Thanks to friends and readers always pushing me to answer questions, I thought I come up with an article that speaks about some tips that are not that common on the S4. Since the S4 has just been rated by Consumer reports as the Top Rated phone, there may be a few lingering questions that need to be answered. Hopefully you read my previous article: The Galaxy S4 the back to future phone. It really delved into the features of the phone.
In any case my friend being a power user (pics, Facebook, texting, games, research, Calendar reminders, Maps – these are just the ones she uses all the time that I know of) posed a simple question: “Is there any way to change the sync settings other than always sync vs. never sync? I am trying to maximize my battery life.” So I thought to myself there has to be an easy way to manage all of your syncing. LOL, didn’t know how hard a task that would actually be.
One thing that you should do is go into each app like Facebook and change the refresh rate, if at all possible. But for people who need a bit more I came across several FREE apps.
Actions Lite by SigmaCel – this app is for those who are a bit savvy. You have to create the profile you are interested in with specific time frames. Under “New Actions” you will find the ability to periodically sync but it is only for the accounts that are listed in your accounts (Gmail, Twitter etc.).
AutoSync Account Activator – this app is rather simple. Once you download you choose your account that you would like to control. Click Periodic sync and it appears to control the syncing of applications on the phone. Not sure if it controls all apps but looks very promising.
Tips and Troubleshooting
As a normal rule of thumb, it is always best to shut off your phone from time to time or restart it as the phone needs to update from time to time. However, here are some tips to maximize battery life and improve overall performance.
Extending battery life
· Turn off Wi-Fi. I am not sure the significance of people thinking they constantly need Wi-Fi. If your phone is 4G/LTE than why use Wi-Fi? The beauty about Wi-Fi is that if you are roaming you can basically operate your phone as normal – Map out directions, check email, etc. Turning off Bluetooth, S-Beam and NFC has the same effect.
· Screen brightness should always be set to “Auto”. The light sensor on the S4 works well and will automatically adjust the phone in daylight and at night. This also saves battery power by dimming the screen at appropriate times.
· The S4 has a power saving mode which can be found in Settings or the drop down menu (use two finger to swipe down). Using this instead of third party apps will certainly lengthen your battery life. If you hold down the power saving option it will take you to its menu where you can select specific options to save power.
· Darker wallpaper also consumes less energy.
· Limit the number of widgets on your home screens.
· Change the screen timeout time. The lower the amount of time the better.
· Although the S4 has some great extra features, some of those are: Air View, Multi Window, Air Gesture, Smart Stay and Smart Scroll. If you will never use these features you can turn these off as well.
Lag and Stutter
There are some people who have reported slow response when tapping things like the home key. To solve any lag you can do one or all of the following:
· In “Settings” scroll down to “Developer Options”, go to “Transition Animation scale”, “Window animation scale” and “Animation duration” and set to “Animation is off”.
· In “Settings” click “My Device” click “Lock screen” and then unlock effect and change it to “None”.
· Double tapping the home key will launch S-Voice but you can disable this for faster home button response by going into S-Voice and “Settings” then deselect “Open Via Home Key”. I would then suggest putting the shortcut to the app on one of your home screens.
· Use HDR in low lighting or mixed lighting for better photos.
· By default the camera should have the default picture size to 9.6 megapixels, at a 16:9 aspect ratio; to use the full depth of the camera set the size to 13 megapixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
· Sending videos via MMS can sometimes be difficult because of the bandwidth. In the settings options you can actually change the video settings to “Limit for MMS.”
· Control what people can see in your Gallery by adding “.nomedia” at the root of any folder, this will prevent it from being seen in the Gallery. You can always view it by going to your folders.
Most people don’t even know this feature exists, however the S4 can adapt to the sounds that you can hear in each ear with headphones. The feature is called Adapt Sound. It works by testing each ear. Therefore, the sound actually becomes clearer and adapts to your hearing. Impressed yet? Find this in “Settings”, “My Device” and then “Sound”
A few comments: Ring Tones can be created, Google Now is awesome, sync iTunes with Google Music “Play Music” (it holds your iTunes music in the cloud, and get Swype – forget typing it’s too slow. Interested in the HTC ONE, S4 Mini, S4 Nexus Edition, HTC One Nexus Edition or the Moto X? Stay tuned.
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