How to Customize Your Samsung Galaxy Tab - dummies

How to Customize Your Samsung Galaxy Tab

By Dan Gookin

It’s entirely possible to own the amazing Galaxy Tab for the rest of your life and never even once bother to customize the gizmo. It’s not only possible, it’s sad. That’s because there exists great potential to make the tablet your own. You can alter so many things, from the way it looks to the way it sounds, from the Galaxy Tab lock screen to the Galaxy Tab wallpaper. The reason for customizing is not simply to change things because you can but to make the tablet work best for how you use it. After all, it’s your Galaxy Tab.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Home screen settings

The Home screen is where the action happens on the Galaxy Tab. To help hone the Home page to meet your demands, several customization options are available. You can change the background image, but more importantly, you can add and remove Home screen pages.

How to hang new wallpaper on the Samsung Galaxy Tab

You can set wallpaper for the Home screen, Lock screen, or both. Your choices are any image you’ve taken or stored on the tablet or preset images supplied by Samsung’s team of dedicated wallpaper artisans.

To set a new wallpaper for the Home screen, obey these steps:

  1. Long-press any empty part of the Home screen.
    The empty part doesn’t have a shortcut icon or widget floating on it.
  2. Tap the Wallpapers icon.
  3. Select a wallpaper from the list, or choose From Gallery to choose an image stored on the Tab.
    Swipe the list left or right to peruse your options. You’ll see the preset wallpaper images supplied by Samsung, plus any photos you’ve used previously as wallpaper. On the far right you’ll find the live wallpapers.
  4. Choose where to apply the wallpaper: Home screen, Lock screen, or Home and Lock screens.
    You see a preview of how the wallpaper will appear. For larger or oddly proportioned images, you can adjust the preview to select which portion to use as wallpaper.
  5. Tap the Set Wallpaper button to confirm your choice.
    The new wallpaper takes over the Home screen, Lock screen, or both.

Additional wallpapers are available online as well as from the Play Store; search for Android wallpaper.

How to manage Home screen pages on the Galaxy Tab

How many pages can you find on the Home screen? I stopped tapping the Add icon after 12, so the maximum value is probably a lot!

To add another Home screen page on your Tab, follow these steps:

  1. Long-press a blank part of the Home screen.
  2. Swipe the screen from right to left until you see the blank screen with the large plus sign on it.
    The figure shows what the Plus icon looks like. If you don’t see it, you can’t add more Home screen pages.
  3. Tap the Plus icon.
    The new page appears, empty and ready for more icons and widgets.
  4. Tap the Back navigation icon to end Home screen editing.
galaxy-home-screen
Editing Home screen pages.

If you don’t like the Home screen page’s position, move a page: Edit the Home screen (refer to Step 1), and then long-press a page to drag it to a new position.

galaxy-delete-icon

  • To remove a Home screen page, tap the Delete icon in the upper right corner of the page. If the page has icons and widgets on it, you’ll be asked to confirm.

There’s no way to undo a Home screen panel deletion. You must add a new blank panel and then repopulate it with icons and widgets.

How to set the primary Home screen page on the Samsung Galaxy Tab

The wee Home icon on the page previews (refer to the figure) indicates the primary Home screen page. This page is summoned when you tap the Home navigation icon while viewing any Home screen page.

To set the primary Home screen page, follow these steps:

  1. Long-press a blank part of the Home screen to edit the Home screen.
  2. Swipe to the Home screen page you desire to make the primary Home screen page.
    galaxy-home-icon
  3. Tap the Home icon atop the screen.

How to adjust the screen timeout on the Galaxy Tab

To manually lock your Galaxy Tab at any time, press the Power Lock key. That’s why it’s called the Power Lock key. When you don’t manually lock the tablet, it automatically locks itself after a given period of inactivity.

The automatic-lock timeout value can be set from 15 seconds to several minutes. To set the timeout, obey these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Choose Display.
  3. On the right side of the screen, choose Screen Timeout.
  4. Select a timeout value from the list.
    I prefer 10 minutes. The standard value is 30 seconds.

