Samsung is slipping more upscale characteristics into its less expensive phones, but you can take your A5 to the next level with a few customizations. You have the ability to transcend even a run-of-the-mill phone with very little effort when you know the right tricks. With its metal build, the A5 already feels more like a premium phone, but does it feel like your premium phone?
We will also shed light on some features that may not be intuitive to everyone. By the time we’re done your A5 will have your fingerprints all over it—and stored inside if you have the 2016 model.
The A5 has all of the traditional smart gestures—Smart Alert, Mute/Pause, and Palm Swipe to Capture. These gestures not only look like a magic trick, but can also be extremely convenient. It’s a good thing the phone has Smart Alert, since it’s lacking the normal LED Notifications (but we have a modified means of having them anyway below). When Smart Alert is activated, the device will vibrate when you lift it if you have missed calls or new messages.
On the flip side of having missed calls, most of us have received a call at an inopportune time when our phone is supposed to be shut off, like at work. That’s what the Mute/Pause feature is for. You can tell your phone to “talk to the hand” by placing your palm on the screen. When the screen is covered it will mute any incoming calls or alarms.
You can also just flip the device over into a downward position and it will do the same thing. To activate any of these options, go to Apps>Settings>Motions and Gestures>and select the name of the gesture. You will have to tap the switch.
Finally, if you are looking for a cool way to take screenshots here it is—the Palm Swipe to Capture method. With your hand in a vertical position, swipe the edge of your palm across the screen. Move your hand from right to left. Pretend you are about to do a karate chop if you like.
Your hand should be in about the same position, with the thumb facing upward. But instead of chopping into your phone, glide your hand across the screen. When you succeed you should see an animation flash and a new screenshot in your Notifications.
2. Add Home Screen Panels
As with most things in life, there isn’t only one correct way to do this. You can pinch the current home screen with your fingers. You can also long-press your Recent Apps key and then swipe left. Now you should be able to tap the + icon to create another home screen. When you are finished, simply tap the screen to exit.
To remove a panel, go to a home screen, long-press a blank area, then drag it to Remove at the top of your screen. To change the order of your home screens, long-press and drag them to their desired location.
3. Change Brightness Settings
Always being like a ray of sunshine can be exhausting for your phone, so if you want to save on battery we can show you how to adjust the level of brightness manually. This phone can also adjust brightness according to the amount of light in the room so you can pay attention to bigger and better things. Either way, you will need to swipe down your Notification bar. There you will find a slider, which will allow you to make the screen brighter or darker.
There will also be a box labeled Auto, which enables automatic adjustment. If you have something against Notifications, or if it’s easier for you to remember, you can also arrive at the same destination by going to Settings>Display>Wallpaper>Brightness.
4. Super Secret Codes
Developers are a sneaky bunch that like shortcuts and back doors. You can access a hidden service menu with a code, you can also find information, check the status of hardware, and perform commands. The Samsung A5 isn’t the only phone on which these codes will work—- they work on many Android devices, especially the A3 and the A7. Dial the following codes for easy access secret settings Samsung A5, and be sure to leave out any spaces:
- *#34971539# the camera’s firmware menu
- *#2222# hardware version
- *#0011# to check GSM status info
- *#0837# show software version instructions
- *#06# displays IMEI number
- *#12580*369# to see hardware and software info
- *#1234# software version PDA, CSC, Modem
- *#0228# to check audio loopback control
- *#7465625*638*# to check insert network lock key code
- *#0*# to enter general hidden test menu
- *#7353# to enter quick self-test menu
- *#2663# to check TSP/TSK firmware update
5. Get a New Theme
A change in theme can mean a change in wallpapers, sounds, colors, icons—-even your system UI and apps. The A series 2016 has something the A series 2015 does not—-an enviable Theme Store. However, if you are using the SM-A500FU variant, you are in luck. One of the XDA developers is able to provide a ported version.
Be warned that it’s possible for installation to cause a boot loop. If you would rather play it safe, there are also many themes available for the A5 within the Google Play Store. A search for themes Samsung galaxy A5 yielded the results below and more.
