Seven Ways to Customize Your Galaxy S 4 - dummies

Seven Ways to Customize Your Galaxy S 4

By Bill Hughes

A smartphone like the Galaxy S 4 is a very personal device that is extremely customizable. From the moment you take it out of the box and strip off the packaging, you begin to make it yours. By the end of the first day, even though millions of your type of phone may have been sold, there’s no other phone just like yours.

This is the case not only because of the phone calls you make, but because of all the options that you can set on the phone and all the information that you can share over the web. Your contacts, music files, downloaded videos, texts, and favorites make your phone a unique representation of who you are and what’s important to you.

Even with all this “you” on your phone, here are some ways to further customize your phone.

Your Galaxy S 4 is watching you

One of the biggest drains on your battery is the backlight on your screen. Older, dumber smartphones have a preset time when they will automatically shut off. On those phones, you need to push a button to bring the screen back to life.

You, on the other hand, had the foresight and wisdom to buy a Samsung Galaxy S 4 that has Smart Stay. If the front-facing camera recognizes your pretty/handsome face, it keeps the light on.

All you need to enable it is to use your phone. As you use it, the front-facing camera is watching you to learn what you look like.

Wrap your Galaxy S 4

The Samsung Galaxy S 4 is attractive, but if you want to spruce it up even more, you can get a wrapping (such as from Skinit). There are designs to express more of what is important to you. As a side benefit, they can protect your phone from minor scratches.

This figure shows some design options for a skin. It comes with cut-outs for speakers, plugs, microphones, and cameras specifically for the Galaxy S 4. Putting the skin on is similar to putting on a decal, although it has a little give in the material to make positioning easier. The skin material and adhesive is super-high-tech and has enough give to allow klutzes who struggle with placing regular decals to fit the nooks and crannies of the phone like an expert.


If you are not crazy about their designs, you can make your own with images of your own choosing. Just be sure that you have the rights to use the images!

Bluetooth car speaker for Galaxy S 4

Car speakers are all about safety for drivers when they’re using their phone. Some cars have a built-in Bluetooth speaker that connects to a microphone somewhere on the dash and your car speakers. It is smart enough to sense when there is an incoming call and mutes your music in response.

If you do not have such a set-up, there are lots of good options for car speakers. The figure shows an example.


Custom screen images for Galaxy S 4

In addition to the shortcuts on your extended Home screen, you can also customize the images that are behind the screen. You can change the background to one of three options:

  • Any picture from your Gallery can be virtually stretched across the seven screens of your Home page.

  • Choose a neutral background image (similar to the backgrounds on many PCs) from the wallpaper Gallery. The figure shows a background image.

  • Opt for a “live” wallpaper that responds to touchscreen input.


The pictures from your Gallery and the Wallpaper Gallery are static images. After they’re saved to your Home screen, they move only slightly as you scroll across your Home screens.

Personalize your app list for Galaxy S 4

The next most important area for enjoying your phone is your Application list. Depending upon your phone, there are two options for personalizing this list:

  • Switch between list view and grid view.

  • Change the order of your applications.

Your Galaxy S 4 is a Bluetooth-connected watch

You are probably familiar with Bluetooth headsets. You may or may not be familiar with Bluetooth-connected watches. Prepare yourself. A few companies make watches that link with your phone.

They do a few things that are neat. First, a watch that connects to your phone automatically switches to the local time zone. This is a nice convenience if you travel.

Next, you can conveniently view texts and other notifications without having to bring out your phone. Unless you wear your phone on your belt, it can be difficult at times to access your phone. If you have one of these watches, you can simply glance at your wrist and get the gist of the message.

Pebble and i’m Watch are two companies shipping products now, but more brands are expected on the market soon.

S Beam on the Galaxy S 4

Say you have that image you want to share with your buddy. You can e-mail them the image. You can send them an MMS text message with the image attached. You can set up a Bluetooth connection with them and they can download the image.

Samsung Galaxy S III and S 4 phones offer one more choice. You also have the ability to share information using near field communications or NFC. Simply place the backs of the phones next to each other, and they set up a connection. To set this up, both phones need to turn on this capability. Here is how:

  1. From Settings, tap More Settings.

  2. Turn on NFC.

    This option is near the bottom of the screen as shown in this figure.


  3. Turn on the S Beam option.

    If it’s not already on, go ahead and toggle the switch to the On position.

After both phones are on, tap the backs and share what you will.