The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge is one of the best devices available in the market at the moment in hardware terms. The S6 combines a top notch processor and screen with Samsung’s latest generation of TouchWiz software, with more features than one can shake a fist at. Trying to narrow the list of nifty little features into a top forty has been something of a challenge, but we’ve done it for you here at Android Headlines. Whilst most of these features are designed for the S6, there are a few that are exclusively for the S6 Edge.
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My first tip concerns switching the device to Easy Mode, which as you might tell from the title is designed to make the phone easier and simpler to use. When it’s in easy mode, the device configures itself to make it easier for first-time smartphone users. This means setting up shortcuts to contacts and showing a larger clock and application icons. To toggle Easy Mode on or off, visit Settings, then Easy Mode.
One of the earliest features that Samsung included in the TouchWiz interface is the settings shortcuts. The Galaxy S6 allows you to customize the shortcuts showing when you drag down the shortcut bar from the top of the screen. To do this, go into the Settings menu and tap the “plus” symbol at the top of the screen. You may then select the shortcuts you wish to see in this area of your screen. Another handy trick is to put the flashlight icon as one of the first in the notification area, as this makes it much quicker to access when you need to (such as trying to find something in darkness!).
Another handy feature is S Finder, which is the Samsung search engine that allows you to search through everything on your device including files, settings, applications and contacts: if you can’t find a particular setting and you only occasionally use this, S Finder will help! You’ll find the S Finder icon in the notification drawer after swiping right.
My fifth trick is for all our Google Now users reading this article. On the Galaxy S6, accessing Google Now requires holding down the home button. This is a little different from the home button upwards swipe movement, or scrolling to the left on the home screen as one might on a device running the Google Experience launcher.
“Do Not Disturb” is the new silent or off button; Do Not Disturb on the Galaxy S6 allows you to customize what notifications you are advised of and you can also use schedules as well as the notification toggle. Visit Settings, Sound & Notifications, Do Not Disturb to change the options. From here, the Allow Exceptions option means you can ensure that certain people still get through to you, or alarms can still sound.
The Galaxy S6 includes the S Health application, which you can use to help monitor yourself and of course your health. You can use the sensors in the S6 to track activity and exercise, your heart rate and stress level: visit Apps, the Samsung folder and S Health to get started.
There are many tricks associated with the camera and photography, such as double tapping the home button to launch the camera application. You may need to change the Camera Settings, which you can do by tapping on the cog icon. If you have Voice Control on, you can say “cheese,” “capture,” “smile” or “shoot” for a photograph, “record video” to start recording video. And you can use the volume key as a shutter button, too, which makes life a lot easier if you take a lot of photographs.
In the Camera Settings option, you can switch Tracking Auto Focus on or off. Tracking Auto Focus will keep an object in focus as it moves about the screen and you can’t use it with Video Stabilization at the same time. In the Mode setting, you’ll see some great new tricks including Selective Focus (allows you to change the effective focus of a photograph to blur parts of the result for a dramatic effect), Virtual Shot (allows you to take multiple images of an object to create a virtual walk around, great for a new party dress), Slow Motion (records video in slow motion), Fast Motion (as you’d expect, allows you to speed up recorded footage). Pro Mode allows full control of the camera including metering, ISO, white balance and focus. You can also save particular modes to use again. The S6 allows customers to download modes that have been used in the S4 and S5 devices, you’ll find the means of doing this in the Camera, Modes setting. And you can switch between camera modes by swiping in from the left edge, too.
Samsung’s high-performance Exynos 7420 is put to good effect with some live previews and other clever effects, such as adding themes to photographs by using the Effects button, which shows a live preview of the filter on the screen before you take the picture. You can take many photographs at once by simply holding down the shutter or volume button, too. The S6 camera may also show a HDR Live View; it’s showing on the viewfinder every time HDR mode is engaged. The S6 has a “Wide Selfie” mode; activate this from Modes when using the front facing camera and then tile the ‘phone from side to side to include more people in the shot. The front facing camera software includes the ability to take a photograph when your fingers cover the heart rate sensor and there’s a beauty mode (in Camera Options) designed to smooth wrinkles and remove glow.
If you download the Optical Reader application from the Samsung Store, you can use the camera to read text from business cards, signs and similar, which you can copy and paste from the camera application.
One of the Galaxy S6 Edge features is the ability to set up five contacts such that the screen lights up a special color when they contact you. To set these up, swipe in from the upper right edge (where there’s a small grey mark) and tap the plus icon of a color to add a contact. This is the color that will be showing when this person (or company) calls and the S6 is face down.
