Whether your new to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or a seasoned veteran, there are so many features packed into Samsung’s latest flagship that there are bound to be a few you haven’t heard of. We’ve compiled some of our favorites in the following list, including everything from shortcuts and gestures to voice commands and controlling your TV.
Check out our full Galaxy Note 4 review!
First things every new owner should do
If you are brand new to your Galaxy, we suggest you check out our list of the first 13 things every Note 4 owner should do before moving on to the rest of this list. In the article, we cover everything from setting up your device to customizing it to fir your needs. Then come back here for a few of the finer points in more detail.
Galaxy Note 4 shortcuts & gestures
The Galaxy Note 4 contains a number of shortcuts and settings to make use easy. The following lists compile some of our favorites.
- Take a screenshot — Simultaneously press and hold the power and home buttons
- Access recently opened apps — Tap the recents/multitasking soft key located to the left of the home button
- Launch Multi Window mode — Long-press the back soft key located to the right of the home button
- Quick launch app menus — Long-press the recent/multitasking soft key while in an app to quickly launch its menu
- Change sound settings — Press volume up or down then tap gear icon on display
- Change to airplane mode — Hold power button then choose airplane mode from the list of options
To enable and disable specific gestures, navigate to Settings > Motions and gestures.
- Take a screenshot — With the side of your palm, swipe from one edge of the screen to the other
- Direct Call — Lift the phone to your face to call the currently selected contact
- Mute/Pause — Place your palm over the screen/flip the phone over to mute incoming notifications or pause music
- Smart Alert — With missed notifications, phone will vibrate when you pick it up
S Pen tips & shortcuts
The Note 4’s included S Pen is what sets it apart from most other Android devices. The stylus can be used to perform a number of shortcuts, gestures, and other functions that add greatly to the Note 4’s usability. For even more tips and tricks for using the Note 4’s S Pen, click here.
Air View allows you to hover your S Pen over images or text to preview, scroll, and more. To enable Air View, navigate to Settings > Motions and Controls > S Pen > Air View.
S Pen Air Command
Press the button on the S Pen while hovering over the homescreen to launch the Air Command popup, which provides access to several features unique to the Note 4 (Air Command can be enabled similarly to Air View by navigating to Settings > Motions and Controls > S Pen > Air Command):
- Action Memo — Provides a list of common actions after jotting down a note, including quick access to finding a location, saving a contact, placing a call, and more
- Image Clip — Draw a circle around the area of an image you wish to select and copy it to the clipboard
- Smart Select — Select multiple items with the S Pen to share or copy to a scrapbook
- Screen Write — Takes a screenshot and allows easy annotation
Use the writing keyboard
With the default Samsung keyboard enabled, you can switch to a handwriting recognition mode to respond to texts and emails with the S Pen. Long-press the microphone icon and a small popup will launch. Tap the icon that looks like a T with a pen next to it to open the writing keyboard. Then write as you would normally and the Note 4 will convert it to type text.
Pro Tip: Look for the writing input icon in other text fields such as those in a web browser and tap it to enable S Pen writing input.
Control your TV
The Note 4 has a built-in IR blaster on the top of the device, a feature you don’t see in all too many Android smartphones. What does this mean? You can use the Note 4 as the most powerful remote control you have ever owned.
All you need to do is launch Samsung’s Watch On app and go through some onscreen prompts to setup the Note 4 to control TV and sync to your local channel guide. After that, all you need to do is point your Note 4 at your television and start the channel surfing.
Keep your screen on while reading
Enabling Smart Stay on the Note 4 will utilize the phone’s sensors to determine when you are actively engaged in reading the display, keeping it from going dark in the middle of a riveting book or fascinating article.
To enable Smart Stay, navigate to Settings > Sound and Display > Display and check the box next to “Smart Stay.”
Use the Note 4 with one hand…
If the think Note 4 is a bit much to handle with one hand, you’re not alone. Samsung even thought ahead and included several options for making the super-sized smartphone more functional during one-handed operation.
Navigate to Settings > System > One-handed operation to access options that will allow you to shrink the overall screen size by swiping from the edge of the Note 4’s display (Reduce screen size), access a keyboard tailored for thumb typing (One-handed input), and side-oriented navigation keys ( Side key panel).
