Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S-Pen
Devices |

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: tips and tricks to make it even better

By Harry Tucker June 8, 2022

So you’ve just got yourself a new Samsung Galaxy S22 series device – you might think it’s already one of the best purchases you’ve ever made, but if you haven’t yet read these tips and tricks you have a lot to discover.

Outside of making some of the best displays of any smartphone manufacturer in the world, Samsung’s other superpower is how it seamlessly blends usability and function straight out of the box with customisation options to take it all even further without getting in the way.

Here’s how to make the most of it.

First Samsung Galaxy? No problem

Incredible cameras, Blue Tick certification, one of the best displays we’ve ever seen on a smartphone and a built in S-Pen. Talk about appealing – and if this is your first Samsung smartphone, you’re going to be in for a treat. Thankfully, if the idea of jumping into a brand new phone interface seems like a daunting task, there are a few things you can do to make that transition seamless.

1. Use Samsung’s Smart Switch App to move all your old data

If there’s one S22 tip that’s going to save you a bucket of time, it’s to download Smart Switch. Whether you’re coming from an iPhone or another Android device, you can download Samsung’s Smart Switch app on your old phone. All you need to do then is connect it to your new Galaxy S22 to bring all your data along for the ride – including your photos, videos, contacts, calendars and notes. If you’re coming from another Android phone, it’ll also bring over your apps, phone settings and even home screen layout.

2. Don’t forget WhatsApp!

WhatsApp saves your message and file history a bit different to most other messaging platforms – using your own personal cloud storage for privacy and security reasons. For most phones, this history can’t be transferred between different operating systems. With the Galaxy S22 though, as part of the Smart Switch process, you can scan a QR code to transfer all your history, regardless of whether you’re coming from iOS or Android.

3. Set up gesture navigation

By default, the Galaxy S22’s interface can be navigated with the standard three button navigation bar. It’s familiar, but it can take up a bit of screen real estate if that matters to you.

If you want more screen space or you’re coming from a phone that’s gesture based instead, you can keep that rhythm up by changing the default on your new Galaxy S22 to gesture navigation.

You don’t need to be Einstein to swap it over either – jump into Settings, search for “navigation bar”, then tap Swipe Gestures and you’re all set.

4. App drawer or no app drawer?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Tips and Tricks - Home Screen

Some phones have a home screen you can customise and a separate app drawer you can open for your full list of apps – while others simply have the home screen that you swipe through for everything. By default, the Galaxy S22 has separate home screens and an app drawer – but you can change this to just the home screen if that’s your preference.

To change it, make a long tap on a blank part of the home screen to open up Home screen settings. Tap into Home Screen Layout, where you’ll then get to pick which option you’d rather.

How to make your Galaxy S22 all about you

Samsung’s One UI 4 and Android 12 lean heavy into personalisation to really tailor the experience just for you. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of it.

1. Match your theme to your wallpaper

Packed inside Android 12 is a personalisation feature Google calls Material You. Essentially, it takes the colours from your phone’s wallpaper and applies them across the phone to things like app icon backgrounds, button backgrounds and sliders. You can play around with these colours inside your wallpaper settings.

2. Download Samsung Good Lock

Samsung Galaxy S22 tips - Good Lock

Samsung Good Lock, in my opinion, is Samsung’s most underrated aspect of owning a Samsung Galaxy S22. It’s an official app in the Samsung Galaxy Store that unlocks a whole bunch more of customisation across your phone and enables more advanced features such as changing app shortcuts on your lock screen, the amount of apps you can have open in split screen, how notifications are displayed and a whole bunch more. Seriously – head to the Galaxy Store now and see what you can do.

3. Samsung’s Smart Widgets

Widgets are great, but it’s not often that you want a glance at information from each widget that you have at the same time – this is where the new Smart Widgets come in. Rather than filling your home screen with multiple widgets, Smart Widgets allows you to stack a bunch of them on top that you can swipe through. It’ll also try and work out over time what it thinks is the most relevant widget for you and put what it thinks on the top of the stack. Super handy!

