The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is a beast of a phone. It can do a ton of amazing things, but most of the best features aren’t obvious on the surface. We already told you about the first things you should do with the Note 5, but now it’s time to dig deeper. We’ll help you uncover the best tips and tricks so you can get the most out of this great device.
How to take a screenshot with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5
One of the most common questions people ask when they get a new phone is “how do I take a screenshot?” There are two ways to do it with most Samsung devices.
- Press and hold the Home and Power buttons simultaneously
- Swipe your palm across the entire display to take a screenshot (enable this Settings > Motions and gestures)
- In the “Gestures & S Pen” section there is a way to screenshot long pages
Once a screenshot is taken you will see it in your notification bar. From there you can share or edit it to your hearts content.
Buy a wireless charger
Many Android devices these days come with built-in wireless charging, and the Note 5 is one of them. All you have to do to get a charge is lay the device on a charging pad. It’s very convenient, and you’ll never want to live without it once you have it. Here are a few chargers that we like:
- Samsung Wireless Charging Pad
- Anker Ultra-Slim Wireless Charging Pad
- TYLT Vu Wireless Charger
- Nokia DT-900 Wireless Charging Plate
Use the wall charger for a faster charge
There is a benefit to using the old fashioned charging cable. The Note 5 supports Quick Charge 2.0. This technology allows you to get hours of use from just 10-15 minutes of charging. You don’t have to do anything special for this to work. Just use the the wall charger that came with the phone. You’ll see a notification when Fast Charging is working.
You should also know that any wall charger with Quick Charge 2.0 will work with the Note 5. Amazon is selling a bunch of different versions if you want to grab some extras.
Set up “Do Not Disturb” to turn off notifications at certain times
The Note 5 has a feature called “Do Not Disturb” that will quiet all distractions during a specific time period. To get started go to Settings > Sounds and notifications.
If you turn on Do not disturb mode there is an option to allow exceptions. If you don’t allow any exceptions the phone will be completely silent (not even alarms will break through). Your best bet is to add exceptions for alarms, certain numbers, and important apps. You can also set up a schedule to automatically enable Do not disturb at a specific time every day.
Reboot without removing battery
Despite the complaints from fans, Samsung once again went with a non-removable battery. Not only does this mean you can’t swap out batteries for extra juice, but you also can’t remove the battery if your phone freezes. You can still reset your phone without having to remove the battery.
A soft reset will restart your phone without erasing any data. Press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons for 10 seconds until the device powers off.
Enable Ultra Power-Saving Mode for extra juice
Battery life in the Note 5 is not as good as we’d like, so you’ll want to use this tip to get the most out of it. Ultra Power Saving Mode can help you do that. When this mode is enabled it switches the phone to a black and white interface and disables most background activities. You’ll still be able to take calls, send messages, and use a few important apps. Configure it in Settings > Battery > Ultra power saving mode.
There is also the less extreme Power Saver Mode. When this mode is enabled the screen brightness will turn down and the processor will scale back. You can set Battery Saver to automatically turn on at any level between 50-15%. Configure it in Settings > Battery >Power saving mode.
Enter Easy Mode to simplify the experience
If the default experience is too advanced for you, or if you want to lend your phone to someone not very good with technology, Easy Mode can be a big help. In Easy Mode you’ll see just a couple of big app icons, and an area to add favorite contacts.
- Open Settings > Easy Mode
- You can choose between Standard mode and Easy mode
- You can also choose which apps you’d like to show up in Easy Mode
Use the giant phone with one hand
The Note 5 is a large phone. There’s no getting around that. We’ve basically been forced to get used to large phones, but that doesn’t mean they are any easier to use. Samsung is apparently aware of how unwieldy it can be to use a Note with one hand. Thankfully, they included “One-handed operation.”
