I love my Galaxy S4 because it’s quick, sleek and durable. It’s also one of the most feature rich phones in the market right now.
If you’ve had your phone for a while you’ve probably developed a routine. You know how to do all the basics like check your email, answer calls and use your Apps – and that’s fine; however you should know that there are few hidden features that improves the usability of the phone. These features aren’t flashy and won’t engender dramatic changes but they will definitely help you get around faster.
Here are my top three:
Swipe down the Quick Access Tray
You probably know you can pull down your notifications by simply swiping down with one finger from the top of the screen. But if you find yourself frequently flipping the GPS on and off or toggling settings such as the GPS and Bluetooth then you’ll benefit from using the Quick Access tray.
From any screen, swipe down with two fingers to see a complete tiled list of all the most common settings most people like to fiddle with.
Don’t like the layout? Tap and hold the pencil icon to drag and reorder the Quick Setting tiles so that your favorites appear first.
Breeze Through Home screens
Most people flip through their home screens by flicking left and right from the main window. This is relatively effective; however, there’s actually an easier way to browse your home screens.
The Galaxy S4 displays a tiny home icon to represent your main home screen. This little house is flanked by several small translucent squares that becomes opaque when selected. Each square represents a different home screen so as you flip through screens the selected screen displays an opaque square and all the other squares become transparent.
But try this: instead of flipping, press and hold one of those little squares.
Suddenly a slider emerges with a number indicating the currently selected home screen. Now you can just slide your finger left and right to flip through all your screens.
Swipe to Text and Call
You may never make a call or send a text message the same after you learn this one.
Open your contacts and find the person you want to call. In my example, I’m going to call Jeff M.
Now swipe your finger from right to left to text.
The name is replaced by a blue bar that glows amber as you finish the swipe motion. After you swipe all the way to the left a text message window pops on the screen with your selected contact as the destination.
To call that contact instead of texting him, quickly swipe back and forth in one smooth motion.
It might take a minute to get it right but once you master these gestures calling and texting contacts becomes a snap.
If you want even more tips like this check out Mastering the Galaxy S4 by CNET on Amazon. You’ll learn everything from moving your data, customizing the interface and managing your music. You can buy it now on your Kindle for $4.
The Bottom Line
The Galaxy S4 lets you pull down the Quick Access settings with a single two-finger swipe, browse through home screens by dragging your finger across the navigation icons and text people by swiping their names. If you have any other tricks (or experienced any problems with these tricks) please let me know in the comments below.