The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are Samsung's most ambitious phones yet. While the switch to a 18.5:9 aspect display is likely to be the thing that draws you in, with its luscious infinity curves, there's a whole lot packed into the phone that you might never find.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ offer the same experience, the only difference being the size of the display and battery. The user experience is the same and it's closely related to the Galaxy S7 running on Nougat, but with a number of expansions. For Samsung users that's useful, as it's easy to find your way around, but even as a seasoned user, there's likely to be things that you have never found.
Fear not, we've scraped through the Samsung Galaxy S8 in detail to get to the very core of this phone and unlock its secrets. What follows is an experts guide to mastering your new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+.
Samsung Galaxy S8 top tip: If you're struggling to find the settings you want, head into the settings menu and tap the magnifying glass at the top. Then you can type whatever you want and suggestions will appear. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of any menu and you'll find alternative suggestions for what you might be looking for.
Samsung Galaxy S8 home screen
Edit your home screen: A long press on the wallpaper on any screen lets you edit the wallpaper and themes, widgets, pages or further settings. This area will also let you add or delete complete screens, so if you want a widgets page, this is where you go.
Get more on your home screen: You can change the size of the screen grid on which your shortcuts and widgets sit, depending on how dense you want the home screen to be. Long press on the wallpaper and select "home screen settings". Select 4x5 to keep things fairly clear, or 4x6 of 5x5 to cram more in. We went with 5x5 on the S8+, as you might as well use that display.
Resize widgets: Many widgets are resizable. A long press selects them. When you lift your finger, you can drag the blue box that appears and resize your widget. You can even resize the Google search box.
Customise the navigation bar: With on-screen controls, the S8 will let you customise the appearance. Want back on the left rather than the right? Head into settings > display > navigation bar and you can change the the order of buttons and the background colour of the bar they sit on.
Customise the status bar: You can change some of the options on the top display bar. Head into settings > display > status bar. You can limit notification icons to the last three, or switch off the battery percentage, something you'll probably never want to do.
Create a folder: Simply drag one app on top of another and a folder is created. To remove an app from a folder, open the folder and long and hold an app to select it and drag it out. To add apps, either drag them into a folder, or hit the + within the folder to add apps.
Change a folder colour or name: Open a folder and enter the name you want at the top. If you don't want a name, leave it blank. To change the folder background colour, tap the palette in the right-hand corner and select a new colour.
Access Bixby Home from the home screen: New to the S8 is Bixby, pooling into Bixby Home which sits where Upday/Flipboard did, offering a digest of useful information a bit like Google Now. It can be accessed via a press of the Bixby button, but also a swipe from the home screen. To enable it, long press on the home screen wallpaper, swipe right and you'll find a Bixby panel. Use the toggle switch in the top left to turn it on. You can now swipe to access Bixby Home without needing to press the physical button on the left of the phone.
Stop adding new app icons to home screen: If you don't want new apps you install cluttering up your home screens, head into Play Store > settings and uncheck the box.
Access Google Assistant: A long press on the on-screen home button will launch Google Assistant. You can then talk to Google and get the full experience as Mountain View intended. In the absence of Bixby Voice at launch, Google has you covered.
Access the Google Search page/Google Now: Google Now was one of the highlights of Android Lollipop, with Google pulling together loads of information from search and other things going on within your Google accounts, serving up cards of information. There is much cross-over with the new Bixby Home, but if you like doing it Google style, then tapping the G in the Google search bar widget will open this page.
Change launcher (home screen): You can easily change the experience of your phone with a different launcher, such as Nova if you want a more customisable experience. Just download the launcher from Play Store and install it. When you press the home button you'll be given a choice to select a new default launcher. Or, head into settings > apps and hit the menu button top right. Select "default apps" and then "home screen". You'll see your choice of launchers there.
Edit quick settings: To change the shortcuts you see when you swipe down the notifications, swipe down twice so you see the full grid, open the menu by tapping the three dots and select "button order". You'll be shown the full list of options across pages. You can drag to reorder, or remove shortcuts you don't need. Top tip: remove the stuff you never use, as it just looks messy.
Change the quick settings grid size: You can change the density of the quick settings icons by changing the grid size (as you can on the home screen and the apps tray (below)). Tap the menu button as above and select "buttons grid". Select 5x3 and you'll get a lot more on to one page.
Instantly access device settings from Quick Settings: This is a standard Android tip, but great for accessing settings instantly. Press and hold the shortcut (for example Bluetooth) and you'll instantly jump to the full settings menu. It's really useful for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and power saving options.
