Dominate your phone with these Samsung Galaxy S10 tips and tricks

Your device can be so much better than you think.

Congratulations on the purchase of a Samsung Galaxy S10: A fine phone, and one that’s likely to serve you well.

You don’t want to miss out on anything, though, so start exploring your device right now with our best Samsung Galaxy tricks guide. We’ve got tips galore, including jazzing up your notifications, hiding the front display notch, and making sure your recorded videos are as smooth as possible.

By the way, most of this advice will work for the Galaxy S10e and the Galaxy S10 Plus as well. Just make sure you’re running the latest version of the phone’s operating system before you try them (go to System updates in Settings to check).

1. Make use of your Edge panel

The Galaxy S10 features a special shortcut tray of hand-picked apps you can view by swiping in from the right-hand edge of the screen. To specify the apps you want quick access to, locate the thin black tab on the right side of your home screen and swipe left. You can replace the pre-selected options or add new ones by tapping the pencil icon at the bottom. To remove the edge panel completely, open Settings and choose Display and Edge screen.

2. Brighten up your notifications

Another way you can use your S10′s screen edges to good effect is to have them light up when notifications arrive. This light show replaces the usual pop-up alerts and works really well, especially when your phone is face down. From Settings and go to Display—from there, you can turn the feature on or off, choose the lighting style you want, selectively enable edge lights for certain apps on your phone.

3. Use the hole-punch camera as a battery indicator

The phone uses a hole-punch notch for its front-facing camera, and you can have some fun with the area around it. Install third-party app Energy Ring from the Google Play Store, and you can use this area to show how much battery life you’ve got left. In the app’s settings, you can change the colors, gradient, and thickness of the illuminated ring, and have it hide itself when you’re viewing full-screen content.

4. Remap the Bixby button

Press and hold the Bixby button on your Samsung Galaxy S10—it’s on the left, below the volume buttons—and the company’s digital assistant Bixby rumbles to life. You can’t change this, but you can change what tapping or double-tapping the button does. You can assign a custom shortcut—a single or double-tap—to open any app of your choice. This function only works, however, if you create and sign into a Bixby account.

5. Reduce distortion on ultra-wide shots

The S10′s rear camera comes packing an ultra-wide lens that you can use to fit more inside the frame. Activate it by tapping the triple-tree icon just above the shutter button. In some cases, this creates a distorted ‘fish eye’ effect at the edges of the frame, but you can fix this in the camera app’s settings. With your camera open, tap the cog icon, choose Save options, and check the Ultra wide lens correction switch is On.

6. Use these Samsung Galaxy S10 tips and tricks to scan documents

Speaking of distortion, the Galaxy S10 can automatically reduce distortion on any documents you scan with its camera—letters, receipts, bank statements, and so on. With the camera app open, tap the cog icon to open its settings, then Scene optimizer. Make sure the feature is switched on and that Document scan is also On. Then try scanning a document using the rear camera to see the optimizations applied.

7. Max out the display resolution

By default, the S10 doesn’t have its display set at maximum resolution. This aims to save a little battery life, but it means you’re missing out on some sharpness and some pixels. If you’d rather have the maximum display resolution and don’t mind the battery life hit, open up Settings and choose Display, then Screen resolution. The maximum you can go on the S10 is WQHD+, or 3040 by 1440 pixels.

8. Cram more icons on the screen of your Galaxy S10

Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy S10 arranges home screen and app drawer icons in 4-by-5 grids, but you can up this to 4-by-6, 5-by-5, or 5-by-6 if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of icon size along the way. Long press on a blank part of the home screen, then choose Home screen settings. Both the Home screen grid and Apps screen grid choices give you options and you can take your pick. The difference is that on the Apps screen grid you can preview it with your existing app icons, while the Home screen is just a blank grid. You’ll see a preview of the change first, and you can tap Apply to confirm it.

9. Give your video-watching a boost

Samsung Galaxy S10's video enhancer feature on screen
The Galaxy S10’s video enhancer can give your videos a boost. David Nield

The S10 comes with a special video enhancer that boosts the colors on screen and lightens some of a scene’s darker areas to make them easier to see. Whether or not you prefer these enhancements is a personal preference, but you can switch the feature on and off by going to Advanced features, then Video enhancer in Settings. It doesn’t work for all apps, but it does for the default video player, YouTube, TikTok and any other major streaming apps.

10. Stabilize shaky video footage

One of the neat tricks the S10 can do when recording video is to stabilize your footage—very useful if you’re on the move while filming. To use it, open the Camera app, tap Video, then tap the hand icon in the center at either the top of the screen or at the edge, depending on how you’re holding the phone. You’ll see a message saying the super steady mode has been enabled, and you can then start shooting video.

11. Get better balance in your videos

As well as stabilizing video footage, the Galaxy S10 can also record clips with HDR10+ applied. The High Dynamic Range tech basically makes very dark and very bright areas easier to see, but it can also mean videos look less realistic. Try experimenting with the mode to see if it’s for you. From the Camera app, tap the cog icon, then toggle the Save as HDR10+ videos switch to On.

12. How to extend battery life

We’d all like more battery life out of our phones, and the S10 offers a low power mode for those times when you really need to make the battery last. From Settings it’s under Device care, Battery, and Power mode. You’ve got three options to pick from, which make tweaks like changing the display resolution, limiting app background behavior, and limiting how hard your phone works so it can preserve battery life. You can also turn on Adaptive Power Saving, so that the phone automatically switches between modes

13. Touch and hold to see notifications

Samsung Galaxy S10's notification's menu on screen.
You can customize the way your S10 smartphone shows you notifications. David Nield

This one can be really useful. Long press on a blank area of the home screen, choose Home screen settings, then App icon badges, and scroll down the menu to turn the Show notifications switch to On. With this feature enabled, whenever you touch and hold on an icon on the home screen or in the app drawer, unread notifications appear in a pop-up window, so you can quickly check them without opening up the app.

14. Enable landscape mode for home screens

Most apps are adept at switching between portrait and landscape modes, but the home screen of your S10 will stay in portrait mode by default, no matter how you’re holding the phone. To allow it to use landscape mode when you turn the handset around, long press on a blank area of the home screen, then choose Home screen settings. Turn the Rotate to landscape mode toggle switch to On, and your home screen will rotate like any other app.

15. Get pop-up chat heads for any messaging app

If you like the chat heads that Facebook Messenger uses—where conversation alerts pop up as on-screen bubbles with contact pictures inside them—the Samsung Galaxy S10 lets you do this with any messaging app. From Settings, open up the Advanced features menu, then choose Smart pop-up view: The next screen lets you enable or disable pop-up alerts for any app that supports a multi-window mode (which should be most apps on your device).

16. Tweak the always-on display

One of the best features of the S10 is the always-on display that dimly appears when your phone is locked. You can actually configure what gets shown here—the time, the weather forecast, notifications from apps—by opening up Settings then choosing Lock screen. The options on this menu let you customize everything from the look of the clock (tap Clock style) to the widgets that show up alongside it (tap FaceWidgets).

17. Hide the hole punch with your wallpaper

The distinctive hole punch notch on the front of the Galaxy S10 won’t be to everyone’s taste, but with the right wallpaper background you can make it work for you or disappear. Check out this Reddit thread for some brilliantly creative images that use the camera as an eye for a character or as an object in a scene, or hide the notch with a black background. Even Samsung is joining in the fun.

18. Use gestures instead of buttons

If you prefer swiping on screen to tapping buttons to get around your smartphone, the S10 has you covered. Open up Settings, tap Display, then Navigation bar. You’ll see you can replace the usual three buttons with full-screen swipes if you prefer. The same screen also lets you change the order of the buttons on screen, so you can have (for example) the back button on the far left or far right of the bottom bar.

19. Give your eyes some rest

The S10 comes with a night mode that applies a darker background to most apps. You can activate it by going to Settings, then tapping Display and choosing between Dark mode or Light mode. On the same menu there’s a Blue light filter toggle switch, which works slightly differently by reducing the blue light emitted by the display to theoretically make it easier on your eyes at night. Both modes can be enabled and disabled manually or set to work on a schedule.

20. Charge other devices with your S10

The S10 supports reversible wireless charging—called Wireless Powershare in Samsung parlance. This means you can put any device that supports Qi wireless charging—the most common standard—on the back of your phone to juice it up. This works best on smaller devices, as the charging is faster and won’t deplete your phone’s battery too much (Samsung’s own Galaxy Buds are a perfect fit for this reversible charging option).

David Nield
David Nield

David Nield is a tech journalist from the UK who has been writing about gadgets and apps since way before the iPhone and Twitter were invented. When he's not busy doing that, he usually takes breaks from all things tech with long walks in the countryside.