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Fresh out of the box: 11 ways to make your Galaxy S23 experience better
From the palm-sized Galaxy S23 to the king-of-the-hill Galaxy S23 Ultra, 2023 is the year of refinement for Samsung. Be it subtle improvements to the hardware design, a cohesive design language, or just an overall smoothening of software touchpoints, the three phones are taking a three-pronged stab at immediate competitors like the iPhone 14-series and also Chinese value flagships like those by OnePlus. Clearly, there’s a lot to dive into here.
We’ve been using the devices for the last few weeks to understand what makes the phones tick, and we came up with eleven Samsung Galaxy S23 tips and tricks that will elevate your user experience.
It goes without saying that your first step should be to check for software updates. Samsung has released a series of updates since the launch of the three devices to improve on features and stability, and starting with the latest version would be the best approach to improve your user experience. With that said, let’s dive right in.
Samsung Galaxy S23 tips and tricks
1. Pick up a case for the Samsung Galaxy S23
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but getting a protective case to safeguard your very expensive investment should be the first step once you’ve got yourself a new Galaxy S23. This year, Samsung has adopted Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2 solution, which should make the phone even more resilient to drops, but as we all know, accidents do happen.
Now, Samsung has been shipping out some fantastic cases for the S23 series. It’s even got a collaboration with Adidas going on for those who like to show off their brand allegiances. However, if you prefer something a bit more utilitarian or rugged, fret not, as we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Ultra cases from the likes of Spigen, Casemate, and others.
Galaxy S23 cases | Galaxy S23 Plus cases | Galaxy S23 Ultra cases
2. Switch up your lock screen
One of the most notable enhancements to the Galaxy S23 user experience is the revised lock screen. Sure, many of the features here were already available to Goodlock users, but Samsung has integrated many of these into the core One UI 5.1 experience for ease of use.
Samsung offers many opportunities to customize the lock screen, be it through the clock, where you can change the style and font and even accessorize through graphic-heavy widgets or by changing up how notifications appear. The level of customization on offer goes deep and includes the ability to change individual indices, colors of elements within the clock, and more. You’ll also find multiple ways to display notifications, tappable widgets that can be accessed through a touch of the clock, and more.
Here’s how to customize the lock screen on your Galaxy S23
- Pop into the Settings app, or tap the cogwheel icon in the notification bar.
- Scroll down to the Lock Screen option.
- Tap the Edit lock screen or widgets option to dive into the customization options.
- You can now tap individual on-screen elements to adjust them to your liking.
3. Customize your home screen
If this is your first Samsung phone, you’ll be delighted to know about the wealth of customization opportunities in One UI. If it’s not, One UI 5.1, debuting on the Galaxy S23 series, still has several new options to switch up the look of your phone.
There’s a new dynamic weather widget that includes a host of animations to show off weather data in visually pleasing ways. You’ll also find an all-new battery widget. Like Apple’s battery widgets, Samsung’s version pulls in data from its ecosystem of devices like the Galaxy Watch and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
In fact, One UI 5.1 picks up a lot of cues from iOS 16, including the ability to stack widgets. You can read all about it in our One UI 5.1 vs iOS 16 comparison.
Here’s how to add widgets to your home screen
- Long press on the home screen.
- Tap the widgets button along the bottom bar.
- Select your choice of widget and drag it where you want on the lock screen.
- Resize the widget to your choice of dimensions.
4. Check out the new photography features
Unlike the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the regular Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus don’t get new camera sensors this year. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to check out for buyers. This year’s feature focus for Samsung is astrophotography, and alongside the more straightforward extreme low-light photography option, it is also debuting a software option to capture star trail videos.
Interestingly enough, you’ll have to download Samsung’s Expert RAW module to unleash the full capabilities of the camera. New to the S23 series is an enhanced astrophotography mode. Tapping the constellation-shaped icon allows you to display a star chart and manually trigger extended-duration long-exposure shots.
Here’s how to activate astrophotography mode on the Galaxy S23
- Open the camera app.
- Swipe right to the More option.
- Tap open or download the Expert RAW app.
- Now tap the astrophotography icon on the top-left corner.
- Tap show or hide for the sky guide.
- Use the slider to select the exposure duration.
You can opt for between four to ten-minute exposures, depending on the ambient lighting conditions, and the S23 will automatically spit out a stellar photograph of the starscape.
Similarly, the hyper-lapse setting in the camera app now includes an option to switch over to a 300x speed setting that’s perfect for capturing star trails.
