Did you pick up a Samsung Galaxy S21 today? It seems like a pretty good choice so far, but like any new phone, there are a few things you’re going to want to do right out of the box.
To help you out we’ve put together a list of everything you need to do on your Galaxy S21 to get the most out of it right now. Let’s get started.
Update your apps
This one’s not exclusive to Samsung phones or anything, but your phone doesn’t ship with the most updated versions of apps on it. This includes things that are installed through the Galaxy Store, which is exclusive to Samsung phones, and those might slip through the cracks of your usual update routine.
When you’re ready to start updating, open the Google Play Store first and open up the slide-out menu, which can be done by swiping from the left edge of the store or tapping the menu button in the top left corner. Tap My apps and games to see everything installed on your phone. The next part is easy: just tap Update all and your phone will do the rest. Give it a few minutes depending on your internet speed, and everything will be properly updated and ready to use.
For the Samsung specific apps, the process is similar, but done through Galaxy Apps. Find that app on your phone, which should be in the app drawer towards the start of the list be default and open it.
Just like with the Play Store, swipe in from the left or tap in the top left to check out the menu for Galaxy Apps. There’s a quick updates entry that we want, which will take you into everything installed on the phone that can be updated directly via Samsung. Tap Update all and let it work its magic.
Pick your wallpaper
Samsung ships their phones with some pretty cool wallpapers, including some video wallpapers available on the Galaxy S21. But it’s your phone, so you should customize it how you like it, right?
This one’s easy. On the home screen you’ll want to tap anywhere that there’s not a widget or app, which will pull up the home settings. Tap the leftmost option to check out your wallpapers.
From here you can look at wallpapers that come with the phone itself, or wallpapers you’ve downloaded from Samsung’s Galaxy Store, plus any of your gallery images or wallpaper services that you’ve downloaded. The video wallpapers are exclusive to the lock screen, but there’s a ton of options for tweaking your phone here.
Tweak your battery settings
All of the phones in the Galaxy S21 line have very good battery life, but there are some things you can do to make it a little bit better. Not everything is a feature sacrifice, either, although you do have the option to turn some of the superfluous stuff off.
In the settings app you’ll find everything that changes how your phone works, but there are a entries that you’ll want to key in on if you’re worried about battery life. Display is going to be one of the biggest ones.
In the display entry, you’ll have the option to toggle dark mode on, or schedule it to turn on during certain times. This might not sound important, but dark mode is known to have better battery life on OLED screens, which does apply to the Galaxy S21, however slight the effect might be.
Additionally, you can change the brightness here. Higher brightness is going to drain more battery, so we recommend turning on auto brightness and letting your phone manage it.
Lastly, though, is the motion smoothness entry. This controls the refresh rate of Samsung’s display, and that’s where you can really squeeze more battery life out of your phone if you’re willing to give up the extra smoothness. By default the phone uses the adaptive mode, which automatically adjusts your refresh rate up to 120Hz when supported. You can drop back down to standard mode here, which caps that at 60Hz. You lose some smooth scrolling and animations, but battery life should be noticeably improved with this option.
Back in the main settings menu, if you scroll down a bit you’ll see a battery and device care entry. This part of the settings will help you keep your battery and memory optimized with a single tap. Just hit optimize now here and your phone will try and detect anything that’s draining your battery, and will close unused apps to keep things humming along. If you want to dig in, you can tap battery and fine tune your controls over how your phone puts apps to sleep and limits background processes to save on battery.
Get signed in
You can install all the apps you want, but if you’re not signed in it won’t do you much good. Go ahead and knock that out now so you don’t have to constantly deal with it over the next few weeks.
If you’re smart with your passwords, you’ll need to download your preferred password manager and two-factor authentication app right away to get everything set up. Newer versions of Android will let you switch your autofill settings to use your password manager instead of just Google, too, which takes some headache out of this.
If you were transferring content from your old phone you might automatically be signed in from whatever Samsung Smart Switch could pull over. Pretty handy.
Play some games
Samsung doesn’t shy away from their phones being absolute powerhouses for mobile gaming. Don’t waste that.
The easiest way is to pop over to the Play Store and check out the Games tab, which is going to showcase new games and things that are great installs for your new phone. Check out the top charts, or search for your favorites like Pokemon Go or Call of Duty: Mobile.
But if you’re really interesting in finding new games efficiently, check out some of the subscription options. Google Play Pass, for example, has a ton of games available on it to round out your game library. Samsung includes a Game Launcher app on the Galaxy S21 by default to organize everything and track your play time, which is pretty cool.
Or, if you’re looking for a more console-like experience, check out Microsoft Game Pass. Microsoft has even launched a series of controllers that are fine-tuned to work with Samsung phones, and if you pair a regular controller with a Game Pass subscription you can play tons of things streamed right to your phone. That includes Skyrim, if you needed another platform to make a playthrough on.
Re-pair your Bluetooth devices
Samsung headphones do this really cool thing where they tie to your Samsung account, and they’ll automatically pair up with your new phone by just being signed in. This includes things like the newer Galaxy Buds, but generally your other smartwatches, headphones, and speakers are going to need another setup so they’ll work with your new phone.
Go ahead and round up all of your headphones and keyboards, and get them synced up with your phone so they’ll be ready to go next time you need them. Samsung has a very intuitive Bluetooth menu and the radio that they’ve used sorts thing out very quickly, This way you won’t have to struggle with your headphones when you go for your next exercise.
Anything you think we missed? Drop a comment and let us know how you’ve got your Galaxy S21 set up.