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How to customize the Galaxy S8's Always On Display

Even when your Galaxy S8's display is "off," it isn't really off. Always On Display triggers right away, and continues to show you useful information that's available at a glance so you don't always have to turn on the whole display just to check the time or see if you have notifications. It's a neat tool that works well right out of the box, but is even better once you get into the settings and customize things a bit.

How to customize Always On Display

To get started with customizing the Always On Display, head to Settings, Lock screen and security then Always On Display. Now let's see what's in there and what you can do with it.You have six different main clock styles to choose from: digital clock, analog clock, world clock, calendar, image and edge clock. They're all pretty self-explanatory and have small previews of what they look like generally.

  1. The customization options differ based on which of the styles you're working from, but basically come down to the clock style, color and background.
  2. With a few of the styles you'll also be able to tap on blank spots on the screen to add more information like a second clock or an image.
  3. To change different aspects of the screen, tap the buttons at the bottom of the editor to see the different options — swipe to the left to see extra options, if available.
  4. Once you're all tuned up just how you like it, tap Apply at the top of the screen.
  5. By default, the phone is set to always show the Always On Display (I mean, it's right in the name!) but you don't have to keep it that way — you can set a schedule for when it is turned on.
  6. For example you can only have it on during the working day, and off at night, to save battery.
  7. Scroll to the correct start time, then tap End and scroll to the correct end time and tap OK to set the schedule.

After a little back-and-forth tweaking things, you'll find a combination of styles and settings that work for you. It's a great way to customize the look and functionality of your Galaxy S8.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

21 Comments
  • I wish there was an option to only come on when there was a notification.
  • The one thing I miss from my S7 Edge was the ability to have the Edge clock replace the AOD on a schedule. Now, edge clock is one of the AOD choices, so it can be scheduled, but you can't toggle between two of them on a schedule.
  • I agree. Very frustrating to have this disappear.
  • As improved as it is this year, it's still not close (even a little) to Moto Display in terms of usablity. =(
  • Moto Display is awful. I'm not just saying that because I prefer Samsung's way or Nokia before Samsung copied that. I also have a spare Moto and Moto display is the most frustrating thing I've ever encountered.
  • I've never had an issue with it, and it's widely regarded as the best implementation of this kind of tech, so I'm curious about what has made it frustrating for you.
  • I think Nokia had the best implementation.
  • I personally hate the fact it isn't actually always on the screen unless I leave the phone unlocked and on charge. For me I want my Always On Display to always be on so I can see information on the phone without having to interact with it.
    Also for me and it maybe really is just me but, I find when picking up the phone and a notification appears on the lockscreen and I miss hit it or don't get the action correct 1st time I lose it. I'm sure a lot of people love it and I've heard a lot of people on here say great things about it but it's just not the way I like it. I had Glance on all my Nokia/Microsoft Lumia phones and found that pretty much perfect so when Samsung copied it almost exactly I was more than happy. I just wish they'd also copied having the ability to show detailed information for one app's notification and a night mode like Glance does too
  • Leaving it unlocked and on charge sounds like a phone issue not Moto Display issue because I've never had that happen to me. The rest just sounds like user preferences. Personally, I always found it enjoyable, especially being able to interact with each notification without the entire screen needing to be turned on like it does on the Samsung's. Plus, having those sensors and being able to just wave your hand over the screen to make the display turn on when you wanted it was a neat touch. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the always-on display of the S8, I just wish they made interacting with it better. I mean, right now I have a notification for Inbox showing. I would love nothing more than to just hold down on it, see what it is, and open it, delete it, or ignore it with a quick swipe rather than having to double tap on that, unlock my phone, and be taken to the actual email itself. It's just a little too cumbersome imo.
  • How often does the clock move with AOD on? It doesn't seem like mine is moving around unless I unlock and lock my device.
  • From what I've been able to find, they changed it so it moves only a pixel at a time because some people complained last year that it moved too much and was a distraction. I just wonder, why don't they make this an adjustable setting instead of one or the other?! Currently there is NO user option as to whether it moves a lot or a little, it's just stuck on whichever they decide is in your best interests at the time...
  • I think giving the user the option would be a better idea. Thanks for your help
  • Does it use proximity sensor to turn off when it's in the pocket?
  • Indeed it does. I've checked mine to be sure it's turning of in the pocket and so far it always has.
  • NotoriousNeo: rather than having to double tap on that, unlock my phone, and be taken to the actual email itself. It's just a little too cumbersome imo.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ totally agree and one of the primary reasons I returned my s8+
  • 😂
  • Is there or will there be new "animated" AODs like the ones Samung preloaded on the device? I hate I can't enable one and use a custom wallpaper or lockscreen.
  • Thanks. Can you dim the AOD?
  • Good question. Also can you just manually turn it off say right before bedtime then turn it back on again the next morning?
  • you should probably update the article to start your how-to steps earlier? - i.e. how do you GET to the AOD settings screen. i know i've had a hard time finding/remembering at times...i always look in the Display settings, but it's actually under lock screen settings further down.
  • If in doubt just open settings and type what you're looking for in the search bar. Always On Display will appear by the 3rd letter you type in. Same for any setting you may be looking for