Samsung Galaxy S8 apps tray
Show all the apps on the home screen: This is a popular option for some. If you want to remove the apps tray, long press on the home screen and tap "home screen settings". Then select "home screen layout" and you'll see two options, "home screen only" or "home screen and apps screen". The former removes the apps tray completely.
Add or remove an apps tray button: Another big S8 change is removing the apps tray button and letting you open with a swipe, like the Google Pixel. If you want it back, however, head into the home screen settings as above and select "apps button". Here you can turn it on or off.
Change the apps screen grid size: Like the home screen you can change the density of apps in the apps tray/page. As above, go into the home screen settings, and you'll see the option for "apps screen grid", with options for 4x6 or 5x6. The latter will pack more apps in.
Alphabetize your apps: In the apps tray, hit menu in the top right-hand corner, then "sort". This will give you the option to have alphabetical order. Just tap that option and everything will drop into place.
Reorder apps: Hit the menu button in the top right-hand corner, then tap "sort". This time, select "custom order". You can now you can drag the apps to the position you want them in.
Create an apps tray folder: As long as you're in "custom order" (as above), then you can drag one app over another to create a folder. This can then be repositioned, named or coloured to your preference.
Search your entire phone: At the top of the apps screen is a search bar for Finder. This will return search results for apps, but can also search across various apps, like Feedly, Play Music, messages, reminder, calendar and a whole lot more. Hit the menu button and you can choose where it searches.
Uninstall apps: You can uninstall directly from an app icon. Just long press on the app and a pop-up menu will give you the option to uninstall an app. If it's a core app (which you can't uninstall) the same option will let you disable an app.
Add apps to your home screen: Press and hold on the app shortcut in the apps tray. This will let you place a shortcut on your home screen by dragging it to the top of the page.
Use normal app icons: Samsung loves putting backgrounds on app icons, turning everything into a squircle. Head into settings > display > icon frames and select "icons only". That will return apps to their normal shape.
Samsung Galaxy S8 lock screen and security
Change lock screen shortcuts: You can have two shortcuts on the lock screen for quick access. These are phone and camera by default, but can be anything you like. Head into settings > lock screen and security > info and app shortcuts. Here you can select the left and right shortcuts, or turn them off completely.
Enable fingerprint/face/iris security: To use your fingerprint/face/iris to unlock, head into settings > lock screen and security > screen lock type. Here you can select the biometric you want. You'll have to set a back-up PIN or passcode at the same time to provide additional security. Iris scanning might be the popular option with the fingerprint now on the back of the phone and rather hard to find.
Instant lock: When you press the standby button, you want your phone to lock instantly. Head into settings > lock screen and security > secure lock settings. There's the option to lock the device as soon as the screen goes to sleep or when you press the standby button. If you do want a delay, there's plenty of time options.
Smart Lock/Bluetooth unlock: Again in settings > lock screen and security > there's the Smart Lock section. This is a standard Android feature and you have the option to nominate trusted devices, so your Android will unlock when connected to something else. You can nominate Bluetooth devices (like your smartwatch or car Bluetooth), location, trusted voice and so on.
Automatically wipe your device: If you're worried about your phone falling into the wrong hands and being cracked, you can have it automatically wipe. Head into settings > lock screen and security > secure lock settings. Here you'll find the option to auto factory reset if 15 failed unlock attempts are made.
Disable/enable lock screen notifications: If you don't want notifications on your lock screen, head to settings > lock screen and security > notifications. This lets you hide content, only show app icons or disable notifications completely. Conversely, if you want notifications with content, don't select hide. Don't worry, you can choose to hide content for some apps and not others, see below.
Hide some lock screen notifications: If you never want lock screen notifications from a particular app (like a messaging app, or annoying game), head into notifications on lock screen as above, then you'll get a list of all your apps. Switch off the apps and you'll never get lock screen notifications from them.
Show Bixby Home on the lock screen: You can access Bixby Home from the lock screen with a press of the Bixby button, meaning you don't have to unlock to view certain things. Head into Bixby Home, tap the menu in the top right-hand corner and tap on "show on lock screen". This will show all the app cards that will be shown in Bixby Home on the lock screen. This can include the likes of the calendar, Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, Upday, Weather and so on. You can toggle off the things you want to keep private.
