The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the most advanced phone that Samsung has ever made. Not only does it offer all the features of the Samsung Galaxy S8 devices, but it debuts the dual camera as well as enhancing the S Pen.
For some, the Note 7's early withdrawal from sale potentially means that the Note 8 feels all the fresher, reviving those skills that have been missing from your life for the past year. With all this packed into the 6.3-inch device, there's so much to discover and so much to master.
Fortunately, we've done the hard work for you. Here's every tip and trick you need to help you master the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 home screen
The home screen is where you live on your Android phone. Offering loads of customisation, it's the first place you land when you unlock your phone, and it's where you return to when you hit the home button. Here's how to make your Note 8 feel like your own.
Edit your home screen: A long press on the wallpaper on any screen lets you edit the wallpaper and themes, widgets, themes as well as manage your home page screens. You can also access the home screen settings here.
Change the wallpaper to your own picture: Long press as above and tap "wallpapers and themes". At the top of the next page you'll see "my wallpapers". Tap the first image with the Gallery icon in the corner. This will take you through to the Gallery to select the image you want to use. Alternatively, from the Gallery, open the image you want and tap the menu top right and select "set as wallpaper".
Enable a motion or parallax effect on your wallpaper: If you want an added pop to your wallpaper, toggle on wallpaper motion effect. Long press as above and select your wallpaper, then turn on "wallpaper motion effect" before you tap the "set as wallpaper" button.
Apply a theme: Samsung has a load of themes. Just long press on the wallpaper as above, and you'll get the option to change the theme. Many are paid for, but there are free themes too. Hit the one you're interested in and change the look of your phone.
Change your icons: Along with themes there are also icon packs. Again, many need paying for and will adapt the style of your icons. Just head into the wallpaper and theme manager as above and you'll find the option to change your icons.
Remove the icon background: One of the things that Samsung likes to do is apply a background and create a "squirkle" out of all app icons. It's own icons are designed to look like this, but when you install third-party apps, you don't want them looking rubbish too. Head into settings > display > icon frames. Select "icons only" and your apps look like apps again. This gives a more "Androidy look".
Get more on your home screen: You can change the size of the screen grid on which your shortcuts and widgets sit. Head into the home screen settings and select "home screen grid". To fit more on, select 5x6. This makes widgets more compact or lets you have up to 30 shortcuts.
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.
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 press an app to select it and drag it to delete at the top of the page. Or, press and hold an icon and a menu will pop up. You can select multiple items to create a folder. Conversely, you can long press on an app within a folder to get the option to remove it.
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: Swipe right on your home page to access Bixby Home. This sits in the location that was previously Upday (in the UK) on the Note 7 or Flipboard on earlier devices. If you haven't enabled Bixby Voice, a press of the Bixby button will also open Bixby Home.
Disable Bixby Home: If you don't want it as part of your home screen, you can remove Bixby Home. Long press on your wallpaper, swipe right to Bixby Home and toggle off the switch. It will then vanish, but it will still appear if you press the Bixby button.
Access Google Assistant: Despite Samsung pushing Bixby as its own assistant, it also supports Google Assistant. Long press on the home button and you'll access Google Assistant, so you can speak to Google.
Change what a long press on the home button does: This is a slight oddity, but you don't have to have Google Assistant launch when you long press the home button. Head into settings > apps and open the menu top right. Tap "default apps" and you'll find something called "device assistant app" here. This will let you change the app that opens when you long press the home button and what that app can do. The options currently are Google Assistant or Samsung Internet. We suspect that Bixby will appear here in the future.
Access your Google home page: If you've used a Nexus or Pixel, you'll know that Google has its own home page. It compiles information that's useful, like traffic, news you'll be interested in, as well as local photo locations. It is the old Google Now page, filled with useful cards. To access this page, tap the G icon in the Google search bar on your home page.
Stop adding new app icons to home screen: If you don't want new apps you install cluttering up your home screen, head into Play Store > settings and uncheck the box.
Change launcher (home screen): You can easily change the experience of your phone with a different launcher, such as the Google Now Launcher. 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. To change the default launcher, head into settings > applications and tap the top-right menu. Tap default applications > home screen. Here you'll find a full list of launchers to select or delete.
Change the navigation bar buttons: To change the button order you get at the bottom of the display head into settings > display > navigation bar. Here you switch the back or recent apps icons to be the same as the rest of Android. You can also change teh background colour in this area, as well as toggle a button to lock the navigation bar in place, or let it hide when not needed.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 apps tray
The apps tray is where all your apps are stored. By default it's a mess, randomly arranged, with new apps being plonked on the last page. It's accessed with a swipe up on the home screen by default, but then scrolls left and right. Here's how to manage your apps tray like a pro.
