How to use Smart Widgets on Galaxy Tab S8

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus home screen with tons of widgets and Smart Widgets
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Samsung Smart Widgets allow you to squeeze up to seven app widgets into a single space on your home screen, letting you swipe between them to gain a bunch of information all at once. 

Originally exclusive to the Galaxy S phones — which benefit more from space-saving tools than tablets, to be fair — Smart Widgets finally came to the Galaxy Tab S8 series several months later. Here's how to use Smart Widgets on the Galaxy Tab S8 and make your home screen more organized and dynamic.

How to add a Smart Widget to the Galaxy Tab S8

Samsung made creating a Smart Widget very straightforward, but you'll have trouble adding one to your Galaxy Tab S8 unless you follow the steps below.

1. If necessary, open Settings > Software update > Download and install and update your tablet to the May software patch or later, which added Smart Widgets to the Tab S8 series. On older software, you won't find the option. 

2. On your home screen, long-press a blank portion of the display to pull up the Overview view. 

(Image credit: Android Central)

3. Tap Widgets. You should see Smart Widget as the first available option, or you can Search for that name; if it isn't there, double-check that you have the latest update downloaded.

(Image credit: Android Central)

4. Tap the drop-down arrow next to Smart Widget; you'll see options for 2x2, 4x1, or 4x2 widgets.

(Image credit: Android Central)

5. Select the option you prefer and tap Add

Your Smart Widget will appear on the Home Screen with a couple of default widgets like Weather or Notes. You can now tap the widget to open the corresponding app, or swipe left or right within the widget to check out the data from each. 

One UI will also "suggest" widgets with data that's relevant to you, meaning it'll default to the calendar widget if you have an impending calendar event.

How to customize your Smart Widget

(Image credit: Android Central)

1. Long-press your widget to pull up a menu of options. 

2. Select Current widget settings to select White or Black as the widget background color and adjust the transparency, if you want. 

3. Hit Save to lock in your changes.

4. Pull up the options menu again and select Add widget. You'll see a list of available widgets from your downloaded Android apps. NOTE: You won't be able to add widgets that don't correspond to the smart widget's size; so the 3x3 Gmail widget won't work in any Smart Widget configuration. 

5. If you add a widget you no longer want, swipe to that app widget, long-press to open the options menu and select Remove current widget

(Image credit: Android Central)

6. Lastly, in the Smart Widget option menu, select Settings. There, you can disable the toggle to Auto rotate widgets based on their current relevance, change widget settings — for example, change your weather widget's zip code — and add or remove widgets from the list.

Get smarter with your tablet

Keep in mind that this shortcut will also work for Samsung phone owners if the device is running the latest One UI 4.1 update. The Galaxy S22, S21, S20, and S20 series phones, plus the recent Z foldables and Note 20 series, should all have access to Smart Widgets. But it's this tool that exemplifies why the Galaxy Tab S8 series tops our best Android tablets list: Samsung's meticulous attention to detail with its software, on top of the excellent specs. 

The Galaxy Tab S8 has all kinds of software tools at your disposal that you may not know about. Our guide on the first 10 things to do with your Galaxy Tab S8 will help you find other settings that will improve your Tab experience. And you may also want to know how to use your Galaxy Tab S8 as a second screen or all the DeX mode shortcuts for a better productivity experience.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.