The 11 best Samsung One UI features to try on your Galaxy phone

Gone are the days when Samsung was infamous for TouchWiz Android skins. The company’s One UI software skin has received positive reactions from users and reviewers. With a wide range of features, smooth performance and timely updates, One UI has become the prime reason to get a top Samsung Galaxy phone over its rivals. Here are the best One UI features you should use on your Samsung Galaxy device.

1 Automate tasks with routines

Samsung removed Bixby branding from Routines. It is now part of the Device Settings app. You will find the option below Conditions and routines. You can create any number of automations that perform selected actions exactly when you need them.

Routines (formerly known as Bixby Routines) can be triggered when you connect to certain Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices, when your Samsung Galaxy Watch detects a specific workout, when your battery drops below a certain percentage, and more. It’s Samsung’s IFTTT (If This Then That) implementation with a user-friendly interface and tight One UI integration. Let’s check out some of the routines you can use to automate tasks like a pro.

You can create a routine called Slow charging that disables the fast wired charging feature during sleep hours to preserve battery health. When the routine ends, fast charging will start again and top up the phone when you wake up. You can configure another routine called Migraine that dims your phone’s screen, mutes the sound and activates a blue light filter. You can check all built-in routines by going to Settings > Conditions and routines > Routines or create one from scratch.

2 Open apps in pop-up windows

In addition to opening two apps side by side like other smartphones, Samsung allows you to open them in free-form windows that can be moved, resized and minimized. They are similar to Google’s chat bubbles, but more useful and reliable. Unlike bubbles, pop-ups work with all apps that support multi-window, not just messaging apps. While it may not be suitable for small phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Samsung Galaxy S23, pop-up windows are an excellent addition to foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

There are many use cases for this. One is watching a YouTube video while using other apps without paying for YouTube Premium. You can open YouTube in pop-up mode, resize the window, play the desired video and tap full screen. When you do, YouTube will play the video in full screen within the window frame. It’s better than a split screen.

  1. Swipe up and hold from the bottom to open the multitasking menu (recent apps).

  2. Tap or long press the app icon at the top and select
    Open in pop-up view

  3. Tap the horizontal bar at the top to close, minimize, and expand the pop-up view.

You don’t need to use split screen mode to browse apps side by side. With features like RAM plus, you can keep multiple apps open in the pop-up view.

3 Hides status bar icons

When Google released Android 6.0 Marshmallow, one of our favorite features was the System UI Tuner, which allowed you to change parts of your system. Google removed the UI tuner in subsequent releases of Android, but if you’re a Samsung user, Good Lock is ready to fill the void. It is a solid offer from Samsung to add new features to your phone.

Good Lock replicates many things the old UI Tuner was capable of. If you always keep your phone on and connected to a smartwatch, you don’t need the status bar icons to tell you. When you turn them off, everything looks cleaner. If you’re in the US, some Samsung phones such as the Galaxy S23 Ultra indicate that NFC is turned on, which is unnecessary if you ask us. It can also be disabled. To try this, download QuickStar in the Good Lock app and check Visibility of indicator icons menu.

4 Keep the screen on while watching

The Google Pixel 4 came with Screen Attention, which keeps the screen on while you’re looking at it, overriding the typical timeout limit. While this was a first for the Pixels, Samsung had been doing the same thing since 2012 when it debuted Smart Stay on the Galaxy S3 before eventually rolling out the feature to older phones.

That was nine years ago, so it shouldn’t be surprising that many people forget it exists, especially since it’s been renamed and buried in a submenu.

  1. Open
    on your Samsung phone.

  2. Scroll to
    Advanced features
    and open
    Movements and gestures

  3. Activate
    Keep the screen on while watching

You can also use the S Pen for a smooth web experience.

5 Edit your sharing sheet

Navigating through dozens of installed apps in the share sheet can be tiring and tedious. However, you can edit the share sheet and keep your frequently used apps at the top. Apple also offers the same on iOS.

  1. Open your share sheet and press
    pencil icon
    in the upper right corner.

  2. Drag and drop and pin your favorite apps to the top.

  3. The next time you share something, your favorite will appear above all others for faster access.

6 Make pop-up notifications less intrusive

Pop-up notifications take up a lot of space at the top of your screen, which can be annoying if you’re looking at something. You can turn them off completely, but Samsung offers a middle ground option.

  1. Enter your
    menu and press

  2. choose
    Notification pop-up style

  3. Choose from standard
    notifications or the compact
    them. The advantage of using the Maps option is that you can expand them to show more detail with smooth animation.

7 Change your lock screen shortcuts

You can either never use lock screen shortcuts or use them all the time. And you might not prefer the default phone and camera shortcuts on the lock screen. You can replace them with other apps and options using the steps below.

  1. Open Settings and scroll to
    Lock screen

  2. Choose yours
    Lock screen

  3. Tap the shortcut at the bottom left and replace it with another option. Repeat the same for the lower right corner.

You can place a flashlight and activate DND from the lock screen.

Google removed lock screen widgets in Android 5 Lollipop, but Samsung brought them back in One UI 3 based on Android 11.

  1. Open
    Lock screen
    in device settings (check the steps above).

  2. choose

  3. Enable, disable and rearrange built-in widgets according to your preferences. You can’t use any of the best third-party widgets and are stuck with what Samsung offers. You can choose from music, weather, calendar events for the day, your next alarm, Digital Wellbeing, your favorite routines and the voice recorder.

We were hoping Samsung would add more options in future updates like One UI 4 or One UI 4.1 (based on Android 12) and the latest One UI 5 running Android 13. It might not be as versatile as the iPhone or what we had in Android KitKat days, but it’s better than nothing, and being able to see today’s calendar without unlocking the phone has proven useful. However, you cannot use stacked widgets on the lock screen.

9 Customize side key

You can customize the side key and open your favorite app when you double tap it.

  1. Open
    and roll to
    Advanced features

  2. choose
    Side key

  3. Activate
    Double tap
    switch. You can quickly launch the camera, open Secure Folder or set it to open an app.

  4. You can also wake up Bixby or open the Power menu by holding down the side key.

10 Use Dual Messenger

Apps like WhatsApp and Facebook don’t make it easy to use multiple accounts. You can check and enable supported social media apps to sign in to another account.

  1. Go to
    Advanced features
    in Samsung settings.

  2. choose
    Dual Messenger

  3. Supported apps will appear after you install them. Activate the switch next to your favorite app and install another copy on your Samsung phone.

  4. You have the option of using a separate contact list for the installed app.

  5. Open the other social app and set it up with your account information.

If you delete the first messenger app, the second messenger app will also be deleted automatically.

11 Hide apps and games

If you don’t want your little ones to explore work apps and other addictive games, use the steps below to hide them from your home screen and apps menu.

  1. Long press the home screen and select

  2. choose
    Hide apps on home and apps screens

  3. Select the apps you want to hide and tap

Explore Samsung One UI

Not everyone prefers the default app icon style and size in Samsung One UI. If you are among them, check out our dedicated post and learn how to apply custom icon packs to your Galaxy phone. If you have the latest Samsung phone running One UI 5.0 or later, read our post to set up the perfect home screen.

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