All the cool ways you can customize your Samsung Galaxy lock screen

You don't have to settle for the defaults.
Samsung Galaxy S10 with a locked scren
Make the lock screen on your Samsung Galaxy phone as unique as you. Emiliano Cicero / Unsplash

Your Samsung Galaxy phone’s lock screen is likely to be the first one you see in the morning and the last one you see at night. This is why it’s so important to set it up exactly how you want to.

Galaxy handsets come with a good selection of options and features to help you customize your lock screen, whether you want to set a new backdrop, make the clock a lot bigger, or add extra widgets for easier access to your apps.

Lock screen wallpaper and themes

Menu to customize Samsung Galaxy lock screen
You can use the same image for your home and lock screens—or not. Screenshot: Samsung

Let’s start with the wallpaper. You can set separate background images for your home screens and lock screen—just press and hold on a blank part of a home screen and choose Wallpaper and style on the emerging menu.

Tap Change wallpapers to pick a new image—you can pick from photos featured by Samsung and pictures in your phone’s gallery. When you select the one you want,  you then get to choose whether you want to apply it to your lock screen, home screen, or both. Don’t worry—before you fully commit to your selection, you’ll see previews of how the backdrop will look.

[Related: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 review: Powerful vibes]

Back on the Wallpaper and style screen, tap Color palette to choose a color scheme for your phone’s entire interface. You can select your favorite from a list of basic hues, or pick a combination of colors based on the wallpaper you picked. Again, you’ll get a preview of how everything will look, so you can try as many as you want until you find one you like.

Instead of choosing a picture and a color scheme separately, you can go with a theme, which is a bundle of items including a wallpaper, a color scheme, and a particular icon and font style, that you can apply with a single tap. Press and hold on a blank part of a home screen, and select Themes to see your options. You’ll find free themes provided by Samsung, alongside others from third-parties, which you may or may not have to pay for. If you’re dealing with a paid theme, you’ll see the price listed next to it.

If you don’t want the trouble of changing the wallpaper regularly yourself, have your phone do it for you. After tapping Wallpaper and style and Change wallpaper, scroll down to Dynamic Lock screen. From here you can pick a collection of images (landscapes and plants, for example), and the device will automatically cycle between them every couple of weeks.

Changing lock screen elements

Menu to customize widgets on Samsung Galaxy lock screen
Your Samsung Galaxy lets you customize how your notifications display on your lock screen. Screenshot: Samsung

That’s the wallpaper and colors taken care of, but you can also edit the lock screen widgets and other elements on the display. From Settings, tap Lock screen and the next page will let you control how you unlock your phone and, if your handset supports the feature, activate the always-on display. There’s also a Roaming clock toggle switch—turn it on to see the local time at your location and at home, if you happen to be traveling in a different time zone.

Tap the Lock screen graphic and you’ll be able to change the style and size of the lock screen time and date widget. From this menu you’ll also be able to tweak the way your phone displays notification icons—as small buttons or larger bubbles, for example. Just tap on the element you want to change and the relevant options will appear.

You can also select Contact information to add your contact details to the lock screen, which can come in handy if you lose your handset and someone else picks it up, or if you’re ever involved in an emergency and someone needs to learn your identity. Galaxy phones also have shortcuts in the lower left and right corners of the lock screen, which you can easily change by tapping on the icons. You can use these shortcuts to launch utilities and apps like the camera, phone app, flashlight, voice recorder, or any other app of your choice. Tap Done when you’re finished.

[Related: Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro earbuds review: Riding high (fidelity)]

Back on the previous Lock screen page from Settings, tap the Widgets graphic and you’ll be able to pick which widgets show up when your phone is locked. There are a few to pick from, covering your upcoming schedule, any set alarms, the weather, and any music currently playing. Tap on Reorder at the top to change the order of the widget list.

There’s one final lock screen customization you might want to make: If you choose Notifications and then Lock screen notifications from Settings, you can set whether your phone displays notification content (like the previews of incoming messages) when your device is unlocked. If you don’t want anyone seeing something private when they glance at your locked phone, choose Hide content.