Samsung Galaxy Note 2 tips and tricks

How to Clare Hopping 11:53, Jul 03 2013

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 can be mastered with these tips, tricks and hacks

The Galaxy Note 2 is one of our favorite phones around, and we absolutely loved it in our review. It really makes having a phablet a palatable thing because it's so well done. 

"The Galaxy Note 2 is a great smartphone because its performance is just ridiculous, battery life is great, reading and consuming multimedia content is great," we wrote in our full review. "The size is a pain in the rear sometimes and you really have to decide if all the benefits of the size outweigh the sacrifices you'll have to make. If you can get over the size, buy it. It's pretty good."

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a pretty great device out of the box but like any smartphone, you need to make it your own by downloading apps. Check out this list to help you get started: Best apps for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

How to improve battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Even though the Galaxy Note 2 has a massive battery, you can always get more out of it with a few tips. Turn your screen brightness down if you can stand it and having the Smart Stay option on will mean you won't have to worry about your phone turning off when you're reading stuff.

If you're willing to fiddle with your Galaxy Note 2 often, then you can really extend your battery life by switching off your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS when you're not using them. Additionally, if you set your email to sync manually, that can give you a bit more juice. 

The last tip I'll give on battery life on the Galaxy Note 2 is that it comes with a removeable battery, so take advantage of it if you're going to be in a situation where charging options will be few and far between. An extra battery can cost as little as $30 and it could pay for itself if it helps you stay connected in a tight situation.

How to use ChatOn on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Samsung ChatOn is an instant messaging application that comes preinstalled on many Samsung Galaxy devices including the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

It can be set up by launching the application and confirming your phone number or entering your Samsung account information.

Once you have set up ChatOn, you can create buddies list by entering the phone numbers or email addresses associated with your friends' Samsung accounts to add them.

Now, select a buddy to start chatting with them.

The sync all your contacts with ChatOn, select Settings > Sync contacts from within the ChatOn app.

How to update the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to the latest firmware

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes out of the box with Android 4.1.1 installed, but it is upgradeable to version 4.1.2 and will soon be updated to Android 4.2.2.

To check which version of Android you're using, head to Settings>About device.

To update your Samsung Galaxy Note 2, you can either use Samsung Kies or update your device over the air (OTA).

To update the device using Samsung Kies, download and install the software. Now, plug your phone into your computer using the USB cable provided. If there is an update available, you will be alerted and you can follow the instructions to install the update.

To upgrade over the air, go to Settings>About device>Software update>Update.

How to use and activate multi-windows on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features multi-window that means you can view more than one application on your Samsung Galaxy Note 2's screen at any time.

Multi-window only works with some applications, so make sure you check the applications you want to use simultaneously are supported by opening up the multi-window panel (press and hold the back soft key).

To turn on multi-window, tap and hold the back icon and a panel will appear on the left side of the screen. Select one icon to open that app and then drag another icon onto the screen Drag and drop the icon of the app you want to run onto the screen.

You can resize the panels by dragging the bar between the panels up or down to adjust the size.

You can tap the panel to hide or show it. When a panel is open, tap and hold the handle and drag it to an edge of the screen to move the panel. When a panel is hidden, tap and hold the handle and drag it up or down or left or right to move the handle.

How to use Samsung Wallet on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Samsung Wallet has just arrived on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

The app allows you to store all your tickets, coupons, loyalty cards and more in one place. Unfortunately, the app doesn't include the ability to make mobile payments in the U.S. as yet, but it will hopefully arrive soon.

Want to know how you can use it? Check out out our guide below.

To install Samsung Wallet, head to the Samsung apps store and search for it. Now download and install as usual.

Open the app up and start adding the details of your bookings, cards and coupons. If your item has a barcode, you can use the barcode tool to add information too.

You can of course add a PIN number to keep the app secure.

Only a limited number of apps can be integrated with Samsung Wallet at the moment, but more will be added soon.

How to take a screen shot on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The Galaxy Note 2 lets you take screen shots with a simple command. By holding down the power button and the home button for about two seconds, you'll take a screen shot. That screen shot will then be found in your Gallery and a neat feature of the Galaxy Note 2 is that immediately after you take the screen shot, you can pull down the notification bar and quickly share it with your contacts.

This isn't the only way to take a screen shot but we'll cover that in the S Pen section.

