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Six things you need to do immediately after getting the Galaxy S8

There's a lot going on inside the Galaxy S8. From the new design, which does away with much of the front bezels, to the relocation of the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone, the S8 is all new. But there are some holdovers from previous versions of the Galaxy lineup, including a number of software features that were present in previous iterations, updated and brought over to the S8.

To make the transition to the Galaxy S8 an easy experience, here's a list of six things you should do right after getting the phone and turning it on.

1. Make sure the navigation buttons are to your liking

If you're coming from another Galaxy phone, you may not feel the need to change the order of the virtual home buttons, but anyone else may be confused and irritated by the fact that the back button is to the right of the home key on the Galaxy S8.

The good news is that you can change where those buttons live just by going straight into the settings and making a quick switch. While you're there, be sure to pick a background color for your new virtual home and check 'Unlock with Home button' if you want to make unlocking the phone much easier.

How to switch the position of the navigation buttons on the Galaxy S8

2. Set up your preferred unlock method

There are a ridiculous number of ways to unlock your Galaxy S8, and you should take some time after setting it up to try them all out and discover which one works best for you.

Because the Galaxy S8's fingerprint sensor is on the back of the phone, it may be difficult to reach for some people and requires the phone to be picked up from a table to unlock it. So it's a good idea to experiment with two new unlocking features — facial recognition and iris scanning — to see whether or not they suit your needs.

Of course, if neither of them do the trick, a simple wearable should suffice, but either way we'd recommend trying to get face recognition working, since it's nearly as fast and accurate as a fingerprint — and you don't even need to touch the phone.

Oh, and while you're in there setting up the face unlock or iris scanner, do yourself a favor and enable the feature that starts scanning immediately after the screen turns on. It's called "Iris unlock when screen turns on" or "Face unlock when screen turns on" in their respective setup areas.

The difference between iris scanning and face unlocking on the Galaxy S8

3. Enable 'Secure Startup'

It's great to have myriad ways to unlock your Galaxy S8, but great security is your responsibility, especially since, increasingly, your phone is your life and your lifeline.

One way to prevent unwanted hands or eyes on your data — even the notifications on your lock screen — is to enable Secure Startup, which requires a PIN or pattern before you even reach the Android lock screen. This ensures that if your phone is stolen or lost while it's off, no one will be able to see any personal information, since the phone's content is completely encrypted until after the secure unlock code is entered.

Understanding Direct Boot on Android

4. Tame that TouchWIZ launcher

The launcher on the Galaxy S8 is actually pretty darn good, but it can get better pretty quickly. The first way is to give yourself one of Samsung's beautiful Infinity Wallpapers, which shift and luxuriate as you move through the various screens. But unlike other live wallpapers, the Infinity Wallpapers also extend to your lock screen and always-on display, which makes spending some time choosing the right one even more essential.

The TouchWIZ Home launcher is also pretty customizable: You can enable an app drawer button if you'd prefer not to swipe up or down to get to your list of apps, and you can change the home screen grid to 5x5 to fit more on the screen at once. Finally, you can hold down on any home screen to align the icons to the top left or bottom right — or leave them strewn all over the place — to suit your desire for order or lack thereof.

5. Learn your gestures

There must be some advantage to moving the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone, right? Well, Samsung allows you to use it to activate the notification shade by swiping down on that fingerprint sensor. The feature isn't enabled by default, so you're going to want to head to the phone's settings and go to Advanced features and enable Finger sensor gestures.

It seems like a nothing add-on, but once you enable it you'll realize how convenient it is to be able to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor to check notifications, especially right after unlocking the screen.

More: How to quickly get to the GS8 camera with the power button

6. Don't waste that screen space

The Galaxy S8 has a new, taller screen, and some apps don't support that extra vertical space out of the box. But it's easy to force them to — just head to the settings, go to Display and Full screen apps and check off the ones you want to force to fill the whole screen.

Some apps don't look perfect when stretched, but we haven't noticed any that look downright wrong, and that's all we can really ask for, at least until developers build in support for this new, taller format.

