(Pocket-lint) - The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ update Samsung's flagship phone. While it carries on the Galaxy S8 design, it pulls in features from Android Oreo, from the Note 8, as well as introducing a whole new range of functions.
The Galaxy S9 is Samsung's most advanced phone ever, with greater technical scope than previous devices. It offers you choices you won't find on any other devices too. At the surface level it's a great phone, but dive into the details and you'll find astonishing power and potential.
Fortunately we've done the hard work for you, pulling out the nuances of this spectacular phone from Samsung. This is the ultimate masterclass in the Galaxy S9 and S9+, giving you the best tips and tricks to manage your device.
Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ 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.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ home screen tips
The home screen part of the launcher. It's where you unlock your phone to, the place for app shortcuts and widgets and it's where you return when you're finished doing something in an app.
Edit your home screen: A long press on the wallpaper on any home 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, 4x6, 5x5 or 5x6 to cram more in. We went with 5x5 on the S9.
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 S9 will let you customise the navigation bar as you could on the S8. 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.
Lock the navigation bar in place: With a big display, some apps will want to go full screen and the navigation bar will vanish, meaning you need to swipe up from the bottom to bring it back. If you'd rather it always stay in place, you can lock it by double pressing the dot at the left-hand end. You can unlock it with another double tap.
Hide the navigation bar lock dot: If you've decided that you always want the navigation bar or you always want it to be hidden, you can remove the dot that would lock it in place. Head into settings > display > navigation bar and you can remove the option, so the navigation bar is always showing or always hidden on full screen apps.
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.
Allow your home page to work in landscape: A new feature on the S9 and S9+ is a landscape home page and apps tray. That means you can keep your phone in landscape and flip between videos and games, for example. It's off by default, but you can turn it on in settings > home screen > portrait mode only. Just switch this off to get rotation to landscape.
Create a folder: Simply drag one app on top of another on the home screen and a folder is created. To remove an app from a folder, open the folder and long press an app and you'll get a pop-up menu which lets you remove that app. To add apps, either drag them into a folder, or hit the + ADD APPS button 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 - including completely custom colours.
Delete a folder: If you no longer want a folder, press and hold and then hit delete. The folder and the app shortcuts will vanish.
Access Bixby Home from the home screen: Bixby Home on the S9 sits where Upday/Flipboard used to on the S6/S7, offering a digest of information a bit like Google Now. It can be accessed via a press of the Bixby button on the side of the phone, but also a swipe to the right from the home screen.
Turn off Bixby Home: If you don't want Bixby Home, long press on the wallpaper and you'll enter the home screen controls. Swipe to the right and the Bixby Home panel will appear. There's a toggle switch in the top right-hand corner. If you don't want the Bixby Home panel on your home screen, just turn this off.
Access Google Assistant: A long press on virtual the on-screen home button will launch Google Assistant. You can then talk to Google and get the full experience as Mountain View intended. This is synced with your Google account from sign-in, so works with anything you've already set-up Google Assistant to do.
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 cross-over with the new Bixby Home, but if you like doing it Google style, then tapping 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 more customisation. 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, pick the one you want.
Samsung Galaxy S9 quick settings tips and tricks
The quick settings area is part of Android where you can access the most frequent settings for your device, like power saving modes, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It's a selection of shortcuts, accessed when you swipe down from the top of the screen on Android devices.
Instantly access the quick settings and notifications pane from your home screen: Swipe down anywhere on the home screen and the notifications pane will slide down meaning you don't have to stretch up to the top of the page, swipe down again and you'll get quick settings - really useful on the large Galaxy S9+. This is off by default, to turn it on long press on the wallpaper and select "home screen settings", then "quick-open notification panel".
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: only the first six apps are shown in the compact view across the top, so make these your first settings shortcuts.
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.
Turn off the SmartThings connection notification: On the S9, Samsung is using the new SmartThings app as a central controller for all connected devices, from smart home to Bluetooth devices and so on, replacing Samsung Connect. This will automatically appear in your notifications tray when you're connected to something, providing quick access to a connected device's settings for example. You can remove it in the app: head into SmartThings and open the menu in the top right-hand corner. Tap settings > SmartThings panel to toggle it on or off.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ apps tray
The apps tray is again part of the launcher on your phone and it's the area that your app shortcuts live. There are lots of options for customising it on the Galaxy S9 and S9+.
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, like the iPhone.
