The Best Samsung Galaxy Features You’re Probably Not Using

Samsung packs its flagship phones with a slew of features—some are even better than stock Android. Either way, there are a lot of things on these phones that you may not be using. Here are some of the best.

One-Handed Mode: Manage that Beast of a Phone with One Hand

Modern smartphones are big. Even if you opt for a “smaller” model—like the Galaxy S9—it can still be a challenge to do everything you need to do with a single hand. That’s where one-handed mode comes into play.

With a single gesture (a diagonal swipe from the bottom corner) or a triple-tap of the home button, you can shrink the display down to a usable size for one-handed operation. If you’re not already using this, it’s a game changer when you only have one hand available. You can find one-handed options at Settings > Advanced Features > One-Handed Mode.

Game Tools: Meaningful Tweaks for a Better Gaming Experience

If you play games on your phone, Samsung’s Game Tools menu is a great way to improve the experience. Any time a game is running, a new menu shows up that provides some pretty fun tweaks you might like when playing. With Game Tools, you can:

  • Toggle fullscreen
  • Disable Alerts
  • Lock the home button hard-press
  • Lock the edge display touch area
  • Lock brightness
  • Lock navigation keys
  • Lock screen touches
  • Take a screenshot
  • Record a video

That’s all from a simple menu button that shows up just to the left of the back button in the navigation area. You can also edit the shortcut button on the right side of the navigation keys—by default, it’s a screen touch lock, but you can change it to other things by pressing the cog icon at the top of the menu.

SOS Messages: Quickly Let Someone Know if You’re In Trouble

Unlike the other convenience features we’re talking about here, SOS Messages is a potentially life-saving feature that can quickly send a message to up to four emergency contacts when you rapidly click the power button three times. It’s off by default, so we encourage everyone with a Galaxy smartphone to enable it now.

You can not only send a message, but optionally add a picture, five-second audio recording, or both. Once executed, your phone sends an SOS Message with the text “I need help!” and a map of your current location to your specific emergency contacts. If enabled, it also sends a video and picture in a separate message.

You can enable this feature in Settings > Advanced Features > Send SOS Messages.

Smart Lock: Bypass the Lock Screen in Certain Situations

Okay, calling this a Samsung feature isn’t fair—it’s a feature built into Android. But the point still stands: if you’re not using it, you should be. It’s cool.

Smart Lock lets you keep your device unlocked under particular situations: when the phone is connected to a particular Bluetooth device (this is great for smartwatch users), when it’s in your pocket, or when you’re in a specific location. While On-Body Detection (in your pocket) isn’t the best option, the other two are great.

When enabled, you can easily bypass the lock screen any time you meet the Smart Lock criteria. You can find these options in Settings > Lock Screen and Security > Smart Lock.

Custom Vibration Patterns: Easily Differentiate Calls, Texts, and Even People

You’ve been able to set custom ringtones for specific users or situations for a long time, but Samsung more recently added custom vibration patterns to the mix. These let you keep the phone silent but still be able to tell the difference between a call or text—you can even set custom vibration options for different contacts if you want.

You can find general vibration options in Settings > Sounds and Vibrations, but you’ll need to set contact-specific vibration settings that contact’s card. Tap the “Edit” button, and then scroll down to the “View More” option. Vibration Pattern is at the very bottom.

Wireless Charging: The Most Convenient Way to Charge

I’m always shocked to find out when a person has a phone that supports wireless charging but they haven’t tried it—this is by far one of the most convenient features on any device that offers it! While USB-C is easier to plug in than micro USB (since USB-C is a non-directional plug), it still doesn’t match the ease of use found in wireless charging—especially at night.

When you’ve been staring at your phone in bed and are ready to pass you, there’s nothing sweeter than rolling over and dropping the phone on a dock to start charging it. No fumbling with cables, just a super easy way to charge your phone. And in the morning, killing the alarm is equally as easy since you don’t have to deal with a cable attached to your phone.

So do yourself a favor and pick up a wireless charger. You’ll be glad you did.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.