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

The hidden features and hacks that you might not find on day one

With Samsung opting to run with its own Tizen software for the Gear S2, those who are used to Android Wear or watchOS have a slight learning curve - the same tricks don't necessarily apply here.

So to help you get the most of your device, we've collected the most useful tips and hacks for the former flagship.

Read this: Samsung Gear S2 v Samsung Gear S3

And if you're looking for a list of the best Samsung Gear S2 apps or Samsung Gear S3 tips and tricks, we have you covered.

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.

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.

Get involved with flight mode

Introduced through a software update last year, Gear S2 users are able to switch the watch to flight mode, blocking all calls, texts and alerts over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or 3G if you have that model.

Not only is this great for, well, any flights you're taking, but it also helps save some battery and help you get a few more hours out of the device as a standard watch.

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 Find My Gear

If you're starting to feel like you can't live without the Gear S2 on your wrist, the last thing you'll want to do is misplace it. But thankfully, Samsung provides you with some handy security features to avoid this.

The Gear S2 comes with Wi-Fi support, meaning it will continue to run online even if it out of range of your paired smartphone. You can use Find My Gear to sound an alarm in case you can't find it.

Set up a double press shortcut

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

The wonderful thing about both physical buttons 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.

Unlock your phone

If you're tethering your Gear S2 to an Android phone, you can take advantage of the Smart Lock feature. This lets you turn off/on your phone's secure lock screen, depending on your settings.

Using Smart Lock, you can set the watch to turn off secure lock screen when it is connected to the phone. Then, as soon as your phone is left unattended, the secure lock screen is turned on again to prevent unauthorized access.

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.


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