Tips to take games, photos and movies to another level with the S22

1. Game Launcher and Game Booster for the win

Big gorgeous screens and powerful chipsets are the perfect combination for an awesome gaming phone. Luckily, each device in the Galaxy S22 series ticks these boxes. Samsung takes it even further with its popular Game Launcher and Game Booster features – features so good that we’ve seen Google build something extremely similar right inside Android 12.

Turning these features on gives you quick access to everything mobile gaming is about in 2022. Easily take screenshots, record videos and share them straight to Discord (or a bunch of other game stream platforms). There’s also a special gaming Do Not Disturb mode that blocks out notifications while a game is playing and saves them for when you’re back in a menu screen or lobby waiting (depending on your game).

2. Pro photos with Expert RAW

Samsung Galaxy S22 Series - Expert RAW

If you count yourself a bit of a photographer, or if you’d like to seriously upgrade your Instagram feed – Samsung’s Expert RAW app from the Galaxy Store unlocks the full potential of those awesome cameras. It’s essentially a pro-level camera app that gives you deep manual control over settings such as ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. What’s particularly interesting though compared to the regular camera app is how it takes multi-frame HDR photos in both standard JPEG and in RAW (hence the name!) to edit straight in Adobe Lightroom.

This is a big deal – smartphone computational photography has come so far in recent years, and normally that software magic is lost when exporting in RAW format to edit.

3. Bring the cinema to the palm of your hands with Dolby Atmos

If you haven’t yet experienced Dolby Atmos – it’s the latest surround sound audio standard, sometimes referred to as Spatial Audio. If you think about your standard surround sound and how it can feel like noises are coming from each direction to your left and right – Atmos takes it even further and adds height. By height, I mean it also can sound like noises are coming from above and below you, on top of everything else. It’s truly the best way to watch a movie or play a video game.

You’ll find Atmos in high-end TVs, soundbars and streaming boxes – and also in the Galaxy S22 Series if your headphones support it. To enable Dolby Atmos, go to Settings > Sound quality and effects and then toggle on Dolby Atmos.

Automation to make life easier

1. Screen spam and scam callers

If there’s absolutely one tip you’re going to follow, it’s this one. Built into the phone is a fantastic spam and scam call and SMS screening tool – and it works incredibly well. It essentially has a huge database of known scam and spam phone numbers that get updated daily, and if one of those numbers calls you it’ll either block it automatically or inform you that the number is a suspected spam call while it’s ringing. Every now and then a spam number will slip through, but in my experience, the large majority are screened.

This feature isn’t on by default, but it’s extremely simple to do. Jump into Settings, scroll down and select apps and tap on choose default apps. Once you’re in that screen, scroll down and tap into caller ID & spam and in this page select phone.

2. Make life easy with Bixby Routines

What is Bixby Routines?

Not to be confused with regular Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, Bixby Routines allows you to automate your life across your phone and the rest of your smart devices. It can do things like changing your phone’s settings based on where you are, automate your morning routine or message a friend you’re heading to see to say you’re on the way once you leave your home. Each update Samsung adds even more routines to automate – and they’re things that genuinely make your day to day just that little bit better.

Samsung’s Galaxy S series have always been up there with the best smartphones each year right out of the box. But perhaps the most powerful feature is how much you can add and change across the phone to suit your liking – and with Android 12 and the latest OneUI skin from Samsung, it’s all easier and more powerful than ever.

And once you’re done making the home screen and settings all about you – make the rest of it about you too with accessories to do even more with your S22 and cases to make a statement and keep it safe.

How To |

How to set up an on-screen home button on iPhone

By Gigi Silk May 17, 2022

If you are a rampant iPhone user (like me) and have worn out your poor home button – or if you are someone with a newer iPhone that prefers a button over swipes, here’s how to get an on-screen home button.

How to get iPhone home screen button

You can do this by adding a little ‘accessibility’ button, called AssistiveTouch, on the touch screen that can be used instead of your physical home button to stop you from jabbing at your phone every time you’d like to return to the main screen.

How to turn on AssistiveTouch and the on-screen button

Thankfully you don’t need to be an iPhone expert to work out how to get the on-screen home button working. You can have it set up in 30 seconds:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > Accessibility > Touch
  2. Select AssistiveTouch to turn it on
  3. Use “Hey Siri” to say, “Turn on AssistiveTouch”
  4. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and turn on AssistiveTouch

A little moveable button will appear on screen when you turn on AssistiveTouch and you can drag it to any edge of the screen to use this, and press instead of your home button to return you back to the main menu. Press and drag it around the screen to move it if it’s in your way.

Originally a feature to help in jiffy if your home or volume buttons stopped working, it’s become so much more. On top of being able to be used instead of pressing a button, you can also use AssistiveTouch for:

  • Control Centre
  • Notification Center
  • Spotlight
  • Home
  • App Switcher
  • Speak Screen

We’ve got more tips for your iPhone and other gadgets in our How-To section.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 with the S Pen Pro on a desk with paints
Devices |

How to use the Samsung S Pen to create awesome illustrations

By Sha'an d'Anthes February 13, 2022

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 is a lot of things: from a productivity powerhouse through to an illustrator’s best friend. We take a closer look at the new S Pen stylus accessories for the new Z Fold3, and how you can make the most of it.

We turned the Galaxy Z Fold3 and the incredible new S Pen Pro over to our new friend, Sha’an d’Anthes. You may also know her as incredible Sydney-based illustrator, furrylittlepeach!

If you’ve ever seen or loved a Samsung Galaxy Note device, you know the S Pen: a small stylus that can be used for everything from note taking to a handheld media remote.

Even though there’s no new Galaxy Note in 2021, Samsung has brought not one but two S Pens to the party for use with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3. Plus the new Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first S series device to have the S Pen built in, too.

Here’s what they both do.

What is the S Pen Fold Edition?

The S Pen Fold Edition is the smaller, go-everywhere kind of stylus. If you’re a Galaxy Z Fold3 user who loves to take notes, doodle over images and draw the occasional sketch, you’re going to want to check this out.

It’s slimmer than the S Pen Pro, more portable and features a slim 1.5mm pen tip so it feels more like a real pen than a stylus.

It only works with the Galaxy Z Fold3, and doesn’t use Bluetooth which means that while you don’t have to charge it, you also can’t use it for things like Samsung’s Air Command features.

But because the S Pen can’t be docked with the unit this time, you get a snazzy leather case for your device when you purchase which has a built-in nook for the stylus.

What is the S Pen Pro?

This is the one that I prefer to go for. Especially if you have multiple Samsung devices.

Samsung S Pen Pro being used on the Galaxy Z Fold 3

The S Pen Pro is bigger, heftier and more capable than its smaller and more portable sibling.

It has its own battery – with a claimed life of 16 days – and Bluetooth which means it can work cross-device on everything from your Z Fold3 to your compatible Galaxy tablets.

In fact the Bluetooth in the S Pen Pro is so clever, you can smart snip something on your phone, store it in the S Pen Pro and drop it onto another device like a tablet or laptop (as long as they’re both signed into the same Samsung account). Crazy right?

The S Pen Pro is an illustrator’s best friend, and I went and found one to put it to the test.

Tips for getting started with the new S Pen

Over the years I’ve shared my process with my audience online (on Instagram, Youtube and now TikTok), and I want to share how I create work on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 so you can get the most out of it too!

What inspired my illustration?

I loved the idea of including a glowing pink roofed phone booth as a subtle nod to Telstra in this illo. When I was looking up photos of the phone booths I loved the beacon like glow they had at night – this prompted me to paint a night scene so I could capture it and balance it with the glow of the stars and the moon.

I’ve also based the palette on the Telstra brand colours The rural landscape is a nod to Telstra’s coverage – I think they have the largest coverage out of all the telecom providers, so no matter how far you are, they are there [Ed: we do! Thanks Sha’an!].

Samsung S Pen pro being used to mix colours on the Galaxy Z Fold 3

While creating, I loved the big, 6.2-inch screen! The bigger the screen, the better when it comes to creating, editing and viewing images and illustrations on a phone.

Also, the S-Pen has always been a mobile game-changer for me. The fact that there is a phone stylus that is pressure and angle sensitive akin to those used on professional graphics tablets is awesome. It means that I have a studio in my pocket AND that I can create wherever I am without also carrying a tablet or sketchbook.