…or with gloves on
Enable Touch Sensitivity (found in the Quick Settings menu in the notifications pane) to increase the sensitivity of your Note 4’s touchscreen. While this is a solution if you feel your device is not responsive enough, it’s true usefulness comes when using gloves with the Note 4.
Be warned that without gloves sensitivity remains heightened, increasing the possibility for accidental inputs and pocket dials.
Turn on blocking mode to cut out distractions (or catch some Zs)
Though not labeled as such, the Galaxy Note 4 offers a Do Not Disturb mode dubbed Blocking mode. To enable Blocking mode, navigate to Settings > Personal > Blocking mode. You can choose to turn on Blocking manually or set a schedule to block calls and other incoming notifications during work or while you are sleeping.
You can setup exceptions to allow certain contacts to still ring your device even with Blocking mode enabled. If you would like to do the opposite and allow all calls while blocking only specific numbers, the Note 4 allows this as well. You can access these settings by navigating to Settings > Applications > Call > Call rejection.
Get the most out of your Note 4 battery life…
The Galaxy Note 4 contains not one, but two special battery saving modes to help squeeze the most life out of a nearly repleted power cell. Power Saving mode and Ultra Power Saving mode both operate in slightly different ways, but the end result could mean as much as two additional day of use on only 10% of a charge.
When in Power Saving mode, screen brightness will be dimmed and other non-esential but often battery intensive functions will be disabled (this includes some wireless connectivity). Ultra Power Saving mode goes to the extreme, replacing the standard TouchWiz launcher with a simplified greyscale interface that offers only the bare necessities for using your phone. Yes, functionality will be limited in either mode, but if you are nowhere near an outlet for charging you will be glad you have the option.
To access either power saving mode, navigate to “Power saving” under the “System” header in the Settings menu.
…And fast charge when you run out of juice
When you do find an outlet for charging, you will be happy to know you won’t be tethered to your power source for too long. Thanks to adaptive fast charging technology built into the Note 4, you can gain about 50% battery capacity in as little as 30 minutes. How do you do it? It’s simple: use the wall charger included in the box with the Note 4.
The wall charger itself contains a special chip that pairs with a similar bit of hardware inside the Note 4 to provide turbo charging capabilities. You’ll know the wall charger is compatible because it is stamped with Samsung’s “Adaptive Fast Charging” logo.
[Note: You might need to turn on adaptive fast charging from the Settings menu (Settings > System > Battery > Fast charging). It should be enabled by default, however.]
Protect your personal info with Private mode
If you often lend your device to friends or family to make calls, play games, or access the internet, it might be smart to set up Private Mode on your Galaxy Note 4. Private Mode allows full access to your phone while password (or fingerprint) protecting the sensitive files you choose to keep off limits.
To set up Private Mode, navigate to Settings > Private Mode and toggle to on. If this is your first time using Private Mode, you will be prompted to choose a password method. If you have the Note 4’s fingerprint scanner enabled, you may choose this as your password.
With Private Mode enabled, you can select the files you wish to hide and, tapping the three dots in the upper right-hand corner, select ‘Move to Private.’
Get help in an emergency
Hopefully you will never need it, but the Note 4 offers an emergency mode that will quickly send a message to chosen contacts to alert them to your status. This mode will even snap photos and share your location to further aid emergency responders in getting you to safety.
Navigate to Settings > Safety assistance > Send help messages, and turn the feature on. You can now choose whether to send pictures and location.Backing up a screen to the “Safety assistance” you can manage your emergency contacts.
When you are in need, quickly press the power key three times to transmit your emergency alert to those listed as emergency contacts.
Expand your storage with a MicroSD card
You can up your storage by installing a MicroSD card. First you will need to access the SD card slot by removing the back cover of the device. The SD slot is located above and to the right of the battery. Insert an SD card (the Note 4 will accept cards with storage ratings of up to 128GB) and you are good to go.
Depending on how much info is already installed on the SD card, the Note 4 might take some time to read the card. You will see a notification while this process is occurring. To access info and data on the SD card, use the preinstalled My Files app and navigate to “SD card.”
Use your SD card to store photos, videos, and other files and easily transfer them between devices. You can even move bulky apps to your MicroSD storage to free up precious internal storage space.
