10 Incredibly Useful Tips and Shortcuts For Your Samsung Galaxy S5

By Jack Armijo | Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 has secret passage ways and shortcuts all over the place.  There’s back doors and hidden entrances all designed to get you to your stuff quicker and easier.

That’s the way it should be. Right?  I mean, its your stuff and it should be quick and easy to get to.

So here are some shortcuts that can make your day-to-day activities on your Galaxy S5 easier.

1. Quick Message or Call

This tip is helpful for those people you need to call or text and they’re not one of your “Favorites”.  Because you wouldn’t need to locate a favorite contact.  You would just go to the favorites tab.

To use this tip open the Contacts App. Start typing the name of a contact in the search field. Your Galaxy S5 does a real time search as you type.  So it shouldn’t take long to find the contact.

Galaxy S5 Contact

Once you find the person you want to text swipe from right to left to open the texting app.
GS5 Contact Swipe to Message

Your Galaxy S5 will start a new text message with this contact already in the “To” Field.  The cursor will be sitting in the “Message” field waiting for you to start typing.

 GS5 Contact to Message 2

Back at the contact search page; swipe from left to right to open the phone app and automatically call this contact.  Just make sure you actually want to talk to them.  Just sayin’

GS5 Contact Swipe to Call

2. Note to Self

You know when you’re out running errands and you think of something that you know you should write down.  Usually you won’t have a pen and paper available.

So what do you do?  You tell yourself, I’ve got to remember this.  5 minutes later you have no idea what  you needed to remember.  That’s where Note To Self comes in.

To use this tip open Google Now.  You can do that by Saying “OK Google” from your home screen.  You can also open Google Now by long pressing on the Home Button and then saying “OK Google”.

When you hear the ding, you should see a red pulsing microphone (sounds gross when you say it out loud) and the words “Speak Now”.  This means you Galaxy S5 is waiting for your voice command.

Say “Note To Self” and the note you want to remember. For example, “Ok Google! Note to Self.  KY jelly may be from Kentucky but it does not go well with peanut butter”

Google Speak Now

Google Now will record and transcribe the note for you and send it to your choice of destinations.  It will assume you want it to go to your Gmail account.  But you can choose to send it to a Note taking app instead.  Like Google Keep or Evernote if you have them installed.  Very handy when you’re out and about and remember something that you need to do.

Google Note to Self

3. Silence the Ringer

Your in a meeting with the whole company. Its like a library, no one is talking except the CEO.  Right then you get a call and your ringer is on full blast.

Everyone turns to look at you.  You fumble with your phone.  Your trying everything you can to silence it. You think “Why is it still ringing?!!!”  You feel your body temp go up and your face is the color a freshly boiled lobster.  You’re thinking “Please just stop ringing!!!”

Well, if a call comes in and you’ve forgotten to put your Galaxy S5 on silence.  You can immediately silence the ringer (even in vibrate mode) by pressing on the down volume button on the left side of your Galaxy S5.  The call will not be sent directly to voicemail but the ringer or vibration will stop immediately.

4. Assign Quick Responses to Number Keys

Look through your most recent text messages.  Do you send the same text to certain people often?  Maybe the text is just a status update with where your at.  Or maybe you’re just checking in.  I sent short little updates to my wife all the time like “On my way” or “I need a drink” or “My head is stuck!”

If so then you might love this tip.  I only wish I would have learned it years ago.

In your messaging/texting app long-press on the microphone icon just to the left of the comma key.

GS5 Keyboard Microphone

Tap on the gear icon in the pop-up menu.

GS5 Keyboard Settings Popup

Tap on My Shortcuts

GS5 My Shortcuts

Type a message into one of the numbered boxes.
GS5 My Shortcuts Text

Tap the back arrow on the bottom of your phone to save and exit.

To try it out; go into your messaging/texting app. Long-press on one of the numbers you entered a message for.  When you lift your finger the message will be in the text box for you.

GS5 Text Quick Response Example

Cool right?

Like I said, I wish I would have know about this years ago.

5. Priority Contacts in Messaging App

Do you have a few people that you text with more than others?   Your closest friend, a coworker maybe?  This shortcuts puts those people right at the top of your texting app.  One tap away from sending your thoughts across the airwaves directly to them.

