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Motion and gesture options on the Galaxy S6

Falling back to earth after the gesture heyday of the Galaxy S4, the settings for motion and gesture control on the Galaxy S6 can be summed up to just a single page in the settings. That's an issue for the few folks who loved all of the crazy things you could do by moving the phone and waving your hand all around it, but for most people the settings that are left behind are the ones that were always worth considering.

When you head into the Motions and gestures area of the settings you'll only see four options, and that makes things pretty simple. You can toggle on any combination of these gestures to tweak how your phone acts in various situations. They won't interfere with each other or cause your phone to do crazy things, but for the most part they're actually useful.

Direct call

Direct call really saves you a few extra taps when you go to make a call on the phone. Whenever you have a call log entry, message or contact card pulled up on the screen, simply lift the phone to your ear and it'll dial that person. Keep in mind that if you have multiple phone numbers associated with a contact, direct call will dial the first (primary) number in the list.

Smart alert

This is the most ambiguous and questionably-useful feature of the bunch. Smart alert is supposed to alert you to missed notifications by vibrating when you pick up the phone — presumably reminding you that something arrived while you were away. Considering most people can simply press the power or home button and see all available notifications — and what apps they're related to — at a glance, we're not so sure this is a great feature. Knowing that you received a notification and then still having to turn the phone on to see it kind of defeats the purpose.

Mute

This one's kind of a double whammy. When turned on, you can silence alarms or incoming calls in two new ways — by covering the screen with your whole hand, or by flipping the phone over face-down on a surface. We hesitate to encourage making a habit out of putting your phone face-down on hard surfaces, but the option to simply cover the screen with your hand rather than fumble around with on-screen swipes or buttons is definitely useful.

Palm swipe to capture

This is the secondary method for taking a screenshot on the Galaxy S6, and is a suitable replacement for pressing and holding the power and home buttons. When you toggle it on, you can hold the edge of your palm against the phone's screen and swipe across it to capture a screenshot. It works best when you're already holding the phone in one hand, and doesn't remove the ability to capture a screenshot the normal way.

These four gesture and motion options aren't going to change your life, but they can provide a nice bit of extra functionality to your phone without being overwhelming. Give them a try, and find which ones work best for you with how you're using the Galaxy S6.

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

11 Comments
  • other than direct call I won't use any of these features ... the mute option makes no sense cause u can just simply hit the volume button Posted via the Android Central App
  • I remember smart alert back on the S3. It was useful before we had notifications displayed on the lock screen. You could swipe a little icon (if I remember correctly) and get right into the SMS app or call logs. Now, it isn't as useful.
  • It also has "gesture wake up" under Accessibility > Dexterity and interaction - wave your hand over the sensor and the screen comes on.
  • I had no Idea, thanks! Just like my Moto X! Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah I've loved that since the S4. No idea how it impacts battery life on the S6, though.
  • Yeah, i don't understand why they buried that feature in Accessibility.
  • Thanks for the tip! This feature is very useful... Posted via my Galaxy S6 edge...
  • Yes, I was very happy to find this. I loved the feature on my Moto X. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I use them all on my s3, to mute a phone call or alarm in the morning very easy, direct call is nice but not often used since who calls these days lol, smart alert I don't always check my phone so it useful to know I got a notification, those that always need check won't make a difference, and palm swipe to capture is fun and easy to use
  • Smart alert is useful for me. If I was away from my phone and scoop it up as I am rushing out the door, the vibration lets me know I missed a notification and I know to check it as I'm heading out. Palm Swipe to capture sucks, on the other hand. I find it hard to do without pressing something on screen or scrolling by accident
  • It would be nice if swipe up gave either the open/recent apps or athe apps. Yes, stolen from webos.