25 Samsung Galaxy Watch tips and features: Essential hidden features for your smartwatch

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Wareable samsung galaxy watch tips
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If you have the Galaxy Watch 5 or Galaxy Watch 4 on your wrist, discovering its hidden tricks and features will help you understand it to the fullest. 

Google's Wear OS 3 software is relatively intuitive to navigate around, but there are still plenty of things that aren't immediately obvious - especially if you're new to Samsung smartwatches.

That can even extend to really basic things, such as turning it off, rearranging apps or performing a soft reset. And that's where this guide can help.

After spending plenty of time getting to know these smartwatch generations - and the latest version of Wear OS - we've detailed 25 essential things to try on your Galaxy Watch.

How to turn on the always-on display mode

Wareablealways on display galaxy watch

Out of the box, the Galaxy Watch doesn't have the always-on screen mode enabled. If you want to check in on the time at all times, you need to do the following:

Swipe down from the main watch screen to reveal the quick settings.

1. Tap the cog to open settings.

2. Scroll down to Display and search for the Always on Display option, then tap to enable.

Once this is done, you'll be able to view the home screen without having to raise it to wake it up. 

How to re-arrange apps

Wareablerearrange apps galaxy watch

To rearrange apps on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or Galaxy Watch 4, follow these steps:

1. Swipe up from the main watch screen to reveal the app screen.

2. Find an app you want to move and tap and press to select it.

3. Drag the app into a new position and then let go of the screen.

4. You can perform the same action if you want to uninstall an app from your Watch 4 too.

How to turn off the Samsung Galaxy Watch 

Wareablehow to turn off galaxy watch

If you need to entirely turn your Watch 4 off, there are a couple of quick ways to do so. 

The first way is to swipe down from the main watch screen. Once you do, you'll find a standby button - a bit like the one on a remote control - that will let you turn off the watch.

Alternatively, you can hold both physical buttons on the side of the watch and that will quickly push you to the same screen.

Organize your quick settings

Wareablechange settings galaxy watch

A great alternative to laboring through menus, the Galaxy Watch's quick settings are really handy when you want to make easy adjustments to core features. 

It's here where you can find things like the do not disturb mode, the flashlight and the screen brightness slider. You also have control over what settings are shown here and where they live.

To re-arrange the Galaxy Watch's quick settings:

1. After bringing up the quick settings by swiping from the home screen, tap and press an icon and keep your finger on the icon to drag it to another position. Alternatively, you can choose to remove the setting icon selected, and it'll be replaced by a new one.

2. If you want to add a new setting, swipe left to get to the last screen and hit the '+' icon to add a new shortcut setting.

Connect to exercise machines

Wareableconnect exercise equipment galaxy watch

The Galaxy Watch is capable of being wirelessly connected to compatible exercise equipment in a similar way that the Apple Watch can through its GymKit platform.

This way, you can use the onboard heart rate sensor alongside data from machines like treadmills for a more comprehensive overview of your workout. To do this, you need to:

1. Go to the Samsung Health app on your Watch.

2. Scroll all the way down to 'Settings', then 'Connected services'.

3. Tap the toggle next to 'Heart rate to transmit heart rate data'.

4. You can additionally choose to use your 'Profile (height, weight, gender)' during this mode to better estimate calorie burn.

Turn off the touch bezel

Wareableturn off touch bezel galaxy watch

Samsung's bezel was a signature feature in previous smartwatches. However, if you're not really finding the digital, touch bezel useful on your Galaxy Watch, you can disable it. 

To turn off the touch bezel on your Galaxy Watch:

1. Go to 'Settings' and then scroll to 'General'.

2. The mode to disable the touch bezel should feature at the top of the 'General' page.

Connect the Galaxy Watch to TVs

Wareableconnect galaxy watch to tv

To connect the Galaxy Watch to a Samsung TV:

1. Go to the Samsung Health app on your Watch.

2. Scroll down to 'Settings'.

3. Scroll down to 'Connected services' and select 'TV'

4. Tap the toggle button to show heart rate and calorie burn on your TV.

How to turn off continuous heart rate monitoring

Wareabledisable continuous heart rate galaxy watch

If you're not particularly fussed about keeping close tabs on your heart rate, there is a way to turn that continuous monitoring off. This will likely give battery life a boost, too.

