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Master the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: How to use, tips and tricks, and more

Get to know Samsung's latest smartwatch series a little more closely.

Published onJanuary 18, 2024

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro displays its App Library including Google and Samsung native apps.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Samsung smartwatches are generally easy to set up, and the Galaxy Watch 5 is no exception. If you ever wanted to know the basics of your new smartwatch but were either too bored by the manual or too afraid to ask, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll walk you through the essentials of the Galaxy Watch 5 below, from setting up your new watch to updating and customizing it to suit your needs.

Must know Galaxy Watch 5 basics

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro rests face down showcasing the the device's upgraded sensors.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

First things first — setting up the Galaxy Watch 5 will be your first port of call after unboxing. The below section covers the must-know processes, from switching your device off and pairing it with your smartphone to charging it and checking for updates.

How to switch on your Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Your watch has two buttons on its right-hand flank. The top button is the red-outlined Home button, while the bottom button is the Back button.

  1. To switch on your watch, press and hold the Home button until the Samsung logo appears on screen. If the screen doesn’t switch on after a few seconds, place the watch on its charging cradle. The battery is likely dead.

How to switch off your Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

  1. Power off your watch by swiping down from the home screen and tapping the Power shortcut, then Power off.

How to restart the Galaxy Watch 5

There’s no restart or reboot shortcut on the Galaxy Watch 5, but sometimes you may need to reboot it forcibly.

  1. To do this, press and hold the Home and Back buttons simultaneously until the Samsung logo appears on the screen.

How to activate power-saving mode

If you’re crunched for power and don’t have your charger or a portable battery at hand, you may want to consider activating power-saving mode. In this mode, your watch will trade performance, Wi-Fi, and LTE connectivity for increased energy efficiency. This may give you just enough juice to stave off a shutdown.

  1. Swipe up to access your apps, then tap on the Settings icon.
  2. Select Battery and device case > Battery > toggle on Power Saving.

How to activate watch only mode

There’s one final way to eke out extra battery life without switching off your watch. Watch only mode effectively turns your smartwatch into a very expensive digital watch. In watch-only mode, the lion’s share of the Galaxy Watch 5 features is switched off. You’ll be left with nothing more than a readout of the time.

  1. Swipe up to access your apps, then tap on the Settings icon.
  2. Select Battery, tap Watch only, then tap Turn on to confirm.

Thankfully, you won’t likely need to use this mode with the Pro model, as its battery life is pretty impressive.

How to charge your Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

The Galaxy Watch 5 comes with a magnetic charging cradle that’s fairly easy to use.

  1. Plug the charger into a USB port on your computer, a phone charger, or the wall.
    1. Note: You’ll need a USB-C charger or port to charge the Galaxy Watch 5 series.
  2. Next, place the watch on the charger. You should feel a gentle magnetic tug.
  3. Finally, confirm that the device is charging by looking at its screen. You should see a percentage indicating the current battery volume.

Notably, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a little more awkward to charge due to its strap design. Some users have found that bending the straps upwards makes placing the watch on its cradle easier. We find that placing the watch on its side and letting the charger’s magnet hold onto the watch is the better solution. Samsung has seemingly acknowledged the issue by building a new charging cradle specifically for the watch.

If you’ve upgraded and still own the Galaxy Watch 4 charger, it will also work with the Galaxy Watch 5 series. This is especially useful if you don’t own a USB-C charger.

How to pair your Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Now that you’ve mastered the Galaxy Watch 5’s power controls, it’s time to pair the device to your smartphone. Unlike most Wear OS devices, you must download the Galaxy Wearable app to sync your watch to your Android phone.

  1. Once installed, open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone, tap Start, and search for your Galaxy Watch 5.
  2. Next, you’ll need to confirm that the six-digit code on your watch matches the number displayed on your phone. If it does, tap Confirm. You should feel a vibration as an indicator that syncing has begun.
  3. You’ll then need to sign in to your Samsung account on your phone. You’ll need to create one to use your watch.
  4. Finally, follow the prompts and review permissions in the next screens to complete pairing.

Importantly, not all phones support the Galaxy Watch 5 series. You’ll need a device running at least Android 8, packing 1.5GB of RAM, and Google Mobile Services. This rules out the majority of older devices, and newer HUAWEI phones.