Add or remove an apps tray button: By default there is no apps tray button and you open the apps tray with a swipe. If you want the button back head into the home screen settings as above and select "apps button". Here you can turn it on or off.
Swipe to show or hide the apps tray: As above, the Galaxy S9 lets you view the apps tray with a swipe up. The apps pages themselves then scroll left and right. If you want to return to the home page, you don't need to press the home button, you can just swipe up again and the apps tray vanishes.
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, so you can have a Google folder, one for smart home, one for games and so on.
Search your entire phone: At the top of the apps screen is a search bar for Finder. This will return search results for apps you have installed, but can also search content in apps, like Feedly, Play Music, messages, reminder, calendar and a whole lot more. Tap the finder bar in the apps tray, then hit the menu button on the right then "manage apps" 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, or you can select "add to home" from the pop-up menu that appears.
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 S9 lock screen and always-on display
The lock screen is what you see when your phone is locked. It's really divided into two parts, one when the screen is off - where "always-on display" can give you some information, or the proper lock screen where the screen is fully on, but you can't access the the device.
Turn on always on display: To have the 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, i.e. when the display is otherwise off. 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. This will also let you turn always-on display on or off a night depending on your preference.
Change always-on display layout: You can customise what you see in always-on display by heading to the section above. You can opt to show the home button or not as well a the clock or information.
Change the always-on clock style: There are a range of different clock types for he S9 always-on display. Head into settings > lock screen and security > clock and facewidgets > clock style. Here you can change the clock both for always-on display and the lock screen. You can also chnge the colours, so if you don't want mono, you can select something else.
Add a music controller to your lock screen or always-on display: Facewidgets are the name Samsung uses for other information on your lock screen or always-on display. You'll likely have a music controller there by default, but if you don't, head into settings > lock screen and security > clock and facewidgets > facewidgets. Here you'll find a range of options for the always-on display, so you can change tracks, for example, without unlocking your phone. You'll have to double tap on the always-on display to switch to the music controller, however.
Change the brightness of the always-on display: This is linked to auto brightness on your phone, however you can manually over-ride this to set the brightness yourself. Head into settings > lock screen and security > always-on display. Within this menu you'll see "auto brightness". Turn this off and you can set the brightness yourself. Top tip: If auto brightness is off, you can double tap on the always-on clock and a brightness scale will pop-up.
Download more always-on display layouts: There's the option to expand what's offered for always-on display. Open the Samsung Themes section (long press on tour home screen wallpaper > tap themes at the bottom of the page) click AOD on the bottom tab. Pick the layout you like and hit download, then apply. You'll have to pay for most of them.
Change lock screen shortcuts: You can have two shortcuts on the lock screen for quick access (only the lock screen, not the always-on display). These are phone and camera by default, but can be anything you like. Head into settings > lock screen and security > app shortcuts. Here you can select the left and right shortcuts, or turn them off completely.
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.
Change the look of lock screen notifications: Not only can you change the information you're shown on the lock screen, but you can change how it appears. Head into settings > lock screen and security > notifications and you can change the transparency of the lock screen notifications banner. You can also have the text invert so it stands out more against the background.
Hide some lock screen notifications: If you never want lock screen notifications from a particular app (like WhatsApp, or an annoying game), head into settings > lock screen and security > notifications > show notifications from, then you'll get a list of all your apps. Switch off the apps and you'll never get lock screen notifications from them. Note that this doesn't govern device-wide notifications, only those for the lock screen.
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 settings > 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.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ security and unlocking
Security is a big deal on phones because they contain so much private information. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ includes Knox, encryption and a range of biometrics to facilitate unlocking.
Top security tip: Biometrics aren't foolproof, because when they fail your device reverts to PIN or password to unlock. Therefore, your device is only as secure as the password or PIN you use, as anyone trying to break into your phone can always opt to head straight to these unlock methods. Biometrics are there for convenience, not security.
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 password at the same time to provide additional security. Top tip: if using fingerprints, then register fingers on each hand so you can unlock however you are holding your phone.
Enable Intelligent Scan: Intelligent Scan combines face and iris, so the phone can use either or to unlock the phone. This means you just have to look at the phone and it will unlock in most situations. You'll need to register both your face and your iris to make this work.
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.
Lock network and security functions: This option will mean that your network settings cannot be changed while your phone is locked. This makes it easier to locate your phone if it's stolen. However, it also means you have to unlock your phone to engage flight mode. Head into settings > lock screen and security > secure lock settings to find the option to turn it on or off.