6. Save on Battery
Many users have reported problems with the A5 battery draining very quickly. There are steps that can be taken to help mitigate this. Remember when we discussed adjusting screen brightness? Lower settings will help out your battery life.
Also, to shorten the screen’s timeout, visit the Display menu again, but this time tap OK and Screen Timeout. Choose the timeout value of your choice, but 10-20 seconds is recommended. To enter Power Saving Mode, from your home screen go to Apps>Settings>System>Power Saving>Power Saving Mode, and switch to an ON position.
If you have apps running unnecessarily in the background (and you probably do) you can disable background data by visiting Apps>Settings>Network Connections>Data Usage>Menu. Enable Restrict App Background Data. This won’t cause any system-critical apps to close, but it does mean that messaging and email apps that rely on new data will not update until you open them.
7. Regain Notifications
As we mentioned above, the notification LED light is notably absent from this phone. While you could use the Smart Alert gesture as a replacement, you might have become quite fond of that little blinking light bearing the news that someone interacted with you. There is an alternative, but it’s not exactly the same. You can use the camera’s LED flash instead.
To set it up, visit Settings, then Accessibility. Select Hearing and toggle the Flash Notification to an ON position. No, this isn’t the same, because it’s a different light and only a one-time notification. You can gain more options by downloading an app like Flash Notification from Google Play.
8. Block Unwelcome Calls
Of course, not all phone interactions are wanted or solicited. If you have been receiving calls from a number you wish to block, try these steps. First, open your Phone app (looks like an old-fashioned landline phone). Then, under Logs, press Menu. Tap Settings, then Call. Select Call Rejection.
Here you can create an Auto Reject List. You can block by contact or by phone number. In the future, you need only tap on the entry you want to add to the list under Logs, and choose Add to Reject List.
9. Manage Apps
Everyone with a smartphone uses apps, but efficiently? You can use the Recent Apps key to switch between apps very quickly. From within an app, simply swipe down to see more app options.
Is your system running slow? Ensure that you have closed out all background apps. Just because you dismiss an app doesn’t mean it’s not still running, consuming resources. To check on this, tap the Recent Apps button, then the Active Apps icon. Tap End for to close an individual app, or End All to eradicate them, at least until you open them again.
Samsung has gotten better, but it still has a reputation for including lots of bloatware. The only way to truly get rid of all bloatware is to root your A5. You can also restrict background data, like we talked about when we were discussing extending battery life. Another option is to hide and disable all of the apps you don’t plan on using. To hide an app, first tap on the app, select Menu (three vertical dots) and select Hide Apps .
To disable an app, go to the Apps screen, then Menu, and tap on Uninstall/Disable Apps. Select the app you have no use for, and hit Disable. As you’ve probably guessed you can also uninstall apps from here; however, not all bloatware can be uninstalled or disabled (one more reason to appreciate rooting). Another way to uninstall apps you have downloaded is by going to Apps screen>Menu>Downloaded Apps>Menu>Uninstall.
10. Remove Flipboard
You don’t like the Flipboard app popping up from your Home screen? Get rid of it by long-pressing an empty space on the Home screen, swiping left, and removing the tick in the upper portion of the pane.
11. Add Your Fingerprint(s) (2016 Only)
There’s been a wave of biometric authentication measures, and with good reason. It’s pretty difficult to imitate your fingerprint. So what better way to make the Samsung Galaxy A5 your own, than to allow it to be unlocked by your unique fingerprint? This will also allow you to authorize payments with a simple tap.
You can register your fingerprint by going to Apps>Settings> Lock Screen and Security>Fingerprints> Add Fingerprint. You will need to read, and agree to, a disclaimer. Once you have done so, rest your finger on the Home key until you feel the phablet vibrate. Repeat as necessary, then enter a backup password for your phablet. Touch Set in the pop-up window.
What have you done to your A5 to make it reflect your personality? Did you experience any issues during or after? Send us your thoughts on all of these topics.
We hope you find these tips for the Samsung A5 to be useful, and be sure to share your own advice with your fellow Samsung A5 users in the comments below.