With a new software update, Samsung lets you increase your GS7's information density dramatically — at the expense of one or two things looking a little weird.

Phones are getting bigger with each release cycle, but new devices don't always let us see more stuff on the screen at once. This is an issue Samsung has attempted to solve with a new addition to the Galaxy S7 series: "display scaling." Simply put, this lets you not only adjust the size of fonts — as Samsung phones have for some time — but the way the entire user interface is scaled.

Galaxy S7 condensed mode setting

But first, it's worth noting that not all Galaxy S7 models have been updated with this feature. It popped up under "Display settings" on our European Galaxy S7 edge with the latest April update; meanwhile our U.S. devices aren't seeing this addition. So it's possible it'll arrive in some countries later than others. (And thanks to the vagaries of the U.S. carrier system, some operators may even choose not to include it.)

If your GS7 has the display scaling feature, you'll find it under Settings > Display settings, between "Font size" and "Icon backgrounds."

Once selected, you'll have two options to choose from. The first, standard, is the way your Galaxy S7 works out of the box, with large-ish menus, icons and text. The second, "condensed," lets you fit more on screen by making just about everything a little smaller. As you can see in the animation below, that means an extra email shown in Gmail, a smaller status bar, and some tweaks to the way icons and widgets are spaced on the home screen.

Galaxy S7 condensed mode

It's also worth noting that some widgets don't play nice with condensed mode — Google Keep, for instance, has really tiny text when you enable the feature. So it won't be for everyone, which surely is why it's not enabled by default. But it's a great option to have — especially for GS7 edge owners wanting to make better use of that 5.5-inch display.

A few extra ways to get more (or less) stuff on your GS7's screen at a time:

  • Change the font size. This has a less pronounced effect than changing the display scaling level, but it's noticeable all the same.
  • In the Galaxy S7's home screen launcher, long-press on an empty area, then tap "Screen gif" to choose the size of your home screen grid. A 5x5 display will let you fit more stuff on there than the default 5x4 arrangement.