Samsung Gear S2 tips and tricks: Get more from your smartwatch

The hidden features and hacks that you might not find on day one
Samsung Gear S2 tips and tricks

Samsung went with Tizen for its pretty popular Gear S2 smartwatch and that means the usual Android Wear know-how doesn't apply.

We've collected the most useful tips, tricks and hacks we've found for the flagship Samsung smartwatch so far. If you're looking for a list of the best Samsung Gear S2 apps, head over to that feature. This is (mainly) about how to get the most out of its customisation and controls.

Read this: Our Samsung Gear S3 first impressions

Set up a passcode

If you want to set a PIN for when you're not wearing the Gear S2, go to Settings on your watch and select 'Screen lock' then 'PIN'. Enter a four digit PIN code (then again to confirm) and you're done. It then comes up as a cool circular numberpad for you to enter your PIN.

Look out for auto dim

Samsung has been pushing out Gear S2 updates fairly frequently since the smartwatch launched. But one new feature is proving a bit unpopular among S2 users - the latest (March 2016) update brings adaptive brightness i.e auto dimming as you move between indoors and outdoors. There doesn't seem to be a way to turn this off but we'll let you know if we find one.

Swap out your strap

Just to clear this up - you can swap the straps of both Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic models. For the original Gear S2, with its proprietary connectors, we were stuck with Samsung's options and a few collaborations.

Now, there is now a stainless steel band adapter which you can buy so you can attach standard 20mm watch straps.

For the Gear S2 Classic, which fits any strap with a standard 20mm pin, though, you can customise it up without an adapter.

Your Gear S2 now has a flight mode

OK, so you might not like adaptive brightness but if you've been keeping up to date with your S2's software, you'll notice that you can now switch the watch to flight mode, blocking all calls, texts and alerts over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or 3G if you have that model.

You can control the HRM

While it's true that the Gear S2 doesn't have enough tech to replace your Garmin or Polar watch, this is pretty cool.

The Samsung watch will 'continuously' take your heart rate but how continuously you want it to read your pulse is up to you. Depending on how much you hate charging up wearables, you can choose to use only on the spot readings, like Android Wear, or between moderate or frequent readings throughout the day. This is all done within the Settings for the S Health app. Pretty neat.

Set up a double press shortcut

The wonderful thing about both physical buttons - here and on the Pebble - and the Gear S2's rotating bezel is that you can start to get to where you want to be without looking down at the screen.

One example of this is setting up the 'back' button (the top one) to act as a shortcut when you double press it. You can go to 'Add Shortcut' in 'Accessibility' in Settings to do this. We set it up to open the music player but it can also get you straight to recent apps, maps, messages, schedule or third party apps.

Download Here Maps Navigator

Here Maps is preloaded onto the new Gear smartwatch but if you head to Google Play and download the companion Navigator app you can get turn by turn directions too.

You can ask for directions using S Voice - which is so-so for accuracy - and view each step on screen. In most cases this is more useful than the cool, if fiddly, experience of viewing yourself on a tiny map in the full app.

Put the watch in power saving mode

By holding down on the lower down 'home' button on the right hand edge of the device then rotating/swiping down to select it from the simple, two item menu of 'power off' and 'power saving'. (It's also on the main settings menu).

By using a simplified, greyscale homescreen rather than your usual watch face, disabling Wi-Fi and all functions apart from calls, texts and alerts plus limiting performance, this mode actually lasted us a whole work day on 15% when we left the house. In other words, if you forgot to charge the S2 last night and haven't got a charging dock at work, it's not the end of the world.

Turn the wake-up gesture off when out running

One of the things we like about the Gear S2 is how great its wake-up gesture is - we don't know what Samsung has been feeding the smartwatch's gyroscope but it's working. Every time we turn our wrist to check the time, the display bursts into life to show our classic, animated watch face.

But if you're out for a jog and want to save battery, this is the last thing you need as you move your arm while running. Yes, it's one more thing to remember as you head out but it's worth going to 'Device' in settings to switch it off before your morning jog.

Hit up do not disturb

You're getting a coffee with a mate or heading into a meeting- both scenarios that smartwatch makers want you to believe you will use your device to secretly check alerts as no-one notices. Chances are they will notice, the etiquette just hasn't caught up yet.

So swipe down from your watch face then select the middle 'do not disturb' icon to turn off vibrations and the screen until you're ready to go full alerts again.

Check if you're connected or not

Swiping down from the top of the watch face screen also shows your your battery level and whether or not you're connected - and how, with a little Bluetooth icon.

If you aren't connected to your smartphone for whatever reason, you can quickly check the icon - it will say 'standalone' next to it if so. In the 'Connections' screen you can turn Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC (for Samsung Pay) on and off.


  • sambora says:

    how is it possible turn off conituously heart rate?

    • ethang says:

      Yes, you must go into the settings of the S Health app (on the watch).

  • CaptainOzone says:

    Why are there no instructions for the implementation of many of these tips?  For example, HOW does one set up a double-click shortcut?

    • mikueli says:

      You`ll find the option in Gear Manager under Settings!

    • Moonrunner888 says:

      Settings, Accessibility, Add Shortcut.