In your messaging/texting app tap on the circle with a Plus sign in the middle of it.

GS5 Preferred Contacts

Tap on Inbox to select from contacts you’ve recently sent or received text messages from.  Or tap on Contacts to open the contact app and select your priority senders from there.

GS5 Preferred Contacts II

Tap on a checkbox to add the contact as a priority sender

GS5 Preferred Contacts III

Now they are at the top of your Texting app for easy access to start the next text.  A great little shortcut for those you text with the most.

GS5 Preferred Contacts IV

6. Uninstall/Disable Apps in the App Drawer

There are a number of apps installed on your Galaxy S5 by your service provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc) or from Samsung themselves that cannot be uninstalled (bloatware!!!).  These apps could be using memory or battery because they might be running in the background.  Even though you’re not using them.   Most apps you can uninstall.  Not these guys.

So Samsung provided a way for you to disable and hide the apps that you do not want on your Galaxy S5.  Open the App Drawer and tap on the 3 dots menu in the upper right corner

GS5 App Drawer I

Tap on Uninstall/Disable Apps

GS5 App Drawer II

Tap on the little red dash to disable an app.  This will not uninstall the app; but will prevent it from using memory, cache, and battery resources.  Its not a good as unistalling but I think its a good alternative.

GS5 App Drawer III

7. Quick Switch between Cities Weather Forecast

Do you like to keep you eye on the weather in other cities?   Maybe you travel to the same cities for work on a regular bases.  Or maybe you have a favorite vacation spot.  Maybe you just want to keep an eye on your home town.

If you’ve added more than one city to the weather widget on your Galaxy S5.  Then you can quickly switch between cities in the Weather Widget right on your home page.

Swipe down on the weather widget (like the arrow above) to quickly switch between cities

GS5 Weather Widget I

This is the weather widget switching between cities.  Notice the transition point in the middle of the image below.

GS5 Weather Widget II

8. Direct Call from Phone App

This is a tip that I’ve known about for a while and is available on most Android Smartphones.  It wasn’t until recently however that I realized how useful it was.  In the last couple of weeks I’ve used this shortcut probably every other day.  That’s surprising considering how hard I try to keep from calling someone.

Open the Phone/Dialer App instead of the Contacts app.   Start typing the name of the person you’re calling by using the letters on each button key.

GS5 Contact Search I

Notice I typed 224 because that corresponds to BAI.   Tap the 3 with the down arrow that is circled above to see the other 2 contacts that could match based on the letters assigned to 224.

GS5 Contact Search II

Tap on the green phone button to call the contact.

9. Replace Camera Shortcuts

In my house we use the camera’s on our smartphones for everything.  In fact my brother-in-law calls my wife an asian tourist. She’s always taking pictures.  I’ll tell you more about that later.

Photography is an art and about personal style.  The shortcuts that come as a default on the Samsung Galaxy S5 might not be the settings and features you use most often.   And as you use your camera more and more you’ll discover which settings work best for you.

To change the shortcuts on your Galaxy S5’s camera open the camera app.  The default shortcuts are located on the left side of the screen.  I’ve circled them in yellow in the picture below.

GS5 Camera Shortcuts I

Long-press on one of the existing shortcuts to bring up the camera shortcut menu and then drag the shortcut you want to remove out of the shortcut area.  Just lift your finger to drop it anywhere.  It’ll disappear.

GS5 Camera Shortcuts II

Long-press on the setting you want to add to the shortcut area and then drag it into place.

GS5 Camera Shortcuts III

Next time you open the camera app the settings you use most will be right there on the screen for easy access.

GS5 Camera Shortcuts IV

10. Reject a Call with a Message

Have you ever had a call come in that you just couldn’t take at that time?  Maybe it was from a close friend or a loved one.  Either way you felt a little guilty about having to reject the call.  Especially, since you sent them directly to voicemail.  Here’s a little tip that will help ease that guilty feeling in the pit of your stomach.

I’m honestly surprised I haven’t used this tip more often.  Probably because my go to reject method is tip #3.

Anyway, next time you receive a call that you can’t take, reject the call and send the caller a text message for follow up.  Letting them know you couldn’t take their call but you’re not ignoring them either.