To adjust heart rate monitoring settings on the Galaxy Watch:

1. Go to the Samsung Health app on your Watch.

2. Scroll to 'Settings', then tap 'Measurement'.

3. You now have the option to switch to monitoring HR every 10 minutes while still, or you can select the manual monitoring option.

You have the same option for stress monitoring, too, which uses heart rate variability measurements. Again, changing the setting here will positively impact battery life.

Check how much battery life you have left

Wareablehow to check battery galaxy watch

Handily, you can view battery percentage simply by swiping down from the main watch screen. However, Samsung also adds a battery screen where you can see an estimate of battery life in days - and also see the difference in battery life if you were to turn to the power saving mode.

To check the battery life of the Galaxy Watch:

1. Swipe down from the main watch screen to view quick settings and tap the cog icon to open 'Settings'.

2. Scroll to 'Battery' and you can see that battery life estimate in full smartwatch mode, along with an estimate if you choose to switch to that power saving mode.

Reset the Galaxy Watch

Wareablehow to reset galaxy watch

To fully reset the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or Galaxy Watch 4:

1. Swipe down from the main watch screen to view quick settings and tap the cog icon to open 'Settings'.

2. Select 'General' and scroll down to 'Reset'.

3. Providing you don't need to back up data, hit the 'Reset' option again to confirm.

Change your targets

Wareableadjust activity galaxy watch

Whether you're smashing your daily step counts targets or you want to decrease the time you get a sweat on, there's a really easy way to change your Activity targets. Here's what you need to do:

1. Swipe left from the main watch screen and locate the Activity Tile (heart-shaped icon).

2. Tap on the Tile and scroll down to 'Set targets'.

3. From here you can adjust 'Steps', 'Active time' and 'Activity calorie targets'.

Turn on automatic exercise detection

Wareableautomatic workout detection galaxy watch

Samsung supports the ability to automatically track a range of exercises including running, indoor rowing and stepping up onto the elliptical machine.

You can additionally automatically record your location when it detects you're walking or running.

To enable this feature, go to the Samsung Health app and go to 'Settings'. Select Auto-detect workouts and you'll be able to enable tracking for the five different support activities, along with the location recording.

Keep your Samsung apps updated

Wareableautomatic updates galaxy watch

If you want to quickly check if you're running the latest version of Samsung's own apps, like Health and Bixby, there's a way to see if there are any app updates available.

To check if your Samsung apps are updated, go to 'Settings' and then select 'Apps'.

Scroll down to Samsung app updates. If an update is available, it will show up offering you the option to update.

Change the font size

Wareablechange font size galaxy watch

If you're finding it difficult to absorb data screens or would prefer to text to look a bit larger (or smaller), you do have the ability to adjust the font size on the Galaxy Watch. 

1. Go to 'Settings' and then select 'Accessibility'.

2. Select 'Visibility enhancements' and then 'Font size' - you can pick from small, medium and large font sizes.

Use gesture controls for handling calls

Wareableset up gesture controls galaxy watch

There are a couple of ways to interact with the Galaxy Watch without having to press a button or tap that touchscreen display.

When the phone starts to ring, there are two gestures you can enable to answer or dismiss. To turn these gestures on:

1. Go to 'Settings' and then 'Advanced features'.

2. Scroll to 'Gestures' and look for 'Answer calls and dismiss alerts and calls'. Tap to turn on each gesture.

Turn off all sounds

Wareablehearing accessibility galaxy watch

Samsung gives you the option to drown out all the noise including alerts and tones, which is ideal if you want to enjoy a quiet smartwatch experience.