      There's really not that much on these really should explore your watch.

      • nobrakes says:

        The accessibility setting is no longer on the Gear S2. There is an option to set your double-tap for the home button, but not for the back button. Please update your response or your "tip".

  • Nabidad says:

    In my Gear S2 the time is wrong. How do I set the time in my Samsung S2 smart watch???

    • UnforgivingE says:

      You're just in the wrong time zone.

  • Cap says:

    The wake-up gesture on my new S2 isn't working. I've turned it on and off and tried shaking it. Nothing works. Ideas?

    • datashadow says:

      That happen to mine. I did a factory reset and it worked just fine after. 

      • DaRcCrysys says:

        Just got my SamSung Gear2 today, really liking it other than I have the issue... I can't turn OFF the wake up gesture...  the setting says OFF, but if I move my wrist too much, my whole warm, raise my arm up too high, or look over too far toward the device it wakes up as if I have never touched the settings...

  • rvnmedic says:

    What is the difference between Gear network always on and auto on/off. It's not really explained anywhere

    • Saturna says:

       The Gear’s mobile network is to set Auto on/off by default.

      When the Gear is connected to the mobile device via Bluetooth, the Gear’s mobile network is turned off to save battery power. Then, you cannot receive messages and calls made to the Gear’s own separate phone number.

      To receive messages and calls made to the Gear’s phone number, press and hold the Home key and change the mobile network settings to Always on.

  • Bbmonty says:

    how do you put a passcode on the watch 

    • logic says:

      just hit him with your other fist

  • Sumeet says:

    i have Sony expria z1 call resive function does not work 

  • daniel4609 says:

    been with AT&T for about 3 years went to upgrade me and my wife's phone last night ended up walking out with two brand new Galaxy Note 2 two iPads and two of the G two watches and I couldn't be happier there watches are awesome I do a lot of driving so its very very convenient for me to be able to just speak through the watch and it's fairly simple of navigate to go 18t you're on the right track

  • Minhaz says:

    Why can't I install new app on my Gear S2-Classi?  I am Using a Note 3 paired with my gear.. It always shows error message when I try to install new app on my gear. I have enough space on my Gear memory. Please help  guys..

    • vsguru says:

      I had the same problem for every app I tried to install. Completely shut it off and restarting fixed the problem for me. 

  • Kkruse89 says:

    how do I change the time from 24 hour to 12 hour. I can't seem to figure it out?

    • Geo says:

      It uses the setting from the phone, change it there.

    • Geo says:

      It uses the setting from your phone, change it there.

  • Luimelo123 says:

    Hi everybody,

    I bought a Gear S2 Classic in USA, but there is no portuguese language to SVoice.

    Does anyone know how to add a new language in SVoice?

    Gear S2 sold here in Brazil has portuguese language in SVoice options, so I think that is the firmware...

  • Seban says:

    hi , 

    I brought a gear s2 Classic. I presently have only a iphone which i cannot connect to the watch . And the time in it is wrong. So can you guys tell me how to change the time without using a phone 

  • kivers says:

    Very helpful site.  I view about 8 calendars on my S7 phone.  I only want to view 3 of those on my gear s2 watch in Schedule.  How do I change settings and where to make this happen?

  • Jamabrew96 says:

    i would like to know how many hours do the watch last because i think mine runs out of battery too fast

    • SriForSamsung says:

      It actually depends on how long you use it. For long use 1-2 days. For short use 2-3 days. Charge it overnight.

  • newg2 says:

    Somehow I changed the colors on the G2, all the watch faces are different colors than before.  How do I change them back,  or to something else? 

    • NightTrader says:

      Your color changes may have been done with the "Stylize" option on some of the watch faces. I use it all the time to give my watch a little extra touch of individuality. You can adjust the colors both from the watch and from the Gear app on your phone. I find that there are generally more color options offered using the Gear app.

  • devymandagi says:

    i wanted to buy gear s2 classic. but when i try in the shop, connect with my note, it cannpot receive bbm notification. . i use bbm alot so i need  bbm notif. is this can be fix?? thanks.

  • devymandagi says:

    i want to buy gear s2. when i tried at the store, i connect it with my note 4. it cannot receive bbm notification. I use bbm alot and i need bbm notification. is this true that samsung gear s2 cannot receive bbm notif?? or is this can be fix? thank you. sorry for my bad english.

  • Edr22 says:

    Can I leave my phone at home and use the watch as a standalone device?

    • kmforst says:

      Yes, with the Gear S2 3G you can send/receive texts/phone call on the smartwatch without the phone nearby.  You must connect the device through your cellular provider and then you us NumberSync so calls/texts are forwarded to your Gear S2 3G.  AT&T charges $10/month for the service.

  • Fadia1959 says:

    what can I do if I forget the pin of my gear S2?

  • Alex8210 says:

    So I recently bought a gear s2 classic and I'm trying to pair my watch to my jabees Bluetooth receiver to no avail. Anyone can help me? 

  • Amz6189 says:

    i have just purchased a gear s2 classic and downloaded Agile keyboard. How/can i get it set to swipe??

  • davbez says:

    my S2 stays on standalone mode and is draining the battery how can I change it? It was working before but now will not connect

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