How to Use the Touchscreen on Your Samsung Galaxy S 4 - dummies

How to Use the Touchscreen on Your Samsung Galaxy S 4

By Bill Hughes

To cram all the information that you need onto your Galaxy S 4 screen, Samsung takes the modern approach to screen layout. You’ll want to become familiar with several finger navigation motions to work with your screen.

Before diving in, though, here’s a small list of terms you need to know:

  • Icon: This is a little image. Tapping an icon launches an application or performs some function, like making a telephone call.

  • Button: A button on a touchscreen is meant to look like a three-dimensional button that you would push on, say, a telephone. Buttons are typically labeled to tell you what it will do when you tap it.

  • Hyperlink: Sometimes called a “link” for short, a hyperlink is text that performs some function when you tap it. Usually, text is lifeless. If you tap a word and it does nothing, it’s just text. If you tap a word and it launches a website or causes a screen to pop up, it’s a hyperlink.

  • Thumbnail: This is a small, low-resolution version of a larger, high-resolution picture stored somewhere else.

With this background, it’s time to discuss the motions on the touchscreen you’ll be using.

You need to clean the touchscreen glass from time to time. The glass on your phone is Gorilla Glass and is the toughest stuff available to protect against breakage. Use a soft cloth or microfiber to get off fingerprints. However, never use a paper towel!


Often, you just tap the screen to make things happen (like launching an app) or select options. Think of a tap as a single click of a mouse on a computer screen. A tap is simply a touch of the screen, much like using a touchscreen at a retail kiosk.


One difference between a mouse click on a computer and a tap on a Galaxy S 4 phone is that a single tap launches applications on the phone in the same way that a double-click of the mouse launches an application on a computer.

Press and hold

Press and hold, as the name implies, involves putting your finger on an icon on the screen and leaving it there for more than a second. What happens when you leave your finger on an icon depends upon the situation.

For example, when you press and hold on an application on the Home screen, a garbage can icon appears on the screen. This is to remove that icon from that screen. And when you press and hold an application icon from the list of applications, the phone assumes that you want to copy that application to your Home screen.

How to move around the Galaxy S 4 screen or to the next screen

Additional finger motions help you move around the screens and to adjust the scaling for images that you want on the screen. Mastering these motions is important to getting the most from your phone.

The first step is navigating the screen to access what’s not visible onscreen. Think of this as navigating a regular computer screen, where you use a horizontal scroll bar to access information to the right or left of what’s visible on your monitor, or a vertical scroll bar to move you up and down on a screen.

The same concept works on your phone. To overcome the practical realities of screen size on a phone that will fit into your pocket, the Galaxy S 4 phone uses a panorama screen layout, meaning that you keep scrolling left or right (or maybe up and down) to access different screens.

In a nutshell, although the full width of a screen is accessible, only the part bounded by the physical screen of the Galaxy S 4 phone is visible on the display. Depending upon the circumstances, you have several choices on how to get to information not visible on the active screen. These actions include drag, flicks, pinch and stretch, and double taps.


The simplest finger motion on the phone is the drag. You place your finger on a point on the screen and then drag the image with your finger.


Dragging allows you to move slowly around the panorama. This motion is like clicking a scroll bar and moving it slowly.


To move quickly around the panorama, you can flick the screen to move in the direction of your flick.


Better control of this motion comes with practice. In general, the faster the flick, the more the panorama moves. However, some screens, like the extended Home screen, move only one screen to the right or left no matter how fast you flick.

Pinch and stretch

Some screens allow you to change the scale of images you view on your screen. When this feature is active, the Zoom options change the magnification of the area on the screen. You can zoom out to see more features at a smaller size, or zoom in to see more detail at a larger size.

To zoom out, you put two fingers (apart) on the screen and pull them together to pinch the image.


The opposite motion is to zoom in. This involves the stretch motion. You place two fingers (close together) and stretch them apart. Make sure you’re centered on the spot you want to see in more detail.


Double tap

The double tap just means tapping the same button area on the screen twice in rapid succession. You use the double tap to jump between a zoomed-in and a zoomed-out image to get you back to the previous resolution. This option saves you from any frustration in getting back to a familiar perspective.