Essential Galaxy S20 tricks you need to know: Restart the phone, dark mode and 7 more crucial tips

Samsung made some important changes in the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra phones. Learn them now.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
4 min read

The Galaxy S20 has quite a few new features. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

New Galaxy S20 phones, new software features inside. Samsung freshened up the way the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra work, from rebooting the devices to taking screenshots, enabling gesture navigation and more.

The changes come from a combination of Google's Android 10 operating system and Samsung's One UI 2 software layer. There are too many new features to name (discover the best-hidden features here), but I have plenty of tips for using your new S20 phone. When you've mastered the features below, here are six more to help you preserve battery life on your Galaxy S20

Below are some tips and tricks I've found while testing Samsung's latest phones. 

Watch this: Galaxy S20 Ultra's high-octane camera has the wow factor

Be quicker when taking a screenshot

The first time I tried taking a screenshot on the S20 Plus, I pressed and held the buttons waiting for the screenshot notification, only to see an alert letting me know I had to be quicker. On the Galaxy S10 you had to hold the buttons down to take a screenshot. 

Instead of holding down the volume and power buttons for a moment, you only need to quickly press the volume rocker (either up or down, it doesn't matter) and the power button at the same time. Don't hold either button in -- just quickly press them at the same time. 


It's as close as you'll get to getting rid of Bixby, too. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

What happened to the power button?

Speaking of the power button: You may have noticed that holding it in will launch Bixby, Samsung's digital assistant. I don't know many (read: anyone) who actually uses Bixby, but, thankfully, Samsung added the option to use the side key to turn your phone off or restart it. 

Make the change in the Settings app by going to Advanced features > Side key and select Power off menu for the Press and hold option. Now, when you hold the side button in, you'll have the option to power off, restart or activate emergency mode. 


The S20's display can be set to 120Hz, but be mindful of battery life. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Get the most out of your display

One of the headline features of the Galaxy S20 line is its 120Hz refresh rate for the display, double the rate on most phones. That increase makes tasks like scrolling through apps or websites smoother. 

Out of the box, though, your S20 is set to 60Hz refresh rate. Change it to 120Hz by opening the Settings app and selecting Display > Motion Smoothness > High refresh rate

Before making the change, note that using 120Hz will have an impact on your battery life (our S20 Ultra review saw less than all-day battery life with the option turned on). I suggest trying the faster refresh rate for a few days, and if you're unhappy with battery performance, change it back. 


The Samsung Daily just isn't all that useful. Get rid of it. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Ditch the Samsung Daily screen

Swipe to the right on the home screen and you're greeted with the Samsung Daily feed, which curates news and information from various apps in one place. 

To disable it, long-press on an empty area of your home screen. Swipe to the right on the thumbnail of your home screen until you see the Samsung Daily card. Slide the switch at the top of it to the Off position. 


Change the homescreen on your Galaxy S20. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Customize the home screen and app drawer

Want more apps on your home screen or on each page of the app drawer? You can customize the grid with a long-press on the homescreen, selecting Home screen settings and then choosing home or app screen grid. Pick your preferred grid size for either option. 


As the screens get bigger, small tasks gets harder. 

Angela Lang/CNET

An easier way to view notifications

The screens on the S20 lineup are only getting bigger, making it harder to use the phone with one hand. But instead of stretching your thumb all the way to the top of the screen, there's a setting that allows you to swipe down anywhere on the home screen to easily view your notifications. 

Long-press on the home screen, then select Home screen settings, then turn on Swipe down for notification panel. Now, when you want to view your quick settings or pending alerts, swipe down anywhere on the homescreen.


Gesture navigation or bust. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Gesture navigation is the way to go

You have two options for getting around your S20. You can stick to the default traditional three-button setup, or you can enable gesture navigation. Using gestures removes the buttons along the bottom of the display, freeing up screen real-estate, and letting you swipe your way between apps. I think you'll find it to be an improvement. 

Turn on gesture navigation by going to Settings > Display > Navigation bar > Full screen gestures. An animation will show you the various gestures you'll need to learn. We have an in-depth guide to Android 10's gesture navigation if you need more help


Finder for Samsung is not to be confused with Finder for your Mac. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Use Finder to search your device

There's a search bar at the top of the app drawer that you can use to search for apps, documents, messages, and any other content on your phone. The first time you use the search bar, you'll be asked to turn on Finder and give it permission to search your device -- take advantage of it. 

I use Finder to locate my apps instead of scrolling through multiple pages in the app drawer. It's much faster, and if the app isn't installed, Finder will provide a link to the Play Store or Galaxy Store to install the app. It's pretty cool. 


Dark mode is the way to go. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Turn on dark mode

The Galaxy S20 has a built-in dark mode that turns all of the bright background colors, well, dark. Dark mode helps improve battery life, and it just looks cool. Set up dark mode to be on all the time, or on a set schedule by going to Settings > Display > Dark mode settings.

Thanks to Android 10's support for dark mode, many apps have updated with support and will change their theme based on your system settings. Here's a list of apps to check out.

See the Galaxy S20's best tips and tricks

See all photos

Android 10 has plenty more to offer, and we have a roundup of useful tips here, including details about new privacy features that you should know about. 

Originally published last week. Regularly updated.