- Go to Settings > Display > One-handed operation
- Here you’ll find two different options for making one-handed use a bit easier:
- Reduce screen size – by triple-pressing the home button the entire UI will shrink down to one corner
- One-handed input – this will permanently shrink things like the phone keypad, calculator buttons, and more
Gestures & S Pen
What to do if you put the S Pen in wrong
As you may have heard, the S Pen with the Note 5 can only be inserted into the phone one way. If you fail to insert the pen correctly it will get stuck and break things. You don’t want that to happen. ALWAYS put the S Pen in with the writing tip FIRST. Never put the clicky end in first.
If you do put the S Pen in the wrong way DON’T try to pull it out. You can save the situation with a small piece of paper. Check out this video to find out how to safely remove the S Pen without breaking your phone.
Take notes with the screen off
The S Pen is the main reason why most people get the Note 5, so let’s talk about what it can do. One of the new features of the S Pen is the ability to quickly take a note when the display is turned off. It’s a really nifty trick for jotting something down while it’s on your mind.
- Go to Settings > S Pen
- Make sure Screen off memo is ON
- That’s it!
- Now, when you pull out the S Pen while the screen is off you’ll see a black notepad appear. You can scribble something down and tap SAVE.
Access your favorite apps from anywhere
Another great feature of the S Pen is Air Command. With this feature you can get quick access to S Pen apps and some of your favorite other apps. It’s a floating launcher that shows up on top of whatever you’re doing when you pull out the S Pen. You can adjust the way it works and acts in the settings.
- Go to Settings > S Pen
- Tap on Air Command
- Tap on Shortcuts to choose three apps
- You can choose what happens when the S Pen is removed, and how the menu floats
Take a screenshot of a long page
We already showed you how to take a simple screenshot, but with the S Pen you can do even more. With a S Pen feature called “Scroll Capture” you can take a screenshot of a long page, instead of being limited to what shows on the display.
- Open the app you’d like to capture
- Take out the S Pen and click the button to open Air Command
- Tap the Screen write button
- After the screen flashes tap the Scroll capture button in the bottom left
- The screen will scroll a little, and then you can scroll even more if you’d like
- From there you can save the screenshot
Hover over items with the S Pen to see more
Air view is one of the core features of the S Pen. It allows you to use the S Pen almost like you would use a mouse on a computer. It can be very useful when browsing the web, and in many Samsung apps you can hover over things to get more information.
- Make sure Air view is enabled by going to Settings > S Pen.
- Tap Air view and make sure it’s ON
Use the S Pen to scroll on web pages and apps
Another use of Air view is to scroll without touching the display. On the web, and in many apps, the S Pen can be used in the same way as clicking the scroll wheel on a mouse.
Simply move the S Pen cursor to the bottom or top edge of a page and you’ll notice a small arrow appear if scrolling is supported. The page will slowly scroll in that direction.
Quickly select text with the click of a button
Quickly select text and copy it to your clipboard by pressing and holding the S Pen button and dragging the tip across the text you wish to select. After making a basic selection you can further adjust by dragging the handles surrounding the highlighted text. When your text is selected, a popup menu is displayed that will allow you to copy to the clipboard, easily share via email or messaging, search the web, or even define a term
Never lose the S Pen
Of course, you won’t be able to do any of this stuff if you lose the S Pen. Thankfully, Samsung has included a feature that will make sure you never leave the S Pen behind. “S Pen alerts” will sound an alert and pop-up when the stylus is no long detected. This is enabled by default, but you’ll want to double-check it.
- Go to Settings > S Pen
- Make sure S Pen alerts is set to ON
Keep your display on while you’re looking at it
Smart Stay is one of the more ingenious features Samsung has ever created. With this feature enabled, your Note 5 will stay on as long as you are looking at the display. No more annoying screen turn-offs while reading a web page, or Netflix continuing to play after you fall asleep. Smart Stay is turned off by default; here’s how to turn it on.
- Go to Settings > Display
- Select Smart Stay and make sure it’s enabled
- Note: Smart Stay does not work in the dark.
Know if you missed a call or message when picking your phone up
If you have missed calls or new messages the Note 5 can vibrate when you pick it up. This feature is called “Smart Alert,” and it’s enabled by default. If you would like to toggle this feature go to Settings > Motions and gestures.
