Samsung’s Galaxy Flip 3 is arguably the most exciting phone to be launched in years, if only because it brought a sturdy design and more accessible price point to the foldable phone market.
And – if you’ve realised that – and made the Z Flip 3 your first flexible smartphone purchase, there’s plenty in the software worth digging into that’s more than just surface level. Watch the video below or follow our written instructions if you find it easier. Let’s dive in!
1 – Use the cover display as a camera monitor
Arguably the most useful feature of the little Cover Screen on the front of the phone is being able to use it as a monitor for the cameras to take selfies with. If only because it means you’re using the better quality cameras on the outside, rather than the poorer selfie camera cut into the main display.
To do it – with the phone closed – just press the sleep/lock button on the side twice quickly and it should automatically launch the camera. If it doesn’t, go to Settings > Advanced features and tap “Side Key”. Make sure “Double press” is switched on and that “Quick launch camera” is selected from the list.
Once you’ve launched the camera, you take a picture by just tapping the screen, and you’ll see a little countdown clock giving you time to frame yourself before it shoots the photo. If you want to shoot a video, you just swipe left or right until it says “video”. To switch between the ultra wide and primary camera, swipe up or down.
2. Use your photos as a Cover Screen wallpaper
This year’s Cover Screen is much more useful than the previous version, and it’s full colour too. If you head to Settings > Cover screen > Clock style it lets you choose between a 11 different styles. Some of them have their own animated graphic, but the simpler ones let you choose an image to display behind the clock.
To choose your own photo, choose the clock style you want – one that hasn’t got its own animated image – then tap “Background Image” and select “Choose from Gallery” from the pop-up window.
Now you can choose any picture from your own gallery. In fact, you can choose up to 15 of them. When you have the images you want, you can pinch to zoom and frame them the way you want and save it. Now when you wake up your cover screen it’ll show your chosen image, and if you’ve chosen more than one it will cycle through them each time you wake it up.
3. Take hands-free selfies
One of the cool things about having a flexible flip phone is that you can get it to sit up and take a hands-free selfie. Simply open the camera app, choose your front facing camera and then rest the phone down with the camera facing you.
Adjust the angle of the screen until you’re framed and now all you need to do is show the palm of your hand to the camera. It’ll automatically start a countdown and take a selfie.
If it doesn’t work, open the settings menu in the camera app by tapping the cog icon in the corner. Swipe down until you see “Shooting Methods” and make sure “Show palm” is toggled on. There’s also an option in there to enable voice commands.
4. Cover screen widgets
As well as showing you notifications and a clock, the cover display also gives you access to a set of widgets by just swiping left on the screen. This could be weather information, music controls, a voice recorder or a timer. While there’s a default set installed, you can choose to change them to other widgets.
Go to Settings > Cover screen again and this time choose “Widgets”. Here you’ll see a list of available options and all you have to do is toggle on the ones you’d like to have, or toggle off the ones you don’t. And if you hit “Reorder” at the top you can change the order in which they appear.
5. Flex Mode
For some apps, when you fold the screen in an upright position, you can have the app displayed on the top half screen and a set of controls on the bottom half. This is something of a beta feature for now, but to try it all you need to do is go to Settings > Advanced Features > Labs and then choose “Flex Mode panel”.
Once you’ve toggled the app on, whenever you open that app and bend the screen to 90-degrees, the app will go up into the top half, and the bottom gives you controls for volume, screen brightness, screenshot and a shortcut for dropping down the notification shade.
6. Adapt sound
One potentially useful feature – depending on your age or what your hearing is like – is an adapt sound feature. Head to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Sound quality and effects. Now tap “Adapt Sound”.
In this menu you can choose one of four preset sound frequency options tailored generically for age groups based on how – on average – parts of your hearing sensitivity change over time.
If you want to run a bespoke test to see what yours is like and then create a custom profile just hit “test my hearing”, connect your Bluetooth headphones, go to a quiet room and run through the test.
7. Swipe down anywhere for notifications
On the home screen, you should be able to just swipe down anywhere on the wallpaper and have it drop-down your notifications (you don’t have to reach for the top anymore). However, if it’s not active, long press on your wallpaper and tap “settings”. Now enable the “Swipe down for notification panel” option.
8. Rotate your home screen to landscape
One option that isn’t enabled by default is having your home screen automatically rotate into landscape mode when you turn the phone. But you can switch this feature on. Just long press your wallpaper and tap “settings” again. Now toggle on the switch next to “Rotate to landscape mode”.
9. Reverse wireless charging
Since the the battery in the Galaxy Z Flip 3 isn’t massive, we wouldn’t recommend doing this all the time, but you can use the back of the phone to wirelessly charge other products. It’s useful for things like your compatible earphones or smartwatches for example.
There are a couple of ways to use it. You can toggle it on by dropping down your quick settings shade, swiping across and then tapping the “wireless power share” button. Alternatively, open Settings > Battery and device care > tap “Battery” and now select “Wireless power sharing” and toggle it on.
As mentioned, there’s a pretty small battery in this phone so you can set a limit to how much it’s allowed to be drained by this feature. Just tap “battery limit” and set it to a percentage you’re happy with.
10. Limit maximum battery charge
If you stay in the battery settings you’ll see an option for “more battery settings”. There are a number of options in here for more or less efficient battery usage, but one feature designed to help your battery last longer is the toggle for the “Protect battery”.
With this enabled your battery will never charge over 85 per cent, and in so doing shouldn’t degrade as fast as if you were to charge it all the way up to 100 per cent every the time. It will, obviously, mean you have less battery juice to play with though, so you may find yourself having to charge more often as a result.
11. Bedtime mode
One of our most used features on any modern Samsung phone is Bedtime Mode. It lets you schedule a time for the screen to turn greyscale as well as muting notifications, to help encourage you to get off your phone and go to sleep. Open Settings > Digital Wellbeing and parental controls. Now scroll down and select “bedtime mode”.
You can toggle it on manually, or better, toggle on the scheduled option and choose a time you want it to come on every night and which nights it should apply to.
12. Change your lock screen shortcuts
By default, when your phone is locked there are two icons on the bottom of the screen: phone and camera. If you want to change them to something different go to Settings > Lock screen and select “Shortcuts”. Tap on left shortcut and choose from one of the other options that don’t require an unlock. You can have a torch, activate do not disturb or the voice recorder or calculator.
There’s also a list of apps you can launch, but those require a fingerprint scan or PIN/password to access.