you can create a gif instantly from anything on your phone, like a video on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. Activate the smart selection panel. Then, once your video is on the screen, swipe up to the smart selection from the edge and select the animation. A preview window will appear that allows you to save a video to create a gif.
Samsung Galaxy S20 battery tips
The Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra have massive batteries – 4000mAh, 4500mAh and 5000mAh respectively – while the S20 FE also has a 4500mAh battery. But they also burn through them pretty quickly. Here’s how to get the most out of them.
Turn off the 120Hz screen
the fast refresh rate consumes more battery, so if you’re having trouble, turn it off. Instructions are in the display section above.
Switch to Full HD+
this is the default setting on Samsung phones for a reason : higher resolutions consume more battery life. Again, the instructions are above, but head to settings> display and you’ll find the option.
Enable dark mode on your device
there is evidence that using dark mode reduces the power the phone needs to light up all those white backgrounds. Again, this is in the display settings.
Turn off features you don’t use
Samsung phones have many features and you don’t want to use them all. In many cases, you can disable them. This could include anything from Bixby, NFC, the second SIM card slot, edge panels, edge lighting, any vibration notifications.
See what’s using up battery power
Go to settings > device maintenance and tap battery. This will show you the expected battery usage based on your 7 day averages, and tapping on “battery usage” will show you what is using that battery.
View your battery usage history
On the battery usage page detailed above, you can scroll through the graph to see what your usage has been over the last 7 days. Scrolling down the page will reveal which applications have used the most battery.
Manage application power saving
in settings > device care > battery, you will find application power management. Here you can choose to put certain applications to sleep if you think they are using too much power in the background. For example, if Amazon Alexa seems to be using battery power in the background, you can choose to restrict that background access. Be careful, though – some apps may not work as intended if they’re asleep.
Enable power-saving mode
tap the shortcut in Quick Settings or go to Settings > Device Maintenance > Battery. Here you can change the power mode and engage medium or maximum battery saving, with the ability to change the settings for each mode. You can also opt for adaptive power saving.
Use Wireless PowerShare
The Samsung Galaxy S20 can reverse charge wirelessly. There’s a quick-set toggle for the feature that will allow you to charge another device when you place them back-to-back. Simply press the button, then place the other device on the back of the Galaxy S20, whether it’s Samsung Buds+, an iPhone or any other Qi device.
Enable fast charging
Go to settings > device care > battery > charging. Here you will find toggles for different charging rates.
Time to full charge
the charging time is displayed when connected to a charger. Look at the bottom of the lock screen and in the battery status screen. If you charge quickly, it will tell you that and the estimated time remaining.