Make Your Phone Faster
Turn Off the S Voice Shortcut
Samsung's S Voice feature, similar to Apple's Siri, has a long list of talents. You can ask it questions like "What's the weather for today?", find restaurants, navigate to an address, open apps, post updates to Twitter, dictate memos and more. However, we strongly suggest disabling the Home Key shortcut for this app, which launches S Voice when you press the button twice. We noticed significant lag when exiting apps to the home screen with this function on, as the S4 seems to be waiting just in case you press the Home button twice. Here's how to avoid this delay. — Mark Spoonauer
- Press the Home button twice to launch S Voice, or tap the S Voice icon.
- Tap the Settings button to the left of the Home key.
- Press Settings on the menu that pops up on screen.
- Uncheck the box where it says Open via the Home key.
Turn Off Animations
The Galaxy S4 uses transition animations as you move from, say, the home screen to an app, or when you exit an app and go back to the home screen. While attractive, these animations can make the phone feel sluggish. The good news is that you can disable them. It’s a little tricky, but thanks to a great YouTube video by MADDTec, you can follow right along as you read these tips.
- Open Settings, and tap the More tab on the right side of the screen.
- Scroll down and tap the Build Number Field multiple times. Keep pressing until the S4 tells you that you are now a developer.
- Press the Back button and tap Developer Options.
- Scroll down until you see Window Animation Scale.
- Select Window Animation Scale and select Animation Is Off.
- Repeat for Transition Animation Scale and Animator Duration Scale under Developer Options.
Never Miss an Important Photo
The Galaxy S4’s camera runs circles around other smartphone cameras when it comes to features, but it’s not the fastest. The first thing you’ll want to do is set a lock-screen shortcut for the Camera app, so you can unlock directly to the camera with a swipe. Here’s how to do it:
- Enter the Settings menu, and tap the My Device tab at the top of the screen.
- Select Lock Screen at the top of the list of options.
- Tap the Shortcuts option in the Lock screen menu.
- Switch the Set Shortcuts option from Off to On. By default, the camera will be one of the five available options. (You can reassign any of these shortcuts).
The Galaxy S4 could also be faster when it comes to shot-to-shot times. However, if you enable the Best Photo feature, you’ll be able to fire off eight shots in a row and then select the best one. Here’s how:
- Open the Camera app and press the Mode button, and then scroll down and select Best Photo.
- Press the shutter to capture eight consecutive images.
- Long press on any photo you’d like to keep, and then tap Save.
Disable the Unlock Effect Feature
By default, the Galaxy S4 offers a nifty lock-screen Light effect that can follow your finger with a tiny beam of light. When you unlock the device, a wider beam of light spreads across the device. That’s cool, but we noticed that with this animation enabled, it sometimes takes a bit longer for the screen to turn on after you press the power button. The actual unlocking action takes only a hair longer. Still, every half second adds up over time. Here’s how to toggle the lock-screen effect off:
- Go to Settings and tap the My Device tab at the top of the menu (the second option in from the left).
- Select the Lock Screen option.
- Tap where it says Unlock Effect, and select None.