Personalizing Your Samsung Galaxy S3

(This is part of the My Quick Start Guide for Samsung Galaxy S3 Series.)

Ready to take your Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone experience to the next level ? Here are the few customization tips that will help you to get started with personalizing your S3.

a. Change the display language

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Language and input > Language.

2. Select a language.

b. Add additional input languages

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Language and input, and then tap the Setting icon next to Samsung Keyboard.

2. Select the input languages you want by checking the boxes.

If you have more than one input languages, the virtual keypad will have this key language_switching_key for you to switch between languages.

Also you can tap and hold the input_key to switch to different input modes: handwriting, voice, keyboard (default) and access the clipboard.

Keypad Input Options

c. Turn on or off the touch tones

Some may find the touch tones (on by default) a bit disturbing. If you’re one of them, here are the simple steps to turn it off

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Sound > Touch sounds. You can uncheck if you want to off it.

d. Adjust the device’s volume

1. Press the volume key, located on the left side of your phone, up or down

2. You will see the volume slider appears on screen. Tap settings icon on the right  and drag the sliders to adjust the volume level for each sound.


e. Change your ringtone

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Sound > Device ringtone.

2. Select a ringtone and click OK. The default is Over the Horizon. (I quite like this one actually)

f. Change wallpaper for the Home screen

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Wallpaper > Home screen.

2. Select either image Gallery, Live wallpapers or Wallpapers folders.

  • Gallery – all pictures you’ve taken using the built-in camera.
  • Live wallpapers – animated background pictures.
  • Wallpapers – still background image.

3. Then select an image.

g. Change the display font

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Display > Font style.

2. Select a font, and then click Yes on the pop-up window.

h. Lock your device

Instead of just swipe to unlock your screen, you can actually choose other methods such as PIN or Password. Yes, there are also face and voice recognition to unlock.

Let’s not get too excited with those advance stuff and start with something more common, the PIN security.

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Security> Screen lock > PIN.

2. Enter the 4 digits PIN and tap continue.

3. Enter the same 4 digits and click OK to confirm.

i. Change the screen timeout

You can set the length of inactivity time that turns off the device screen.

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Display > Screen timeout.

j. To prevent the backlight from turning off while you are looking at the screen

The device can detect your face when you’re looking at the screen with its front camera. With Smart Stay enabled, the screen will not timeout and turn off.

1. On the Apps screen, select Settings > Display.

2. Check the Smart stay checkbox.

k. To automatically lock the touch screen when the device is near your face for call

To prevent accidental inputs, turn on the proximity sensor to lock the touch screen when it detects the phone is near your face. No more worries of your face might touches the call end button.

1. Tap the phone icon to get to the virtual dial pad.

2. Tap the Option key (besides home button) to get a pull-up menu.

3. Tap the call settings option.

4. Check the Auto screen off during calls checkbox to enable the feature.

l. Add or remove a panel from the Home screen

By default, the device comes with 7 panels. You can add, delete or customize the contents of each one.

I personally find them too many for a start.

1. To edit, you can place two fingers on any panel and pinch them together to switch to Edit mode.

2. Tap and hold the panel’s thumbnail, and then drag it to the dustbin.


Besides removing (or adding) a panel, you can customize the panels with widgets and apps (or stuff such as shortcuts and folders), by simply tapping and holding an app or a widget, and then drag to the panel you wish.

All the apps and widgets are accessible via the Apps/Widgets screen.

Below are the examples of my 2nd and 3rd panel which populated with widgets and apps.

Panel 2

Well, there’re definitely more you can do on this highly customizable phone. Again here are just few to start you off the ground.

(This is part of the My Quick Start Guide for Samsung Galaxy S3 Series.)

* Last updated by at .

177 Responses to Personalizing Your Samsung Galaxy S3

  1. Kristen says:

    Hi there,
    I just updated my s3 and had a special font that I purchased from the android market which no longer shows on the Samsung keyboard which I’ve become very used to. I’ve looked everywhere to try to find where to I can change this, but have had no luck. I’ve also tried other keyboards but do not like them as well as the standard. If somebody knows how I can get my font on the Samsung keyboard, please share!!

