Top 20 Tips for your new Samsung Galaxy 5

April 14, 2014 - Written By Matthew McCann

So you’ve got your shiny new Samsung Galaxy S5, and you want to get it set up. Everyone has different tastes, and no one’s phone setup is the same. Whether you’re upgrading from older Galaxy model or switching from another brand, we’ve got some tips to help you get all you can out of your phone.

Importing Your Information

Unless you haven’t upgraded your phone in many years, you’re probably switching from another smartphone. This can cause a lot of dread. The Samsung Smart Switch app has you covered. It moves contacts, messages, photos, and more from Android and iOS devices. Just download the app and follow the instructions.

Easy Mode

If you are new to the smartphone scene (or you just want a more basic smartphone experience), Samsung has you covered with Easy Mode. It provides an experience with bigger icons and a simpler layout for your home screen. Just go to Settings/Home screen mode/Easy mode to turn it on. Once you’re more accustomed to the phone, you can go back the standard layout.

One-Handed Operation

If you haven’t noticed, smartphones are getting bigger. The S5 has followed the trend. With it’s 5.1-inch screen, some users may have a hard time handling it using only one hand. With One-handed operation, you can make the screen easier to use. Go to Settings/One-handed operation/On to get it set up.


Sometimes you need apps on the fly without having to go to your home screen or app drawer. Toolbox allows you to do just that. When it’s enabled, a small widget floats on your screen at all times and gives you quick access to five apps that you can change with a long-press. Toolbox can be turned on from the quick settings.


You always want your phone’s display to look the best it can. The S5 can adapt to your surroundings to make that possible. In the Display area of the phone’s settings, there is the Adapt display option under Screen mode. This automatically change the display settings depending on what you’re doing and where you are.

Do Not Disturb

Sometimes, you just don’t want to be bothered. Turning off your phone isn’t always an option, though. With Blocking mode, you can turn off notifications for select features and only allow listed people to contact you. It also gives you the option to set a time interval in which the setting is enabled. Just go to Settings/Blocking mode to set it up.

Battery Life

Everyone wants their phone’s battery to last as long as possible. With Ultra Power Saving on the Galaxy S5, you can stretch your battery when you need it. The option turns the screen black and white while limiting certain features. Turn it on under Settings/Ultra Power Saving to make the battery last until you can get to a charger.


Samsung still insists on using physical buttons on the front of their phones. While this may take some getting used to, it’s doable. These buttons also act as shortcuts when used correctly. Swiping over your Home Button: Activates fingerprint reader. Home Button – Single Press: Takes you to the home screen. Home Button – Double Press: Activates S Voice. Home Button – Hold: Activates Google Now. Back Button – Single Press: Takes you back. Back Button – Hold: Turns on Multi-Window Mode. Multitasking Button – Single Press: Opens multitasking window. Multitasking Button – Double Press: Acts as a secondary settings button.


Now that you know how to turn Multi-Window Mode on, you can use it. Once it’s on, you can open the drawer and drag apps onto the screen. Now you have two windows on your screen at once. While not all apps are supported, there’s a pretty nice list of ones that can be used.

Air Gestures and Smart Pause

Sometimes you just don’t want to touch your phone. Air Gestures and Smart Pause can help with that. Under Motion and Gestures in the setting menu, you can find the Toggle on Air Browse option. This allows you to wave your hand over the phone to scroll and control music playback.

Air View

Some people call it a gimmick. Some people love it. Whatever you think, Air View is an interesting option. You can hover over certain items on the screen and see more information or a bigger view of pictures. Turn it on under Settings/Air View, and give it a try.

Take Your Pulse

One of the most touted features of the Galaxy S5 is the heart rate monitor. In conjunction with the S Health app, you can measure you pulse and see how it changes with activity. Just open the S Health app and follow the instructions.

Tracking Your Workouts and Meals

Along with the heart monitor, Samsung has included the ability to track your workouts and meals to maintain health. Also in the S Health app, you can track exercise and add food you’ve eaten.

Pick Up to Answer

The Galaxy S5 allows you to answer your phone just by picking it up and putting it to your ear. Just go to Direct call under Motions and Gestures in your settings to turn it on.

Remote Viewfinder

Among the many things you can do with WiFi and NFC, Samsung has included Remote Viewfinder. This feature allows you pair your S5 with another Galaxy device to take pictures. The second device can be used as a viewfinder to allow you to take pictures from a distance. You can get to this from the settings in the camera app.


Google has already said that Google Wallet is here to stay. You can make the most of that with your S5. Just download the Google Wallet app, and set everything up through that. Not all merchants have gotten caught up with the times, but you’re likely to find many places you can use the feature.

Private Mode

Even though the fingerprint reader adds security to your device, there may still be some things that you don’t want people to get access to if they know your passcode. Turn on Private Mode under Settings, and you can store files with the only access being your fingerprint.

Emergency Mode

Emergency Mode gives you quick access to emergency calls, flashlight, location sharing, and internet while making your battery last as long as possible. Under Safety Assistance in your settings, Emergency mode can be a useful tool if you’re in a bad situation.

Send Help Messages

Under the same settings menu, you can find the Send Help Messages option. With this on, three pushes of the power button will start recording and send images to your primary contacts.

Download Booster

Download Booster allows you to use a combination of WiFi and cellular networks to boost the speed of your big downloads and can be turned on under Settings/Download Booster. Although it’s a great feature, it’s only available on T-Mobile right now. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon opted to remove the option. Setting up a new phone isn’t usually a fun process, but hopefully these tips will help you get more out of it.