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All the things they didn’t tell you about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The Watch 4 and the Watch 4 Classic are amazing little devices sporting version 3 of Wear OS. This makes them both powerful and longevous as they will be able to run any Wear OS app and Samsung promises 4 years of updates. Of course, they will be operable even after that, and to make the most of them let’s see what the user guide generally doesn’t tell us in detail.

Keeping the screen on

The watch has the option to set the screen timeout to 15, 30, or 60 seconds. However, when using it, you might be puzzled why the screen turns off after a mere 5 seconds. It turns out that the screen timeout value is only valid if you woke the watch with either the button, the bezel, or via screen touch. If you just raise your arm, the screen timeout is only 5 seconds.

Turning off the screen

Now that we know how to actually keep the screen on, we might want to know how to also turn it off. Of course, if you lower your hand or rotate your wrist outwards it will turn off, but there might be occasions when you don’t want to do that. As an alternative, you can turn off the screen by putting your palm over it, but you also must touch the screen with the meaty part of your palm. Just hovering over is not enough.

Extending the battery life

The Watch 4 is a powerful computer on your wrist and thus needs a lot of power to operate. Generally, it should be able to last a little over a day, but there are ways to extend that time.

  • Turn of the always on display (AOD)
  • Turn off touch to wake and turn bezel to wake to prevent accidental activation
  • You can also turn off raise to wake if you don’t mind pushing an extra button to wake the watch
  • Choose a darker watch face with a lot of black
  • Set the screen timeout to the lowest value
  • Decrease the screen brightness
  • Turn off the wifi and NFC if you don’t use them all the time
  • If you don’t mind the watch being a bit slower, turn on power saving mode
  • You can decrease the number of notifications or turn them off completely
  • You can set the sound mode to vibrate only and choose a shorter vibration pattern
  • If you have no health concerns, you can turn off hearth rate monitoring, stress measeurement, blood oxygen measurement during sleep and snore detection.
  • Turning off activities to detect might also conserve some battery

If you are really running out of juice, but need to know at least the time, you can disable all smart functions by turning on Watch only mode in Settings > Battery. This mode grants almost 2 weeks of operation with a full charge.

Installing watch faces and apps

Installing watch faces is not as trivial as it sounds. When clicking the install button on the Play Store website, you will have to select the correct device first from a dropdown first.

Installing watch face from a desktop browser

On the phone, the Play Store app can be even more frustrating. Depending on if a watch face has a phone companion app or not, there might not be results visible until you switch from “This device” to “Watch”.

To make sure that you install the watch face on the watch, click on the little triangle on the right side of the Install button and tick the checkbox in front of your watch device before clicking Install.

Customizing watch faces

Contrary to some other watch operating systems, you can separately select the colors of the watch face components. Changing the background might be all you need, but you might also want to check out a different color or style for the hands too.

Installing the watch version of your phone apps

There are a lot of amazing apps that are quite useful on the watch screen too. Spotify, Todoist, Viber and Bring! comes to mind. These apps however are not installed automatically when you set up your watch for the first time. You can either open up the Play Store app right on the watch and look for them there or if you open these apps in the Play Store app on your phone, now the datasheet should tell you that they are “Available on more devices”. If you click on the arrow, your watch should be there.

Taking screenshots

Now that you have nice watch faces and cool apps, you might want to take screenshots too. This is easy, just press the two buttons at the same time. The screenshot is saved on your phone, open the gallery to find it.

The update can go wrong

A new update for the Watch 4 came out at the beginning of February 2022. Unfortunately, the upgrade did not go smooth for all users, the related Facebooks groups are full of people complaining about random buzzing, battery draining, and other issues.

Personally, I ran into 2 problems:

  • Bing exited immediatly, did not wait for me to speak
  • My walking workout ended whenever I stopped at a crossing instead of auto-pausing.

Luckily a hard reset (Settings > General > Reset) did solve my problems but be prepared that you too might face strange behavior after a system update.

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