Remove the apps tray: If you want your apps all on home screen pages, you can remove the apps tray completely. Long press on the home screen" and select "home screen settings". In the "home screen layout" you'll have the option to have "home and app screens" or home screen only".
Change the apps tray grid: This will let you fit more icons or folders on one page and take advantage of that massive screen. Head into the home screen settings and select "apps screen grid". Change to 5x6 to fit the most on.
Put an apps button on the home screen: For years Samsung has had an apps button you can tap to open the apps tray. On the Note 8 it is off by default, but you can restore it if you prefer that over swiping. Head into the home screen settings and you'll see the option for "apps button" to turn it back on.
Search for apps: There's a handy search bar - Finder - at the top of the apps tray so you can search for your apps. Or you can open a Google search and type the app. This will reveal device apps to open at a tap.
Manually reorder apps: To manually move apps around, long press on an app icon and then drag it to the location you want it to be, but be careful not to drop it on another app, as you'll make a folder, as below.
Create an apps tray folder: As above, long press on an app icon, but this time drag it over another icon and you'll create a folder with those two items. Or, long press and tap "select multiple items". This will let you select a number of apps (including on different pages) and once you have those you want, tap the "create folder" option at the top of the page.
Uninstall apps: Long press on the app icon and tap "uninstall", it's as simple as that.
Remove a folder from the apps tray: If you don't like folders you've created, or want to break the apps out of the default folders Samsung offers, long press on the folder and select "delete folder" from the pop-up menu. The folder will be removed and the apps set free into the apps tray.
Remove spaces from your apps tray: As you add, remove and reorganise your apps, spaces can appear, especially in the last space on a page. To remove these spaces, in the apps tray, tap the menu top right and select "clean up pages". This will remove all the spaces.
Alphabetise your apps: The "custom" order is the default on the Note 8, meaning apps appear at the end of the list when installed. If you want plain and simple alphabetical order, open the apps tray, open the menu top right and select "sort". This then switches everything into it's place.
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.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 app management
Moving on from the apps tray itself, there are some other app management features that are worth exploring to get the most out of your Note 8.
Enable full screen apps: The 18.5:9 display means that many apps won't natively open in full screen mode, instead running in a more regular 16:9 aspect. You can change this, however, by heading into settings > display > full screen apps. Here you can go through your list of installed apps and turn on full screen for those that aren't enabled. Not all apps will work in full screen, but it's worth a go for the wide screen glory.
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 apps > menu > default apps you can see what has been selected as the default browser, calling app, messaging app and home screen/launcher. You can also elect to have the Note 8 automatically select default apps, or ask you when there's a choice under the "default app selection" setting.
Control app permissions: Android lets you manage all the permissions for each app on an individual basis. Go to applications > select the app and hit app permissions. This will let you toggle permissions on and off, so you can disable location access, for example, or check what that dodgy APK is accessing.
Install apps from unknown sources: One of the joys of Android is freedom to do what you want. Of course the phone doesn't want you to, so by default the option to install an app manually is turned off. Everything that doesn't come from Google Play or Galaxy Apps is classed as an "unknown source". There are legitimate apps you might want to install, however. To do so, head into settings > lock screen and security > unknown sources. This will let you install those apps.
Clear notification badges: On some apps (Facebook for example), you can have a "badge" that shows you how many notifications you have for that app. If you don't want to look at that every time you pass over the app, long press on the icon and you'll see the option to "clear badge". This removes that notification from the icon.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 quick settings
Quick settings is a feature of Android putting your essential and often used settings at your fingertips. Samsung adds a range of tweaks and changes to super power the quick settings area. There are two views, a single swipe instant access and the full quick settings pane. Here's how to get the most out of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 quick settings.
Add brightness adjustment to the instant access view: When you swipe down you'll see five key settings appeal in the instant access view. Brightness is something you can add to this view, meaning you can change the display brightness really quickly and without opening up the full quick settings area. First, open the full quick settings view (as below) and tap the down arrow to open the options. You'll see a toggle here for "show control on top". This moves the brightness slider up the quick settings area so it's easier to get to quickly.
Instant access to full quick settings: Swipe down with two fingers and you'll skip notifications and the instant access view and head straight into the full quick settings panel. Or double swipe down. You can then swipe left/right to move between quick settings panes.