While the call is coming in slide up on the “Reject call with message” arrow to select from the quick response messages.

GS5 Call Reject I

Here are the default quick response messages that come on your Galaxy S5.  Tap on the Plus sign and Compose new message bar above the first message to create your own messages.

GS5 Call Reject II

There you go.  10 incredibly helpful, daily use type shortcuts and tips.   I hope you found a gem or two that will help you enjoy your Galaxy S5 even more.  If so please put a comment below of your favorites.  Or even better, if I’ve missed one of your favorites please tell me about it in the comments.

And if you would be so kind; I could really use a few clicks on the like buttons located at the beginning of this article.   Thank you.

Looking for more tips and tricks for your Galaxy S5?  Check out my page dedicated entirely to the Galaxy S5.

About the Author

Leave a Comment:

(23) comments

Linda Nolan May 12, 2015

OMG!! I am SOOO thankful to have FOUND you and your GREAT TIPS…. Now I need a duplicate samson galaxy5. … so I can learn it ALL AT ONCE! I got my phone Feb 15….and just NOW found your. very personalized article while googling why am unable to a compose txt while on another call. Had iphone 2yrs and did it a lot. AM sure it’s in your tips– but wow –&love the personal comments 🙂

    Jack Armijo May 12, 2015

    Hi Linda,
    Welcome to My Smartphone Tutor, I’m so glad you found me. Absolutely, you can text while on a call. One of the biggest selling points for Android Smartphones early on was that they could do multiple things at once – like send a text while on a call. This was long before you could do it on the iPhone. Competition makes everyone better.

    While on a call – tap on the home key. The big oval key at the bottom of your Galaxy S5. That’ll take you back to your homescreen where you can tap on your Text Messaging App.

    The Phone call window will shrink into the upper left corner of the home screen so you can get back to it when you’re done texting.

    I hope this helps and you find tons of useful tips and tutorials while you’re here. If you still have troubles sending a Text while on a call – just let me know and I’ll work up a tutorial showing you how its done.

    Your Smartphone Tutor,

COLIN BAKER June 29, 2015

I have 2 things I would like to solve. First, on previous phones when I opened up contacts it always defaulted to the favourite tab. How can I get it to do that on the s5. Secondly, I want google chrome to open automatically when I open a Web page but I just cannot get it to do that. I always get the offer to select browser even when clicking “always use” chrome.

    Jack Armijo June 29, 2015

    Hi Colin,
    I haven’t figured out a way to default to Favorites just yet. I’ll keep working on it though.

    As for defaulting to Chrome; I can’t remember if I uninstalled Samsung’s Browser or simply disabled it. I can no longer find it on my GS5. Either way Chrome is the only option I have.

    You can try to disable Samsung’s Browser by opening the App Drawer; tap on the 3 Dots Menu icon in the upper right corner. Tap on Uninstall/Disable Apps. If it’ll let you tap on the red dash next to Browser.

    Good Luck.

GiGi July 9, 2015

Thank you so much! Very, very helpful and useful tips.

Sue July 16, 2015

What are the meanings of the different colors of the face icons by text messages? Most are blue, but there are just a few green and yellow. Thanks.

    Jack Armijo July 16, 2015

    Hi Sue,
    That’s a great question. At first I thought the colors represented the account the contact is associated with.

    For example, some contacts could just be stored on your phone. Others are associated or stored in your email’s contact list, and then there are contacts that are from your social media accounts like Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter.

    I haven’t been able to confirm that however.

    One thing I’ll say about contacts. Make sure when you’re adding new contacts to your Contact’s App that you’re adding them to an email account. By default most Android Smartphones, the GS5 included, store new contacts in the phones storage.

    This article will tell you a little bit more about that.

    Thank you so much for stopping by My Smartphone Tutor. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.


Anjelah July 27, 2015

Hello Jack!

Do you know how to quick scroll to the beginning of a text log with out flicking time after time? Yes, I hoard text messages, lol.

Thank you for your time,


P.S. Although I knew all but one of these tips, I still read them because I enjoyed your personal delivery to the info. I laughed at the asian tourist analogy. =) The camera is SO useful! I record recipes with it a lot.