However, if you have an older device that matches these criteria, but the Galaxy Wearable app claims your device isn’t supported during setup, you can try the workaround below.

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your phone, search for the Galaxy Watch 5 Plugin, and install it.
  2. Next, download and open the Samsung Health app.
  3. Tap the three-dot menu button, select Settings, then Accessories.
  4. Select the Galaxy Watch 5 or Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, then tap Register. Let your phone search for your watch.
  5. Follow the setup prompts.

How to update your Galaxy Watch 5

Checking for updates after setting up your new device is always a good idea. This is especially true with the Galaxy Watch 5. Samsung issued a new update shortly after the device’s launch. Now that it has been out for over a year, plenty of new patches are waiting to be installed, including the big Wear OS 4-based One UI 5 Watch update.

There are two ways to check for updates. You can check directly from your watch or use the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone.

On your watch 

  1. Open Settings > Software update.
  2. If an update is available, tap on Install now.

On your phone

  1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app > Watch settings > Watch software update.

Importantly, your watch will not update if the battery is below 30% full. However, you can initiate the update, and place the device on its charging cradle. The watch will install the update when the battery hits the 30% mark.

How to reset the Galaxy Watch 5

If there’s a problem after pairing your device or installing an update, starting from scratch might be your best solution. Resetting your device will give you a clean slate on which to diagnose any additional issues.

  1. Open Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Here, you can choose to back up your data to a Samsung account. If this is a brand-new device, this probably isn’t necessary. We recommend backing up your data if you’ve been using it for a few weeks.
  3. Tap Reset to initiate the reset procedure.

Importantly, a factory reset will completely erase all personal data and settings from your device, so be doubly sure before you confirm.

Personalizing your Galaxy Watch 5

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro displays a vibrant floral watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Now that you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to customize your wearable. Thanks to the wealth of watch faces and a wide selection of third-party bands, you can decorate your Galaxy Watch 5 to reflect your fashion.

How to remove your Galaxy Watch 5 band

  1. Turn your watch upside down so its face is on a clean, nonabrasive surface.
  2. On the default strap, you’ll need to locate the small pin near the part of the watch strap that fastens to the watch. This is the spring bar. Using a fingernail, slide the bar to the left.
  3. The band should come free now if you give it a light tug.
  4. Repeat this process on the other side of the strap.

This process can be tricky on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro due to its thicker straps and slightly recessed pins. However, we recommend practicing patience if you don’t get it right the first time.

How to replace your Galaxy Watch 5 band

  1. Slot one side of the band’s spring bar into the Galaxy Watch 5’s lug.
  2. Now, slide the spring bar to contract it and slot the band’s other side into the opposite lug. Let go of the spring bar to fasten the band in place.
  3. Repeat this process on the other side of the watch.

That’s the basics of what’s involved, though we have a guide on how to change your Galaxy Watch 5 band that goes into more detail.

How to change your Galaxy Watch 5’s watch face

You can change your Galaxy Watch 5’s watch face in two ways — directly from your watch or using the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone. We recommend the latter if you’re interested in tweaking minor details. Using your phone allows you to pick a watch face quickly, while it’s much easier to adjust complications and color combinations on your phone.

On your watch

  1. Touch and hold your current watch face, then wait for the face carousel to appear.
  2. Here, you can swipe left or right to choose a new face.
  3. After selecting a new face, you can further tweak backgrounds, colors, and complications by tapping Customize.

On your phone

  1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app, then select Watch Faces.
  2. Select one by tapping on it, then tap Customize to adjust backgrounds, colors, and complications.
  3. When you’re happy, tap Save to confirm the new watch face.

Be aware that not every watch face will let you customize every detail.

How to add and remove tiles

Wear OS’ tiles system allows users to quickly access app shortcuts and data bites by scrolling right-to-left on the Galaxy Watch 5. You can adjust which app or feature can display tile data.

On your watch

  1. Swipe right-to-left on your watch face to access your list of tiles.
  2. To remove one, tap and hold it, then tap the – icon at the top right.
  3. To edit a tile, tap and hold it, then select Edit.
  4. You can add additional tiles by scrolling to the left until you reach Add tiles. Tap on it.