Colour is such an important part of my work and so I always start there by creating a palette to pull from.

Next, create a loose sketch, and bring down the opacity so you can use it as a guide. Fill in the large blocks of colour first.

Then add texture. Drawing with the S-Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a completely different experience.

Samsung S Pen Pro used to produce different pressured lines on the Z Fold 3

Unlike a regular stylus, the S-Pen uses pressure sensitivity which means that you can vary the size and look of a line using pressure alone – no fiddling around with settings – we don’t have time for that we have things to make!

Lastly, we’ll add some of the finer details. Voila – your work is ready to share with the world!

How To | Tech and Innovation |

How to improve battery life on your Android phone

By Sunil Joseph January 11, 2022

Google’s Android operating system continues to get better and better with each new release. Can you believe we’re already up to Android 12?! For all those Android users, whether you’re rocking a Samsung, Pixel or anything else – here are a few quick and easy things to look at to improve your Android phone’s battery life.

There are loads of things that will help your battery life, but a lot of those tips can be more complicated or technical than they’re worth. So we thought we’d pull together some of the easiest and quickest things you can try that will help you loads.

1. Check battery usage to see what’s draining your phone

The first step is simple, find out what is actually hogging your battery life and then do something about it. The easiest way to check your battery usage is by going into your settings. Your menu might visually look a little different, but the steps should be roughly the same across devices.

  • Either swipe, type or search for your phone’s Settings
  • Once you’re in there, scroll to Battery to get a basic look at your apps’ power usage
  • Tap on Battery Usage to learn in more detail
Samsung Android One UI Battery usage tips

2. Turn down the screen brightness and set to automatic (or adaptive)

As you can see from the above screenshots, the ‘Screen’ is a big battery hog. With such big, highly detailed screens on your phones these days, it is no surprise they need the most power. Keeping your phone’s brightness to automatic so the phone can adapt to your current lighting situation is the best way to manage it in general. But, if you need to boost your display’s brightness manually, here’s how:

  • Pull down from your status bar up the top of the phone, near the clock
  • You should see a brightness slider in the quick-settings menu now – some phones only half open the menu, so if you don’t you may need to swipe down again to see the full menu including slider
  • Slide your brightness to the desired level and you’re set! You may need to temporarily untick the automatic brightness option if it keeps changing by itself. Just don’t forget to turn it back on when you’re done.
Android 12 brightness slider

3. Use dark (night) mode even in the day

Dark Mode is one of the most useful features of a modern smartphone. Not only does it make your screen easier to look at when the lights are off and lines of code easier read, it can also save you quite a bit of battery on the right phone. That right phone is any phone with an AMOLED or OLED phone – any Samsung Galaxy S device from the last couple of years, or Google’s latest Pixel phones, for example. To oversimplify what’s going on here – OLED (and AMOLED) technology is able to completely turn off individual pixels on your screen when it needs to display black. So when you have Dark or Night Mode on, your phone’s display won’t need to power as many pixels depending on how much black is on your screen.

You might need to go in to some apps to change their settings individually for this, but most apps these days will respect your phone’s default choice. Here’s how to set it:

  • Go to Settings–>Display and tap Night Mode. Some devices might also call it Dark Mode.

It’s as easy as that! Most phones will also have an option to set it to turn off and on automatically depending on time of day or even to line up with sunrise and sunset.

4. Turn on battery saver or power-saving mode

This is an easy task and can save a lot of battery life depending on how you use your phone, particularly how many apps run in the background. Most phones these days offer some kind of battery or power saving mode to help reduce battery drain by limiting things like screen brightness, always-on display, processor speed and background notifications. If you know you’re going to be out all day without a chance to top up the battery, you should be able to squeeze an extra couple of hours by turning this on at the start of the day.

5. Restart your phone

It might sound a bit silly, but this could genuinely help. Sometimes apps can get stuck in the background and use extra amounts of your phone’s resources which drain its power – when you turn your phone off and on, your apps are all fully closed too. So when you turn it back on, if you had any apps misbehaving, they’ll return to the best behaviour after a clean start.