Access full settings for the quick setting: Confused? Don't be. You can just to the full settings for any of the quick settings icons with a long press. For example, if you want to jump to the Wi-Fi controls, press and hold the Wi-Fi icon in quick settings and you'll jump to the full menu page for Wi-Fi.
Quickly change modes/selection from quick settings: Yes, quick settings will let you toggle things on and off, like Bluetooth, but tapping the words under the icon will open another panel in quick settings giving you more options. This will select a device (like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) without heading to the full settings menu.
Edit quick settings icons: To change the selection of shortcuts in quick settings open the quick settings area and tap the menu top right. This gives you the option of "button order", where you can add or remove the icons by dragging them in and out of the list. You can also reorder the apps. Remember that the first five icons are those you see on the instant access view, so pick your most important settings and put those at the top.
Change the quick settings grid: This lets you change the number of shortcuts shown in the quick settings area, meaning you can get more on one page. open quick settings and tap the menu top right and select "button grid". This lets you choose 3x3, 4x3 or 5x3. The latter crams the most in.
Access full device settings from quick settings: There's a settings cog in the top right-hand corner when quick settings is open. This takes you to the full settings menu, but it sits pretty close to the settings menu for the quick settings area, so make sure you tap the right one.
Enable/disable quick connect: You can have the option to quick connect to devices in the quick settings box all the time (it's on by default). This will scan for things to connect to and offer devices that are found, like your Samsung TV. To turn off the option, open quick connect, hit the top-right menu, and turn off quick panel connect. If you want to turn it back on, open quick settings, tap the Finder search box and scroll down. There you'll find the option to scan for devices.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 lock screen and security
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 offers a whole range of security options, including iris, fingerprint and face recognition, meaning more options for unlocking your phone.
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 > app shortcuts. Here you can select the left and right shortcuts, or turn them off completely.
Select your security type: You can choose what you can use to unlock your phone by heading into settings > lock screen and security > screen lock type. Here you can select the biometric options you want, as well as select if you want a PIN, password or pattern (you'll need one of these before you can use biometrics).
Fingerprint security: To use your fingerprint to unlock, head into settings > lock screen and security > fingerprint scanner. Here you can add your fingerprints and toggle on or off the fingerprint unlock option. We recommend registering at least the forefinger on both hands, so you can unlock with either hand. You'll have to set a back-up PIN or passcode at the same time.
Iris security: To use your eyes to unlock the Note 8, head into the the lock screen settings as above but select iris scanner. Alongside fingerprint, you'll get the option to scan your iris as another unlock option.
Face recognition: To use your face to unlock your phone, head into the lock screen settings as above and select face recognition. This will learn your face and let you unlock by looking at your phone. This is less secure than iris scanning or fingerprint scanning as it can be opened with a picture of you.
Use your iris to unlock the phone: To use iris, you need to swipe up from the lock screen. This will open the iris scanner and beam your eyeball.
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 > secure lock settings 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.
Unlock with home button: The virtual home button under this display with usually wake up the screen with a hard press. But you can use it to bypass this and get straight to security, making for faster and easier unlocking. Head into settings > display > navigation bar and select "unlock with home button.
Remove the need to press ok once you've entered your PIN: Some phones will unlock when you have entered the right PIN, some ask you to tap OK to confirm. The Note 8 will do both. When you enter your PIN for the first time (or change it), there's a checkbox option to let you confirm the PIN without tapping ok. If you use PIN, this just makes things faster to unlock.
There are also a whole load of functions relating to notifications on the lock screen which we look at in the notifications section below. If you're looking for tips and tricks around the always-on display, those are in the display section below.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 edge screen tips
Edge screen is the name that Samsung gives to the functions that can be applied to the edges of the display on the Note 7 and other edge devices from the company, like the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Here's how to use edge screen like a pro.
Manage edge screen content: Head into settings > display > edge screen and tap on edge panels to select those you want turned on. Or, swipe in to open edge screen, then tap the cog bottom centre. You can add or remove content, as well as download other content here. For best effect, don't have too many panels, otherwise you might as well just unlock the phone and go direct. For the Note 8 there's a smart select option that gives you access to some S Pen-like functions.
Change the apps in apps edge: One of the edge panels offers you app shortcuts. This means quick access to up to 10 apps. As above, head into edge panels and tap EDIT at the bottom of apps edge. You can then bin Samsung's suggestions and load it with your own apps, like Pokemon Go or anything else you need to get to quickly.
Use App Pair to launch two apps simultaneously: A new feature on the Note 8 is App Pair. This will let you create double shortcuts to launch two apps in split screen mode. Head into the edit section as detailed above, but then tap "create app pair" top left. You can then select two apps you'll want launched together (as long as they support split screen mode).
Change the location and size of the edge screen handle: This is important. As the Note 8 is a big phone, it's really useful to be able to change the location of the edge screen launch tab. Head into edit edge panels as above and click the menu top right, tap handle settings. This lets you change the handle to left/right, the location along that edge, the size as well as the transparency. Make it 100 per cent transparent and it vanishes, so you don't have the little bar there looking ugly. You can also add vibration if you'd like it.
Reorder edge screen panels: If you want to swipe in and see your calendar before your apps shortcuts, head into settings > display > edge screen > edge panels and then tap the menu top right, and hit reorder. You can then arrange your panels.
Use edge screen from the lock screen: You don't have to do anything, it just works. Swipe in and you'll be presented with your edge panels from the lock screen if its awake. Before you can open an app or contact, you'll need to unlock your phone, which is where iris scanning is really quick and easy.
Enable edge lighting for notifications: You can have the edges light up when you have a notification. Head into settings > display > edge screen > edge lighting. This will then flash the edges of the display when you have a notification.
Select the apps that will have edge lighting flashes: If you want particular apps to use edge lighting, head into the settings as above and tap on edge lighting > manage notifications. You can also change the colour and size of the flash so it's not too distracting.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen tips and tricks
The S Pen is the Note for some people, giving you a whole world of additional features and ways to interact with your phone that you don't get on any other device. With a new S Pen and new features, the Note 8 is the most advanced stylus-equipped device out there.
Write notes on your lock screen: Just pop out the S Pen and start writing, without having to unlock your phone. Just press the button to delete your scribbles when you make a mistake. Tap save to keep that note. Called Screen off memo, head into settings > advanced features > S Pen and turn on this excellent feature. It will give you up to 100 pages of notes that can be saved.
Choose what happens when you remove S Pen: Head into settings > advanced features > S Pen > when S Pen is removed. Here you have three action options for when the S Pen is removed - Air command, create note, or do nothing at all.
Customise Air command: Air command is the interface that pops-up for you to tap with the S Pen. To customise this, open Air command and tap the settings cog in that appears in the opposite corner. Here you can change the shortcuts, including to launch any app you have on your phone, or add in the useful Glance feature that's not included as standard.
Launch Air command if the icon has vanished: If you have the S Pen in hand, but the Air command icon has vanished or you've turned it off, just press the button on the S Pen as you approach the display and Air command will appear.
Highlight text with S Pen: Simply press and hold on the text you want to highlight. Or, press the button and tap the screen to select a word, or drag the selectors out to extent that selection.
Zoom in on a photo: In the Gallery, open a photo you want to look at. Double tap to zoom or touch with S Pen and press and hold the button to zoom by moving the S Pen. It's basically pinch zooming.
Preview photos in Gallery with S Pen: Hover over a photo in the gallery and it will pop up from the thumbnail giving you options to write on it, share, edit or delete, using Air view. The same can be done in calendar, scroll lists, and viewing links.
Have an alarm if you move too far from S Pen: To make sure you don't lose your S Pen, or leave it lying in a coffee shop, there's an option to get an alert if you move off and forget it. head into settings > advanced features > S Pen > S Pen alerts.
Don't the the S Pen removal vibration or sound? Head into settings > advanced features > S Pen and you can turn off those sounds when removing or replacing S Pen.
Translate on the fly with S Pen: There's a translate option for S Pen. Simply remove the S Pen and from Air Command select "translate". Then go to your mysterious language text and hover over what you want translating. Using the control at the top you can select either a single word, or entire paragraphs.
Use live message to send custom gifs: A new feature for the Note 8, you can write or draw replies to messages with S Pen and send the result as a gif. Simply pull out the S Pen when you've read a message and tap "live message" in Air Command. If the apps supports gifs, one will be created and sent as a reply. It works great in apps like WhatsApp.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 notifications tips and tricks
Notifications are really powerful on Android and Samsung is giving you a whole range of ways to control your notifications. There's a "notifications" section of the settings menu to control things, as well as access via the applications settings. The former is much simpler, so here we break down how to manage your notifications on your device.
Disable/enable lock screen notifications: If you don't want notifications on your lock screen, head to settings > lock screen and security > notifications. You can turn all notifications off with one switch.
Only show notifications as app icons on lock screen: We love this option. As above, head into notifications and there's a toggle option for notification icons only.
