The Samsung Galaxy J3 may have a budget price-point, but just like any Samsung phone, there are plenty of ways to customize it. You can take home the Galaxy J3 for around $180, which isn’t bad for what’s in the box. The only points about the phone that are lacking for a Samsung device is the available RAM (1.5 GB), and the camera (5MP Rear, 2MP Front).
If you plan on taking pictures with the J3, I hope you have a good photo editor installed to make them look good. If the specifications under the hood have left you disappointed; there’s a silver lining. The ways you can customize the J3 will either change your mind, or make you pass on the phone.
1. Switch Your Default Home Screen
One of the first things you can do on the J3 is change your home screen. You can do this in just a few steps
If you aren’t already on the home screen, press the home key.
Once on the home screen, place two fingers on the screen apart from each other, then bring them together with a pinching motion.
Now swipe to the desired home screen to either the left or right. Once you’ve found the screen you want, tap the home icon at the top of the screen.
If you don’t see it immediately, it’s underneath the remove/trash icon.
2. Adding Widgets to your Home Screen
I mentioned changing your home screen earlier, but what about changing what’s on your home screen? I’m not talking about wallpapers or themes yet, but about moving widgets to that screen instead.
If you aren’t already there, go to the home screen by pressing the home key.
Find the home screen that you want to add a widget to by swiping to the left or right.
Now that you’ve found the desired screen, perform the pinching gesture from the first customization tip.
Now that you’re on the customization viewer for your different home screens, you should see the three buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Touch the Widgets icon.
You should now have a selection of widgets to choose from. If you don’t see the one you want, swipe to the left until you can.
Once you’ve found the widget you want, tap and hold the widget. When you do this, you’ll be able to move it to the home screen you’ve selected.
Once you’ve found the proper place for it, you can let go, and adjust the size by dragging its corners if able.
3. Select your Lock Screen
Not every lock screen is the same, and for the sake of security, yours should be customized.
Navigate to your Settings. One way to do this is:
- Go to the home screen by tapping the home key.
- On the home screen, tap Apps.
- From there, select Settings.
Once in your Settings, tap on Lock screen and security.
On the next menu, tap Screen lock type.
You may be asked for your set PIN or other information, put this in to continue.
Once you’ve passed this screen, you can set your lock screen to be: Swipe, Pattern, PIN, Password, or None.
4. Enabling Smart Lock
If you’ve never heard of smart lock, it lets you bypass your normal lock screen under special conditions. Smart lock can save time, and offer another customization option that lets you fine tune your phone.
Navigate to your Settings, and then under Personal, to Lock screen and security.
Now got to the last option under Lock screen: Secure lock settings, and then Smart lock on the next screen after that.
You’ll then need to enter any lock screen information you have currently to continue.
On the smart lock page, you have four options to choose from to enable smart lock.
Using these options, you can bypass your lock screen when your phone detects a nearby trusted device, is in a trusted location, hears a trusted voice, or detects that it is on your person.
You can tap any option on this screen that you like to set up the smart lock. Personally, I recommend the on body specification since it covers most scenarios where you would want the feature active.
5. Turn on Easy Mode
If the current Samsung Galaxy J3 interface is too distracting, or too much for you to keep up with, you can enable easy mode to lighten your J3 experience.
From the home screen, or otherwise, navigate to your Settings.
Once in your settings, under Personal, tap Easy Mode.
Here you will see two bubbles for either Standard Mode or Easy Mode. Make your selection, and then tap DONE in the upper right corner.
Easy mode will provide an easily digestible, home screen experience. Additionally, you can toggle applications to be their Easy Mode version in the same manner.
6. Customize your Keyboard
Throughout a phone’s lifespan, you’ll be using its keyboard multiple times per day. If you want to make that a pleasant experience, you should tailor your keyboard to your use and style.
From any location, navigate to your Settings.
Under the Personal tab, scroll to System, and then directly underneath it, tap Language and input.
On this screen you have a few different customization options to play with, but for this example, tap Samsung Keyboard.
On this next screen you can toggle options that will help suit your typing style and desired keyboard. I won’t go into everything you can do on this menu, so change settings around how you see fit.
7. Make Use of Different Camera Modes and Settings
Despite the Samsung Galaxy J3 not having the best camera around, it does have a few settings you can mess around with to change your pictures.