Move the phone to your ear while messaging someone to call them
Another nifty gesture is “Direct Call.” This feature allows you to directly call someone by bringing the phone up to your ear if you’re on their contact page or a messaging conversation. For example, if you’re texting someone and you want to call them just put the phone to your ear. This can also be toggled at Settings > Motions and gestures.
Set your phone face down while it’s ringing to mute it
To quickly mute the Note 5 when you’re getting a call you can do two gestures. Simply place your hand flat on the display, or turn it over on it’s face. This also works as a way to dismiss alarms. This can also be toggled at Settings > Motions and gestures.
Apply a theme to get a brand new look
The Note 5 comes with the ability to choose themes that can change your wallpaper, icons, and even system apps and UI. They’ve included a few themes that you can try out, or you can download more from their store. It’s easy to give your phone a completely new look.
- Long-press on any blank space on the home screen
- Tap Themes
- Choose one of the pre-loaded themes, or tap THEME STORE
- Find a theme you like, tap DOWNLOAD
- After it installs you can tap APPLY
Adjust the size of the home screen
The Note 5 allows you to put a lot of stuff on the home screen. By default, it uses the biggest grid (5×5), but if that’s too much clutter you can adjust it.
- Tap and hold a blank space on the home screen
- Tap on Screen grid and choose 4×4, 4×5, or 5×5
Add more home screen pages
You can have up to 7 different pages (or panels) to hold your apps and widgets on the home screen. Here’s how to customize the order and amount.
- Tap and hold a blank space on the home screen to add, move, or remove a panel
- To add a panel, swipe to the left, and then tap [+] icon
- To move a panel, tap and hold a panel, and then drag it
- To remove a panel, tap and hold a panel, and then drag it to Remove at the top of the screen
- To set a panel as the main home screen, tap the Home icon in the screen indicators
Change the wallpaper
Changing the wallpaper is the easiest way to customize the look of your phone. The Note 5 allows you to choose a wallpaper for both the lock screen and home screen. Here’s how to do both:
- Long-press on a blank space on the home screen
- Tap on Wallpapers
- In the top left select from home screen, lock screen, or both to choose which wallpaper is changed
- Choose a wallpaper and select Set as wallpaper
Note: the Wallpaper motion effect will slowly pan the wallpaper to match your movement
Organize the quick settings
Samsung includes a ton of Quick Setting toggles in the notification shade by default. You can access these by swiping down from the top of the display. You can edit the order of these toggles, or remove some completely. If you use these toggles a lot (which you should), a quick edit now will make your life easier.
- Pull down the Quick Settings and tap EDIT in the top right corner
- From here you can drag the toggles around as you like
- There must be at least 5 toggles in the Quick Settings
Remove the annoying Flipboard Briefing
If you swipe to the left on the home screen you’ll notice something called Flipboard Briefing. It basically just aggregates news stories from a number of different sources into a feed. The idea sounds cool, but the interface is a little laggy. You should remove it.
- Long press on the home screen
- Scroll over to the Briefing panel on the far left
- Uncheck the checkbox at the top
If you really do like the Briefing feature we recommend downloading the Flipboard app. The Briefing panel is actually powered by Flipboard, so you get a similar interface, but it runs much smoother in its own app.
Remove unnecessary apps
Some carrier models of the Note 5 come with a lot of apps pre-installed. There could be over 20 apps already on your device that you have no intention of ever using. The good news is we can uninstall, or at least disable, most of the bloatware. Let’s do it.
- Open the app drawer to see all of your apps
- Long-press on the app you’d like to remove
- The app drawer will close and you’ll see an option for Disable or Uninstall
- Drag the app to the trash can
If you would like to revive a disabled app you can go to Settings > Applications > Application manager. Swipe over to the Disabled tab and find the app.
Adjust how colors look with the screen mode
Samsung has included a few different screen modes to allow you to easily adjust colors and brightness. You can switch the screen mode by going to Settings > Display > Screen mode.
- Adaptive display: tires to adjust based on what you’re doing with the phone.