On your phone

  1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app, then tap Tiles.
  2. Here you can remove or add tiles as you see fit.

How to add or remove quick panel shortcuts

The quick panel on the Galaxy Watch 5 provides similar functionality to the quick shade on your phone. Swipe down from the top of your watch face, and you’ll have access to a selection of shortcuts and features. You can add, remove, or reorder existing icons as you see fit.

On your watch

  1. Swipe down from the top of your watch face to access the quick panel.
  2. To add more icons, swipe right-to-left, and tap the + icon to access the Edit mode.
  3. Tap the small green + icon on any icon to add it to the quick panel.

On your phone

  1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app.
  2. Tap Quick panel.
  3. Select the – icon to remove icons from the quick panel.
  4. Tap the + icon under Available buttons to add them to the quick panel.
  5. Reorder icons by tapping and holding them, then dragging them to their new position.

We recommend using the phone method, as removing, adding, and reordering icons on the larger screen is much easier.

Adding apps to your Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in silver color with metal bracelet in hand showing apps closeup
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

You can customize your Galaxy Watch 5 in other ways, too. Wear OS offers a wealth of apps that add functionality to your wearable. Here’s how to install them and more.

How to install apps on your Galaxy Watch 5

The Google Play Store makes finding and installing apps on your watch simple. However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can also use the Play Store on your phone.

On your watch

  1. Swipe up to access your apps, then tap on the Google Play Store icon.
  2. Find the app you want, tap on it, and initiate the installation by tapping Install.
  3. Once installed, you can find the app on your apps list.

On your phone

  1. Open the Google Play Store, find the app you want and tap on it.
  2. To install the app on your watch only, tap the little downward arrow alongside the Install option > select your watch > tap Install.
  3. Alternatively, tap the large Install button on the app’s home page to install the app on your phone and watch.

There are some great Wear OS apps and Wear OS games available on the Galaxy Watch 5.

How to uninstall apps on your Galaxy Watch 5

It’s a good idea to check your installed apps regularly and cull those you don’t use. This saves storage space and frees up real-time resources on your watch.

  1. Swipe up on your watch to access your apps.
  2. Find the app your wish to uninstall, then touch and hold the app’s icon. A dialog will appear.
  3. Finally, tap Uninstall then OK on the confirmation screen to remove the app.

How to activate Google Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 5

While Google Assistant is now part of Wear OS 4, the app might not appear or function on older Wear OS builds. If it’s not installed on your device, you will need to do a little setting up to make it functional.

  1. If you haven’t yet, ensure you’ve checked your watch for new updates. Install any that may be available. This alone may activate Google Assistant. If it doesn’t continue with the steps below.
  2. Open the Google Play Store, tap on My Apps > select Assistant > Update.
  3. Wait for the latest version of Google Assistant to install on your watch, then tap Open once the installation is complete.
  4. Once Assistant opens, tap Get Started, then Open on phone to activate.
  5. On your phone, tap Activate. Assistant will run through a setup procedure. Follow the prompts.

Once Assistant is up and running on your watch, you can activate it in several ways.

  • If you’ve enabled voice activation, simply talk to your watch by saying Hey Google to activate Assistant.
  • You can also swipe up on your watch to access your apps, then select Google Assistant.
  • Finally, you can also set Assistant to trigger on a button press.
    • Open Settings > Advanced features > Customize buttons.
    • Prompt Assistant to trigger either on a Home button Double press or Press and hold. Our recommendation is the latter.

With One UI 5 Watch, you can add a Google Assistant tile with custom commands.

How to add files to the Galaxy Watch 5

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro displays a customizable, endangered animal watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

While you can’t send files to your watch from your computer, Samsung does make the app transfer smooth enough. Using the Galaxy Wearable app, you can send music, podcasts, photos, and more to your watch.

How to send music and podcasts to your Galaxy Watch 5

  1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone.
  2. Tap Watch settings > Manage content > Add tracks.
  3. Next, select the files you wish to add or tap All to select all.
  4. Finally, tap Done to initiate the transfer.

How to send photos to your Galaxy Watch 5

  1. Once again, open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone.
  2. Tap Watch settings > Manage content > Add images.
  3. Select the photos you wish to transfer, then tap Done to initiate the transfer.

