We’re deep into 2019 but February’s Samsung Galaxy S10 phones are still some of the best handsets you can buy right now. They blend premium materials with slick design to bring a freshness to Samsung’s so-called Infinity Display design language.
There’s even a newer Galaxy S10 5G that adds more cameras, a bigger screen and, you guessed it, 5G
For the first time, Samsung decided to use a punch-hole cut-out instead of putting the front-facing camera in the bezel, and guess what, it looks pretty good! Add to that a headphone jack, great display and reverse wireless charging and you have a great smartphone – and these things apply to the S10 5G, S10 Plus, S10 or S10e.
If you own or are thinking about buying an S10 then it’s good to know the various things you can do to make it feel truly yours. Android is, after all, more customisable than Apple’s iOS for iPhones. We’ve had a good six months with the S10 phones so we have compiled our favourite tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your phone.
Samsung’s One UI software is really good and offers a great set-up out the box, but with these tips you’ll level up substantially and get the best possible experience on your Galaxy S10. All it takes is a few tweaks (well, 12 to be precise). Here we go.
Use the Smart Switch app
When you get a new phone, it can be daunting to try and move all your photos, contacts, texts, apps and everything else over from your old one. It is possible to use Google’s cloud services in the set up of the S10 to do this, but we prefer using Samsung’s Smart Switch app on the S10.
It comes pre-installed on the S10 and you can download it for iOS or Android depending on your old phone. Get the app running on both phones and set up what you want to be transferred over. It easily moves all apps over as well as your other data, something that can be a huge pain on Android.
Use Gboard instead of the Samsung keyboard
The S10 phones might be some of the best around but the pre-installed Samsung keyboard is not the best. We much prefer the design, autocorrect and spacing of the keys on Google’s Gboard. It’s a free app which you can download from the Play Store here.
Then simply open the app and follow the prompts to set Gboard as your default keyboard. You can adjust the size, layout and theme easily in the settings of the app, too. The swipe typing function is also excellently accurate.
Give the home screen an iPhone feel
Some Android fans like the fact the S10 offers an app drawer so that all your apps aren’t spread across several home screen pages. But if you are coming from an iPhone where that’s what you’re used to, there is the option to switch to a Home screen only view.
Go to Settings > Display > Home screen > Home screen layout and then select Home screen only
Turn on Google auto-fill
Particularly when getting a new phone it’s a pain to have to constantly type out your username and/or email address and then your password to log in to apps and websites for the first time. Thankfully if you use Google and Google Chrome to save your login details, you can set your S10 to auto-fill login forms direct from your Google account.
Provided you set up the phone with that Google account (i.e. your Gmail), follow these steps to change the S10’s auto-fill feature as by default it is set to Samsung’s method.
Go to Settings > General management > Language and Input > Autofill service and then select Google
If you’ve been diligent in saving your login information on Google Chrome, it’ll now work on your S10.
Use Samsung’s gesture navigation controls
This one is an acquired taste and replaces the three traditional Android navigation buttons at the bottom of the display with new gesture controls that you learn instead. You’ll swipe up on the left area of the screen for back, middle for home and right for the app switcher – so the buttons are replaced with upward swipes, basically.
Go to Settings > Display > Navigation bar and then select Full screen gestures
You can choose which order to have the functions in, have three bars on screen to show the swipe areas or turn them off completely - just toggle Gesture hints in the same menu. If you want the Google Assistant, you swipe up and hold from the middle area.
You can easily switch back to the normal Android buttons in that menu if you prefer though.
Go dark and save battery with Night Mode
A few phones have dark modes that turn the usually white areas of menus and apps to grey or black. On the S10, Samsung calls it Night Mode. Because the S10 phones have OLED displays, using Night Mode will actually save you battery as the phone is not using any power when the screen is blacker, whereas lighting up white pixels uses more juice.
Go to Settings > Display > Night mode and toggle it on
Hide the camera cut out
The S10e and S10 have a circular camera cut out for the single front facing camera, whereas the S10 Plus and s10 5G have two. You can use software to hide (well, more like camouflage) the cut out and make it look like the phone has a bezel. It blacks out the top of the phone’s screen and engulfs the cameras.
One thing to bear in mind is it doesn’t put the status icons or time in the space, so you do lose a bit of screen space – but you might prefer the look and feel after doing it.
Go to Settings > Display > Full screen apps and then toggle Hide front camera
Edit modes on the Camera app
The S10, S10 Plus and S10 5G have very versatile triple cameras and even the S10e is no slouch with two. But the camera app on the phones can be a little cluttered with many shooting options scrollable on the bottom of the screen – photo, video, live focus, etc.
You can toggle some of these options off to keep the app cleaner and more usable – for instance you might want to take out the specific food, super slo-mo and hyperlapse options if you barely use them, leaving room for more common modes like photo, video and Pro (manual settings).
Go into the Camera app > Settings cog in top left > Camera modes > Edit modes and then untick the ones you don’t use.
Just bear in mind that you’ll have to go back in and re-tick a mode if you want it back later.
Take a scrolling screenshot
There’s a screenshot, and then there’s a long, scrolling screenshot. This is really useful if you want to screenshot something like a webpage or email that’s longer than the screen of your S10. Before you’d have to take several single shots – on the S10 you can create one long ol’ scroll.
To take a normal screenshot press the power and volume down buttons at the same time. Then when the menu at the bottom of the page appears, tap the left icon which is two downward arrows. This scrolls the rest of the page you were on and creates a full scrollable screenshot.
Create a Dual messenger app
Depending on your region and operator, the S10 will be either single SIM or dual SIM, the latter letting you run two separate numbers on the same phone. Either way, you can create Dual messenger apps on the S10 to run two accounts on the same app if you have different log ins.
We point out the dual SIM difference as only the dual SIM S10s will let you create two apps for messaging services that require a phone number to run, like WhatsApp.
The single SIM variant will still let you create two versions of apps with web log ins like Facebook or Facebook Messenger. It’ll add a second version to your phone that you can then log in to.
Go to Settings > Advanced features > Dual Messenger and then toggle on the app you want to clone
Turn on and use the Secure folder
Samsung keeps the Secure folder app quite quiet but it’s secretly one of the best features on the S10. It’s a secure app that is password and fingerprint protected and creates standalone secure versions of Samsung apps like camera, calendar and contacts to keep totally separate from the default apps on the phone.
It also lets you add any app or file to this area of the phone to keep it under lock and key. It’s great if you want that extra layer of privacy or if you need work apps on your phone and like to keep things separate.
Go to Settings > Biometrics and security > Secure Folder and then follow the set-up instructions.
It’ll then add Secure Folder as an actual app where you can access your hidden files. You do need a Samsung Cloud account to set it up, though. Follow the on-screen prompts to create one or sign in.
Remap the Bixby button
Now, you might like using Bixby, but chances are the dedicated Bixby button on your S10 ends up launching the assistant way more than you’d like when you accidentally press it. Bixby isn’t the cleverest or most useful of smart assistants.
Thankfully, you can change what pressing the button does.
Press the Bixby button, then tap the three dot menu > Settings > Bixby key
From there, you can set a Double press to open Bixby. This means if you accidentally press the button once, it won’t trigger Bixby. Hooray!
You can also set a single press to do something if you don’t like the idea of a single press doing nothing. It can open any app, or run a quick command, the latter of which you’ll need to create.
Bonus tip – buy a case
OK, a baker's dozen tips for you in the end. You really should buy a case for your S10. Yes, whichever one you have, it's a beautiful phone, but one slip from your digits and smash - that glass ain't surviving a drop onto concrete.