- AMOLED cinema & AMOLED photo: vivid and highly saturated colors.
- Basic: not overly saturated or bright. Just basic.
Basic is the best setting for most people. It will look dull at first as you transition from the other more vivid settings, but it’s actually the most true-to-life.
Use handwriting on the keyboard
One of the best uses for the S Pen is to write notes by hand. Some people just prefer the feeling of writing something out with a “pen.” You can even use handwriting in apps that don’t support it by using the Samsung keyboard.
- Go to Settings > Language and input
- Tap on Samsung keyboard
- Scroll all the way down and enable Pen detection
Now, the handwriting pad will be shown instead of the QWERTY keyboard when the S Pen is detected.
Turn off the LED notification light
The Note 5 has an LED light that will blink to show if you have a notification. Some people really like this feature, but other people don’t. It can be annoying to have a flashing light wake you up in the middle of the night (another reason to use ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. Here’s how to disable it.
- Go to Settings > Sounds and notifications
- Scroll down and turn LED indicator to OFF
Multi-window mode allows you to run two different apps simultaneously on the same screen. Samsung has made multi-window mode much easier in the Note 5. It’s now built right in to the recent apps menu.
- Tap the physical “Recents” button to the left of the Home button
- All your recent apps will show up on the screen like a Rolodex
- Apps that can be used in multi-window will show a twin rectangle icon next to the (X) in the right corner
- Tap that icon to open the app in the top half of the screen
- The lower half of the screen will now show only recent apps that can used in multi-window mode
- Tap one to open it in the lower half
- You can re-size the apps by dragging the middle line
Alternatively, you can long-press the Recents button while using an app to put it in the top half of the display, and then pick an app for the bottom.
You can also drag your finger diagonally from the top left corner of the display to put an app in a floating window.
Find anything on the phone with S Finder
S Finder is an app that helps you find things on your Samsung phone. It can search for apps, files, photos, music, contacts, and more. Some versions of the Note 5 may include a button for S Finder under the brightness slider in the notification shade. If that’s not there on your version you can still launch it from the Quick Settings toggles. Just open it and start typing to see results.
Get reminded of important notifications
If you get a lot of notifications you may forget to respond to some of them. Notification Reminders can remind you to take action on past notifications. Your phone will make a noise after a certain amount of time if there is a notification that really needs your attention.
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Notification reminders
- Here you can set up the reminder intervals for 15 sec, 30 sec, 1 minute, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
- By default, every app is included, but you can turn of the ones you don’t want to be reminded about
Add keyboard shortcuts
If you find yourself typing out long words or phrases a lot, such as email addresses, you might want to create a text shortcut. This will allow you to quickly insert a long word or phrase by just typing a few letters. For example, you could make “N5” automatically correct to “Galaxy Note 5.” Here’s how:
- Go to Settings > Language and input
- Select Samsung keyboard
- Tap on Text shortcuts
- Tap ADD to create your own shortcut
Send files to other Galaxy users with Quick Connect
There are a plethora of ways to send files to other people, but Samsung devices have a special one called Quick Connect. This feature allows you to quickly find nearby devices and send stuff to them. When the feature is enabled Bluetooth will automatically turn on.
- Swipe down the notification shade and find Quick Connect (tap EDIT to add it)
- When you tap Quick Connect a list of nearby devices will show up. Tap one
- Now select the type of file you’d like to send
- After you select a file you will have to wait for the other device to accept
- The file will begin to transfer
Double-tap to launch the camera from anywhere
The camera on the Note 5 is excellent, and Samsung wants you to be able to get to it as fast as possible. All you have to do is double-tap the home button. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, or if the screen is off, the camera will quickly open. Never miss a shot again.
Use tracking AF to keep things in focus
Samsung added a new autofocus mode called Tracking AF. It’ll allow you to pre-focus on a subject before snapping photo or video, and will attempt to keep that subject in focus if they happen to move. This feature works with not only faces, but ANY object you want to focus on ahead of taking the shot.
