How to unlock the dock of the Samsung Galaxy S5

If you bought an Australian version of the Galaxy S5, you may notice there are some quirks that prevent you from fully customising your handset. Here's how to get around the locked dock.

If you bought an Australian version of the Galaxy S5, you may notice there are some quirks that prevent you from fully customising your handset. Here's how to get around the locked dock.

TouchWiz is Samsung's custom interface for Android. In the Galaxy S5, Samsung has cleaned up this interface quite a lot from previous versions, like those present on the S4 and Note 3. However, there are still some things that TouchWiz locks down for Aussie users, such as the dock.

When you first fire up the S5, you will notice a few icons in the dock at the bottom of every home screen. On other Android phones, you are able to customise which icons appear in the dock. For example, if you don't want to use the stock standard Android browser for web browsing, you can switch it out for Chrome.

, so you can't replace any of these four icons (phone, contacts, messages and internet). (Credit: Lexy Savvides/CNET)

One way to customise the dock is to root the phone or install a custom ROM such as CyanogenMod. But it's a bit of an extreme measure if the dock is all you want to change.

The easiest way to get around Samsung's Australian dock lock issue is to install a launcher. An Android launcher is a new interface that controls how icons are displayed, apps are launched and how the dock appears.

There are several launchers available for download from the Google Play Store that will let you fully customise the dock, as well as tweak other elements of the look and feel of the phone. My favourite is the Nova launcher, a free download.

All better now! The dock with the standard browser swapped out for Chrome. You can also customise all the other icons and create a scrolling dock, too. (Credit: Lexy Savvides/CNET)

You may notice that with the Nova launcher you lose the pretty default AccuWeather widget that comes with TouchWiz on the S5's home screen. When you install Nova it will prompt you to replace existing widgets, and there is a version of AccuWeather that works with Nova straight out of the box. Do note that Nova will generally deactivate some of the widgets that TouchWiz comes with by default, such as the S Health option and My Magazine, a Flipboard-esque aggregator.

Nova can be customised quite a lot, from font sizes to colours and animations. If you want to explore more of its options, start the Nova Settings app which is automatically installed alongside Nova.

If you want to delve deeper into the world of available Android launchers, click here to explore more of our favourite options.

 

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