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Best hidden Galaxy S10 features you need to know now

Here's how you make the most of your Galaxy S10 phone.

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Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 56 Angela Lang/CNET

Congratulations on your new Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10E, or Galaxy S10 Plus! Now let's make sure you get the most out of your phone. Some of these hidden features are new to this year's crop of devices, and some have been around for awhile. But they're all worth knowing about.  

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Remap the Bixby button

Samsung will now let you remap the Bixby button, so you can call up any app or quick command you like in addition to Bixby Voice.

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Remap the Bixby button

To remap the Bixby button:

Tap the Bixby button once to launch Bixby. Then tap the hamburger menu (three vertical dots). Tap "Settings" and then tap "Bixby key."

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Remap the Bixby button

Choose whether you want to press the Bixby button once or twice to launch the app or quick command, and then you'll tap the highlighted blue text to select from the list.

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Wirelessly charge another device using your phone

Wireless PowerShare is a new, super-cool feature for the Galaxy S10 phones.

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Wirelessly charge another device using your phone

To use Wireless PowerShare:
Pull down the notifications shade and tap the "Wireless PowerShare" icon. Lay your Galaxy S10 on its face and place the wireless charging side of the device on top of the Galaxy S10 phones. 

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Wirelessly charge another device using your phone

You can charge any other phone, for example, or your Galaxy Buds case with the headphones inside. Wireless charging shuts off when the Galaxy S10 drains to 30 percent.

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Double-click the power button to open the camera

Luckily for you, this is on by default in Android, and has been for years. But if you ever find you want to turn it off, you can.
Turn off the camera quick launch:
Open the camera, tap the "Settings" icon (a gear) and toggle off "Quick launch".

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Add portrait photo effects before or after you take a shot

This one's a lot of fun. You can play around with blur, spot color, zoom and spin effects on your portrait photos. 

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Add portrait photo effects before or after you take a shot

To take a new photo:
In the camera app, tap the Live Focus mode (to the left of Photo). Then tap one of four camera effects to apply. Use the slider to vary the intensity of the effect.

To edit an existing photo taken with Live Focus
Open the photo in your photo gallery. Tap "Change background effect" and choose one of the four effects. Use the slider to vary the intensity of the effect. Tap "Apply."

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Make your Always On Display only sometimes on

If the Always On Display is a little too bright at night, you have options to make it only sometimes on. 
To adjust the Always On Display:
Go to Settings and tap Lock Screen. Tap "Always On Display" and toggle to "On." Then tap "Display Mode." Choose among three options, including scheduling "off" hours.

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Create a GIF on the fly

You can press and hold the Galaxy S10's shutter button to take a burst shot, but you can also press and hold to create a short GIF to upload right away. Image quality isn't great, but you're going for convenience here.

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Create a GIF on the fly

To create a quick GIF:
Open the camera and tap the "Settings" gear. Tap "Hold shutter button to." Select "Create GIF.

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Automatically line up your shot

This new feature will show you a yellow line in the viewfinder to help keep your shot straight and not crooked. When you adjust it, the phone will automatically snap a picture. 

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Automatically line up your shot

How to auto- align your photos:
Open the camera app. Tap the Settings "gear" icon. Toggle on "Shot Suggestions."

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Turn on scene optimizer

The Galaxy S10 phones can recognize up to 30 scenes and adjust the settings automatically. You can toggle it on and off to ask for or reject the suggestion.

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Turn on scene optimizer

To turn it on:
Open the camera. Tap the small icon of a swirl on the display to toggle.

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Switch among the rear cameras

Whether your Galaxy S10 has at least two and even three rear cameras, you can switch easily among them by tapping the viewfinder to get a wider or more zoomed-in scene.

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Switch among the rear cameras

Tap these icons to switch lenses:
One leaf: A 2x telephoto picture (not on the Galaxy S10E).
Two leaves: Standard wide-angle lens.
Three leaves: Ultra-wide angle lens.