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 as above, then you'll get a list of all your apps. Switch off the apps you don't want and you'll never get lock screen notifications from them. To make it faster, turn off all and then turn on the ones you actually want.
Instant access to lock screen notifications: Just tap a notification twice and it will open up the app. Want to dismiss it? Just swipe it away. If you want to open it and you have security in place, you'll need to unlock your phone to view the content.
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 as above. Then head into settings > notifications > advanced. Here you can manage the notifications of each individual app. You can opt to hide or show content from the lock screen here for specific apps.
To turn off notifications on an app: Go to settings > notifications. Here you'll find a list of apps and you can turn off notifications on those you don't like. Don't want Facebook notifications? It's here you can turn it off.
To turn off pop-up notifications on an app: Go to settings > notifications > advanced. Tap on the app you want. Here you can select "show silently", so you don't get a notification for that app appearing at the top of your screen when it arrives or a sound or vibration.
To mark an app as a priority app: Head into settings > notifications > advanced. Tap on the app you want. Here you get app controls, and you can set an app as a priority so you always get notifications from that app, including in Do not Disturb mode - so all the time basically.
Still getting a notification you can't get rid of? A quick general Android trick - press and hold on any notification and you'll be taken through to the notifications for that app directly, so you can kill it.
Enable edge lighting for notifications: As we mentioned above, you can have the edges light up when you have a notification. Head into settings > display > edge screen > edge lighting. This will then flash the edges of the display when you have a notification.
Disable the LED flashing: Don't want the flashing LED? Head into settings > display > LED indicator and you can toggle it off so it won't flash when the screen is off.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 audio, volume controls and Do not Disturb
While you need to know what's going on with your phone, sometimes it just needs to shut up and leave you alone. There's loads of options to manage how your device behaves at different times and it's confusing. Here's how to manage everything perfectly.
Quickly switch to vibrate alerts: If you want silence, but are after vibration alerts still, push the volume button and tap the bell 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 your phone to silent: The normal volume controls only go to vibrate which is a little irritating. To make your phone silent, swipe down to the quick settings and tap the sound shortcut. This will cycle through sound/vibrate/mute. Or tap the bottom of the icon and you'll be able to select sound/vibrate/mute directly.
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 ringtone, media, notifications, system volumes and Bixby voice volumes independently. Perfect for when you want to watch a YouTube video on the bus without disturbing others. As a pro tip, toggle the option "use volume controls for media", then you can use the volume rocker to change volume when something is playing.
Turn on Do not Disturb: Do not Disturb is an Android feature that lets you silence your phone, but set up a range of exceptions. For example, it will let specific people call, or certain apps notify you. You could use it to silence work apps, but still let you hear eBay alerts, for example, or silence all notifications, except calls from your mother. Swipe down quick settings and tap the Do not Disturb button to turn it on.
Customise Do not Disturb: The best thing about Do not Disturb is how flexible it is. Firstly, turn it on as above, then tap the notification that appears to customise it. Here you can set a schedule as well as set your exceptions, including whether you want alarms to sound, or your favourite contacts to still come through. You can also manage whether the LED flashes here.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 display tips
The Galaxy Note 8 offers a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ display with support for Mobile HDR. It's stunning, but also loaded with features you need to know about. Here's the insiders' guide to the Note 8 display.
Turn on Always On display: To have the lock screen show you "always on" information, head into settings > lock screen and security > Always On display > and switch it on. This displays when the phone screen is in standby.
Customise Always On display: There are lots of options for Always On display. Tap on Always on display in the menu as detailed above and you'll see different clock options. By default it will show according to a schedule, but you can toggle "show always" to have it always showing.
Add music controls to Always On display: You can have music controls as part of your Always On display too. Samsung calls this a "facewidget" and you'll find it in settings > lock screen and security > information and facewidgets. Toggle on to show when the display is off.
Only show the home button on the lock screen: If you don't want Always On display, but do want to be shown the home button, this is an option. You'll have to turn on Always On display as above, but then in the "content to show" section, you can select "home button only". The removes the clock an everything else, just leaving that square home button logo at the bottom.
Enable blue light filter/Night mode: Designed to reduce eye strain in low light, the blue light filter will make the display warmer (more yellow, cutting out blue light), so it's easier on your tired eyes. Head into display > blue light filter. Here you can change the intensity of the change, as well as set a schedule - including a simple sunset to sunrise option. Blue light filter is also available in quick settings.
Get more on the screen: Aside from changing the app grid, you can change the zoom of the screen. Head into display > screen zoom and font and you can pick larger or small. Pick small to get more content on the display.
