- I tweaked 10 different things on the stock Galaxy S20 to make the phone look and work better.
- Out of the box, Samsung’s default settings don’t take full advantage of its own capabilities, like the super smooth 120Hz screen.
- Many of these tweaks are aesthetic, so pick out the ones you like.
- Others are functional and can give you a better experience with the Galaxy S20.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
One of the things I love about Android phones is how much control you get over finer settings to make the phone look and feel the way you want it to.
Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy S20 is a great smartphone, but it’s not the greatest it could be. Surprisingly, some of Samsung’s default settings don’t make the most of some of the device’s hardware, like its new 120Hz screen. That’s one of the first few things you should change.
Otherwise, there are a bunch of little tweaks you can make to make the Galaxy S20 your phone and work the way you like it.
Check out the first 10 things I did when I received the Galaxy S20 Ultra review unit, and note that all these tweaks are available on all Galaxy S20 models:
The Galaxy S20 has a sharp WQHD 1440p display, but it’s set to FHD 1080p by default. Don’t change that — it’s better for your battery life, and FHD still looks great.
When you first start up the Galaxy S20, its display resolution is set to FHD 1080p by default.
The temptation is strong to set the display resolution to its full WQHD 1440p option for the crispiest, sharpest look for Android, your apps, photos, and videos.
I hardly noticed a difference between the default FHD 1080p mode and the WQHD 1440p option. And keeping it to FHD resolution will help extend your battery life, as the Galaxy S10’s processor won’t need to work as hard to render items on the display at a sharper resolution.
The Galaxy S20’s screen is also capable of giving you a smoother experience while you swipe around the phone. You have to actively enable that feature.
By default, the Galaxy S20’s screen is set to the standard 60Hz refresh rate, which gives a familiar look and feel to the phone.
But you can set the screen to 120Hz for a faster and smoother overall experience, and it’s absolutely worth it. It might reduce battery life a little bit, but I have no complaints so far on the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Battery life is still among the best I’ve ever experienced on a smartphone.
To change the screen from 60Hz to 120Hz, head to Settings > Display > Motion smoothness > tap High refresh rate (120 Hz) > then tap Apply.
Also note that the 120Hz option is only available for the FHD 1080p resolution.
Turn on Dark Mode to give your Galaxy S20 a sleeker look. It’s also easier on the eyes at night.
Not only is dark mode easier on the eyes — especially at night — but it looks sleeker, in my opinion. Setting whatever you can to a dark or night mode will also help with battery life, as the Galaxy S20 won’t be using up battery power to light up the default white color theme.
To enable Night Mode, swipe down the notifications shade > swipe down again > swipe left > tap Dark mode.
Swipe down from anywhere on the home screen to pull down the notifications shade.
Out of the box, swiping down on the Galaxy S20’s home screen will bring up the Android app drawer where all your apps can be found. The thing is, swiping up already does that. So I decided to set the swipe-down gesture for something more useful — bringing down the android notifications shade.
Doing this makes it easier to pull down the Android notifications shade, as you don’t need to reach up to the top of the screen to swipe the shade down. You can swipe down the notifications shade from the middle of the home screen, or even close to the bottom, if you want.
To do this, go to Settings > Display > Home screen > tap Quick-open notification panel.
Change the way Samsung’s One UI interface looks to make it less cartoon-y.
The icons are set to look large by default on the Galaxy S20, and it looks a little cartoon-y, which doesn’t match the Galaxy S20’s sleek aesthetic.
To remedy this, I made the home screen icon grid more compact, which made the icons smaller and let me add more apps to the home screen.
To do this, go to Settings > Display > Home screen > Home screen grid > tap 5×6, or whichever grid style you like.
Do the same for the “Apps screen grid” option in the Home screen menu.
Change the way the edge lighting looks and works on the Galaxy S20.
I’m a big fan of the Galaxy S20’s edge lighting when a notification shows up, but I was underwhelmed by the default blue color. I set the edge lighting’s color to be white and made it thicker to be more noticeable, which creates a more impressive effect when you get a notification.
Below is the edge lighting on the Galaxy S10, but it’s almost identical on the Galaxy S20, except you get more options with Samsung’s latest device:
Change the keyboard to Google’s Gboard.
Samsung’s default keyboard is fine, but I’ve always preferred Google’s own Gboard. The keys are wider, which makes it easier and faster to type more accurately. It’s also a cleaner keyboard compared to the cluttered Samsung keyboard. You can also customize Gboard more than you can Samsung’s keyboard.
Just install the Gboard app from the Google Play Store and follow the instructions. Then, you can customize Gboard to your preferred themes and settings.
Make the Galaxy S20 feel faster.
You can reduce the superfluous animations when navigating around the Android operating system, which lets you get back to your home screen and close or open apps more quickly. It gives the Galaxy S20 feel faster overall.
With animations switched on by default, it always felt like I was waiting for the animations to finish before I could go on to do what I wanted to do next.
To get rid of them, go to Settings > Advanced features > tap Reduce animations.