Unlock with the on-screen home button: Rather than hitting the standby button or the fingerprint scanner, you can long press on the on-screen home button to unlock. If you have security, it will go straight to unlocking, for example to the iris scanner. If you have no security it will just unlock your phone. Head into settings > display > navigation bar and select "unlock with home button".
Samsung Galaxy S8 notifications tips and tricks
Hide content in some app notifications: If you want to have notifications on your lock screen, but hide sensitive information in some of those apps (like a messaging app), first enable lock screen notifications to show content (see above). Then head into settings > notifications. Here you can manage the notifications of each individual app. You can opt to hide content from the lock screen here for specific apps.
To turn off notifications on an app: Go to settings > notifications and toggle off notifications for the app you don't want to hear from. Or, when you get a notification you don't like, drag it slowly to the right and you'll see a settings icon, tap that to go to the settings for that app.
Pinch to expand: Got a stack of notifications? You can pinch to expand them, both on the lock screen and in the notifications area.
Swipe the fingerprint scanner to access notifications tray: If your phone feels too big and you can't reach the notifications tray, then you can swipe the fingerprint scanner to make it drop down. Head into settings > advanced features > finger sensor gestures. Then you can swipe to view notifications with one hand.
Flash the LED for notifications: The LED will flash when the display is off to tell you there's a notification. If you want to turn it off, head into settings > display > LED indicator and you can switch it off.
Get a grip on do not disturb: Do not disturb is a powerful tool for managing what notifications you get when. It's so massive, it's fully explored in the section below.
Samsung Galaxy S8 volume controls and do not disturb
Quickly switch to vibrate alerts: If you want silence, but are after vibration alerts still, push the volume button and tap the speaker icon on the pop-up. This will switch to vibrate. Or you can hold down the volume button so it slides all the way down to vibrate.
Set you phone to silent: The normal volume controls only go to vibrate. To make your phone silent, swipe down to the quick settings and tap the sound shortcut. This will cycle through sound/vibrate/mute. Remember to turn the sound back on, or you'll miss all your calls and messages, or use do not disturb instead.
Turn down media volume: Hit the volume up or down button, and the volume slider will appear. Tap the down arrow on the right-hand side, and you can change the ringer, media, notifications and system volumes independently. Perfect for when you want to watch a YouTube video on the bus without disturbing others.
Engage do not disturb: Do not disturb is an Android feature that lets you silence your phone, but set up a range of exceptions. Swipe down quick settings and tap the do not disturb button to turn it on. You can also set it to a schedule, for example at night, or when you're in the office.
Allow notifications in do not disturb: If you want silence then do not disturb is great. But if you want some notifications, then you have to designate the exceptions that are allowed. Head into settings > sound and vibration > do not disturb > allow exceptions. Here you can allow alarms (essential if you want to wake up in the morning), but also allow repeat callers or nominated contacts - such as favourites for messages and calls - as well as allowing priority app notifications.
To mark an app as a priority app: Head into settings > sound and vibration > do not disturb > allow exceptions > priority app notifications. Tap on the app you want to mark as priority so you always get notifications from that app, including in do not disturb mode.
Samsung Galaxy S8 app management
Change the default app: Android lets you decide which is the default app if you have more than one that will do the same thing. Under settings > apps hit the menu button and then "default apps". Here you can see what has been selected as the default browser, calling app, messaging app and home screen. Other defaults are selected by the first app you open for a particular task.
Control app permissions: Nougat lets you manage all the permissions for each app on an individual basis. Go to applications, select the app and hit Permissions. This will let you toggle permissions on and off, so you can disable location access, for example.
Samsung Galaxy S8 display tips
Make your apps full screen: With a 18.5:9 display, the S8 is taller than most phones. Some apps will fill that space having already been optimised (like Samsung's apps, Facebook, Amazon Video), but others need to be turned on. Head into settings > display > full screen apps. Here you'll see those that are optimised already and those you can force to work full screen.
Turn on always on display: To have the lock screen show you "always on" information, head into lock screen and security > always on display and switch it on. This shows when the phone display is in standby. If you want it to always show, scroll down and toggle that option on. If you want it on a schedule - perhaps only show when you're at your desk - then turn off "show always" and set a schedule instead.
Change always-on display layout: You can customise what you see in always-on display by heading to the section above and tapping on it. You'll find an option for layouts where you can customise what you're shown and how it is laid out.
Download more always on display layouts: There's the option to expand what's offered for always on display. Open the Samsung Themes app, click AODs on the bottom tab. Pick the layout you like and hit download, then apply.
