12 Ways to Customize the Samsung Galaxy J3

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).

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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.

j3-safe mode

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.

j3-camera setting

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.
j3-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.

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  1. How do I move my icons in my apps?
    How can I get the into my apps in a box with more than one icon?
    For example, Microsoft Office?

    1. Hi Robin,
      All you have you to is long-press one icon and drag it on top of the other app you want to include in your ¨box¨or folder. That´s it! Thanks for reading. =-)

  2. When unlocking the J3, is the dialer the default program that opens first? Can this be changed?

    1. Hi Brian,
      When you unlock your phone, you should just see the home screen. Is this something that is happening to you? =-)

  3. Hi Edith,
    Those vertical dots are something that is suppose to be in the phone already. What are you trying to do exactly? =-)

  4. I couldn’t find the 3 vertical dots I needed to continue actions on my samsung j3 but I have now solved it my j3 apparently doesn’t have these instead it says edit and this enables me to continue with the actions.

    1. Hi Edith,
      Every phone has a different setup, but I am glad that you were able to finish what you needed to do. Thanks for commenting. =-)

    1. Hi Morgan,
      I have a J5 and after looking into every option, there is, I haven’ t been able to find a way to change the SMS look without downloading an app. So downloading an app is completely out of the question? =-)

    2. There is a way to customize your entire phone with out a app. Go to your theme store which comes with the phone. Through this you can choose many many themes which will change the look of your messages and notification bar and even your dialer and so on. Hope this helps.

    1. Hi Ed,
      You can edit this feature by going to Settings>Language & Input>Tap on the keyboard you are using and turn off predictive text. Hope this helps. =-)

  5. How do I change the font color under my icons & under the time displayed on my pages? I am vision impaired and they are all in white font making them near impossible to read. Thank you!!

    1. Hi There,
      You can use Holo Launcher that allows you to change the size of the font in Launcher settings and with a dark wallpaper you´re all set or you can install Go launcher that has that feature. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  6. How do I change the message text bubble colors on the J3? My old S4 had incoming message text bubble color as yellow and my outgoing message text bubble as blue. The J3 is reverse.

    1. If you mean to move the app icon to another location within the folder, all you have to do is long-press on the icon you want to move and move it over to where you want it to be. The icon that is already there will slide over making room for the one you want to place.

  7. I have recently changed to Samsung Galaxy J3
    Is there possibly a way of having the top icon bar on home page in a colour so that it shows on top of any personal home screen image I have
    And …. a major one – is there any way at all of making the speaker louder. I have everything set at full but yet I can’t hear my phone ring or the alarm if I am anywhere but right next to the phone

    Thank you so much

    1. hi gynor, did you ever get a fix for this . I cant see my icons in top bar because of light wallpaper. On my old LG the icon bar (charge, signal, sound etc ) are in a distinct separate bar above wallpaper.

  8. Why does Samsung J3 2016 can only be touched by 2 fingers while other phones like J5 2016 can be touched by 4 to 6 fingers. Is there anything that I could do to make J3 touched up to 3 or 5?

  9. On my husband’s J3, there is a floating icon that looks like the Applications icon except the background color is a bit different. When it is tapped, I can scroll through 3 pages with 4 icons each. These icons are shortcuts to Recent apps, Home screen, Back, Notification, panel, Volume, etc. So, it appears the icon I’m asking about is a like a folder shortcut. But it is obtrusive, and I can not remove it as an app or widget. I’ve searched for answering and have come up empty. Any ideas?!?

    1. Look in the Accessibility settings. There is an option for Dexterity and Interaction. In there you should see something called Assistant Menu. Toggle that off and you should be good to go.

    1. You should be able to go into the camera settings and turn off the quick launch function. This should eliminate the icon, but also turn off the option for any quick launch options when it is unlocked too. I don’t believe you can have one without the other.

  10. Is there a way to make the predictive text “smarter” in a J3 V? I had a Galaxy 4 that had personalized predictive text and I assumed that was standard for Samsung phones. I am very disappointed with the J3s predictive ability — it just plain isn’t very good at guessing, and even if I type out the whole word it often overrides what I’ve written (replacing “flakes” with “flames”, for example). Any help available??


    1. if there isn’t a background option in the settings, you might want to look into a different sms app like GO SMS Pro. you can get different themes and change just about everything.

    1. Press and hold an open space on your home screen. When you have the option to choose a widget click the tab. Contacts is an option. choose the widget style you want. there are options for contact, direct dial, and direct message. then choose the contact you want to add.

  11. Hello good evening. My camera is not working good.It produces blurred photos even I cleaned the screen and even check whether there is an obstructcle. It seemed that my camera cant have a focus on the subject in a distant. Further images seemed to be too zoomed even though i adjusted the zoom button.Please help me

  12. I have a samsung j3 2016 phone and I was wondering how do I get the writing smaller when I receive a notification in the notification bar as it is to big for me

  13. Hi! Lockscreen clock format (vertical, no colon between double digits) is so absurd that the mind does nit identify its giving current time. How can I change it to horizontal?

    1. Hi, Trixie. You should be able to change this in your display or clock settings, or by selecting a differently formatted widget for your lock screen.

    1. Hi, Dee! Your home button should only go to S Voice when double tapped. Is that what’s happening. You can stop double tapping home from pulling up S Voice by opening the S Voice app, going to Settings and deselect the “Open via the home key” option. If you want double tapping your home button to open a different app, the Home2 Shortcut app allows you to do so.

  14. Hi can someone tell me how to get back the add a ringtone mine disapperaed? and is it possible to have a different notificationsound for email, messages, facebook, or do they all have to be the same one which is annoying me?

    1. Hi, Sara. Could you clarify what you mean when you say that your ringtone disappeared? You can change the notification sound for your email, text messages, and calendar to each be unique under your Sounds and Vibration settings, but all other apps would use the same notification sound. You cannot make the other apps have different sounds unless the app itself allows you to change it’s notification sound or you use an app that allows you to change the notification sounds of other apps.

  15. I have a J3 – Can you tell me if there is any to

    A) Change the Camera icon on the lock screen to something else (most probably texts)
    B) whether there is any way once a text arrives it alerts you on the lock screen as it does for emails.



    1. Hi, Peter! To change the app icons on your lock screen go to Settings -> Personal -> Lock screen and security -> Info and app shortcuts -> App shortcuts, and choose the apps you want to have access to from your lock screen. To ensure that texts appear on the lock screen go to Settings -> Notifications -> Advanced -> Messages and make sure “Hide on lock screen” is switched off.

  16. Prior to the last update I had a custom picture for my profile on my J3 and now it is gone and I can find no way to access my pictures to put it back (can only change to a stock image). How can I fix this issue and continue to use my own custom image for my contact info?

  17. I have a Samsung J3. If I am in an app, such as playing a game, and the phone rings, my ringtone plays, but the phone app will not switch focus so I can see who is calling. If I press the Home button, it will answer the call, but I want the phone app to take focus away from whatever app I cam using when it rings, so I can decide if I want to take the call, or send it to voice mail. Any ideas?

  18. am using a locked screen with my J3 and find I am continually putting in the wrong number because the numbers are too small or my fingers are too big. How can I make this screen larger as there is plenty of space on the whole screen, yet only half is in use?

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