- Open the Camera and go to Settings
- Enable Tracking AF
Note: Tracking AF won’t show up if you’re in selfie mode
Immediately review photos
It can be annoying to snap a photo and have to click around the interface to see how it came out. Instead of doing all that you can have the phone automatically bring a preview up for you to check out and either keep or delete it before moving on to your next shot.
- Open the Camera and go to Settings
- Enable Review pictures
Take a photo or video with your voice
Instead of using awkwardly-placed on-screen buttons to snap a photo, you can use your voice. Not only does it help you keep the camera steady for the perfect shot, but it can be very helpful for group photos. You can say “smile, cheese, shoot,” or “record video.”
- Open the Camera and go to Settings
- Enable Voice commands
Use the volume key to zoom, snap a photo or shoot video
If you prefer a more hands-on approach to taking photos, you can have the camera recognize your volume rocker as a physical shutter button. You can change its behavior in the Camera app’s Settings menu under Volume Key Function, and set the rocker to either zoom in or out, snap a photo or begin recording video. You can also turn it off if you want the volume button to retain normal functionality.
Use Pro Mode Presets to adjust ISO, exposure and focus
Pro Mode is what seasoned photography nerds will use to take the Note 5 to the next level. This mode lets you fine tune your camera’s settings with the ability to change white balance, exposure correction, metering, ISO, and focus modes, all of which can be had by pressing the “Modes” button that you’ll find in the camera user interface.
To go a step further, you can even set presets for a certain configuration that you like, so the next time you need that collection of settings you can simply switch to it with one press of a button. Play around with it to see what works best for you!
Take a selfie with a gesture
All of that is useful for the rear camera, but what about making it easier to take selfies? You have a couple of cool options at your disposal. The first allows you to take a selfie by holding your finger on the heart rate sensor for 2 seconds.
You can also wave your hands in front of the camera to initiate a countdown timer to snap your selfie. Both of these options work by default with no set-up required.
Download cool new camera features
All of this is great, but Samsung didn’t stop there. If the default settings and features of the camera aren’t good enough for you, you can download more from Samsung. Tap the MODE button and then Download to find more. Here are a few examples:
- Surround Shot: a Photosphere-like mode that lets you take 360-degree photos
- Sound & Shot: record the audio of your surroundings at the time the photo was taken for more immersive photos
- Rear-Cam Selfie: use the rear camera to take a selfie with visual cues to let you know when it’s about to snap the shot
- Dual Camera: snap a photo or shoot video with both the front and rear cameras simultaneously
- Beauty Face: image tweaks to enhance the look of human faces
- Food Shot: a macro-focus mode for bringing out the best details in a close-up shots
Privacy and security
Set up the fingerprint scanner
The easiest and coolest form of security you can use is the fingerprint scanner. Samsung has made major improvements in both speed and reliability. We love it because it’s the fastest way to unlock the phone, but also the hardest for other people to crack. You get the best of both worlds. Here’s how to add your fingerprints:
- Go to Settings > Lock screen and security
- Tap on Screen lock type
- Choose Fingerprints from the list and then +Add fingerprint
- Follow the instructions until 100% of your fingerprint has been scanned
- Create a backup password
- Tap Ok to Enable Fingerprint Lock
- Now to unlock your phone simply hold your finger on the home button
You can add up to five different fingerprints to your device. It’s a good idea to do both thumbs and any other fingers you use to press the home button.
Keep your sensitive content safe with Private Mode
If there are certain things on your phone that you don’t want prying eyes to see, Private Mode is for you. The first thing you need to do before taking advantage of this feature is select which types of files you want to protect. This can be done for Photos, Video, Music, Voice Recorder, My Files and the Web browser:
- Select all the content you want to protect
- In the upper right corner, tap MORE and select Move to Private
Now you can enable Private Mode to hide all of your sensitive content.
- Navigate to Settings > Privacy and safety and locate Private mode
- Setting Private Mode to “Off” will make it so that the files you specified to be private are hidden from normal viewing, while “On” makes all those files available for normal viewing.
- Select whether you want Private Mode to turn off whenever the screen turns toggle Private Mode settings.