Change the display colours: Head into settings > screen mode and you'll get the option to change the way the display looks. If you want something more vibrant, it's here you can set it, or change the balance of red, green and blue in the display.
Turn on night mode: Called "blue light filter" by Samsung, this changes the colour of the display to reduce blue light, avoid eye strain and help you sleep better. Head into settings > display > blue light filter to change the times and the strength of the effect.
One-handed mode: With the Galaxy S8 and S8+ being tall, you might find it easier to use in one-handed mode so you can reach the top. You can swipe in diagonally from the bottom left or right, or head into settings > advanced features > one-handed mode and select "button". This will mean you can tap the home button 3 times and it will shrink into one-handed mode, for simple one-hand use.
Samsung Galaxy S8 edge screen tips
Manage edge screen content: Both the S8 and S8+ have edge functions. Head into settings > display > edge screen to manage edge panels and lighting.
Enable edge lighting for incoming calls: If your phone is face down, you can have the edges light up when there's an incoming call. Head into settings > display > edge screen > edge lighting. This is ideal for meetings. Your phone will reveal there's an incoming call without you needing vibration or showing everyone who is calling. You can opt to have it always light up, or only when the screen is on or off.
Add or remove edge panels: Head into settings > display > edge screen and tap on edge panels. Here you'll see the selection of panels available and you can add and remove those you don't want. Stick to the useful, otherwise you'll spend more time navigating and less time doing. Smart select is worth investigating.
Samsung Galaxy S8 multi-tasking
Use multi window view: To view two apps at the same time, hit the recent apps button, find the app you want and hit the icon looking like two boxes at the top of that app card. The app will occupy the top half of the screen. You can then select the second app from the apps shown on the bottom of the display. You can change the size of each app by pressing the blue line in the centre and dragging it up or down.
Use recent apps button for multi window: Rather than tapping the symbol in the app, you can press and hold the recent app button to leap into multi window view. Head into settings > advanced features > multi window to turn this option on or off.
Select a zone of an app to view: On same compatible apps (Google Maps for example) there's also the option to view a section of an app, perhaps an address. This button is alongside the multi-window button and once you tap it, you get a box to select what you want to see. Hit done and this goes to the top of the display. It's useful when you want a specific piece of information in view, in addition to another app.
Use pop-up view: This has been an action for a number of years and is similar to one-handed view, but you get to select the size of the window. Head into settings > advanced features > multi window and toggle on pop-up view action. This will let you swipe in diagonally from the top left or right of the display to drag into pop-up view. You can also adjust the size of the window and move it around, so you can view one thing and whatever was in the background.
Samsung Galaxy S8 camera and photo tricks
Quick launch: Double tap on the standby button to launch the camera. You can do this from the lock screen or any other location in the phone. If it's not turned on, head to the camera app > settings and toggle on "quick launch". Quick launching on the lock screen will still open the camera, but you'll have to unlock to view photos.
Enable raw capture: If you want the dng files saved as well as regular jpeg, head into the settings and then picture size. At the bottom is the option to save both raw and jpeg files. To use it you'll need to be in Pro mode, however, so swipe in from the left and tap Pro.
Control HDR: In the camera app, hit the HDR toggle button on the left-hand side. This cycles through on-off-auto HDR options.
Enable video stabilisation: To stabilise your video on the rear camera, open settings and scroll down to find "video stabilisation".
Quickly switch from rear to front camera: There's a button to switch between front and rear cameras, but you can also do it with a swipe. Just swipe up or down the display to switch to the other camera.
Wide selfie: To get more into your selfie shot, select the front camera, then swipe in from the left and select "wide selfie". Tap wide selfie and you can take a wider shot by swivelling the camera.
Identify an object using Bixby Vision: In the camera app there's an icon that looks like an eye on the bottom left corner. Tap this and Bixby will attempt to identify anything it can see.
To take a selfie using a gesture or the heart rate sensor: In the camera flip over to selfie mode and hit settings > shooting methods. Here you'll find the options for gestures, or using the heart rate sensor to take a picture.
To take a long exposure photo: In the camera app, swipe in from the left and select Pro. On the right-hand side you'll see the option to change the length of the exposure with a symbol that looks like a camera shutter. Use the slider to select the length of time you want. The exposure compensation icon above will indicate whether you're going to over or under expose, by switching from + to -.