Enable full screen apps: We've mentioned this before, but if your app isn't full screen, head into settings > display > full screen apps and choose those apps you want to force into the 18.5:9 aspect. For many it will be fine, but you might lose some information in the corners in some.
Change the display resolution: You might wonder why you might do this, but primarily, it's to save battery life. The Note 8 will give you 2960 x 1440 pixels, but you can slide it down to 2220 x 1080 to save battery, or 1480 x 720, although you'll see the difference in sharpness.
Engage smart stay to aid reading: Smart stay will automatically detect your face when you're reading something and stop the display timing out. This might be useful for reading, if you're a slow reader, or if you're examining something in detail. Head into settings > advanced features > smart stay.
Take a screen shot: There's a number of methods for taking a screen shot. Press and hold standby and the home button at the same time to take a screen shot. Or you can use a palm swipe - head into settings > advanced features > palm swipe to capture. This will let you swipe the display with your hand to capture the screen.
Supercharge your screen shots: If you want more than just what you can see, head into settings > advanced features > smart capture. This will let you do a range of cool things, the best of which is scroll capture to include things that can't be seen in one screen shot - a great way to capture a full document or webpage for example.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 multi-tasking
Samsung has done more to push multi-tasking than anyone else in the mobile space, so it's no surprise to find that the Note 7 offers a number of alternative ways to interact.
Use App Pair to launch two apps simultaneously: As mentioned above, new feature on the Note 8 is App Pair. This will let you create double shortcuts to launch two apps in split screen mode. Head into the edit section as detailed above, but then tap "create app pair" top left. You can then select two apps you'll want launched together (as long as they support split screen mode).
Multi app view: To view two apps at the same time, hit recent apps and look for the multi view logo in the top left of the app card. Taps this and it will occupy the top of the screen. Then select the app you want on the bottom by scrolling through the list. You can adjust the size by dragging the blue dividing line up or down the screen. Or, head into settings > advanced features > multi window and toggle on "use recents button" then you can do the same by pressing and holding the recent apps button.
Pop-up view: To view your app as a pop-up, drag the app in from the top left-hand corner. The app will shrink down and can then be moved around and placed where you want. To close it, tap the dot at the top - when it expands you have the option to return to fullscreen, close and so on.
Pop an app out of recent apps: A fun way to get the pop-up view is to hit recent apps and press and hold an app. This will pop that app out (if the function is supported), so it floats on whatever else was in the background.
Snap window gives you a glanceable: There's another feature called Snap window that will capture part of an app's screen and pin it to the top of the display. This can be really useful for reference information while you're doing something else. It also works well with Google Maps. Tap the recent apps button and select the rectangular icon with a circle top and bottom. This pops up a frame on that app which you can move over the information you want to pin and tap done.
S Pen Glance: One great way to look at two things at the same time is using the S Pen Glance function. Tap Air Command > Glance and the current screen will become a thumbnail in the corner, leaving you to look at something else. You can switch between the two by hovering the S Pen over the thumbnail to view it.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 camera and photo tricks
It's in the camera that some of the biggest changes appear in the Note 8. Not only does it offer all the features of the Galaxy S8, but there's optical image stabilisation on both rear camera. One camera is standard/wide-angle and the other offers 2x zoom, meaning you can have zoom with no loss of quality. There's also some very clever bokeh options on offer.
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". Alternatively, head into settings > advanced features > quick launch camera.
Quickly flip from rear camera to front: Swipe up or down the screen and you'll flip from rear camera to front which is much faster than tapping the small button to switch cameras. Or, if you want to be even faster, double press the standby button when the camera is open to switch from front to back.
Swipe into shooting modes: Swipe in from the left when the camera is open and photo modes will appear. It's here you'll find pro mode, panorama, slow motion, hyperlapse and so on. On the front camera this also works, giving you wide selfie, selective focus for example.
Swipe to add photo filters: Swipe in from the right and you'll add photos filters with a range to choose from. Just tap the one you want and take your picture. Works on front and back camera.
Shoot in full screen: With an 18.5:9 display, there's the option to take photos in this aspect too. They end up wide and basically crop the sensor to fill that aspect, giving you a 4032 x 1960 photo, so you don't get a "wider" picture.
Enable video stabilisation: The Note 8 offers stabilisation on all resolutions of video, including 18.5:9. Head into camera app > settings and you'll find the stabilisation option.
Wide selfie: To get more into your selfie shot, select the front camera, then swipe in from the left to select the mode. Tap wide selfie and you can take a wider shot by moving the camera when taking a selfie.