Master the Galaxy Watch 5’s fitness features

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro in silver color with fluoroelastomer strap on wrist showing body composition screen
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Although the Galaxy Watch 5 is an adept smartwatch, it’s also useful as a fitness monitor. It includes a host of features that lets you keep tabs on your health. Here’s how to master some of these core features.

How to adjust Samsung Health settings

If you want your device’s health tracking data to be truly useful, reviewing its settings is important. You can do this using the Samsung Health app on your watch.

  1. Open Samsung Health > Settings.
  2. Tap Measurement to customize specific health monitoring measurements.
    • Here you can choose to monitor heart rate and stress continuously, and switch on snore detection.
  3. Toggle on or off Auto-detect workouts to have your watch automatically track your activity after a period of time. You can select which workouts receive this treatment by tapping on Activities to detect.
  4. Toggle on or off Inactive time alerts. Your watch will remind you to get moving if you haven’t for 50 minutes. You can also decide when you’d like to receive these alerts by adjusting the Inactive time.

How to view your fitness metrics

Setting the Daily activity tile in the first slot is a good idea if you’re keenly interested in your daily fitness metrics. This way, you can quickly swipe left on your watch face to view your Steps, Active time, and Active calories.

  1. Open Samsung Health > Daily Activity.
  2. Here you can view your current daily metrics.
    • This includes your Steps, Active time, and Activity calories.
    • Scroll down further to get insight into your best moment — the hour during the past 24 hours that saw the most activity.
    • Today’s burnt calories, distance covered while active, and weekly activity stats are also visible on this page.

How to adjust your fitness targets

Not everyone has the time or drive to hit massive fitness goals. That’s why it’s important to adjust them to suit your needs. Be sure to review them regularly to ensure you’re always moving forward.

  1. Open Samsung Health > Daily Activity.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and tap Set Targets to adjust your fitness goals
    • Here you can adjust targets for Steps, Active time, and Active calories by tapping on them and scrolling up or down to select a new number. When you’re happy, tap Done to lock in the new target.

How to track sleep

Sleep is another important but often disregarded fitness metric, and the Galaxy Watch 5 does a pretty solid job keeping tabs on your shuteye.

  1. Open Samsung Health > Sleep.
  2. Here you’ll find data of your latest sleep spell, including time asleep with a sleep score, your Actual sleep time, Calories burnt, Sleep stages breakdown, Blood oxygen during sleep if it’s available in your region, and Snoring data if toggled on.

How to measure your heart rate

  1. Open Samsung Health > Heart Rate.
  2. Here you’ll find your current heart rate, today’s heart rate range, your resting heart rate, and the option to note your current heart rate at the foot of the page.
  3. Tap Settings to access additional controls
    • Measurement: Select Measure continuously to enable background heart rate measurements around the clock, or Every 10 minutes while still to conserve battery. Manual only is also an option.
    • Heart rate alert: Set alerts for user-defined high and low readings.

How to measure your body composition

The Galaxy Watch 4’s biggest party trick carries over to the Galaxy Watch 5. The device can determine your body’s composition, from fat mass to water weight. Avoid using this feature if you’re pregnant or have an electrical implant, like a pacemaker.

  1. Open Samsung Health > Body Composition.
  2. If you’ve taken a reading before, the data garnered from that reading will be displayed here.
  3. Scroll down and tap Measure to initiate a measurement. If you haven’t taken a reading before, you’ll need to input your weight, height, and gender.
  4. Next, follow the prompts and instructions outlined on your watch.
  5. When the reading is complete, your watch will display the following metrics:
    • Weight, Skeletal muscle, Fat mass, Body fat percentage, BMI, Body water, and BMR.

How to measure your stress levels

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has a handy all-day stress monitoring system that considers your heart rate and other metrics. The device automatically samples stress readings throughout the day.

  1. Open Samsung Health > Stress.
  2. Your current stress level will be displayed along a bar graph.
    • A reading in the Red indicates that you may be highly stressed, while one in the Green suggests you’re relaxed.
  3. To help lower your stress levels, Samsung includes a nifty breathing exercise within the Stress section. Scroll down to access it, select the number of breathing cycles, and tap Start.