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Show battery percentage on the home screen

This one isn't new by any means, but it's a good one to remember, especially since there's no battery indicator on by default.
To turn it on:
Go to Settings and tap "Notifications." In the Status bar settings, you can toggle on "Show battery percentage"

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Make a you-moji

AR Emoji, Samsung's precursor to Apple's Memoji, gets a refresh in the Galaxy S10 Plus. This tool lets you make a 3D emoji of yourself as a man, woman, girl or boy. You can also inhabit digital beings such as dinosaurs, and accessorize your creation after the app spits out a template. 

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Make a you-moji

To make AR Emoji:

Open the camera and flip to selfie orientation. Tap "AR Emoji" at the top of the screen to begin. You can also use the rear camera to make an AR Emoji of someone else.

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Switch from buttons to gestures

Android Pie supports gesture navigation, which you can turn on if you don't want to mash a bunch of touch-screen buttons.

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Switch from buttons to gestures

Two ways to switch:

  1. Pull down the notifications tray and scroll right. Select "Navigation bar"
  2. Go to "Settings" and tap "Display," then "Navigation bar." Tap "Full screen gestures." You can choose to keep "Gesture hints" toggled on to show you the way.
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Move brightness slider to the top of the notifications bar

If you're tired of having to swipe all the way to the bottom of the notifications shade to manually adjust brightness, you can easily move the slider control to the top.

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Move brightness slider to the top of the notifications bar

To move the brightness scale:
Pull down the notifications tray to reveal the slider. Tap the "down" carat to pull up a drop-down menu. Toggle "Show control on top," then select "Done."

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Move brightness slider to the top of the notifications bar

This is where you'll see it now.

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Set up Bixby Routines

Let's say every morning when you wake up, you check the weather and your calendar for upcoming appointments. The Galaxy S10 phones want to help save you time with routines. There are 14 presets to begin with, or you can make your own custom settings.

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Set up Bixby Routines

There's a driving routine, for example: Bixby Routines can connect to your car via Bluetooth. If it detects you're in the car, It can turns on a bunch of apps and settings to read your notifications out loud, change the lock screen shortcut to Maps, kick start Spotify and unlock the phone. You can tweak all these settings to customize them.

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Set up Bixby Routines

Bixby will learn your patterns for work and home over time, but you can also set up new routines from scratch. 

To set up Bixby Routines:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Advanced features." Select "Bixby Routines." 

Or you can press and hold it open from the quick navigation settings.

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Know your kids are browsing safely

A news sandbox for the little ones, this profile promises parental permissions and gives little fingers a simple interface with large icons. Prelooded apps include a kids' camera, phone and gallery, along with several apps. Parental controls are password-protected for your peace of mind.

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Know your kids are browsing safely

To launch Kids Home:
Pull down the notifications shade and tap "Kids Home"

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Give notifications their own pop-up window

Toggle this on for apps whose notifications you'd like to expand when an alert comes in. Note that it will take up much more room on the display, so use judiciously. 

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Give notifications their own pop-up window

Turn on smart pop-up view:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Advanced features." Select "Smart pop-up view."

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Turn on beauty mode and apply filters

Beauty mode -- which is turned off by default on the Galaxy S10 -- smooths out facial features, and filters add all sorts of effects. 

To apply beauty mode:
Open the camera app and tap the wand icon. Scroll through filters or tap "Beauty Mode on" and make your selections.

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Wind down at the end of the day

This Android Pie feature gently separates you from your phone at night by blocking notifications or turning the screen to grayscale.

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Wind down at the end of the day

To turn on Wind Down Mode:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Digital wellbeing." Toggle on "Wind down." From here you can schedule your hours.

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Schedule night mode

For a darker, more soothing display, turn on night mode. You can tap it on or off, or save yourself a step every day by scheduling it. This isn't the same as Google's Wind Down mode.
Turn on Night Mode:
Go to "Settings" and select "Display," then tap "Night Mode." Toggle "Turn on as scheduled." Select either "Sunset to sunrise" or add your custom hours.

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Create a private folder nobody can find

You have your reasons. Just know that it's a separate PIN-protected vault to put your files. You'll also need a Samsung Account to get started.

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Create a private folder nobody can find

To set up a secure folder:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Biometrics and security." Tap "Secure Folder" to get started with folder settings and adding files.