    Jack Armijo July 27, 2015

    Hi there Anjelah,
    I’m so glad you’re enjoying my site. And thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Its nice to hear all the hard work is appreciated.

    As for text messages question. In the contacts app you can quickly scroll through all your contacts if you touch the ride side of the screen where the letters are; the scroll will jump to the beginning of each letter in the alphabet. Its a very quick way to get through a long list of contacts.

    I had hoped that the messaging app would work similarly. Unfortunately, the default messaging app that comes on your Galaxy S5 doesn’t appear to do that.

    But, if you install Messenger from Google. It does. If you touch the right side of the screen near the scroll bar you can jump by date. Its a very quick way to get to the top of a looooong list of messages.

    I hope this helps.

Chaka July 28, 2015

I was wondering how the favorites list is compiled? How does it choose the order of favorites?

    Jack Armijo July 29, 2015

    ​Hi Chaka,
    There are the Favorites that you identify by tapping on the Star icon in the Contact edit screen. When you go to your Favorites tab; they will be sorted alphabetically. I don’t see a way to change the order of the sort.

    There are also Contacts that your GS5 has recognized that you contact frequently. Those are in date order. The person you contacted most recently will be at the top of that list.

    Hope that answers your question.


darcy August 4, 2015

Thanks for the tips! Do you know how to default the Contacts to open to Recent Calls instead of Contacts? Or a better option is that I would really like to put a Recent Calls shortcut on my home page. Thanks!

shennin September 3, 2015

Hi Jack. I’m stuck and hoping you can help. In the past we could put a priority sender at the top of our text message list (samsung S3 & S5) even if we were using an email address as their texting address. I accidentally deleted someone from my priority and now cannot figure out how to re-add them back.

Dreadfully stuck,

Marie October 11, 2015

On the reject call with text, is there a place to add custom messages? I know you can add one when you are on the reject screen, but usually i am rejecting because i am driving so cannot compose a new text at that time, or i would have answered the call 😉

    Jack Armijo October 11, 2015

    Hi Marie, in the phone app, tap on the 3 dots icon in the upper right corner.

    Tap on Setting
    Tap on Call, then Call Rejection, Rejection Messages.

    Tap on the + icon to add a new meassage.

Pamela November 10, 2015

Does the Samsung Galaxy S5 allow you to be on a phone call and access your contacts at the same time? It’s very frustrating having to hang up, look up information in a text or contact, and have to call someone back.

    Jack Armijo January 13, 2016

    Hi Pamela,
    Yes it does. In fact, when Android phones first came out they were the only phones at the time that could allow you to talk on the phone and do other tasks. Now, any smartphone can do it.

    On the Galaxy S5, when on a call tap on the home key to go back to your homescreen. From there you can tap on the Contacts App icon or go into the App Drawer.

    The phone call will shrink to a small window in the upper left corner. To return to the Phone Call, tap on the Call window in the upper left corner OR use the multi-window key to the left of the home key. This will open a window will all the Apps you currently have running. Scroll through and tap on the Call screen to return to the Phone call.

    I hope I explained that well enough.

    Your Smartphone Tutor,

Track Truck January 13, 2016

you are great
when doing a e mail or tx message, it takes steps to get the key board back to edit.
I am sure it use to pop up any time I would touch the screen to edit.
How do I get that back.
Thank you
Tracy Truck

    Jack Armijo January 13, 2016

    Hi Tracy,
    Welcome to My Smartphone Tutor.

    I’ve never seen a setting that allows you to auto-hide or auto-show the keyboard in emails or messaging. I have noticed recently however, that the keyboard is not always open when I go into my email or messaging apps. However, all you have to do is tap in the message box field and the keyboard will automatically open if it is hidden.

    Hope this helps.

    Your smartphone tutor,

tess December 27, 2016

Not sure if this site still going. I have s5. After an upgrade, I can’t get photos of contacts when they call anymore. Any way of fixing please?

Marci January 24, 2017

What is the original default quick responses on a new samsung galaxy s5. List all please. Thank you.

Emily September 26, 2017

I loved when my phone told me where my phone was unplugged… I accidentally hit the “don’t show again” and I’ve been looking on how to get it back does anyone know how to get that back?

Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment: