Samsung Galaxy S4: 10 ‘hidden’ or ‘semi-secret’ features and tricks to maximize functionality

By Alexandra Burlacu | Jul 25, 2013 04:30 AM EDT

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the hottest Android smartphones currently available on the market and the company now gives some tips on how to maximize the phone's functionality.

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While most Galaxy S4 users are familiar enough with their devices, the smartphone apparently has some "hidden" or "semi-secret" features that may have gone unnoticed.

Samsung has listed 10 such features in a new blog post, aiming to help Galaxy S4 users make the most of their smartphones. Here's what you may have been missing:

1.   Quick Setting Panel with two-finger swipe

Instead of using one finger and seeing only five icons, users can also access the Quick Setting panel for a complete review of all options, by using two fingers. Tapping and holding the Quick Setting panel icon, meanwhile, will allow users to directly access the settings. Users can also rearrange the icons within the panel by long-tapping one icon and dragging it to the desired location.

2.   TV remote control access directly from the notification panel

The Galaxy S4 can be a life saver for those frustrating situations when the TV remote seems to be playing hide-and-seek. The WatchON application will allow users to turn their Galaxy S4 smartphone into a real-time TV guide and TV remote. For this to work, the TV must be synced to the device. Once the phone and TV are in sync, users can access the Application screen, tap WatchON, select Settings and see the remote control on the notification panel. Samsung also reveals another neat trick: the Galaxy S4's infrared LED sensor can also serve as a remote control for media devices such as DVD, Blu-ray players and Home Theater Systems.

3.   Use pop-up keyboard to multitask

The Galaxy S4's pop-up keyboard function allows users to move the keyboard anywhere on the screen, especially when using Multi Window apps. As per Samsung's example, users can select a new message, tap the setting icon of the keyboard (next to the space bar), select the pop-up keyboard icon and tap the plus icon on the keyboard. 

4.   Block notifications with Blocking Mode

If users don't want to be disturbed by notifications during the night, a date or some meeting, the Galaxy S4 allows them to block all notifications. To do this, tap Settings > My device > Blocking mode. This function will allow users to block notifications from selected features, including phone calls and text messages, during chosen periods. An Allowed list, meanwhile, allows users to add things they want to see or calls they want to take even when Blocking mode is turned on.

5.   Wi-Fi Timer allows users to stay on top of their data usage

The Galaxy S4's Wi-Fi Timer function allows users to save data usage by using free wireless Internet when available. To do this, tap Settings > Connections > Advanced > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Timer. From here, users can adjust when to start and end data usage. With this function, Galaxy S4 owners can enjoy free data usage by using stored Wi-Fi networks.

6.   Optimize sound quality with Adapt Sound

According to Samsung, the company developed the Adapt Sound function "to accommodate differences in users' hearing abilities and the difference in the hearing ability of the left and right ear." This function allows users to optimize music and in-call audio quality based on their specific needs. To do this, connect the earphones/headphones to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and tap Settings > My Device > Sound > Adapt Sound. Selecting Start will prompt a series of beeps designed to test the user's hearing. Users will be asked to confirm when they can hear a sound for each of the 20 tests. Once the user completes the tests, the phone will display a graph with the analysis of left and right ear hearing. This will allow the Galaxy S4 to calibrate the proper levels of volume for each user.

7.   Optimize in-call audio clarity

Galaxy S4 owners can personalize the sound quality of a call by selecting an audio equalizer setting such as Soft or Clear while on the phone. Users can also tap the on-screen Extra volume button (above the End Call icon) to increase the volume. Turning on the Noise Reduction mode, meanwhile, will improve call quality by suppressing surrounding noises. Users can also adjust these options by selecting My device > Call > Settings.

8.   Enjoy video content more easily

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a pinch-to-zoom feature that is not so "hidden," but not all users know that this feature also allows them to enlarge and shrink the image on the screen when watching a YouTube video. Users can also adjust the brightness from the up-and-down scroll bar on the left side of the screen, or adjust the volume by using the scroll bar on the right side. To pull out these scroll bars, all users need to do is put their finger on either the left or the right side of the screen.

9.   Camera access from lock screen

Unlocking the phone and activating the camera may sometimes take too long to capture some special moment. The Galaxy S4, however, allows users to quickly snap a picture by accessing the camera from the lock screen. To enjoy this feature, tap Settings > My device > Lock screen > Lock screen widgets > camera. Once this function is activated, users will be able to take access the camera by swiping to the left on the lock screen. Keep in mind that this shortcut may not work if the lock screen is set as a pattern or PIN.

10.               Set a lock screen message

The last "hidden" or "semi-secret" feature is how to personalize the Galaxy S4 by changing the font and color of the lock screen message. If the lock screen is set with a pattern or PIN, users will net to select Settings > My device > Lock screen > Lock screen widgets > Edit personal information. Another option that may seem easier for some is tapping and holding the lock screen message line and dragging it down from the lock screen. A pencil icon will pop up and tapping it will allow users to change the text.

In conclusion, Samsung Galaxy S4 owners now have some more tips and tricks to help them fully figure out their smartphones. Everyone knows about the main features and functions, but these little perks might allow for a smoother experience. Check them out and let us know if you find more "hidden" or "semi-secret" features that Samsung didn't reveal yet.



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