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 or PIN code entry. If you have no security it will just unlock your phone. Head into settings > display > navigation bar and select "unlock with home button".
Encrypt your SD card: If you don't want people snooping through your SD card if they pull it out of the phone, then you can encrypt it. Then it can only be read on your unlocked phone. Head into settings > lock screen and security > encrypt SD card and you can get all the details.
Require a password when your phone restarts: You can put in place a password that's needed when your phone restarts. This is so that if your phone is stolen it won't restart without you putting in a PIN. Head into settings > lock screen and security > secure start and you can enable this option.
Keep your private files and apps in the Secure Folder: If you're worried about people accessing your phone and finding things they shouldn't, you can use the Secure Folder. This sets up another layer of security, you can then add files, pictures and apps that you want to keep hidden - that might be anything from personal photos to business documents. You can also add second versions of apps you want secure and private.
Samsung Galaxy S9 notifications tips and tricks
As devices get more complex, notifications have more and more to do - it's not just about alerting you to messages. Samsung likes to notify you all the time, so taming those notifications and getting them doing what you want is a big part of living with the Galaxy S9. It's in notifications that Android is also a lot more advanced than the iPhone.
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 for 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, and turn it off.
Show app icon notification badges: Icon badges are quite new to Android, letting each app show you how many notifications you have. Samsung applies this across the entire device. Head into settings > notifications > app icon badges. Here you can turn them off of individual apps, you can change the style (numbers or no numbers).
View your app notifications with a long press on an app shortcut: This is quite an advanced expansion of the icon badges. You can press and hold on an app icon that's showing a badge and the notifications will be revealed in a pop-up menu. Head into settings > notifications > app icon badges and you'll find this option at the bottom of the page under "show notifications".
Pinch to expand: Got a stack of notifications? You can pinch to expand them, both on the lock screen and in the notifications area.
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 in Android for managing what notifications you get when. It's so massive, it's fully explored in the section below.
Samsung Galaxy S9 volume controls, sound and do not disturb
Learning to master do not disturb is a key skill of Android. You can get it to give you the notifications you want when you want them, you can silence your phone when you want without needing a mechanical slider, but still let those vital notifications through.
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 (music, videos) 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, system volume and Bixby voice independently. If you always want to change the media volume, toggle on the slider at the bottom and the volume controls will turn media up and down all the time - making it really easy to instantly silence a game you're playing on the bus.
Separate Bluetooth music from the rest of your app sounds: This is excellent. Using "separate app sound" you can nominate an app to play over Bluetooth while the rest of your sounds stay on your device. For example, you can play Spotify on your Bluetooth speaker while watching YouTube without the YouTube audio also heading over Bluetooth to your speaker. Head into settings > sounds and vibration > separate app sound. Within this area you can nominate your music app (for example Spotify, Play Music, YouTube) and the device you want to play it on (your Bluetooth speaker). That app then plays there while other apps keep their audio locally playing through the phone's speakers.
Turn off the charging noise, unlocking noise, keyboard sounds: Samsung would have your S9 beep and vibrate on every action and touch. Head into settings > sound and vibration and you'll find all the options to turn these things off. Do it, please.
Enable and control Dolby Atmos: The Galaxy S9 and S9+ have speakers that are AKG tuned and vastly superior to previous devices. They also have a Dolby Atmos option. This can be toggled on in quick settings, or head into settings > sounds and vibration > sound quality and effects. Within the Dolby Atmos section you have the option for auto, movie, music or voice as individual options for audio enhancement.
Adapt the sound quality to you: You can customise the sound output from the S9. Head into settings > sounds and vibration > sound quality and effects and you'll see adapt sounds. Using a pair of headphones you can tune the output and save a personal profile.
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. Just press and hold the quick setting to access the full menu options.
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 app exception notifications.
To mark an app as a priority or exception app: App exceptions (called priority apps on other Android devices and older Samsung phones) are apps that have the ability to override do not disturb. For example, if you always want your Ring doorbell to sound, or get alerts from a security camera, then these have to be nominated as exceptions. Head into settings > apps and select the app you want. Tap on notifications and at the bottom of the list, you'll find "do not disturb custom exception".
