4 Ways to Speed Up Your Galaxy S4


The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most powerful and versatile smartphones ever, packing a 1.9-GHz quad-core processor and a dizzying array of features. You can answer the phone with a wave of your hand, take photos using the front and back cameras at the same time, and run two apps on the screen at once. But depending on which settings and functions you have enabled, the S4 can feel a bit bogged down.

Not a fan of lag? Neither are we. When responsiveness is paramount, follow these easy tips to make your S4 feel snappier. 

1. Turn Off the S Voice Shortcut

Samsung’s S Voice feature, similar to Apple’s Siri, has a long list of talents. You can ask it questions like “What’s the weather for today?”, find restaurants, navigate to an address, open apps, post updates to Twitter, dictate memos and more. However, we strongly suggest disabling the Home Key shortcut for this app, which launches S Voice when you press the button twice. We noticed significant lag when exiting apps to the home screen with this function on, as the S4 seems to be waiting just in case you press the Home button twice. Here’s how to avoid this delay.

MORE: 10 Best Galaxy S4 Cases

  1. Press the Home button twice to launch S Voice, or tap the S Voice icon.
  2. Tap the Settings button to the left of the Home key.
  3. Press Settings on the menu that pops up on screen.
  4. Uncheck the box where it says Open via the Home key.

MORE: 10 Best Galaxy S4 Apps

2. Turn Off Animations

The Galaxy S4 uses transition animations as you move from, say, the home screen to an app, or when you exit an app and go back to the home screen. While attractive, these animations can make the phone feel sluggish. The good news is that you can disable them. It’s a little tricky, but thanks to a great YouTube video by MADDTec, you can follow right along as you read these tips. 

  1. Open Settings, and tap the More tab on the right side of the screen.


  2. Scroll down and tap the Build Number Field multiple times. Keep pressing until the S4 tells you that you are now a developer.
  3. Press the Back button and tap Developer Options.
  4. Scroll down until you see Window Animation Scale.
  5. Select Window Animation Scale and select Animation Is Off.
  6. Repeat for Transition Animation Scale and Animator Duration Scale under Developer Options.

MORE: Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 Camera Shootout

3. Never Miss an Important Photo

The Galaxy S4’s camera runs circles around other smartphone cameras when it comes to features, but it’s the fastest. The first thing you’ll want to do is set a lock-screen shortcut for the Camera app, so you can unlock directly to the camera with a swipe. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Enter the Settings menu, and tap the My Device tab at the top of the screen.
  2. Select Lock Screen at the top of the list of options.
  3. Tap the Shortcuts option in the Lock screen menu. 

    Samsung Galaxy S4 Lock Screen Shortcuts

  4. Switch the Set Shortcuts option from Off to On. By default, the camera will be one of the five available options. (You can reassign any of these shortcuts).

MORE: 10 Best Android Apps You’re Not Using

The Galaxy S4 could also be faster when it comes to shot-to-shot times. However, if you enable the Best Photo feature, you’ll be able to fire off eight shots in a row and then select the best one. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Camera app and press the Mode button, and then scroll down and select Best Photo. 
  2. Camera_tricks2_2Press the shutter to capture eight consecutive images. 
  3. Long press on any photo you’d like to keep, and then tap Save.

MORE: Top 12 Android Games

4. Disable the Unlock Effect Feature

By default, the Galaxy S4 offers a nifty lock-screen Light effect that can follow your finger with a tiny beam of light. When you unlock the device, a wider beam of light spreads across the device. That’s cool, but we noticed that with this animation enabled, it sometimes takes a bit longer for the screen to turn on after you press the power button. The actual unlocking action takes only a hair longer. Still, every half second adds up over time. Here’s how to toggle the lock-screen effect off:

  1. Go to Settings and tap the My Device tab at the top of the menu (the second option in from the left). 
  2. Select the Lock Screen option. 
  3. Tap where it says Unlock Effect, and select None. 
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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Submit Comments

  1. En Says:

    That did help me a lot with the lagging issues I was having. Thanks!! Much appreciated.

  2. Jack Says:

    Wait, what is that 1.9GHz quad core processor and 2GB DDR3 RAM doing?? Why should I have to disable all the cool animations to get a faster phone? HTC One performs much faster with everything turned on.

  3. Raechelle Says:

    This was great! But why is my lock screen option in settings not the same as the pictures above? when I go to lock screen, the only options I have are Screen Lock (PIN), Lock screen widgets, Lock automatically and Lock instantly with power key.
    I assumed it was under Lock screen widgets but when I press that, the Favourite apps or camera option is shaded out and I don’t have the option to enable this….

    Can you help me please?

  4. Optomum Says:

    Raechelle: My screen looked different too – note how the picture above 3. 3. shows that lock screen is set to “swipe”. I had to disable my lock pattern, and then I could follow the instructions above. So I guess you have to give up a pattern lock to be able to unlock to camera…?

    BUT – now that I have the camera icon indeed on my locked screen, I can only sometimes make it open to camera. Commonly it just goes to my normal “desktop”. What is the “trick” ?

  5. Optomum Says:

    ah hah! figured it out (see above). The unlock swipe to camera (or another app) is at the TOP of the screen. (still a little touchy though)

  6. mick Says:

    check this video out on how to speed up your S4

  7. Jim Says:

    I have the Galaxy S 4 and if my phone is showing messages of the messaging window and I accidentally click the power button, then it calls that number of who the messenger was showing at the time. Please help me and tell me how to shut that off so it won’t happen again.
    Thank You

  8. christine Says:

    The plus7 app on my samsung galaxy 4s says it has stopped working when I try and watch video. Why? My mob is connected to wifi. A lot of people are having same problem. My mob is only 2 days old, whats going on. What can I do to get it started? thanks

  9. Lee Says:


    I want to have the camera short cut on my lock screen but I don’t have the shortcut option in my lock screen drop down menu. It is just Lock screen -> Lock screen widgets -> Lock automatically -> Lock instantly with power key. How can you assist me please?

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