How to measure your blood pressure

You can also take a blood pressure reading in select regions on the Galaxy Watch 5. You’ll need to set up Samsung Health Monitor on your watch and smartphone before you continue. You’ll also need a blood pressure monitor cuff to complete the calibration.

  1. Open Samsung Health Monitor on your watch.
  2. If you haven’t opened the app before, you’ll be greeted by a permission prompt. Tap Allow.
  3. Head back to your phone and install the Samsung Health Monitor app if you haven’t already. Once this is complete, open the app. Follow the setup procedure.

Calibrating the Galaxy Watch 5

  1. Once Samsung Health Monitor is ready on your watch and your phone, you’ll need to calibrate the blood pressure system with a blood pressure cuff.
  2. In the Health Monitor app, tap on the Blood Pressure tab, then tap Calibrate. Tap Get started, then Next.
  3. Place the blood pressure cuff on the opposite arm to the one you’re wearing your watch, then start the blood pressure cuff.
  4. Once the cuff completes its reading, it will provide two numbers for Systolic and Diastolic pressure. Input these numbers into the respective fields in the Health Monitor app, then tap Confirm.
  5. Repeat this process an additional two times to completely calibrate the watch.

Samsung recommends that you recalibrate the watch every four weeks to ensure accuracy.

Taking a reading

  1. Now that you’ve calibrated your watch, you can take a blood pressure measurement.
  2. Open Samsung Health Monitor on your watch > Blood pressure tab > Measure.

How to take an ECG reading

Finally, to keep tabs on your heart’s sinus rhythm and check for AFib or any other potential issues, you can use the Galaxy Watch 5’s ECG monitor.

  1. If you haven’t yet set up Samsung Health Monitor, follow the steps outlined in the blood pressure section above.
  2. Once set up, open Samsung Health Monitor and follow the prompts on your watch take a reading.
  3. The results will be displayed with additional contextual information. You can also input a selection of symptoms if need be.

How to use the Galaxy Watch 5 for contactless payments

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro displays a Samsung Pay prompt screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Thanks to digital payments, forgetting your wallet at home is no longer an issue. Through Samsung Pay or Google Wallet, you can now just tap your watch to complete purchases. Here’s how to set up and use both.

How to set up and use Samsung Pay on the Galaxy Watch 5

  1. Swipe up to access your apps, tap on the Samsung Pay icon, or press and hold the Back button to open the app.
  2. When the app opens, swipe left to view a brief outline of the features. Tap the arrow to begin setup.
  3. Tap OK to open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone. The setup process will also install the Samsung Pay Watch plug-in if required.
  4. Follow the prompts to complete the setup.
  5. To add a card to Samsung Pay, tap Add Card. If you haven’t already, you must enter a four-digit PIN or set up a Pattern to secure your device.
  6. Once Samsung Pay setup is complete, press and hold the Back button to select your preferred card. Hold the Galaxy Watch 5 near the supported payment terminal to complete the payment.

How to set up Google Wallet on the Galaxy Watch 5

The Galaxy Watch 5 also supports Google Wallet/Google Pay, thanks to Wear OS.

  1. If you haven’t already, open the Google Play Store on your phone and install Google Wallet. Install the app to your watch, too.
  2. Next, open the app on your phone by swiping up to access your apps and tapping on the Google Wallet icon.
  3. You’ll need to set a screen lock if you haven’t already. This can be a Pattern or PIN.
  4. Next, tap on the + icon to add a card. Continue setup on your phone.
  5. Tap Continue.
  6. Select a card tied to your Google Pay account, or tap New credit or debit card to add new plastic.
  7. You’ll need to confirm your card’s details.
  8. Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the setup.


All Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 models feature IP68 ratings and are water resistant up to depths of 50 meters.

Yes. You can use Galaxy Watch 4 straps on both Galaxy Watch 5 models.

Yes, you can use your older Galaxy Watch 4 charging cradle on both Galaxy Watch 5 models.

Yes – Galaxy Watch owners are able to use a robust set of emergency features to get help with any issue.

There you have it. You now know your Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 from head to toe. Is there anything you want to know about that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below.

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