Writing of the Galaxy S6 Edge model, you can use the edge part of the display to show notifications from applications, RSS feeds and other bits and pieces. You can use the S6 Edge Notifications control but there are more settings in the Edge Information Stream, which you can set up by going into Settings, Edge Screen, Information Screen. To access the Information Screen, you need to swipe up and down the edge of the display with the screen off. Samsung have given the S6 Edge a quick reply function; when a call comes in, if you hold your finger over the heart rate sensor you can send a pre-written message back to contacts. This option is found in Settings, Edge Screen, Edge Lighting, Quick Reply. You can edit the message here and toggle the option on and off.
Another options includes setting the Edge Clock; giving you an easy way to see what the time is: find this in Settings, Edge Screen and toggle it on. You can have the time on for up to twelve hours in the day.
Although the Galaxy S6 doesn’t have a MicroSD card slot, it’s easy to add additional storage to the device although you will need a USB OTG (On-the-Go) cable; this makes it easy to copy photographs from an external memory card (such as a digital camera) to the S6’s internal storage. Simply plug the OTG cable into the S6’s USB port, connect the memory card into a card reader and connect everything up. The S6 will open the File Manager and from here you can copy and move pictures as you see fit. You may also buy the Sandisk Wireless Flash Drive or WiFi Media Drive, which connect wirelessly to the S6 and simplifies the processor watching videos or playing music from external storage media. And of course, using the USB OTG cable, you can add external storage to the device, as well.
Did you know that the S6 comes with QuickCharge 2.0 technology? Samsung have been marketing this heavily; it’s a way of recharging the S6 quickly and it works with your included wall charger for the S6. It doesn’t work when wirelessly recharging the device or when the screen is off: if you need to top up the battery quickly, be sure to lock the device and so keep the screen off. With the screen off, the device can go from 10% to 50% in around thirty minutes. And writing of the battery, if you are looking to squeeze the most from the battery you can activate Ultra Power Saving Move, which is located in the Notification drawer. Ultra Power Saving Mode disables the data connection when the screen is off, slows the processor down and dims the screen, among other power saving tricks.
Did you know that the Galaxy S6 includes a theme engine? You can change the look and feel of the device using these themes, including the ability to download new ones. The theme engine is in Settings, Themes and from here, pick on one to try, or visit the Store to download more.
As you become more and more use to the S6, you might find yourself wanting to access more applications and widgets on the home screens. You can do this… by changing the grid size. Find this option by tapping and holding an area of the home screen and when the settings option appears, tap on the Screen grid. Pick the grid arrangement you want to use, which increases or reduces the icon size and hence the number you can fit on the screen at once.
The Galaxy S6 includes Google’s “smartlock” function on the S6, which means you can keep the device unlocked when it’s connected to trusted Bluetooth devices or in a trusted location. You can set this up using Settings, Lock Screen & Security, Secure Lock Settings and Smart Lock. Once you’ve set up your trusted Bluetooth devices the S6 won’t ask you for a fingerprint or lock code when your device is connected.
Writing of fingerprints, the S6 has an improved version of the S5’s fingerprint sensor. If you’ve not set this up, you can do so from Settings, Lock Screen & Security, Fingerprint and Add a Fingerprint: you’ll have to make sure the S6 knows your fingerprint and you’ll need to put your finger onto and off the sensor a few times. Once you’ve trained your fingers (and you can use up to four) you’ll then be able to unlock the device without tapping in a numeric code.
Samsung have included a number of freebies with the S6, but some of these you’ll need to activate rather than them coming directly on the device. Samsung’s Galaxy Gifts include free applications, free in-app purchase credit and free subscriptions and by default, the icon for this is on the third homescreen. This opens a special part of the Samsung Store including these freebies; it’s worth a look.
If you have just bought the Galaxy S6, or are considering buying one, and you’re coming from an iPhone or another Android device, did you know that Samsung have included an easy way to transfer your data? If you visit the Samsung App Store on the S6 and visit Essentials, you’ll see the Samsung Galaxy Smart Switch application. This allows you to pull in your data from another Android device into the S6 by guiding you through the process, which will involve installing an application on your old device. The iPhone switch engine can either use a USB OTG cable to pull in data directly from your iPhone or via iCloud.
The Galaxy S6 has an infrared port at the top of the screen that can be used to control your television or other home entertainment devices. You’ll need to use the Peel Smart Remote application, which contains a set up wizard that helps you identify your home entertainment equipment and television provider.
My final tip includes using the Galaxy S gestures and smarter services, such as Smart Stay; this feature uses the front facing camera to detect if the screen is being looked at and if it is, it keeps the display illuminated. The toggle for Smart Stay is found in Settings, Display and Wallpaper, Smart Stay. You can also visit Settings, Motions and Gestures for other options including Direct Call; many of these features have been around since the Galaxy S3. Smart Alert – whereby the device gives a vibration if you have unseen notifications since the last time you picked the device up, is particularly useful if you don’t have a smartwatch.
So there you have it – an extensive list of the top forty Galaxy S6 features. There are many more features available for the Galaxy S6 and although this post is long, we’ve barely touched the topic in question.