  2. Matthew says:

    Hi, and was just curious if there is a way to change the font color of the clock and other font on your lock screen on your Galaxy S 3?

    • Ethan says:

      I don’t you can change the color of the font, but if you change the font style in Settings > Display > Font style, the whole phone’s font (including lock screen) will be changed.

  3. elian says:

    I am trying to do the touch to send (S beam) with another gs3 but its not working, i have the nfc, the s beam and the wifi on, but i dont know why its not working. Please help, this is a very cool feature and i would like to use it. Thank you

  4. Jan says:


    I am looking for a way to switch side of the “Options” and “Back” functions on my S3 – as I always use left hand (and prefer one hand operation). The S3 is too big to reach the back “button” on the right side with left hand..

    • Ethan says:

      I don’t see a way without rooting your S3. Once rooted, you can edit your key layout file. (Personally I’ve not tried)

  5. kelly says:

    When I first got my galaxy s3 I played around with the settings and changed my font style. It changed it on my keyboard too but then I allowed an update and it changed my keyboard back and I cannot change it to the font I wanted. The keyboard also has different options on it. Is there any way to change it back or undo the update without putting it back to factory settings?

  6. mints says:

    hi. i turned off predictive text, auto capitalization, etc on keyboard but i cant figure out how to remove it when im in handwriting mode. i find the suggestions distracting, is it possible to turn off in handwriting? thanks so much!

  7. Laurice says:

    how do I personilise my messaging ringtone, when I get a massage there is no ringtone, eventhough I have it on default setting, would like to personilise it like my ringtone.

  8. Aryan says:

    wht does my ringtone initially rings softly and then gets louder after 2 seconds. any ways to amend this? thanx

  9. Ahamed says:

    Hi I am using s3. In my phone the proximity sensor is not working. During the calls after 1 or 2 mind the screen is turn off but after call screen not turn on automatically. Plz help me to solve this problem

    • Ethan says:

      Few simple suggestions to troubleshoot:
      1) Make sure the sensors (at upper right of the screen) are not covered with screen protector.
      2) Test the sensor by dialling *#0*# on the keypad, select Sensor, and cover the sensors with your hand. It should vibrate and the screen turns green.
      3) You can also tick and untick the Auto screen off during calls checkbox.
      4) Last resort, reboot the phone and reset the phone to factory default.

  10. Derek says:

    How do I customize the default settings on my sounds? I
    want a notification sound for my text messages but not on my incoming emails. Is this possible?

  11. Elian says:

    how can you move a photo from an album to another without using a computer ?

    • Zandor says:

      You can try a file manager like Adao file manager available in the play store. With this you can create new folders and copy/cut/move/paste etc any pictures on your device. They are in the storage folder, DCIM. Be warned only mess with your sd card not the phone system. You could “HOSE or BRICK” your phone. You could also check out other similar programs. I use this one because it’s free & I’m an experienced user.

  12. lucia says:

    Hi I have been fiddling around for very long but can’t find the solution. Do you know how I can change the default for home button single tap? I chose “Go launcher” in the beginning, but now I want to change to another one. However when I go to apps and Go launcher, there’s no default for me to reset. Please help me….

    • Ethan says:

      If you no longer need the go launcher, maybe you can uninstall it, choose a new launcher, and install go launcher again later (if needed).

  13. Priyanka Shinde says:

    Can u tell me how to protect my gallery and messages with a password in S3.

  14. John H says:

    I have jsut bought a Samsung s111 and am trying to work out how to change all of the instructions from chinese to english….can anyone assist?

  15. Ketu says:

    How can I see ‘Personalization Settings’ on SG3? Personalization settings displays phone status like ‘Phone is unlocked or not?’ Dialling *#7465625* is not helping me to get the ‘phone lock status’.

    • Ethan says:

      Yah, this code don’t work for all the s3 variants including mine I9300. But I’m pretty sure the international model is unlocked.