How to install apps from a computer on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

A really cool feature of Android is that you can browse the Web and push apps directly to your phone. Simply register your Galaxy Note 2 with your Google account and when you click Install, you'll have the option to send to your device. Click on the Galaxy Note 2 from the drop-down box and the app will install over the air. It really does feel like magic some times.

While you're looking for apps, be sure to check out the Best apps for Galaxy Note 2.

How to install apps from a non-Play store on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

While the Google Play Store is great, Android allows you to go to a variety of third-party app stores for new programs. Amazon and GetJar are two great app stores that you can't download programs from with the default settings. So go into Settings, tap "Security" and then check the box that lets you install from "Unknown sources."

Be warned that this can open you up to some potential vulnerabilities, so be careful where you download from. For the most part, any well-known app store should be fine but you do potentially risk opening yourself up to malware.

How to add an app on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2's home screen

While we're on apps, once you've downloaded an app, you can easily throw it on your home screen. From the app tray, just long press on the app for about two seconds and you can then drag it to your home screen. 

How to delete an app on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Not all apps work out, so if you want to delete one just open up your app tray. Long press the app like you're going to put it on your home screen but then drag it to the "app info" section and then click on Uninstall.

How to set a data limit on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

With AT&T and Verizon implementing shared data plans, users may want to set a strict data limit on their Galaxy Note 2. This is quite easy to do: Go into Settings, tap "Data usage" and then click on the box that says "Set mobile data limit." You can slide the bar up and down to set your limit. 

How to set up and use Smart Stay on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

A truly cool feature of the Galaxy Note 2 is the Smart Stay feature: This uses the front-facing camera to track your eyes to make sure the screen doesn't turn off if you're reading. To activate this, go into Settings, scroll down to "Display" and then tap it. Go to the menu called "Features" and then click on the Smart Stay check box. 

How to put your Samsung Galaxy Note 2 in easy mode

Android offers a ton of flexibility to customize your home screens, but if you don't want to bother with the fuss, Samsung has included an "Easy mode" that will set up your screens with widgets, frequently used apps and more. You can set this up when you first turn on the phone or find it through the Settings.

How to use Smart rotation on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Another nifty bit of software on the Galaxy Note 2 is a way to make sure the screen display direction adjusts to your angle of sight. This is called Smart rotation, and you activate this by going into "Settings," tap on "Display," tap on "Features" and then hit the "Smart rotation" check box.

How to use S Voice on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Despite its robot-like voice, S Voice on the Galaxy Note is an awesome little intelligent assistant. You speak to it and it helps you. It's sort of like Siri, but not as good.

For instance, speaking words such as “Call Dad,” will prompt S Voice to call your Dad. You can also ask for the weather, among other things.

Unfortunately, setting up S Voice can be a bit a bit tricky, especially for a novice Galaxy owner. That being said, we've pared it down for you into some very easy steps.

To set up Samsung S Voice on your Note 2, follow the steps below:

  1. From the Galaxy Note home screen, select Applications.
  2. From the Applications screen, select S Voice.
  3. After selecting S Voice, a brief tutorial will begin.
  4. After the tutorial, you will be asked, "What would you like to do?"
  5. Next, command the device however you want or ask to set the alarm.
  6. That's it. To access S Voice at any time say "Hello, Galaxy" or double-tap the home button

Commands that work with S Voice on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

If you want to know if S Voice works with your accent and intonations, ask it the weather. This seems to be the fail safe request when posing a question to Samsung’s PA. With full access to the Web, you can also use S Voice to search for anything by beginning your question with a “search for.” Some other S Voice commands include:

  • “Call [contact name]” - Dials a contact
  • “Text [contact name, message content]” - Sends a text message
  • “Look up” [contact name] -  Finds a contact in your phone book
  • “Search [query]” - Searches Google
  • “Navigate to [place of interest]” - Activate GPS and Google Navigate
  • “Memo [memo content]” - Write a memo
  • “New event [event name, date, time]” - Create an event in S Planner
  • “New task [task name]” - Adds task to your task-list
  • “Twitter update [tweet content]” - Updates your Twitter status
  • “Open [application name]” - Launches an installed application
  • “Set alarm for [time] - Sets alarm
  • “Set timer for [duration] - Sets timer
  • “Weather (sample “What is the weather for today?”
  • “Turn [Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth/ GPS] on/off” - toggles connectivity setting

How to use pop-up note on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

If you plan to use the S Pen a lot to take hand-written notes, then you can set up the phone to automatically use the Pop-up Note app whenever you take the S Pen out. You can enable this by going to Settings, then going to "S Pen Settings."