Use the camera flash as a notification LED
The Note 4 contains a number of features intended for users with vision or hearing impairments that can also be useful for the average user. These features are found under the accessibility menu, and include the ability to enable the Note 4’s LED camera flash as a notification indicator. It’s a bit less subtle than the notification LEDs that some Android phones feature as a standard option, but there is virtually no way you will miss a call or other alert again.
To enable, navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Hearing, and check the box next to “Flash notification.”
Get alerts for a ringing doorbell or crying baby
Another accessibility option that some might find a use for is the Note 4’s ability to listen for the sound of a doorbell or crying baby and proceed to send a notification via the handset. Pair it with the notification flash you will never miss a delivery or ignore a hungry baby again.
Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Hearing > Sound detectors, and check the boxes next to the options you wish to enable.
Disable Flipboard Briefing
The Galaxy Note 4’s Flipboard briefing is by no means a bad news aggregator, but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It also affects the way you interact with your home screens. If you want to get rid of the daily briefing and bring the ability to swipe through home screens in a never-ending carousel, you can do that.
Simply long-press on an empty area of your homescreen, tap “Home screen settings,” and uncheck the box next to Flipboard Briefing.
Use S Voice to control your Note 4 with vocal commands
Samsung has included a proprietary voice assistant in the same style as Apple’ Siri and Google Now. Dubbed S Voice, the service is accessed by double-pressing the Note 4’s home button. When first using S Voice, you can even choose to have your Galaxy constantly listen for voice input, responding when you speak the words “Hi, Galaxy.”
S Voice can perform system functions such as music playback or be used to compose a text message or perform a search. For a list of voice commands, ask S Voice for “help.”
Access the Note 4’s emoji keyboard
Emojis: you either love them or hate them. Regardless, you can access the emoji keyboard on the Note 4 by long-pressing the microphone icon found on the standard Samsung keyboard and tap the smiley face icon. The emoji keyboard will now open.
You can scroll through available emojis and switch categories by tapping the icons at the bottom of the keyboard. To return to typing input, tap the ‘ABC’ icon.
Get Google everywhere with Google Now
While S Voice is Samsung’s preferred personal assistant for the Note 4, Google Now is in many respects superior. It not only will respond to voice commands, but it intelligently incorporates information learned about you into its predictive results.
To access Google Now, long-press the home button. The first time using Google Now will require a short setup process. Once done, you can simply ask Google a question and receive an answer almost instantly. For a full rundown of Google Now voice commands, tips, and tricks, click here.
Visit Android Forums for more!
If you are itching to learn even more about your Galaxy Note 4, head on over to our dedicated forum at AndroidForums.com. A cohort of Note users resides there ready to answer any questions and offer advice on everything from accessories to apps. You might even have a tip or trick of your own to add to the discussion!
Some helpful threads to start:
- How to use adaptive fast charging
- How to factory reset
- How to multitask
- How to clear RAM
- How to capture a screenshot
- How to use split screen mode
- How to add widgets
- How to close apps
- How to disable S Health
- How to delete history
- How to remove back cover
- How to delete apps
- How to block a number
- How to change the keyboard
- How to turn off autocorrect
- How to move apps to an SD card
Perfect timing! I just upgraded from the Note 3 to the Note 4 last night!
I’ve been having camera issues with my note 4. After taking pictures the file is corrupt in the gallery. Had anyone else experienced this?
Android76 – I have a VZW Note 4 as well and I can’t say I’ve experienced that issue. I would say give a hard reboot and battery pull / change the folder where the camera saves images to / or try using Google Camera instead of the default camera app if all else fails.
Thanks Bstock, I just found a post on android central it turned out to be the memory card. So I’m going to give that a try and hopefully it fixes the issue. the issue just started 2 weeks ago.
In the meantime – you can just change the storage location in the stock photo app in the settings menu. It buried in the second layer of settings but you could just change it to the internal memory till you get a new card!
Don’t buy memory cards off of eBay, the exact thing happened to me.
Kevin Krause – very well done article! You covered a lot of different parts of the Note 4 (not an easy thing to do) – some very good tips in here. I learned about the Touch Sensitivity feature for using the Note with gloves on. Very helpful during this “blizzard”
Why no space after the comma when entering text on NOTE 4? My NOTE 3 did it.
Flash notification does not work on my phone.