The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the pinnacle of the Galaxy line. You get the most screen, RAM, and a stylus S-Pen that’s always just a step above the Galaxy S lineup. It’s a great flagship device and we wanted to take a brief moment to help walk you through some of the more important features you may want to check out when first getting a Note 9.

Check for updates

This should be the first move when you get any phone. You want to make sure the phone is on the latest OS, but more importantly, you want to make sure you have up-to-date security patches. This will keep your phone, and its data, as secure from external threats as you can get.

  • Open up Settings
  • Scroll to the bottom and select System Updates
  • At the popup tap Check for system updates

If updates are available, you’ll be prompted to download and install. If not, you’ll get the all clear popup in the final screenshot above.

Secure the phone with Iris or fingerprint scanner

Speaking of security, now that your software is locked down, let’s make sure the same can be said for your hardware. Samsung has offered several ways to unlock/lock your new Note 9. You have the standard pattern and PIN combo that’s been in Android for years, but there areĀ also some newcomers like iris and fingerprint biometric scanners.

Samsung is one of the only OEMs to offer iris scanning and it works pretty well even though my glasses sometimes trip it up. Either way, it’s a quick effective way to unlock the device.

  • Head back to Settings
  • Biometric and Security
  • Iris Scanner
  • Enter your PIN or enable one as secondary authentification
  • Go through the guided steps
  • Make sure Iris unlock is toggled on in Iris Scanner settings

Personally, I prefer the fingerprint unlock method. It’s conveniently on the back where I rest my fingers when holding the phone, and Samsung has one of the fastest scanners I’ve ever seen at actually scanning your prints.

  • Open Settings app
  • Biometrics and Security
  • Tap Fingerprint Scanner
  • Enter your PIN
  • Select Add Fingerprint
  • Follow the on-screen guide
  • Make sure the Fingerprint Scanner toggle is on

Log into or create a Samsung account

If you’re new to the Galaxy line this one may make you ponder, but I recommend you take the time to do it. You really will need it to take full advantage of the Note 9 experience.

  • Head to the Settings app
  • Select Accounts
  • Add account
  • Samsung account
  • Login or create your Samsung account
  • Agree to the terms
  • Tap Done

Setup Samsung Pay

To piggyback off the new Samsung account you now own, let’s move to Samsung Pay. This is very similar to Google Pay if you are coming from another Android device. However, one key difference on the Note 9 is that it has additional hardware that allows you to use a credit card scanner at the store even if it doesn’t have NFC payments.

  • Open Samsung Pay
  • Click Get Started
  • Use biometrics verification (iris or fingerprint)
  • Create a Samsung Pay 4-digit PIN
  • Add a card or Paypal to your Wallet

S-Pen Shortcuts

If you’ve bought the Note 9, chances are you are a fan of the stylus S-Pen. Well, you should be. It’s a unique way to interact with your smartphone and Samsung really has done a great job of designing features that make it stand out with the Note 9. You can even choose what you want it to help out within the Settings with S-Pen Shortcuts.

  • Open Settings
  • Find Advanced Features
  • Tap S Pen
  • Select Shortcuts

From here you can customize the S-Pen and all the apps you want to quickly use with it.

Change the Navigation Buttons

It’s always bugged me but Samsung has been doing it for a decade now. By default, they reverse the normal Android navigation buttons layout. Instead of Back-Home-Recents, Samsung aligns them Recents-Home-Back. Thankfully, over the last few generations, the company has added a setting option to change this back to the Android default.

  • Find the trusty Settings app
  • Select Display
  • Scroll down and tap Navigation Bar
  • Click the final option of Button Layout
  • Choose the layout that you prefer

Turn on all notifications in the Status Bar

Here’s another Samsung quirk. For some reason, they limit the number of icons that will show in the Status Bar to only three apps. It’s not a huge deal but it could become another point of annoyance for Android users with their first Galaxy device. Again, you can at least turn this option off.

  • Go to Settings app
  • Tap Display
  • Find and open the Status Bar option
  • Toggle the Show recent notifications only to OFF

There are still many other ways to customize your new Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but these are some initial tweaks we thought you might not be aware of or just needed a reminder. Now, go enjoy that new awesome phone you have in your hand!

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