How to take a screen shot with S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

You can take a screen shot with the above method but the S Pen can also help you take a screen grab. To take a screen shot with the S Pen, you can hold it against the screen for about two seconds. You can also trace sections of the screen if you only want to take a partial screen shot. 

How to use Quick Command on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

A great little feature of the S Pen is the ability to use the Quick Command function to use the stylus to open up new apps. Once this is turned on in the "S Pen Settings," holding the S Pen button and swiping upward will open up a command dialogue box. There are pre-set gestures to do things like turn on Wi-Fi or you can even create your own. 

How to prevent losing the S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

If you're worried about losing your S Pen, you'll be happy to know that Samsung has put in some nice software to try and minimize the chances of that happening. In the Settings menu, you can set up the phone to vibrate every time you're more than 10 feet away from the stylus. It doesn't guarantee that you won't lose it but it's some nice insurance against that.  

How to take clippings with the S Pen

Another cool feature of the S Pen is the ability to use the digital stylus to take clippings of text and images. To do this, hold down the S Pen button and draw a shape on the screen (it has to be a closed shape). The image will then be in your clipboard and you can send it via email, MMS or just keep it in your clipboard. 

How to use Air View on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

One of the best things about Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 is the two digitizers it has. With it you can use the S Pen and a whole lot of other features that otherwise simply wouldn't be possible. One of the coolest of these features is without a doubt Samsung Air View.

Just what is Samsung Air View, you ask? It's a feature that lets your Note 2 recognize when you're hovering your S Pen over the screen. With no press necessary, a little indicator appears to let you know you're in hovering distance. This hovering shows information in a small pop-up window that can be moved. It's great.

Anyway, if Air View sounds like something you interested in learning about, just follow our guide. We show you where, when and how to use it.

  • Go to the Settings app.
  • In the app, scroll down and tap S Pen.
  • Inside you will see an entire section titled Air View. Toggle Air View to the right.
  • To control specific Air View features, tap the actual words themselves. Pointer, Information preview, Icon labels and List scrolling are all options.
  • Overall, you will need to do some investigating. You will see Air View is compatible with almost all Samsung Apps and some third-party apps.
  • To begin using Air View, simply hover the S Pen over the Note 2's screen. It's that easy! Enjoy exploring!

How to scribble a personalized email signature on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Want to make your email stand out with a hand-written signature? Well, the S Pen will let you do that within the native Android email app. When you're done composing your email, click on the S Pen bun and then draw within the body of that message. 

How to write on your photos with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Your S Pen can let you annotate pictures and this is done by opening pictures, holding the button on the stylus and writing away. You can even write notes on the "back" of photos by opening a photo, hitting Menu and then choosing the "Draw on Image" option. These notes will be saved in your Gallery and you'll be able to see which pictures have a note, thanks to an icon on the corners.

How to use one-handed keyboard on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The Galaxy Note 2 is quite a large phone and that big keyboard can be nice for typing but it's still tough to handle with one hand. Thankfully, Samsung has installed a mode for one-handed operation and this will push the keyboard to the right or left side of the screen, depending on your preferences. You can turn this on by going to Settings, tap on Language input and then on keyboard. 

How to set up a passcode lock screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The Galaxy Note 2 can be more secure with a passcode set on the lock screen and it's simple to set up. Go into Settings, scroll down to Lockscreen, select "Screen lock," then PIN and then enter in your four-digit passcode or alphanumeric password. Retype your password for confirmation and then you're all set. 

How to customize the lock screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Once your lock screen has a passcode, don't forget that you can customize it with things like information tickers, clocks, widgets and shortcuts. To do this, go into Settings, tap on "Security," click on "Lock screen options" and then you can set up your lock screen however you desire. 

How to use Motion controls on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has multiple ways you can interact with it and one of these is called Motion controls. This can let you do things like zooming in by holding two points on the phone and then tilting back and forth. These Motion control options will pop up when applicable, and hitting "Enable motion" will let you use them. If you don't want them be sure to check the "Do not show again" box.  

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