Bonus tip: limit your high battery use apps

We mentioned right at the top checking which apps use the most battery. If you pay enough attention, you might see an app you don’t expect or use often that’s draining your battery, many phones will let you limit its background usage. In that same battery usage screen, tap into the app where you should see an option to limit its background activity.

Devices | How To | Tech and Innovation |

How to take incredible portrait photos with Google’s Pixel 6 Pro

By Tommy Kuo December 16, 2021

They say that the best camera you have is the one you have on you, and with modern smartphones improving year on year, there are even more photography technologies available in our latest devices.

I took the new Google Pixel 6 Pro out for a spin, shooting some everyday photos of a friend to find out if Google’s latest Pixel lives up to the hype.

The new Pixel 6 Pro

Google have really taken their photography up a notch with their camera. With the some of the best computational photography technology in the game and new pro-level lenses, it means you get the best of both worlds in terms of photography software and hardware on a smartphone.

The back of the device hosts 3 lenses, firstly the 50 MP wide (f/1.85 aperture) for everyday shots, allowing big prints and letting in plenty of light. Secondly, a 48 MP telephoto (f/3.5 aperture) for shots of subjects further away (that’s a lot of megapixels!). And a 12 MP ultrawide (f/2.2 aperture) for those wider lens needs.

All of them are sharp, clean and bright. Everything you expect from a high quality lens. Also, the Pixel 6 Pro makes leaps of improvements from their previous Pixel 5, in fact the Pixel 6 Pro captures 150% more light thanks to its new larger main sensor. This helps with any low light/night photography, which is handy more often than you think.

The Pixel 6 Pro also allows you to capture 4x optical zoom, retaining all of that image information optically, versus digitally. While all those upgrades are awesome to have, you’ll get way more out of the Pixel 6 if you know how to make the most of it with a few photography basics.

4 tips for incredible portrait photos

Tip 1 – Take lots of photos! While you’re framing your shot with your device, it is ideal to take multiple shots of the same ‘framing’. This is because there are small details within the environment or about the subject you might not notice, including the way hair flies, the subject’s facial expression, moving objects in the background, and also slight changes in positioning. By capturing more shots rather than less, you will have more options in your Gallery to select as your perfect shot.

Tip 2 – Shoot motion. Whether it’s a hand adjusting hair, walking on the street, or hair flying in the wind, photos that freeze a frame in motion just seem to feel more natural. I like to give directions to my subject to perform small, repeatable actions or gestures that I can capture to make a shot feel authentic and natural.

Tip 3 – Framing your shot. When I was shooting with the Pixel 6 Pro, I used the guidelines feature in the settings to help frame my shot. Below this is a demo of how I use it. It’s pretty simple. I like to use the guides to help frame my half-body shot starting with the vertical axis, approximately two-thirds of the portrait subject (person) and one-third environment. Then looking horizontally depending on how they are angled, generally, keep the subjects face close to the centre grid space. Below you can see I had my subject’s body on an angle. Since she’s on an angle, I found it optically balanced to keep her face in the top left side of the centre grid.

Tip 4 – Make use of shadows. I love to shoot in places where there’s a mix of sun and shadow in the same spot. Shadows can play a big role in contouring the face, softening the lighting and also providing interesting shapes to work with in your photo. Below is an example of how shadows can be used on the wall to make interesting patterns and shapes with the leaves, and also spotted lighting on her hair and face for more artistic effect! Gotta love shadows.

Making the most of the Pixel 6 Pro

To my surprise, I also really enjoyed using Portrait Mode Blur when editing my photos. The technology has come a long way to make depth of field look very convincing, especially when used subtly and sparingly. This is a great way to bring out your subject in your photo.

Skin tones is another thing that I see a lot of smartphones struggle with. However on the Pixel 6 Pro, skin tone is captured very authentically. Google have really prioritised accurate representation of all skin tones for this device, and that is something that I love to see.

One of the real things that I love about the Pixel 6 Pro though is how advanced their editing technology is for photography. Take the Magic Eraser tool for example, with it I’m able to use AI technology to remove any unwanted objects or photo bombers from my photo.

I loved using the Google Pixel 6 Pro! Not only is it a great smartphone for everyday use, I also found the camera capabilities and technology to be perfect for how I like to capture life day to day.