To save photos to the microSD card: There's a microSD card slot, so you might as well use it. Head into the camera app > settings > storage location and select SD card.
Change gallery view: If you're looking at your photos and you want more or less on display, you can pinch zoom, to change the thumbnail view.
Add a Google Photos thumbnail to your camera: By default, Samsung's camera previews thumbnails with a link to Samsung's Gallery app. If you'd rather use Google Photos for all your viewing, you can enable a thumbnail from Google's app within your camera app. Head into Google Photos > settings > camera shortcut. Toggle this on and when you take a photo, a thumbnail that links to G Photos will appear for you.
Samsung Galaxy S8 screenshot
Take a screen shot: Press the volume down and standby buttons at the same time. A screenshot will be captured.
Palm swipe for a screenshot: If you don't want to press the buttons to take a screenshot, head into settings > advanced features > and turn on palm swipe to capture. This saves you having to press two buttons at once.
Use smart capture: Samsung gives you more options for screenshots. Head into settings > advanced features > smart capture. This will let you scroll to get more of a page, with instant edit and share options too.
Capture a gif from the screen: You can create a gif instantly from anything that's playing on your phone, like a video in Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. Enable the smart select edge panel. Then, once your video is on the display, swipe to smart select from the edge and select animation. A preview window will appear which will let you record video to create a gif.
Samsung Galaxy S8 managing calling, data and networks
Smart network switching: If you want to let your phone switch to mobile data when a Wi-Fi network is poor, enter settings > Wi-Fi > advanced > Smart network switch to enable or disable. There's also the option to do this aggressively, so if there's the slightest wobble in Wi-Fi, you'll go back to 4G.
Set a data limit: If you don't want to exceed your contract data, head into settings > connections > data usage and you have the option to set the data limit and the date your contract renews.
Restrict Wi-Fi hotspots: Phone always jumping on Wi-Fi networks you don't want it to? Head into settings > data usage > restrict networks and you'll get a full list of recognised Wi-Fi networks. Here you can limit those annoying hotspots when you're walking down the street.
Enable download booster: If you're looking for download booster (to use Wi-Fi and mobile networks simultaneously for big downloads, head into settings > connections > more connection settings and you'll find the option for the download booster.
Identify incoming calls: If you want the phone to identify who is calling you, head into phone and open the menu, tap settings and select "search for places nearby". You'll then be shown any information that can be found on incoming callers.
Turn on Wi-Fi calling: If your network supports Wi-Fi calling, you'll have to turn it on on your phone to place calls over Wi-Fi. Head into the phone app > settings and scroll all the way to the bottom to find Wi-Fi calling. Turn that on if you want it.
Samsung Galaxy S8 storage tips
Explore what's on your device storage: Head to settings > device maintenance > storage and view the internal storage and SD card. This will give you a breakdown of what's taking up your storage. In this new device maintenance app you'll have the option to clean up trash files. To see the actual file content, head to the My Files app.
Move an app to SD card: If you want to move apps to the microSD card to make more space on your internal storage, head into settings > applications and tap on an app. Within the app details you'll find a storage section. Tap this, then "change" and you'll be able to select the SD card. The phone will then move the app to external storage - but the app has to be compatible, some apps you can't move.
Auto restart to keep things fast: If you're a power user and want to restart your device to flush out the caches, you can do it automatically. Head into settings > general management > reset > auto restart. Here you can set the day of the week and the time you want your phone to restart itself.
Samsung Galaxy S8 battery tips
View what's eating battery: Head into settings > device maintenance and tap battery. This will show you the predicted battery usage based on your 7-day averages, and tapping the "battery usage" will show you what's using up that battery.
Engage power saving mode: Either hit the shortcut in quick settings, or head into settings > device maintenance > battery. Here you can engage mid or max battery saving, with the option to change the settings for each mode.
Enable fast charging: Head into settings > device maintenance > battery > advanced settings > fast cable charging. If this is not turned on, the phone won't use fast charging.
Manage app power saving: In settings > device maintenance > battery you can see the app power monitor. Here you can select apps to have the phone save battery on those apps in the background.
Use Android Doze: Android Doze is a low power state that lets apps sleep when your device isn't being used. It saves a lot of battery in quiet times, for example over night when you don't have a charger. It's part of Android Nougat and is automatic - so you don't have to do anything - it just works.
Time till fully charged: Charge time is displayed when connected to a charger. Look at the bottom of the lockscreen and in the battery status screen. If you're fast charging, it will say so, and the estimated time left.