In an 18:9 world, we need a new way to quantify screen size

Your turn

What are some of your essential out-of-the-box Galaxy S8 tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

58 Comments
  • I'm pretty sure not everyone NEEDS (or wants) secure startup.
  • No, but no one NEEDS to use a smartphone at all. If you have one though, and have any personal info in it at all, enabling secure startup is a good idea.
  • That may have been true a few years ago, but I think a smartphone is a necessity nowadays. It doesn't have to be an $800+ phone though. That being said, I've got to have this phone. I tried to hold off getting it because I have enough phones already, and currently using an iPhone. But this phone looks awesome.
  • The basic needs haven't changed in at least the last 50,000 years that I'm aware of... Regardless, you missed my point. Just because you don't NEED (all in caps) a thing doesn't mean it's not a good idea to have/use it, saying "no one NEEDS x" is a rather poor point. Realistically, no one NEEDS shoes, I'm not willing to give mine up, though. But at the end of my being a bit of a dick, I'm also a security advocate. Saying no one NEEDS secure boot is like saying no one NEEDS lock screen security... It's technically correct, but it's also technically dumb.
  • I know plenty people with a flip phone and their under 70
  • *they're
  • U still understood Smh lol
  • The taller screen is so dumb. They should just stick with a standard 16:9
  • Trust me, It's beautiful. It's huge and beautiful. The weird aspect ratio doesn't matter when it's pleasing the eyes so much... I've received mine on 21st and I'm literally in love with it.
  • That depends. If everyone makes content for it and it catches on, it might be a new standard. That's a big "if", though.
  • To be honest, I already find it annoying enough having portrait, or even the odd bit of 4:3, content pop up on my TV or monitor. I'm not really in a huge rush to add another format to the mix.
  • Trust me, It's beautiful. It's huge and beautiful. The weird aspect ratio doesn't matter when it's pleasing the eyes so much... I've received mine on 21st and I'm literally in love with it.
  • I agree 100%. I've been using mine for only 6 days and have already fallen in love. with it. Narrower than an iPhone and much bigger screen.
  • I agree. I love my s8 plus but when browsing online there's time when you're typing and the keyboard literally takes up the whole screen and you can't even see the text box. 16:9 needs to remain standard going forward
  • You must be using Chrome.
  • You gotta go into the settings and adjust Zoom and Text Size if you have your screen locked in QHD+ the keyboard scales up for that increase in screen resolution. I noticed that playing around with the screen settings. I keep my phone in 1080, unless I'm watching a video or playing a game, then I turn on Performance Mode in the quick settings panel.
  • So dumb? No comment.
  • Why is 16:9 a standard? Because flat screen TVs are 16:9? Well, about 12 years ago 4:3 was the TV standard so that can't be the reason. Movies are not 16:9 they're 21.15:9 and I believe that the S8 is just a stepping stone for the future when we one day have 21.15:9 phones.
  • 18:9 displays increase the yield per sheet of glass by more than 10% IOW, Samsung saves 10% of the cost of every sheet of glass. LG almost as much. Love or hate the new aspect ratio, but never think it was done for a reason other than making more money.
  • This is why we love you Jerry.
  • or maybe it is genius. Kind of a way to make the screen bigger and not necessarily make it too hard to hold your phone.
  • The taller screen makes it easier to use the multi-app function, and movies aren't shot in 16:9, they are a wider aspect ratio, so the screen fits those better.
    Do you really mean to imply that you want a wider phone?
  • Know what else is dumb? Brussels sprouts.
  • You gots to watch 21:9 content. AMAZING
  • Yeah, more bezels!!!!
  • All I want to do is change the font size on my messages and I'm having a hard time doing that....lol. If anyone knows how please let me know....I can't see a thing the writting is soo small.
  • You can change the system fonts and size in the setting under the display tab. It's system wide though, might not be exactly what you want.
  • Thanks...
  • The answer is "pinch to zoom" homie.
  • You can also turn on swipe up for Samsung Pay on the fingerprint sensor.
  • You left out, Buff that sumbish real good!
  • It's a shame that "tame that TouchWiz launcher" is one of the things you need to do when you get your brand new phone in 2017. Sammy should just be done with that stupid launcher. The first thing I do with any Samsung Android product I own is install Google Now Launcher.