  16. kiihay says:

    Hi maybe you can answer a question for me…. I just got a galaxy S3 (at&t) and something is seriously bugging me. In Sms if I try to send a ♥ (heart) under the symbols I will get an error asking me to change my input method to automatic…. but there doesn’t seem to be any option to do so…. I can view them fine when others send them (friends with s3 on t-mobile)

  17. mike h says:

    In my samsung galaxy I hate when i hit the contacts icon the next ting i want to see is just the keyboard to start typing. Is that posible? help please send me an awser

  18. emma says:

    Hi I have the s3 and my numbers are saved to my phone n SIM but I’m after have a picture next to the contact…. it wouldn’t do it on the SIM so changed it back to phone…… but it’s not showing in the txt when the person sends me a txt….. it was ok on the s2 other shows in the phonebook

    • Ethan says:

      If you have the contacts in both phone and SIM, you should remove the one in SIM. The messaging app could be still reading the contact in SIM that doesn’t have a pic.

  19. vishu says:

    i accidently delete phone option on home screen in bottom through which dialler pad appears how to fix it. plz help i dont want to reset my phn. my model is galaxy s3

    • Ethan says:

      If you were talking about the dock area (at the bottom), then simply go to the application list, tap and drag the phone app to that area.
      This is how you get the phone app back to the dock area.

  20. Sherrie says:

    My friend can make her text fonts blow up larger incrementally by touching the long button ( volume key) on the left side. How does she do that? We both have the Gs3. Thanks

  21. Amy says:

    When I touch the scren on my galaxy s3 a little circular light appears on the screen where I touch it. How do I make this go away?

    • Ethan says:

      I know that if you turn on Settings > Developer options > Show touches, you will get some kind of visual feedback from each touch. I’m not sure if you’re referring to the same thing.

  22. mehndi says:

    how to makw my samsung galaxy s3 desktop as it was, like 1st when i touched its screen it feel like i push in water but now it doesnt work,,plz explaian.

    • Ethan says:

      That’s the ripple effect on the lock screen. In version 4.1.1, go to Settings > Lock Screen > Lock Screen options > tick Ripple effect. But it stated that if you’ve a live wallpaper this feature is disable automatically.

  23. hussie says:

    how to transfer messages to s3 from nokia 5800.

    • Ethan says:

      In Samsung Kies, there’s an option which you can restore/transfer the data (contacts, sms and etc.) from the nokia backup file. Kindly explore. Sorry, I do not have a Nokia 5800 to test it out.

  24. Greg says:

    I am trying to re-set the home button from what I set as a default. I had set it to Spivey App but have since uninstalled it. Now when I push it twice, nothing happens. Any thoughts on what to do?

  25. Krish says:

    Hi Ethan,

    I am using the monthly layout on my S Planner and would like to change the color of the background and also the color of the event details. How do I do it?

  26. Abhishek Sharma says:

    hi friend..

    This is Abhishek Sharma from India..iam using samsung galaxy note..i had changed my phones language input from English to Hindi to compose a msg and my phone got locked after 30 sec the language is changed and i cant unlock my phone with the changed language…because i cant type the security password as it is in english..i tried swiping on the spacebar but it is not changing the input method..
    what do i do..please help..

    • Ethan says:

      In S3 there’s a keyboard icon on the right of the lock screen. Tap on the icon you will have the option to choose the keyboard. Do you have that in Galaxy Note ?

      • Divya says:

        Hi Ethan,

        I have done the same as Abhishek on a Galaxy note…and now there is no option to change the keyboard back to an English one and I cant do that till I unlock…please help.

  27. Jose says:

    Hola!. I have no idea how the Picture Gallery disappeared from my Unrooted S3. After taking a picture I have to go : MyFiles>SDCard>Camera to see my pictures. How can I fix this problem?. Thanks!