In the do not disturb menu, then make sure that you have "allow exceptions" enabled and you'll always be notified for the apps you have selected.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ app management
Stop adding new app icons to home screen: Control of this setting has moved in Android Oreo. Head into settings > display > home screen and you'll find the option to "add apps to home screen". Turn this off, otherwise every app you install will be added to your home screen.
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 in the top right-hand corner 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: Oreo lets you manage all the permissions for each app on an individual basis. Go to settings > apps and select the app you want, then hit Permissions. This will let you toggle permissions on and off, so you can disable location or contacts access, for example.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ display tips
Welcome to the Infinity Display, one of the best mobile displays you'll find. There are a range of settings to grapple with to get the best out of it.
Make your apps full screen: With an 18.5:9 display, the S9 is taller than most phones. Many 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 - and those that might not work so well.
Change the display colours: Head into settings > screen mode and you'll get the option to change the way the display looks. The default is "adaptive display" with the option to make it cooler or warmer. There's also the option to tweak red, green and blue levels in the "advanced options". There is also a "basic" and cinema or photo option to suit your preferences.
Change the display resolution: "Quad HD+" they say, but the default is often "Full HD+". You can select the resolution you want for the display in settings > display > screen resolution. Lower resolution might save you battery power.
Turn on the video enhancer: There's a video enhancer hiding on the S9 that aims to boost videos. It works with a range of apps, including Netflix, Play Movies, Prime Video and YouTube. Head into settings > advanced features > video enhancer to toggle it on or off depending on your preferences.
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 S9 and S9+ 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 S9 edge screen tips
Those curved edges on the Galaxy S9 and S9+ don't just look pretty, they can also be used for a range of things. Or you can turn them off and just marvel at the good looks.
Manage edge screen content: Both the S9 and S9+ have edge functions. Head into settings > display > edge screen to manage edge panels and lighting.
Enable edge lighting for notifications: You can have the edges of the display light up to give you notifications. Head into settings > display > edge screen > edge lighting. You can change the style of the edge lighting as well as nominate which apps it will notify you about. You can have it on for everything, or just those apps you really care about. It won't work with all apps, so you'll have to have a play with it.
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.
Move the edge panel handle to anywhere you want: You can move the edge handle (where you have to swipe to open the edge panels) to anywhere on the left or right of the screen. Just press and hold and you can drag it where you want it.
Change the size and transparency of the edge panel handle: Head into settings > display > edge screen and tap edge panels. Then tap on the menu in the top right-hand corner and select "edge panel handle". Within these settings you can change the handle - including making it invisible.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Bixby tips and tricks
Bixby is Samsung's assistant. It made its debut on the Samsung Galaxy S8 in 2017 and has subsequently appeared in phones that have followed. The AI assistant can do a range of things, but it's basically broken down into device control, Bixby Home and Bixby Vision.
If you want to know even more about Bixby, we have a full Bixby feature for you to enjoy.
Turn off Bixby Home: We covered this previously, but if you don't want Bixby Home, long press on the wallpaper and you'll enter the home screen controls. Swipe to the right and the Bixby Home panel will appear. There's a toggle switch in the top right-hand corner. If you don't want the Bixby Home panel on your home screen, just turn this off.
Disable the Bixby button: The S9 and S9+ have a button on the side to launch Bixby. It can be used for Bixby Voice or to open Bixby Home. If you absolutely don't want it, you can disable the button, but you can't assign it to anything else. Press the button to open Bixby Home. At the top you'll find a settings cog. Tap this and a slider opens allowing you to toggle off the Bixby key.
Turn off Bixby Voice: Don't ever want to talk to Bixby? Open Bixby Home and open the menu in the top right-hand corner. Then you can toggle off Bixby Voice.
Turn off Bixby notifications: If you don't want Bixby popping-up to tell you about something happening in Bixby, then open Bixby and head into Bixby settings > notifications. Here you can turn off notifications.
Customise the content of Bixby Home: Bixby can fill itself with garbage, but you can tame it. Open Bixby Home and open the menu in the top right-hand corner. Select settings > apps and you can control the apps that will show in Bixby. From here you can turn off a lot of the content you might not want.
Show Bixby Home on the lock screen: We mentioned this above, but 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 settings > 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.
Enable Hi Bixby voice activation: If you want to go hands-free on Bixby, head into the Bixby settings as detailed above and head to voice wake-up. You'll have to train Bixby to recognise your voice, but then you can just say "Hi Bixby" to start using Bixby Voice and launch apps, change settings or ask questions.