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 gesture, using the heart rate sensor, or tapping the screen to take a picture.
Use voice to take pictures: Voice works on both the front and back camera. From the camera head into settings > voice control and turn the option on to use voice capture.
Zoom in on the rear camera: You can pinch zoom, but that's a pain if you only have one hand free. You can slide the shutter button up and down to zoom, however and it's pretty smooth too.
Switch to 2x optical zoom: Using the digital zoom downgrades the quality, but the Note 8 has dual cameras to give you lossless 2x optical zoom through the second lens. Once you've opened the camera, you'll see a small 2x button on the right of the display. Tap this to switch lenses. Tap 1x to return to the normal camera.
Use live focus: This is a new mode that uses data from both cameras to create a depth map, letting you create bokeh effects, or add or remove background blur at the time of shooting, or post shoot. In the camera, tap "live focus" and compose your photo. You can use the slider to adjust the intensity of the background blur, then take your photo. This works really well for portraits of people
Edit live focus photos once taken: Head into the gallery and open a photo you took with live focus. You'll be presented with on-screen options for these photos, letting you view either the close-up or wide-angle photo, as well as letting you adjust the background blur, although you can only change the blur on the close-up pictures. (The wide-angle photo is the standard photo from the normal camera.)
Capture 2x zoom video: You can capture video through either camera on the back. Just hit the 2x button to switch cameras before you start recording and you'll have the benefit of that closer view. As there's also optical image stabilisation and video stabilisation, you'll get nice smooth video even if you're walking.
To take a long exposure photo: In the camera app, swipe in from the left to select the Pro mode. On the right-hand side you'll see the option to change the length of the exposure (it looks like a camera shutter). Use the slider or the arrows to select the length of time you want - you might want to use the S Pen to make it easier. The exposure compensation meter just above it will indicate whether you're going to over or under expose. You can also change the ISO and other settings here, useful for night shooting.
Download extra camera features: Swipe in from the left to open the mode and hit download. This will offer you other camera features that you can add to the selection.
Reorder the camera modes: If there are some features you would rather see higher up the list, in the modes screen, hit the menu top right, then Edit. Then press and hold an icon to move it.
Add a camera mode as a home screen shortcut: If there's a mode in the camera you love - like Pro - you can have a shortcut to that mode on your home screen for instant access. From the camera, enter the mode selector, hit menu > add shortcut to home screen and then pick the mode you want.
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 Note 8 Bixby tips and tricks
Bixby is Samsung's universal assistant, designed to make it easier to use devices that are getting increasingly complex. It's a relatively new addition and currently only available in Korean and US English. However, there's a dedicated button on the Note 8, so you're likely to experience Bixby in some form once you pick up the device.
Access Bixby Home: As we said in the home screen section above, swipe right on your home page to access Bixby Home. This sits in the location that was previously Upday (in the UK) on the Note 7 or Flipboard on earlier devices. If you haven't enabled Bixby Voice, a press of the Bixby button will also open Bixby Home.
Disable Bixby Home: If you don't want it as part of your home screen, you can remove Bixby Home. Long press on your wallpaper, swipe right to Bixby Home and toggle off the switch. It will then vanish, but it will still appear if you press the Bixby button.
Access Bixby Voice: To use Bixby Voice, you'll need to press and hold the Bixby button. You speak while holding the button down. Once you release the button, Bixby will interpret what you've said and try to find a response.
Turn on or off Hi Bixby voice waking: You can enable or disable Bixby voice wake-up, allowing you to say "Hi Bixby" rather than pressing the button. Press the button to open Bixby Home, then open the menu in the top right-hand corner. Select settings > voice wake up. Here you can turn on or off the feature, as well as change the level of sensitivity needed to trigger it.
Use Bixby Voice to unlock your phone: You can also have Bixby unlock your phone with a voice password. Head into Bixby settings as above and select "unlock with voice password". You'll have to say a few phrases so Bixby can learn your voice, then when you try to unlock your phone, Bixby will ask for your voice password.
Use Bixby to compose a message and send it: Bixby is pretty good and carrying out multi-step tasks, like sending messages. Simply press the button and say "send a message to [contact] saying when will you be home" and it will open messages, compose the message to the contact and then ask if you want to send it.