    • Ethan says:

      Please double confirm if the Gallery app has been disabled by going to Application Manager > All > Gallery. Usually, the disabled app is right at the bottom of the list. If yes, try to enable it, else reboot the phone. :)

  28. tim stevenson says:

    Hello Mr phone guru:

    Is it possible to make the phone ring at full volume straight away when a call is coming in ?

    At the moment the sound gradually goes from medium to loud (even when my setting is full volume). By the time I hear it ive missed the call. Cheers

    • Ethan says:

      On my phone, it starts ringing softly for about 2 sec before jumping to the set volume level. As far as I know, there isn’t a way to disable the incremental ringing without rooting (maybe).

      One thing you can try is to enable Increase volume in pocket feature, which can be found in Call settings. It suppose to increase the ringing volume when your phone is in the pocket or bag.

  29. Ecallaw says:

    My S3 displays the security screen after a 1 to 2 min delay from any other screen. It appears to be independent of the time-out. Do you how to change it?

    • Ethan says:

      Lock setting is different from the screen timeout setting. Go to home Settings > Security and lock screen > Lock automatically to select the duration before the screen gets locked.

  30. Matt says:

    I set the 4 digit pin to lock my phone playing around with phone, how do I turn off this feature in order to consider another lock feature?

    • Ethan says:

      Go to home Settings > Security and lock screen > Screen lock. Now, you need to enter the 4-digit PIN in order to see a list of options to change the security method.

  31. mizmac10 says:

    Unbeknownst to me, I have somehow changed my keyboard input to something that is like a drawing pad and cannot find anywhere to change it back to the keyboard style. I don’t like the touchpad as it is too inaccurate for me.

    Also, is there a way to delete words from the predictive text dictionary that you don’t use? There are some that come up all the time that are ridiculously off when I’m clearly swiping text of a different word. Any ideas there?

    One last question… I have set the eye recognition, but it doesn’t not work properly. I can be looking right at the phone and it times out and goes black. And then at other times it is sitting on my desk facing up and I’ve looked down (not directly over it mind you) and I see the eyeball icon on! Is that something I should take to the store and exchange it for? It really does not seem to be working properly.

    Thanks for all the great tips I’ve read through here. You ARE the GURU! ;-)

    • Ethan says:

      1) On the drawing pad, tap the keyboard symbol to change it back to keyboard input. If you don’t need the handwriting input, go to home Settings > Language and input >Samsung keyboard settings > turn off Handwriting.

      2) Go to Samsung keyboard settings > tap Predictive text > My word list. Here, you can change or delete any unwanted words.

      3) Go to home Settings > Display > Smart stay. Tap on Smart stay when it’s uncheck, you should see the information screen that gives a list of situation the smart Stay might not work.

  32. Jaleesa says:

    Can you add a diff background to your txt mssg screen??

    • Ethan says:

      You can change the background style by going to app Settings > Background style. I don’t think you can add additional background image to the phone without rooting. If you need more customization go for 3rd party app Go SMS or Handcent.

  33. JaTasha says:

    Is there anyway to turn the phone to silent but have certain contacts ring? I use to have this on one of my phones I’m currently using the galaxy 3. I just want to be able to silence incoming calls but have my husband, son, or parents call and the phone rings

  34. Sarah says:

    Hi Ethan,
    I’m wondering if there’s a way to prevent the texts and fb msgs from scrolling across the top when they are received?

  35. Hassan says:

    Hi, I installed skype app recently and I think I sync’d all my contacts with skype contacts. Now whenever I try to call some I get option to either call using phone line or skype (I find it very annoying). Could you pls help how I could disable this? I tried to do this in applications manager but could do it under skype.

  36. diky says:

    Hi, do you know how to change the messaging text input Box? Because i only have a first line box. Some ither s3’s have big boxes when they type in for a message under messaging. Thank you

    • Ethan says:

      I don’t think there’s a way to increase the size of messaging box, but it gets bigger when you type. Therefore, I find it quite ok.

  37. elian says:


    My GS3 is changing the home screen wallpaper on its own. It switches to other photos in the album.
    How can I fix this problem ?
    Thank You.

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