Must Know Tips & Tricks For The Galaxy S II

[Update – For a Galaxy S3? Here are must know tips & tricks for the S3!]

The Galaxy S II is Samsung’s latest and greatest superphone and judging by the rate at which these things are selling, very soon millions around you will have a one. The device packs a dual core 1.2 Ghz processor, a 4.3″ Super AMOLED Plus display, runs Android 2.3.3 out of the box with Sammy’s TouchWiz 4 on top.

Must Know Tips & Tricks For The Samsung Galaxy S2

TouchWiz is Samsung’s custom UI layer that differentiates the SGS 2 from the myriad of other Android slabs and Samsung has managed to add enough value to it to make it a very welcome addition. Some of its benefits become obvious, but some tweaks and shortcuts that can make your experience even better are tucked away. This post aims to showcase a bunch of tips and tricks that every SGS 2 user should know. Some of these might even work on older TouchWiz devices.

Hit play and tell us in the comments section if you think I’ve skipped any must know shortcut/tip!

If you can’t see the video embedded above, hit this link to go to YouTube. If you’d like to read instead of watch the video, read on.

  • Quick Calls & Texts: Once you have the contact you want to call or text in front of you, instead of entering it and then carrying out the operation, you can simply swipe left to place a call or swipe right to enter a text.

Galaxy S2 Tips & Tricks

  • Homescreens: TouchWiz supports upto 7 homescreens and jumping between them can quickly become a problem, but you can easily pinch to get an overview and then quickly jump to the screen you want.

Galaxy S2 Tips & Tricks

  • Screenshots: Taking screenshots on Android devices is a pain, but on the Galaxy S2, you can simply hit home button and then the power key while holding onto home to take a screenshot. You can then see them in the Gallery.
  • Brightness Adjust: The notification bar can serve as a brightness scroll on the Galaxy S 2 if you are not using the  auto brightness option. Just hit the notification bar, hold for a second and swipe left to decrese and right to increase the brightness. This is one of my favourite tweaks.
  • Browsr Text Wrap: Out of the box the Galaxy S2 doesn’t automatically reflow the text in the webpage if you zoom in. But if you just goto settings and check the ‘auto-fit pages’ option, all is well again.
  • User Agent Change: The browser lets you change the user-agent without needing an extra app, just type ‘about:useragent’ and you can choose between the iPhone, Nexus One, Desktop, Galaxy S or even enter a custom string.

Galaxy S2 Tips & Tricks

  • Pinch Based Tab Switching: While you are viewing a webpage, just pinch out and you will be shown the other tabs that are open, or you can even open a new one. Handy, finally possible on the Galaxy S2.

Galaxy S2 Tips & Tricks

  • Custom Fonts: The Galaxy S2 comes with inbuilt support for custom fonts. Just goto Settings -> Display -> Screen Display -> Font Style and choose from the three options or follow the link to download more from the Android Market.

Galaxy S2 Tips & Tricks

  • Change Bottom App Drawer: Its just easier to explain if you watch the video, around the 03:28 minute mark.
  • Quick Slider: Whether you are in the homscreen or the app list, just roll your finger over the dots at the bottom of the screen and see the screens fly by. Beautiful and functional.
  • Video Lock: Pressing the power button in video player locks the screen, now you can hold the device any way you like, no accidental presses.
  • Testing Mode: *#0*# in the dialer enters the LCD test mode, useful if you are hunting for dead pixels or a few other things.

Galaxy S2 Tips & Tricks

  • Search Key: The SGS2 like the SGS doesn’t have a dedicated search key that all other Android devices have, but if you long press menu, it doubles as a search key and pulls search up, wherever you need it.
  • Quick Dialing: On the dial pad spell the name of your contact and see it popup, great when you need to make a quick call.
  • Bluetooth Mouse: The SGS 2 supports using a bluetooth mouse, the functionality is more of a proof of concept vis-a-vis being actually useful. TV out presents a useful senario.

Any others you would like to add? Let us know in the comments section below!

Further reading – Our In-Depth Samsung Galaxy S2 Review.

342 thoughts on “Must Know Tips & Tricks For The Galaxy S II”

  1. Try something like this: (please forgive for the words I am using. My phone is in Portuguese (Brazil) so I am trying to translate it back to English.

    Settings -> Location and security
    under “Configurations for unlocking the screen” -> Change screen blocking pattern.

    When we setup a drawing pattern on the dots, that’ll be a special code that you have to enter in order to unlock the screen to make calls and anything else.

    For a slightly better reference, this is the menu sequence as it is written in portuguese, in my phone:
    Ajustar -> Localização e Segurança
    under white bold text “Configurações de desbloqueio de tela” -> Alterar Bloqueio da tela

    It shows some explanations on how to do it in the first time you try to set it up. Excellent security system for android phones.