To turn off all the sounds on the Galaxy Watch:

1. Go to 'Settings' and then select 'Accessibility'.

2. Next, tap 'Hearing enhancements' and tap the toggle next to 'Mute all sounds'.

Check your storage

Wareablehow to check storage galaxy watch

For those taking full advantage of piling apps, photos and music onto their Galaxy Watch, there is a way to see how much storage you've got to play with.

To view storage space on your Galaxy Watch:

1. Go to 'Settings' and then 'About Watch'.

2. Tap 'Storage' and you'll see available space along with how much space is taken up by images, audio, apps and watch faces.

View media controls

Wareablemedia controls galaxy watch

Being able to control the music playing back on your smartphone is one of the great things about having a smartwatch. The Galaxy Watch supports this feature, though you might find it's disabled out of the box.

To turn on media controls, do the following:

1. Go to 'Settings' and then 'Display'.

2. Scroll to find 'Show media controls' and tap to turn those controls on.

Enable power saving and watch only modes

Wareablebattery saving mode galaxy watch

With the Galaxy Watch, you're playing with around a couple of days of battery life, but there are ways to make sure you enjoy the maximum battery life between charges.

You can turn on the power saving mode, which isn't as restrictive as it sounds and does still give you access to most of the key features. The watch-only mode, on the other hand, keeps things basic and will let you only view the time.

To turn these modes on:

1. Go to 'Settings' and then 'Battery'.

2. From here, you can view watch-only and power-saving modes, with the latter letting you see how much extra battery you can expect compared to normal battery mode.

Hear notifications read out to you

Wareableread out notifications galaxy watch

This is a useful feature if you've got a pair of Bluetooth headphones hooked up to your watch and don't have easy access to the screen to see your notifications.

To get notifications read out to you, simply go to 'Settings' and then 'Notifications' and scroll down to 'Read notifications aloud' and tap to turn on this feature.

Change the button controls

Wareablechange back button galaxy watch

You do have the ability to change what the physical home and back buttons are capable of controlling.

With the top home key, you can alternatively double-press it to open any of your installed apps. The back key can be used to let you quickly view the most recent apps.

To access these controls:

1. Go to 'Settings' and then 'Advanced features'.

2. Next, select 'Customise keys' and you'll now be able to assign those new controls.

Turn on snore detection

Wareableturn snore detection on galaxy watch

The Galaxy Watch devices offer a couple of features that help deliver a rich sleep tracking experience. That includes monitoring blood oxygen levels, and the ability to detect when you've been snoring during sleep, too. You might find you'll need to turn these additional features on first to start tracking them.

Here's how to turn on the Galaxy Watch's snore detection:

1. Go to the Samsung Health app and then select 'Settings'.

2. Tap 'Measurement' and then select 'Snore detection'.

Rearrange and edit Tiles

Wareableedit tiles galaxy watch

For the uninitiated, Tiles in Wear OS are widgets that provide a handy shortcut into a third-party app. You can swipe left from the main watch screen to view them. You can also tinker with where those Tiles live, and even edit what some Tiles can display. 

To rearrange Tiles on the Galaxy Watch:

1. Swipe to a Tiles screen and tap and hold.

2. Continue to hold and drag it into a new position.

Change vibration settings

Wareableadjust vibration setting galaxy watch

If you're worried about missing an important notification or call, you can adjust vibration settings on the Galaxy Watch to make vibrations stronger or lighter -or adjust vibration duration.

To alter to your vibration settings:

1. Go to Settings and select Sounds and vibration.

2. Scroll to 'Vibration' and you'll find the option of 'Vibration intensity' and 'Vibration duration'.

View exercise history

Wareablesamsung watch workout history

The Galaxy Watch packs a lot of sports modes, and, if you want to check in on your exercise history, there's thankfully a really quick and easy way to look back at your sessions.

To view exercise history:

1. Go to the Samsung Health app and scroll to exercise history.

2. From here, you can drill into each workout and see all of your metrics. So for runs, you'll also be able to view the advanced running metrics, for example.


How we test



Michael Sawh

By

Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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