  • Nova ftw!
  • 👍🏼
  • Google Now launcher is no longer supported: you will not be able to download it onto an S8. I used GN launcher exclusively for the past few years, and I can say with all honesty, I like the new TW launcher! It is much more sophisticated than previous iterations, and it actually looks good. I haven't found any use for Bixby yet, so I turned off that screen to the left. Can still access Google Assistant with a long-press on the home button. My advice: try it. You might like it.
  • I am using google Now launcher on my brand new S8. I just downloaded it from Google play. It runs perfectly.
  • Or it's a shame that people don't realize touchwiz hasn't been bloaty since like the s6, arguably the s5
  • it's a shame that you didn't understand what the writer was talking about.
    To 'tame' was used to mean 'learn' how to make all kinds of awesome adjustments like 5x5 icons, live wallpaper, changing app drawer settings, etc. Did you read the article at all? He says TW is good and settings can make it even better, like being able to change back and mt buttons etc he never once says Download Nova out of the box like they did with the LG G6.
  • athenatp
    To change message size
    go to message app and click on the 3 dots on the upper right hand corner.
    Then click on settings and then on Font size and then turn off >use phone font size<.
    You can also change the size anytime with index finger and thumb while reading a message zoom in out just like you do on the web browser.
  • Step #7: Exchange Galaxy S8/S8+ for a man-sized phone. There; I fixed it for you. You're welcome.
  • You mean for a square slab? Having owned all the Note devices and the S7 edge, I have to say the S8 is a breathe of fresh air. I have big hands. I'm a big dude and nothing about the S8+ feels small or unmanly. Beautiful display and is feels great in hand.
  • What does that even mean??
  • You know... Man sized... Roughly 6 feet high by 2.5 feet across... I'm man sized myself, so that's way too big for me... Presumably the OP is a storm giant.
  • If the S8+ is not large enough for you, you might have freakishly huge hands.
  • The first thing to do is "Insert your SIM card". Because if you do that after you've started setting up the phone, it will merrily proceed with deleting everything you've done so far.
  • Sounds like you learned that the hard way????
  • #1 is a red herring. The buttons are in exactly the right order for most S8 buyers as most of them are previous Samsung owners. I've been using Samsung phones for over 6 years now and the back button on the right is where it should be. Hundreds of millions of people are totally fine with the back button on the right. Don't presume that a small minority of Android users that buy Pixels create a standard.
  • Yeah it would feel strange the pixel way
  • Step 8: set up Samsung pay and take advantage of all the free stuff
  • "Some apps don't look perfect when stretched, but we haven't noticed any that look downright wrong, and that's all we can really ask for, at least until developers build in support for this new, taller format." So we should be happy with a so-called upgrade that degrades the app experience even a little?! And it's worse with the viewing experience
  • The back key is used more than the multitask button by far, yet the stock Android zealots are so passionate about having that button situated so that it's very difficult to reach it all the way across the phone to hit this most used button. Instead, they want the button that is rarely used to be right next to your thumb for some reason.
  • Agreed (if you are among the right handed populous that is)
  • I suggest an application.
    Today Weather - The best weather app with black theme for S8, S8+ (MUST HAVE APP)
  • Set up secure folder, dump all your personal apps in there. Enjoy!
  • I originally set up the facial recognition to unlock the phone and ended up turning it off because it was too fast! Sounds weird, but I'd look at the phone just to see what notifications were there, and it would unlock before I had a chance to really get any info. I've since defaulted to using the fingerprint sensor most of the time, and will probably set up the iris scan since I used to use that, and like it, on my Lumia 950.
  • You can change the facial recognition settings so you have to swipe the screen across first, that stops it unlocking when you just want to check the screen for notifications etc
  • Ah, cool! Don't know why I didn't notice that. Just wasn't paying attention I guess. Thanks!
  • #1 - cover it in bubble wrap :)