Samsung Galaxy Active tips and tricks

Get more out of your sporty Samsung smartwatch
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If you've just bought a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active or you're weighing up whether to buy one, we can tell you that it's a very good smartwatch.

Don't be fooled by the fact it's cheaper than the Galaxy Watch either, as the Active packs in most of the same features – albeit in a lighter, more streamlined design.

Essential reading: Best Samsung Galaxy smartwatch watch faces

We've spent a fair amount of time living with the Active now, so we'd like to think we've got a good grip on what it's capable of. It's a feature-packed watch, so much so that you might miss out on some of the tricks it's capable of.

That's why we've pulled together some of the handy hints. Read on for a rundown of our top tips and tricks to get more out of your Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.

Turn on Goodnight mode to mute the noise at night

This is a really useful feature, particularly if you're planning to sleep with your Active while stretching the battery closer to that maximum two-day battery life. Goodnight mode will mute all alerts apart from alarms and notifications.

Read this: Best Samsung Galaxy Watch Active bands

The easiest way to enable it is from the watch itself. Simply swipe down on the main screen to reveal the quick settings menu. Look for the icon with the crescent moon (it should be in the top left hand corner). Tap to illuminate, and the notification above the settings will indicate that Goodnight mode is on, leaving you with minimal screen interruptions.

Put your Active into always-on screen mode

Something you still can't do on an Apple Watch is keep the screen on at all times. On Samsung smartwatches it's an entirely different story. Doing this will inevitably impact battery life, so that's something to keep in mind. If you're happy to take that battery hit, there's a couple of ways to turn it on. The easiest way to do it is from the quick settings menu, which you can access by swiping down from the main watch screen. Tap the cog icon, which will push you into the settings and the first option in settings will be Watch faces. Tap on that menu, scroll down to Watch always on then tap to turn on or off.

Change what lives in your quick settings

Samsung Galaxy Active tips and tricks

Your quick settings live in a screen above the main watch screen, a bit like your notification tray does on your phone. The good news is that you're not stuck with what currently lives in there, as Samsung gives you scope to swap out shortcuts. To do this you'll need to go to the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app on the phone that your Active is paired to. Go to Advanced, and scroll down all the way to bottom of the page until you see Edit quick settings. From here you can choose what lives on pages 1 and 2 of those quick settings, and also add shortcuts to play/stop music and adjust touch sensitivity.

Auto open apps

We don't know how useful this will be to everyone, but Samsung has included the ability to launch apps automatically simply by navigating to them. So when you're inside of the app tray and the indicator is pointing to a certain app, it'll launch it without an additional tap. It's turned off by default, so you'll need to go into the settings and into the Apps menu and look for Auto open apps. Tap it to turn the feature on and it should now start to work.

Change background on widgets and notification screens

Samsung Galaxy Active tips and tricks

If you're the kind of person that wants to personalise every aspect of your smartwatch experience, you do have the ability to change the background that appears when you swipe through screens on your Active. You can do this from the Galaxy Wearable smartphone app, but it's much easier to do it from the watch itself. Make your way to the main settings and look for the Display menu. Search for Background style and you'll be able to pick from a range of different looks and colours. Once you've selected your new style, the changes will be made instantly.

Remove a widget

When you first get your Active and it's all set up, you'll notice that it already has a bunch of widgets (additional screens to view bitesized information) arranged for you. You can of course add more widgets, but you can also ditch some you don't think you'll be using regularly. To remove a widget, simply swipe to the one you want to get rid of and press down on the screen. You should see a small icon with a minus appear, and you can tap that to take it away.

Customise your workout screens

The Active is one of the more comfortable smartwatches we've used in the gym and out on a run. We know that for a lot of people, it's important to choose what they see when upping that heart rate. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to do that here. When you're ready to start a particular workout, select the small cog beside it and select Workout screen. From here you can choose each data screen and swipe on each field to adjust. Additionally, you can choose whether to have access to the music playback controls and select whether you can display your target goal on a workout screen.

Keeping calm with your Galaxy Watch Active

Samsung Galaxy Active tips and tricks

Samsung recently announced a partnership with the mindfulness app Calm for monitoring your meditation sessions with the Active. The tie-up will let you pause and play sessions that are launched from the Mindfulness section inside the Samsung Health app. Additionally, after those sessions you can see a breakdown of your stress levels on the watch. To start a session, head to the Samsung Health app and go to the Discover tab. Once you've started a session, a notification (as in the image above) will appear on your watch telling you that your stress will be monitored during the session.

Take a picture of your screen

If for any reason you feel the need to capture a screen on your smartwatch, the way to do this is to swipe right on the screen while at the same time pressing the Home button (the bottom right physical button) to take a screenshot. It's quite fiddly to do and you may end up opening the Power off screen the first few times. The pics are stored in the Gallery app on the watch, and to view the screen captures you'll have to manually transfer these to your phone. Unfortunately, this isn't a feature iPhone owners can make use of.

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Michael Sawh


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

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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