Use Bixby Vision to get notes on wine: Core functionality for a core market perhaps. Open Bixby Vision (either via Bixby Voice or by opening the camera and selecting Bixby Vision) and point the camera at a wine bottle label (not the whole bottle). Bixby will extract the information. Tap the "wine" tab and you'll get all the information about that vintage.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 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 > connections > Wi-Fi > advanced > adaptive Wi-fi to enable or disable. You can also change how aggressively it does so, so even if Wi-Fi is a little poor, it will quickly switch to data.
Set a data limit: If you don't want to exceed your contract data, head into settings > connections > data usage and tap on "mobile data usage". Here you can set your data limit and the date your contract renews.
View your Wi-Fi data usage: In settings > connections > data usage, select Wi-Fi data usage. This will let you see how much data you're using through Wi-Fi and which apps are using it.
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.
Turn on Wi-Fi calling: If you're in a location where the network reception is poor, but the Wi-Fi is great - like a basement - then Wi-Fi calling could be useful. Head into phone and open the settings at the end of the search bar in the top right corner. Scroll down to the bottom where you'll find Wi-Fi calling. Turn this on - but remember you'll need the function to be supported by your network/carrier for this to work.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 storage tips
The Note 8 offers 64GB of internal storage, with a tray that accepts both the SIM and microSD, making it easy to expand your storage. Samsung doesn't support Android's adoptable storage feature.
Explore what's on your device or SD storage: The easiest way to view the content of your internal storage or SD card is to open the My Files app. Here you'll find my device, microSD, different categories as well as Google Drive and Samsung Cloud Drive (if you sign-in). You'll see folders and files for each storage type and you're free to explore.
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's 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.
Clean your storage up: To clean up your storage, head into settings > device maintenance and tap on storage. Here you'll find an option to clean the contents and remove files you don't need.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 battery tips
Battery life is the Achilles heel of modern smartphones. The Note 8 has a 3300mAh battery, but there's a lot you'll want to do to make sure you're not wasting it. The Note 8 has a device maintenance area to take care of the hardware, as well as a new power saving feature. Here are some top battery tips.
View what's eating battery: Head into settings > device maintenance > battery and tap battery usage. This will show you the predicted battery usage based on your 7-day averages. This is a fairly standard Android feature and shows you both hardware and apps that are eating battery.
Kill battery-hungry apps: Head into settings > device maintenance > battery and at the bottom of the page you'll see the apps that have been chewing through the battery. You can tap on "save battery" and the apps will be put to sleep.
Engage power saving mode: Power saving on the Note 8 is similar to the Note 7 and Galaxy S8. Hit the button in the quick settings to select mid or max power saving. Or, head into settings > device maintenance > battery and you'll find the settings for those power saving modes.
Customise power saving: You can customise how power saving works. Head into settings > device maintenance > battery and tap the level of power saving you want. A pop-up shows you what it will do - brightness, screen resolution, hardware throttling, background data, always on display - with the option to customise and change those five areas. You can set the max brightness to your preference, or deselect anything you don't want. For example, you might want background data to stay on, which you can do.
Turn off Wi-Fi during sleep: Head into settings > connections > Wi-Fi > advanced and you'll find the option to turn off Wi-Fi when the phone is sleeping. There's also the option to turn on Wi-Fi power saving here.
Enable fast charging: Head into settings > device maintenance > battery hit the menu and tap advanced settings > fast cable charging. If this is not turned on, the phone won't use fast charging.
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.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 miscellaneous tips and tricks
Of course there's a whole range of things that don't fit neatly into a category above, so here's some other things you can try.
Search your entire device: Samsung as a Finder app that you'll find at the top of the apps tray for example. This can also search your entire device and you can have a separate app for it, rather than using the apps tray. Open the apps tray, tap in the search bar to access the search page. Then tap the left-hand menu and open the settings. In here you'll find the option to "add Finder shortcut", which puts the app in your apps try. Then you can open it up to enable full device searching - including messages, apps, contacts, within some apps, Google, files, device settings and a whole lot more.
Use two versions of the same messaging app: This is really quite advanced, but could be useful for anyone who uses a work and personal version of the same messaging service. Head into settings > advanced features > dual messenger. You'll be given the option to install a second version of compatible messaging apps, so you can sign-in with different credentials.
Android 7 Nougat general tips and tricks
Enable developer settings: To turn on the developer settings, head into settings > about phone > software information. Tap on the Build number. After a number of taps, you'll unlock the developer options.
Play Android's weird Nougat cat game: Nougat's Easter Egg is a weird cat game. Head into settings > about phone > software information. Then tap the Android version repeatedly until it changes to the Nougat logo screen. Then tap on the N and a small cat face will appear at the bottom of the screen. Congratulations, you've unlocked a cat.