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Change the order of your camera modes

You don't have to use all the modes Samsung gives you.
To change the order:
Open the camera and tap the "Settings" gear. Select "Camera modes" then tap "Edit modes." Drag and drop to reorder, and select or deselect choices. 

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Save photos in HEIF or RAW formats

The HEIF format uses about half as much storage space as conventional JPEG images and can accommodate a lot of more sophisticated photo technologies like photos bursts, live photos, and 3D scene information for fancy editing effects like changing a photo background. 

To save photos as HEIF:
Open the camera and tap the "Settings" gear. Tap "Save options" then toggle on "HEIF pictures". You could also choose to save in RAW, or flip your selfies to the opposite of how they appear in preview.

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Record in HDR10+ video

This beta setting (for example, "Labs") will let you optimize videos for Samsung's enhanced video format for TVs and now phones.

Open the camera and tap the "Settings" gear. Tap "Advanced recording options." Toggle "HDR10+ video."

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Change your icon size

If One UI icons are too big and you want to fit more icons on your home screen without creating a lot of folders, you can switch to a smaller grid.

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Change your icon size

You'll be able to choose from four different options for the home screen or the app tray. For example, you might want smaller home screen icons and larger app tray icons, or vice versa.

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Change your icon size

To change your Galaxy S10's icon size:
Long press the home screen. Tap home screen settings then tap the apps screen grid. Select the grid pattern you want and press "Apply".

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Adjust your screen temperature

Variations of this setting have been around for some time, but a slide makes it easier to control how warm or cool a tone you like your screen.
To turn it on:
Go to "Settings" then tap "Display." Tap "Screen Mode" and then "Vivid." Slide to select warmer or cooler tones, or tap "Advanced settings" to fine tune the white balance by red, green and blue tones.

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Change your vibration pattern

Haptic feedback gets a little more interesting on the Galaxy S10. You can choose from 10 different patterns, including one called zig-zig-zig and one called "waltz". 
To change it:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Sounds and vibration." Then select "Vibration pattern."

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Change up your clock style

You can pick among 10 styles and a bunch of colors.
To change your Galaxy S10 clock face
Go to "Settings" and tap "Lock screen." Tap "Clock style" then select a clock to appear on the always-on display or the lock screen.

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Get the lock screen multi-pack

I like switching up my lock screen images, so I selected the "multi-pack" to rotate through a bunch of vibrant options.
Go to "Settings" and tap "Wallpaper and themes." Then go to "My wallpapers" and tap "Multi-Pack." Tap "Set as wallpaper".

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Turn on Samsung Pass

If you want to bypass filling in all your login, password and credit card information, address and other details you often fill into forms (say when you're buying things online or registering for a new service), Samsung Pass  will remember all for you. Note that websites like Google Chrome will offer a similar feature, too.
To start using Samsung Pass:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Biometrics and security." Tap "Samsung Pass" to initiate. 

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Make your screen more sensitive

If you're wearing gloves or using a screen protector, turn this on.
Increase touch sensitivity:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Display." Tap "Touch sensitivity."

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Temporarily mute your phone

You can mute your phone forever, or you can just mute it for the time being without completely changing your profile -- say if you know you're going to be at family dinner for several hours.
Turn on temporary mute:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Sounds and vibration." Tap "Sound mode" and select "Mute." Select "Temporary mute" then choose the hours and duration of your mute.

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Change what’s on the lock screen

Samsung calls them Face Widgets, but you can think of them as information you can see at a glance on the lock screen. That may be a music module, your next alarm or, new to the Galaxy S10 phones, Bixby Routines.
Customize Face Widgets:
Tap "Settings" then "Lock screen." Tap "FaceWidgets." From here you can toggle options on and off or tap "Reorder" to rearrange them on the display.

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Use one app with two different accounts

You can open two instances of the same messenger app, using two different accounts. For example, WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger. You can also draw from two different contact lists.
Turn on Dual Messenger:
Go to "Settings" and tap "Advanced features." Tap "Dual Messenger."

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Where to find more Galaxy S10 how-tos

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