Use the Pin Window feature to lock your phone to any one app
Another way to hide your personal content from others is with Pin Window. This will allow you to lock your phone to just one app while someone else is using the device. For example, you could pin the browser when someone wants to look something up. They won’t be able to leave the app.
- Open Settings > Lock Screen and Security
- Tap Other Security Settings
- Find Pin Windows and switch it ON
- Specify whether you want your secure lock screen to come up if someone tries to press the home button.
Now that you have it setup, all you’ll need to do when you want to pin an app is open you rRecent Apps menu by tapping the Recent Apps key next to the home button, and pressing the push pin icon located in the lower right corner of whichever app it is you want to pin.
How to factory reset to the Note 5
There are many different reasons why one would want or need to perform a factory reset. Maybe you are getting ready to sell or return a phone, or you feel like things have gotten so slow to the point where only a full restore will make it feel new again.
Before you do a factory reset be sure to back-up personal files
- Go to the Settings > Backup & reset
- You will be asked to confirm whether you want to go through with the reset. After thinking it over, select your choice
- The process may take several minutes
Be prepared for a lost or stolen phone
Losing your phone or having it stolen is one of the worst feelings in the world, but many tools are available to help you track it down should the unfortunate scenario occur. One of the best tools is the Android Device Manager.
It’s an app that will not only locate your device using its last known GPS location, but also allow you to remotely sound an alarm, lock the device or perform a full factory reset in case you fear it’s fallen into the wrong hands. The feature is included with almost every Android phone, and here’s how you enable it:
- Go to Settings > Lock screen and security
- Scroll down to Other security settings
- Tap on Device administrators
- Make sure Android Device Manager is ON
Now you can visit this page to locate, ring, lock, or wipe your device remotely.
Setup the SOS function to send quick messages to emergency contacts
We hope you’ll never have to use the SOS feature, but it’s here if you need it. What this will do is send a preset message to any contacts you want whenever you quickly press the power button 3 consecutive times.
Think of a scenario where you might be getting robbed and you don’t have time to take your phone out, unlock it, find an appropriate contact, type the message and press send — that all takes less than a minute, but every millisecond is precious in an emergency scenario. You’ll want to set this up, and here’s how you do it:
- Go to Settings > Privacy and Safety
- Select the Send SOS Messages option at the bottom
- Turn the switch to ON to enable the feature.
- At the bottom, specify recipients you want to receive the message, as well as any text, photos and audio recordings you want to attach to the message.
Use the Back button as a Menu button
Back in the day, Android devices included a physical “Menu” button. This button would be used to open hidden menus in apps. Nowadays, apps don’t hide their menus, but Samsung still includes a hidden menu button. Simply long press the Back button. That’s it.
Download the Kids Mode app
Kids love smartphones, there’s no getting around that. A touchscreen interface is very intuitive to a child. Samsung makes a “Kids Mode” app that will allow you kid to use your phone without getting into the wrong things. Open the Galaxy Apps store and search for Kids Mode.
Using the app will lock the phone into a state where kids can only use apps and play games appropriate for them, such as a drawing app, a writing app, and even a kid-centric selfie camera with fun stickers to use.
Your kid won’t be able to exit this mode unless they have the lock code, which you set up on the first launch. Preventing them from physically damaging the phone is another issue altogether.
Download the All Together app to connect with other Galaxy users
Another app to download from the Galaxy Apps store is called “All Together.” It allows you to connect to other Samsung Galaxy users over a private WiFi network to chat, share files and more without having to use mobile data. This is great for something like a camping trip where data might be limited, but you still want to be connected to those nearby.
Explore the Galaxy Note 5 forums
Now that you know everything about the Note 5, you can explore Android Forums. It’s the best place to get help, tips, tricks, support, suggestions, and share your insight with other users. You can share your experiences, find accessories to use, and much more. Here are some threads to get you started:
- Received my Note 5 / Owners thread
- Cases anyone??
- My Deal breaker with the Note 5
- Shattered the back of my Note 5
- Note 5: Samsung Self Sabotage