5. Try out image clipping
Image clipping is yet another new feature on the Samsung Galaxy S23 that is straight out of the Apple iPhone’s feature set. As the name suggests, image clipping lets you pull out a subject from the image using AI algorithms. These images can then be copied, shared to social media or any app on your phone, or saved as a separate image.
Here’s how to use image clipping on the Galaxy S23
- Tap open the Gallery app and select a photo.
- Long press the photograph till you see a visual confirmation and feel haptic feedback that the image has been clipped.
- You can now save the clipped element as a separate image or share it with another app.
6. Set up Bixby Text Call service
The Bixby Text Call service is Samsung’s take on Google Call Screening, except unlike Google’s feature, this one is available in most markets where the phone is sold. If you often find yourself unable to take a call while in meetings or a loud environment, Bixby Text Call is the perfect solution. The on-device AI assistant takes over the call, transcribes the audio, and presents it on screen. You can then respond to the call by typing out a response or selecting from one of the pre-fed options. I find myself using it to screen out robocalls and spam.
Here’s how to toggle on Bixby Text Call
- Open the phone app, and tap the overflow menu on the right to head into settings.
- Tap the Bixby Text Call option.
- Toggle the on button, and download an appropriate language pack.
- Tap the Bixby Text Call option the next time you get a call to activate the service.
7. Change the default screenshot folder
One of my biggest annoyances with Samsung phones is the default location of the screenshot folder. By default, the phone saves screenshots and screen recordings in the same root directory as photos from the camera. This means that all your screenshots end up getting uploaded to Google Photos. Not only does it clutter up the image gallery, but it eats into your cloud storage allowance as well. However, you can change that behavior with One UI 5.1 by switching out the screenshots folder.
How to change the default screenshots folder on the Galaxy S23
- Pop into the Settings app on your phone.
- Scroll down to the Advanced Features tab.
- Now tap the Screenshots and Screen Recorder option.
- Select the Save Screenshots option and select an existing folder or create a new folder.
8. Pause USB Power delivery
With great performance comes great battery drain, and many gaming enthusiasts tend to keep their smartphones chained to the charger during long hours of gaming. Samsung’s new pass-through charging setting is the perfect way to reduce overheating during, ahem, heated gaming sessions and to prevent undue stress on the battery. When activated, the phone draws power directly from the charger and bypasses the battery circuit.
Here’s how to activate the pause USB Power Delivery feature on the Galaxy S23
- Open the Game Launcher app on your Galaxy S23.
- Tap the Game Booster settings under the overflow menu and select the Pause USB Power Delivery option.
- In case the option doesn’t show up, you might have to install a game and launch it through Game Launcher while connected to a charger.
9. Try out the improved multitasking experience
Samsung phones offer multiple ways to maximize the multitasking capabilities of your phone. You can choose a split-screen mode or pop-up view to access two apps simultaneously. The pop-up view is an excellent way to juggle multiple apps simultaneously, as it lets you resize the window dynamically or drop it into a floating widget. So far, dropping an app into the pop-up windowed mode has required several steps and taps in the multitasking window. With the Galaxy S23, Samsung is debuting a new gesture to quickly trigger the mode.
Here’s how to activate the pop-up view shortcut on the Samsung Galaxy S23
- Tap the settings button and scroll down to Advanced Features.
- Head into the Labs sub-menu.
- Now, toggle on the Pop-up View switch.
- Swipe down to the middle of the screen from the top-right corner to activate the pop-up view.
10. Check out the improved Dex Mode
Dex Mode on Samsung phones has long been an underutilized gem. Capable of turning the phone into a very usable computer, Dex Mode delivers a computer-like experience with full-windowing support. This year, Samsung has updated Dex further and improved its responsiveness. Building on multi-tasking and split-view capabilities, Samsung has added a few improvements to Dex as well.
For example, it is impossible to snap a window to a side. Snapping the window automatically adds a list of additional apps to fill up the other side. Corner snapping has also been improved and lets you bring up a four-screen layout of apps that fill up the four corners of the screen.
11. Pick up a charger
Samsung has traditionally been risk-averse to ultra-fast charging, and its latest phones continue to top off at 45W. However, things aren’t quite as straightforward. While the entry-level S23 charges at up to 25W over the USB Power Delivery PPS standard, the Plus and Ultra can go up to 45W. Suffice it to say that picking out the right charger can be challenging. More so since the charger isn’t bundled in the box. Don’t fret; we’ve got you covered with our pick of the best Galaxy S23 chargers.
Those were some of our favorite Galaxy S23 tips for an optimal experience right out of the box, but you might also want to check out our list of last year’s Galaxy S22 tips for more interesting things to check out in your new Samsung phone. Got some more tips? Drop them below in the comments section.