First, quickly tap the home key twice. This will bring up the camera.
From here you can either press the Settings gear off in the lower left corner in landscape mode, or the MODE button in the opposite corner. I’ll start with Settings first.
On this menu there are plenty of options to change and toggle, but you’ll need to scroll down to see all of them.
These are all up to personal discretion. You can set gesture of pressing the home key twice to launch a video recorder instead of just the camera. You can change the functions of your volume keys during picture taking. You can even turn off the quick launch with the home key if it bothers you.
Going back to Step 2 for a moment, let’s look at MODE now instead.
These camera modes are entirely optional, but you can use them to make your shots look unique. I won’t dive into their individual perks here, but you can view their general descriptions by pressing the info button in the top right.
Feel free to experiment.
8. Change your Wallpaper or Theme
I know that one of the first things I do when I get a new phone is change the wallpaper. Thankfully, changing the wallpaper or the theme on Galaxy J3 is a painless process.
Press the home key to return to the home screen if not already there.
Perform a pinching gesture on any empty part of the home screen to bring up the editing menu.
At the bottom of the screen, there should be three buttons, but we’ll only be making use of two this time.
Let’s start with Wallpaper first.
Once you hit the Wallpaper button, you’ll be able to choose an image for your home screen background, lock screen background, or both. This is up to your tastes, and so is the image selection.
You can select an image from your gallery, or from the selections below.
Following suit with Step 4, Themes work much in the same way, except they apply themselves further than just the home screen and lock screen. You can download any number of themes and switch them out as you please. There’s no need to be afraid of experimentation.
9. Configure your Location
This is something you may keep turned off for privacy’s sake, but is necessary for accurate GPS detection.
From anywhere, navigate to your Settings.
Under Personal, scroll to Privacy and safety and tap it.
From here you can toggle Location to be on or off. If you want it to be off, then that’s all you need to complete. However, if you want it on, you have a few more settings to tweak.
Once you’ve toggled it on, you’ll be asked to improve accuracy. You can deny this and still use location services as normal, but your location detection will not be as accurate as possible.
Additionally, you can change your location method between GPS, Mobile networks, and Wi-Fi networks.
One last setting to toggle is Location history. This is located at the bottom of the page, but I would read the description to see if this feature is worth enabling for your own use.
10. Enable Safe Mode
Safe Mode is less of a customization option itself, and is instead to test and disable other customization options you’ve obtained. If a recent software addition is causing your phone to bug, enabling Safe Mode is a good way to confirm this.
To boot into Safe Mode, you first need to turn off your device completely.
Once the device has been turned off, you’ll need to do two things one after the other:
- Press and hold the power key for 1-2 seconds.
- Once the Samsung logo appears, press and hold the Volume Down key.
Once you’ve done this, you should be in safe mode.
What you do in Safe Mode is up to you, but to exit it you can do one of two things:
- On your lock screen should be an option to disable Safe Mode.
- Restart your phone while in Safe Mode.
11. Enable Smart Alert
Enabling Smart Alert ensures your phone will vibrate when picked up if you have any missed calls or messages.
Navigate to your Settings, either from the home screen, or otherwise.
Once in Settings, scroll down to Device, and then tap Motions and gestures.
You’ll only have one option on this menu, and that’s to toggle Smart Alert on or off.
12. Turn on TalkBack
TalkBack is an option, that once enabled, will help users that are either blind or have poor vision. The Galaxy J3 will often provide vocal feedback to help the user with the device.
Navigate to your Settings from anywhere on the device; it should probably be in your recent tabs by now.
Underneath the Personal tab, scroll to Accessibility and tap it.
Near the bottom of the Accessibility screen is a Services tab. Under that tab, tap TalkBack.
Here you can toggle TalkBack to on or off, and receive a helpful tutorial to better understand its intended use.
That’s twelve ways to customize the Samsung Galaxy J3 right out of the box, but there’s still more than can be done. While these customizations aren’t specifically for the J3, they’re helpful on any Android phone. The Galaxy J3 may be a budget phone, but that doesn’t stop it from having a point where it excels.
Do you have any questions about the Samsung Galaxy J3 you need answered? You can leave any questions or comments below and get a helping hand.