Samsung Galaxy troubleshooting: Everything you ever wanted to know about your smartphone

Matthew Field
Samsung's Galaxy 10 5G smartphone - one of the most high end Samsung-made devices - AFP

Samsung Galaxy smartphones are among the pinnacle of smartphone engineering. These popular devices include the Samsung Galaxy S10, S9 and A-series range.

The smartphones are among the most popular in the UK have have high-end features like edge-to-edge screens with curved Infinity displays, dual and even triple camera technology, and run on the Android operating system.

For the most part, your phone experience should run without a hitch, but here are some common pain points that you might encounter when setting up or trying to troubleshoot your smartphone, and what you can do to try to fix them.

How to set up your Samsung Galaxy smartphone

  1. Turn on your phone: You should be able to get set up and running on a Samsung smartphone in just a couple of minutes. First, tap and hold the button on top right hand of the phone to turn it on.
  2. Connect to Wi-Fi: You will then be asked to connect to Wi-Fi to begin your set up process. Choose a Wi-Fi network, enter the password and then tap connect.
  3. Google Account: You should then add a Google account to connect to the Google Play Store. This will let you access all the latest apps and updates for them, from everything from Gmail to WhatsApp. If you have a previous Android device, you will be prompted to back up your phone from an old device, which may take several minutes - otherwise, you will be prompted to set up the phone as new.
  4. Security: You will then be prompted to set up security settings for your phone. These include secure functions like Pins, Fingerprint recognition and Facial Recognition - more on these below. After this screen, you will be prompted to select what Google Services you want - such as back-ups, automatic updates or automatic sending of diagnostic data. You can choose not to select all of these.
  5. Samsung Apps: Finally, Samsung will ask if you want to add additional Samsung apps. If you want to use apps like Samsung Pay or Samsung Health, you will need to check those boxes, or you can choose not to install all these apps. Some apps may be duplicates of others, such as Samsung Email, which not everyone will want to use when they have better alternatives like Gmail. If you do choose to add any Samsung apps you will need to set up a Samsung account as well.

How to switch from iOS to Samsung

Switching form iOS is a little trickier than just setting up your smartphone afresh. To bring your iOS data and apps over first:

  1. Open the Smart Switch app on your Samsung Galaxy device from Settings -> Cloud and Accounts -> Smart Switch - or search for it in search bar.
  2. Tap either Wireless or Use Cable to transfer the files across
  3. Tap receive, followed by Select Old Device: iOS. You will then need to sign in to your iCloud account.
  4. Select what apps and content you want to import, followed by what other photos, videos and documents you want to transfer and tap continue.
  5. Tap Download on the content you want to import. Some paid-for apps will be excluded, however. Any messages you have sent on iMessage will not transfer.

Samsung Galaxy common problems

How to factory reset Samsung Galaxy

There may come a time when you want to sell your Samsung phone or you simply want to reset it with a clean slate. To perform a factory reset on a Samsung Galaxy, follow these steps: Simply go to Settings > General Management > Reset > Factory data reset.

How to back up Samsung Galaxy 

Before performing a factory reset, you may want to back up your Samsung Galaxy account. 

If you have a Samsung account

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Followed by Cloud and accounts or Accounts and backup
  3. Then tap back up and restore
  4. Tap back up data.

How to update Samsung Galaxy S10 to Android Q

Right now, there is no Android Q beta for Samsung Galaxy smartphones, but that doesn't mean there won't be one. To update Android on your smartphone, as you should do any time a new update becomes available, is simple. 

  1. Connect your phone to Wi-Fi, this is required to update your phone rather than using cell phone data. Also make sure you have plenty of battery charge (at least 50pc).
  2. Tap settings and scroll down to > Software update
  3. When you are ready, tap Download and Install. Your smartphone may restart after you have updated it.

How to set up Samsung Galaxy security

When you first set up your Samsung Galaxy, you will be offered and walked through a number of options for setting up security. These include, depending on the device, fingerprint scanning, iris scanning, facial recognition, PIN numbers, patterns and more.

To set up these security features, go to:

  1. Settings > Lock screen and security > tap the type of lock screen you want to enter.
  2. Face recognition: Will scan your face and save it so it can be used to unlock the phone when you try to wake it
  3. Fingerprint scan: Will scan your finger to unlock the phone. On the Samsung Galaxy S10, this unlocks through the front screen, on other models it may be behind the phone. You can also add multiple fingerprints for unlocking and enable fingerprints for Samsung Pay
  4. Iris scan: Records your eye pattern to unlock the phone.