    Also an excellent option, uncheck “Use visible pattern” so that the pattern you draw is not visible for other people around you. Makes it harder for them to find out the pattern you used and reproduce it.

    Good luck.

  2. my s2 screen will always light up even i didnt press any buttons or running any application? is there any solutions?

  3. Hey friends. I m nt able to see the hindi fonts in my phn as well as in any web browser like mozilla,opera etc. what should I do. No fontomiser from android market support this. If anyone knws this prob please let me knw. Thanks.

  4. Please I would like to know how to password a folder or my gallery in my Samsung Galaxy S 2.

    Thank you

  5. I have the white Galaxy S II from tmobile an I could not get the ‘tap and hold menu’ to get search feature to work. does it work on everyone’s phone or is this model excluded?

  6. Hello,

    Ihave just bought an S2 and I have my tried ti set my screen display timeout to either 2mins or 10 mins depending, but it doesnt seem to matter which one i have it on it keeps defaulting back to 15 secsand is driving me nuts >> any ideas or tips would be appreciated thanks 🙂

  7. When I hold the home key it opens task manager and when I hit power I get a screen capture of my stupid task manager

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  10. yesterday we install software but in between better y low & mobile switch off today morning we on my mobile but they display only S symbol what we do mobile is Samsung galaxy s kindly give suggestion please..please.

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  13. hI. thanks for the tIps. you menton that we can contInue to play vIdeo clIps lIke youtube when you press on the power button. howvere, the vIdeo stop pkayIng the moment I press power button. why Is that so?

  14. Nice video but u need to stop swallowing your spit and breathe so loud, drink a little water and relax, this is not a live video u can edit it later

  15. Thanks for useful info. I have a problem. I have a Galaxy S2, however, when I download the videos to my computer, they do not play. I’ve tried opening the MP4 files w/DivX and Quicktime. I get sound but no pic. My sister has a Galaxy also (earlier model). I downloaded her videos on to my computer and they play beautifully. They are also MP4 files. I can’t figure it out, please help!!

  16. Great tips. It would take a lot of trial and error and multiple re-readings of the manual to get all of this information.

    Is there a way to set up a sound notification for voicemail or a widget like the one for missed calls or IM’s on the splash screen? The indicator on the top bar is sometimes obscurred by other notifications and is tiny.

    Thanks again for putting all of this information in one place.

    David

  17. i have the new Galaxy Note and am new to Android. you have been a big help. i’m still looking for the pen app.and have made some changes to my home screen that were not intentional and don’t know how to undo or fix the changes. is there an Android tutorial out there somewhere? Thanks for your help.

  18. Thanx for the tip…didn’t know some of them…I wanna know How to block unknown calls in S2? The built in call rejection mode consists of blacklist as “Unknown”…however it doesn’t block unknown numbers…dunno why?..can you help.

  19. hi,

    2 questions :

    A) how to st a full screen dialler? .. I selected a picture but whenevr I dial it shows as just a small ICON on the screen.

    B) Is there an option where we can set 7 different wall papers for 7 different screens.

  20. How can I change the font size? i’d like text and view internet without reading glasses.
    thanks

  21. just wanted to say, THANK YOU !!, so helpfull, so detailed, a lil fast i had to pause n replay alot. but awesome info. very good 2 know. i just got mine in white 3 days ago, im coming from the htc sensation 4g from tmobile, i actually swotched to sprint. n btw saved 200.00 by going through wirefly.com.to sign up n purchase, i paid 190.00 w shipping through em for this sgs2 n new service. to let others know. n have loved it ever since. by far this is the best video ive seen on tips n tricks for any device. love your accent, im from St.Bernard, Louisiana, (15 min outside new orleans). but thanks so much for your time n effort. you taught me alot n i usually tell tmobile what to do. so i know the android system. this is just a lil different. but awesome n user friendly once taught. hope to hear more from ya soon. thanks again.

  22. I have a samsung galaxy s2…i have watched the video which was great. I would like to know how i can change my notification settings. At the moment when i receive a text or any message it lights up and then scrolls at the top so anyone can read my messages wirhout unlocking my phone. I hate that. Please help.

  23. I agree with Sabrina…can we change where not everyone can see our incoming text…also is there not a light that blinks to show we have a message or email…also my phone will not lock…is there a setting to change that?