Use Bixby Vision to translate: Open the camera and you'll see the Bixby Vision icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the window. Tap it and it will open Vision. Across the bottom are options, to the far left is translate. Point it at whatever you want to translate.
Samsung Galaxy S9 multi-tasking
Samsung brought useful multi-tasking to Android long before Google embraced it and made it a standard feature and there's still a whole lot that you can do with it on the Galaxy S9.
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.
Create an app pair: One of the launch features on the Galaxy Note 8, you can create app pairs that will launch together in split screen. Firstly, open the two apps in multi-window view as described above. Once they are on the screen, a central controller will offer you a Home icon that will create the pair shortcut and save it to your home screen.
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. But this isn't on by default as it is in vanilla Android Oreo. 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.
Use thumbnail Google Maps navigation: This is one of the coolest tricks of Android Oreo, preserved by Samsung. Open Google Maps and plot a route. Start navigation, then press the home button. Navigation will float on the home screen as a thumbnail so you can keep an eye on where you're going while you do something else. You can tap on it to briefly expand it too.
Samsung Galaxy S9 camera and photo tricks
With the tagline of "the camera reinvented" there's a lot crammed into Samsung's new cameras on the S9 and S9+. Note that only the Galaxy S9+ gets the zoom lens.
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.
Switch camera modes: The camera does loads and you can swipe through modes from auto, swiping through the modes that you'll see to the left or to the top. Basically you can swipe along that list, moving through food, panorama, pro, live focus, auto, super slow-mo, AR emoji and hyperlapse.
Edit the available camera modes: You don't have to stick to those options above - you can add or remove modes. The S9 camera also offers sports mode and regular slow-mo and you can switch these option in, or remove anything you never use. Head into the camera settings > edit camera modes and you can select what you want for the rear camera and what you want for the front camera.
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. (Basically, swipe in the opposite direction to the one that changes the shooting mode as above.) Or, you can double press the power button again and the cameras will switch.
Enable raw capture: If you want the dng files saved as well as regular jpeg, head into the settings > 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 if you want raw files, turn it on and shoot in Pro.
Enable video stabilisation: To stabilise your video on the rear camera, open settings and scroll down to find "video stabilisation".
Wide selfie: To get more into your selfie shot, select the front camera, then swipe to "wide selfie". Tap wide selfie and you can take a wider shot by swivelling the camera and get all your friends in.
Take a selfie portrait: This is very much the hot trend right now. If you can't get someone to take a decent portrait with the rear camera, then the front offers "selfie focus". This will blur the background. Just switch to the front camera and swipe across to selfie focus and pout.
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, or you can tap the screen.
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.
To take a long exposure photo: In the camera app swipe across and select Pro. On the right-hand side/bottom 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 will indicate whether you're going to over or under expose, by switching from + to -.
Switch aperture manually: The dual aperture camera on the S9 and S9+ is unique. It automatically changes the aperture between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the shooting conditions. You can change that yourself in the Pro mode however. Open the camera and switch to Pro. You'll see all the settings, including shutter speed as above. You'll also see the aperture to the left in a bubble - tap it and you can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4.
Switch to the zoom camera on the Galaxy S9+: If you happen to have the Galaxy S9+, you can switch to that secondary lens for 2x optical zoom, letting you get closer to the action. Just hit the 2x icon on the display. If you are already zoomed, it will show 1x to return to the normal camera.
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.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ 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 S9 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 and hit the menu top right. Then tap advanced > Switch to mobile data 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. This isn't always as accurate as your network values, so if you're on EE, for example, you're better off also downloading the EE app so you know exactly what you've used.
Enable download booster: If you're looking for download booster (to use Wi-Fi and LTE simultaneously for big downloads, head into settings > connections > more connection settings and you'll find the option for the download booster. This is really great for big downloads if you have plenty of data. If you're on a fast network like EE in the UK, then you'll get those files even faster.
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 - like EE does - 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.
Turn on data roaming: With roaming now being free for EE and other customers around the EU, you can safely head off on your holidays without running up a huge bill. Head into settings >mobile networks > data roaming to switch it on. Then you can share your adventures when you're out and about.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ storage tips
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ will accept microSD cards up to 400GB, meaning you can massively expand the storage available to you.
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 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 S9 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. The S9 will identify things using the battery in the background and offer to close those apps.
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.
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.