Samsung also has Anti-theft and Find My Phone features. Anti-theft is activated after you set up a Google account. With Anti-theft, you will need to install the Find My Device app on a Google device or Find My Mobile at Samsung.com. From there you can choose to Secure Device, which will lock it down completely, meaning if it is stolen the thief cannot erase your data with a hard reset, or erase device, meaning you can remove all your data from the phone remotely.

Samsung screen shot

Samsung Galaxy S10 charging and common issues and fixes

Most new Samsung phones use USB-C charging ports and some have wireless charging. Your phone should charge normally when using the USB-C, but sometimes it will not, or you may get an error message.

If your phone doesn't appear to be charging properly, try testing it with different charging accessories to see if you can get a better results. If this fails, you can often perform a reset simply by turning the phone off and on against by holding down the power button on the right hand side of your phone.

One common error you may see is "Moisture detected". This simply means there is some water in your charging port. Allow your phone to dry for a few hours and clear away any visible moisture with a soft cloth. Then try charging your phone again.

Your Samsung may also have wireless charging in some models. Wireless Charging is supported on Galaxy Note and S models from the Samsung Galaxy 6 onwards.

Some models also have wireless powershare that lets you reverse charge other phones that have Qi wireless charging certification. To enable this mode, place your Samsung Galaxy S10 phone face down on a surface, then place the phone you want to charge on the centre of the back of the phone. Its charging screen should appear to let you begin charging.

If your phone will not start even after a long stint on a charger, it may be worth taking it into a repair shop to see if there is an underlying issue.

Samsung Galaxy S10 camera features and software

Most recent Samsung cameras feature impressive artificial intelligence and augmented reality tools that can offer creative flair to even simple shots.

On your Samsung Camera you will find a whole range of features across the top bar of the camera - these include modes like Live Focus, Pro Mode, Panorama, Super Slow-Mo and AR Emoji.

Here are some of the best features you will find on your Samsung phone:

The Samsung Galaxy S10 features three rear cameras including two 12MP cameras and one 16MP camera, and two front camera lenses. 

The Samsung features three shooting modes when using the rear camera, shown by the tiny tree-like icon on the screen. These are telephoto, for close up shots, wide-angle, and ultra wide.

The selfie-camera on the latest S10 includes 4K video recording.

Live Focus

On the latest S10, your phone comes with the software Live Focus to take shots with the blurred bokeh effect. Bokeh is great for portraits as it blurs out the background slightly and lets facial features stand out. Live Focus is an added feature that lets you tint the background blur in real time before you take a picture. Your camera will display a message saying "live focus is available" when a subject is within the right range. Then drag the bar to adjust the background effect.

AR Emoji

AR Emoji is a fun camera feature to capture a cartoon like 3D image of your face to send in messages. To make an AR Emoji, in your camera scroll the top tab to AR Emoji, click Create My Emoji, take a selfie using the app, and then add clothes and features to your caricature. 

Samsung's slightly awkward AR Emoji feature lets you scan a 3D image of your face

Edge screen apps

On recent Samsung phones like the S9 and S10, you can use the edges of the screen to add shortcuts to your phone. To do this, simply swipe across from the curved edge of your Samsung phone. Here you will see Apps Edge, a selection or your most used apps, Smart Select, which lets you get a screen capture of an area of your screen, and People Edge, a selection of your most used contacts.

Samsung screen shot

Super slow-motion camera

The Samsung S9 and S10 both have super slow motion camera modes. This improves on its old model and can now be set to record and at 960 frames per second. The new super slow-motion mode can be found in the camera app. Scroll along the top to find it and choose a subject to film in slow motion. It uses motion detection to find when the slow-motion moment should happen, meaning you simply have to set the app ready and wait for the highlight.

Bixby AI

Samsung phones have a button on the left hand of the phone called the Bixby button. This unique button is used for summoning Samsung's voice-controlled Bixby AI. Bixby can be used for tasks like checking the news, searching your phone or the web or searching for music on Spotify.

Samsung Galaxy S10 how to take a screen shot

One common question for new Samsung users is how do you take a screenshot. For this, simply press the volume down and standby button on the right hand side of the phone simultaneously to take a snap. Hold them down long enough to here the camera click and see it take a screenshot. This will be saved to your screenshots folder.