  24. My company likes to put the phone number in the location field. (ex. 1-888-753-2424 X45566454 Where the X455.. is the passcode. On the blackberry, you can simply highlight it and it will auto dial for you. If I highlight it using the Samsung S2 it prompts me to Complete action using Maps or TeleNav GPS, since it thinks it is a location. Can add a phone to these options? or Is there a way to auto dial from the location field? Thank you,

  25. Great tips and I add an app called VeryAndroid SMS Backup. It is a smart andriod sms backup software that can copy and backup sms on Android phone to computer directly via usb or wifi.

  26. Hi I have samsung galaxy s2 but can use the conference feature on it. Every time I try to connect the secound caller it comes up with an error ‘unbable to switch calls’. NOTE: it also does this when I try to put a call on hold.

    Please help.

  27. While I am fairly adept with using a PC and even troubleshooting (thanks to the web) problems; however, I am not a very sophisticated user of technology (iPhone or Android) and in fact was desperately looking if I could get another UI for my SG S2 when your blog came up. Are there any recommendation you have in this context. I have considered selling it, but I paid big bucks last Sept. when I bought an unlocked piece from Expansys.

    To give you some idea of the level of my cell phone illiteracy, despite my literally spending hours I have not even been able to download Kies, let alone use it. And Samsung remains deafeningly silent on challenges such as mine even when they are asked.

    Among my many major frustrations with the SGS2 is that when I do a search all the results come in very tiny fonts. So I pinch-out and voila I can now read the text, but often it is too large so I try to reduce it and then it becomes too small. When I go “back” the text has again gone default tiny on me. I have few questions about this:

    1. Is there any way that after I have done a search and make the text larger or more readable that once I pinch-out the text, it remains the same larger or readable size.

    2. Can you PLEASE share a list of what you consider is essential software for the SG S2 that would make it a user friendly experience so me (and others like me) find it more usable.

    3. Is there a user friendly replacement for Kies you can recommend.

    Thanks so much for your blog, I am glad I came across it because it is a fount of solid information.

    Thanks also in advance for any advice, help and recommendations you can provide.

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  29. Those having trouble with setting up web pages (such as word wrap, etc.) remember there’s two “Settings” menus, the App Settings and the Settings when you are in the browser.

    When on a web page click the hard menu key, the far left backlit key.

    A Menu will pop up.

    Press the “More” menu item, typcically the lower right menu item.

    From there press “Settings on the pop-up menu.

    A Menu will pop up on a page titled “Page content setting.”

    There will be listed “Test size, Auto-fit pages, Set home page, Enable plug-ins” etc.

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  31. i have just got the Galaxy s2 and its great even better now you have shown me a good few things i didnt know about so thank you for that what i would like to know is can i put folders into my gallery so i can put say dog pictures in one folder and cats or rabbits in another folder so it wuld be easyer to find thing instead of going through all the pictures just to find on please help me on this and thank you again.
    Steve

  32. I have had GS11 for 4 days & has now locked & wants a password.Does it have a origional one which I can then put in my own?
    Thank You in advanced

  33. I just received my new Samsung Galaxy SII, and am still learning the ropes around it…but I loke ot However, I have no idea where to find an auto spellcheck function? And, from what I’ve read thus far, this Android doesn’t seem to come equipped with it. It’s hard enough typing on the precise keys (I only use my right pinky for precision, and I have small hands and fingers! I don’t know how guys type on this phone!)….this model should absolutely have some sort of built-in spell check function. If it is not equipped with one, what app do you recommend I download?

  34. Learn how to use the “Swype” function. You activate it by clicking once in that blue engine with a curved line on it, that is visible in the virtual keyboard. Then, all you need to do is move your finger over the keys that form the words you want to type, removing your finger and touching the keyboard again only in between words. The Swype function will add spaces between words for you, and when in doubt between more than one word, will present you options to choose. It also learns the words you type manually if it does not have them in it’s dictionary.
    I leave here a tip for the owner of the website, that making a video that teaches how to use the swype function is very desirable.

  35. Andre,

    Thanks for your reply. I do use the swipe function, but I think I came across it via osmosis. I do often see the words pop up that are close to the one I’m trying to edit to, or the word itself, and will select. However, I don’t know what you’re refering to when you say “blue engine with the curved line on it”…I don’t know what you referring to at all here. When I’m in an item from my calendar, for instance (in which I top all my daily activities, in detail…I’m looking for a job, starting a website…I have major to-do lists that I embed right in various time slots for the day. Maybe I should use some other mechanism in which to do this…suggestions?) Anyway, in these areas, when I make a mistake, I have to press for the blue cursor, and slide it around to manually edit (e.g., insert and/or delete letters). And on sending emails, it’s the worst. I REALLY wish that there were an auto spell when communicating to others…e.g., for emails. Is there any app I can get for autospell for the GSII?

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  37. Can we have an automatic add of the country code on our contact list contacts while we are on rooming?

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