The fingerprint sensor gets gesture support. In the settings, you can turn on the option to swipe down to open notifications, or swipe up to open Samsung Pay. Naturally, gestures stop working when you're actively scanning your fingertip.
The Galaxy S9 is Samsung's first phone to let you drag and drop the Edge menu, a shortcuts bar for apps and people, anywhere you want on the left or right edges. In previous phones, you had to select its position in the settings.
This feature is one that's flown under the radar, but it's going to be used way more often than gimmicks like AR Emoji. The Galaxy S9 uses software to blur the background on your self portraits, so your face really stands out. You can also adjust skin tone and color.
To use it: Open the selfie camera > select Selfie Focus.
The S9 and S9 Plus' max screen resolution is 2,960x1,440 pixels (also known as WQHD+), but did you know that the phone defaults to 2,220x1,080 pixels (FHD+)? The more conservative setting preserves battery life, but for maximum detail, you can adjust the setting up or even down to 1,480x720 pixels (HD+).
If you have two accounts for a social messenger app, you'll now have the choice to download a second instance of the app so you can easily pop from one to the other without swapping your profile within an app.
Go to Settings > Advanced features > Dual Messenger.
Galaxy phones have had a heart rate monitor since the Galaxy S5. The S9 adds a blood pressure reading. They call it "heart load factor." This is a wellness feature to provide an idea of your blood pressure, but Samsung isn't making any medical claims. You'll still need to consult your doctor for medical advice, or for monitoring a condition.
In addition, Samsung has partnered with UCSF to share your blood pressure information, and can monitor your stress levels to give you guidance for lowering your blood pressure.
Go to Samsung app folder > Samsung Health > tap HLF.
This is old hat for longtime Android users, but a good tip for first-timers. Shrinking the weather widget -- press and hold to select, then drag a corner -- will give you up to eight more app icons for the home screen. You can also delete the widget entirely.
The Galaxy S9's second camera lens (the telephoto) makes portrait mode possible -- Samsung calls this Live Focus. What makes this different from other phones is that the S9s (and Note 8 before it) will save both the depth-of-field portrait and the full shot with the background unblurred. You'll have the option to use them both.
Go to Camera app > select Live Focus > Click the icon of two boxes
You can softly blur the background of food shots from the inside out with a tool called radial blur. Food mode existed in previous Galaxy phones, but it's much easier to find on the S9. You can also adjust color tone to make shots look warmer or cooler.
Go to Camera > Food mode > Tap the icon that looks like the drop.
If you tuck away notes and files into Secure Folder for safekeeping, you can now use any fingerprint, along with your iris, a PIN, pattern or password, to let you in. That means you can unlock your phone with your pointer finger and unlock Secure Folder with a different digit.