The screen timeout measures inactivity; when you don’t touch the screen or tap an icon or a button, the timer starts ticking. About 5 seconds before the timeout value you set (in Step 4), the touchscreen dims. Then it turns off, and the tablet locks. If you touch the screen before then, the timer is reset.

The Lock screen has its own timeout. If you unlock the tablet but don’t work the screen lock, the tablet locks itself automatically after about 10 seconds.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Lock Screen Configuration

The Lock screen is different from the Home screen, though the two locations share similar traits. As with the Home screen, you can customize the Lock screen. You can change the background, add app launcher shortcuts and info cards, and do all sorts of tricks.

How to add Lock screen app shortcuts

You have the option of placing two app launcher icons on the Lock screen. You can use these Lock screen shortcuts to both unlock the tablet and immediately start the app: Swipe the app launcher icon on the Lock screen. If a secure screen lock is set, you must still work the lock to proceed.

As an example, to unlock the tablet and instantly use its camera, swipe the Camera app icon when you unlock your Tab.

To configure Lock screen shortcuts, heed these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Choose Lock Screen.
  3. On the right side of the screen, tap App Shortcuts.
  4. Choose Left Shortcut and select an app from the list displayed.
  5. Choose Right Shortcut and select an app.

To disable a shortcut, tap the On master control (atop the screen in Steps 4 and 5).

How to display FaceWidgets

A FaceWidget is a handy card that displays useful information on the Tab’s Lock screen. It’s like a Home screen widget, but its contents are visible when you press the Power Lock key and before you unlock the touchscreen.

To add a FaceWidget to the lock screen, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Choose Lock Screen.
  3. Choose FaceWidgets from the list of items on the right side of the screen.
  4. Activate the master control by the FaceWidget you want to add to the Lock screen.

The FaceWidgets appear in the same location as the time display on the Lock screen. To peruse the FaceWidgets, swipe the time left or right. Continue swiping to cycle through all available FaceWidgets.

Various Adjustments for the Samsung Galaxy Tab

You have plenty of things to adjust, tune, and tweak on your Galaxy Tab. The Settings app is the gateway to all these options, and I’m sure you could waste hours there if you had hours to waste. My guess is that your time is precious; therefore, this section highlights some of the more worthy options and settings.

How to customize the Sounds and Vibration screen of your Samsung Galaxy Tab

The Sounds and Vibration screen is where you control which sound the tablet plays as a ringtone, but it’s also where you can set volume and vibration options. To view this screen, open the Settings app and choose the Sounds and Vibration category.

Here are the worthy options to set as found on the Sound and Vibration screen:

Notification Sounds: Choose which sound you want to hear for a notification alert, or choose the Silent option to mute all notification sounds.

Touch Sounds: Set this item to On if you prefer that the tablet provide audible feedback when you tap the screen.

Keyboard sound and vibration: Set these two items to provide audio and haptic feedback when using the onscreen keyboard.

Vibration Feedback: Use this item to activate tablet vibration.

  • Sound options are set by using the Tab’s internal media controls. You can, however, install a special media app to set sounds for your device. If so, you’ll be prompted to use that app when you choose notification and other sounds.

Individual apps often sport their own notification sounds. For example, Facebook and Twitter set their sounds by using the Settings action in those individual apps.

How to change the visual settings on the Samsung Galaxy Tab

Probably the key thing you want to adjust visually on your Galaxy Tab is the screen’s brightness. To set how bright or dim the touchscreen appears, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Choose Display.
  3. Adjust the brightness slider.
    Left is dim; right is bright.

Activate the master control by the Auto Brightness item to direct the Tab to automatically adjust its brightness based on the ambient light.

To make the Tab easier to see at night, activate the master control by the Blue Light Filter item, also found on the Display screen in the Settings app. Having this feature active removes some of the blue spectrum from the display, making it easier to see at night as well as easier for you to make the transition to sleep.

galaxy-blue-light

A Quick Settings shortcut for the Blue Light Filter is also available.

  • A shortcut to setting the brightness can be found in the notifications shade, just below the Quick Settings.
  • The screen timeout is also considered a visual setting. Refer to the earlier section “Adjusting the screen timeout.”