How To Change the Lock Screen on the Galaxy S7
Let’s be honest—you probably don’t think about the lock screen on your phone very much. Sure, it’s a handy security feature, but to most consumers, it exists primarily to prevent butt dials while your phone is on your pocket. But if you think about it, the lock screen on your S7 or S7 edge is probably one of the most-used features of your phone. You use it daily, to unlock your phone, to read notifications and text messages, and to check the time—like the twenty-first century version of a pocket watch. Despite its usage, a lot of users never change a single setting on their lock screen, even going as far to leave the wallpaper whatever came on the device.
It’s time to change all that. Samsung provides a ton of settings for their lock screen. You can change your wallpaper, your shortcuts, modify your security functions, and add text to the display. If that’s not enough, you can even replace your lock screen with a third-party solution from the Play Store. If you’ve never even though of changing your lock screen settings before now, worry not—you’ve come to the right place. This is our guide to changing the lock screen on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge.
Let’s start with the basics. If nothing else, you’ll probably want to change that basic lock screen wallpaper to something a little more creative or personal. Though it’s a small change, placing a picture of a family member or loved pet adds that much more to the phone, and makes it truly your own. Likewise, if you prefer cleaner patterns, you can always select something minimalist or a piece of beautiful artwork to go along with that sharp Super AMOLED display.
Start by open your settings menu, either through the app in your app drawer or by tapping the shortcut in your notification tray. If you’re using the standard settings menu, scroll down to the “Phone” category and select “Wallpapers and Themes.” If you’re using the simplified settings menu, you’ll find this menu has its own section, also titled “Wallpapers and Themes.” This will take you away from the settings menu and into the Samsung Themes app. Here, you can download and select wallpapers, themes, and icons for your device. You can either browse the wallpapers offered by Samsung, or you can tap the “View All” option under “My wallpapers” at the top of the display. This will load a list of the included wallpapers on your device, as well as any photos saved in your gallery. If you want to use a wallpaper from your gallery, tap the “From Gallery” menu. Once you do that, a new panel will appear on the display: Set as Wallpaper. If you want to set this wallpaper as both your home and lock screen paper, you can select that option on the far right. If you just want this wallpaper for your lock screen, select the middle icon. Likewise, if you’re looking to replace your home screen wallpaper, you can select the left “home screen” icon.
From here, you can select an image from your gallery. Any image taken with your camera will be saved under the “Camera” section, while screenshots and other downloads will have their own albums. Once you’ve selected an image (or images, as you can have a rotating series of up to thirty wallpapers), tap the “Done” icon in the top-right corner of the display. You can then adjust, move, or zoom or your wallpaper and preview how it will appear on your lock screen. Once you’ve found a satisfactory appearance, hit “Set as Wallpaper” at the bottom of your display. You’ll be taken back to the “My Wallpapers” display from earlier, and a notice on the bottom of your screen will appear to let you know your wallpaper has been changed. If you turn the display off and back on, you’ll see your new lock screen wallpaper, appearing just as it had in the preview panel before you hit “Set.”
Once you’re satisfied with your wallpaper, you can leave the Samsung Themes app.
Alright, now that we have a new backdrop for our lock screen, it’s time to change some of the functionality. We’re going to start by changing the shortcuts that are placed in the bottom left and right corners of the lock screen. Samsung allows these shortcuts to be customized to any application on the device, so if the stock shortcuts leading to the phone and camera aren’t useful enough for you, you can put any application you wish there. Or, if you never use those shortcuts, you can disable them outright, making your lock screen that much cleaner.
Let’s start by diving back into your settings menu. This time, scroll down to the “Personal” category and tap “Lock screen and security.” If you’re using the simplified settings menu, you’ll find this section has it’s own tab. In the lock screen menu, tap “Info and app shortcuts,” followed by “App shortcuts.” This will bring you to a simple menu screen displaying a sample lock screen, as well as two options to select: left shortcut and right shortcut.
Select either shortcut option. At the top of the display, you’ll see an on/off switch that allows you to turn off either or both shortcuts. Below this, you’ll see a list of every application on your device. If you’ve disabled any apps on your phone, those will also appear here, but they’ll be grayed out. You can select any application you wish; on the left shortcut, I’m using a link to Google Play Music. Once you’ve found the app you wish to link to on your lock screen, or you’ve disabled the app itself, you’ll be returned to the main app shortcuts menu. Do the same with the other shortcut on your display.
Once you’ve changed your shortcuts, you can leave the settings menu. Your new shortcuts will appear on the lock screen. If you’ve never used these shortcuts before, to open them, just place your finger on the shortcut of your choice and slide out. You’ll see a translucent white circle begin to expand on your device. Swipe all the way out to the opposite side of the screen, and your app will open automatically.
Likewise, if you’ve turned off one or both of the app shortcuts, you’ll see that the bottom of your lock screen is now empty.
Okay, let’s change something with a little more functionality. One of the main functions of your lock screen is, appropriately, to keep your screen locked. While some users are satisfied without a PIN, password, or pattern keeping their screen locked, others want their device to be as secure as possible. If you want to enable, disable, or change the security functionality first equipped when you set up your Galaxy S7, we can find those options inside our settings menu.
Just like with the lock screen shortcut settings, scroll to the “Lock screen and security” menu inside your settings. This time, tap “Screen lock type” at the top of the menu. If you currently have a PIN, password, or pattern lock on your phone, you’ll be prompted to enter your current password to change these settings. If you use a fingerprint lock on your S7, you’ll still have to enter the PIN or password manually.
Once you’re inside the menu, you’ll see several varieties of lock screen type provided by Android. From the top: swipe, which allows you to swipe anywhere on the display to unlock the screen, without any code, password, or fingerprint required to use the device; pattern, which provides a 3×3 grid to slide your finger across in a pattern of your choosing; PIN, which functions like any typical PIN, requiring a minimum of four numbers to gain access to the device; finally, password, which requires a standard character-based phrase to enter the device. These are arranged from least-to-most security, with a swipe offering none, a pattern offering some, a PIN requiring medium-to-high security depending on the length and complexity of your access code, and a password offering high security (so long as your password isn’t literally ‘password’).
Below these, you’ll see two more options: “none” and “fingerprints.” None removes your lock screen entirely, meaning that pressing the Home or Power keys on your device will wake your S7 immediately. Obviously, for both security and pocket-based reasons, we don’t recommend using “None” as your option. Finally, the fingerprints menu will let you use your saved fingerprints as your phone’s unlocking method. To use your fingerprints, you’ll also have to set up an alternate unlock method. You can choose between the pattern, PIN, or password methods. Whenever your phone reboots, you’ll have to use this method to unlock your device. If you haven’t saved your fingerprints yet, you can do so by heading back to the “Lock screen and security” menu and selecting “Fingerprints” from the list of options.
You can make any of these selections for your device, though if you want to use your saved fingerprints, you’ll want to select “Fingerprints” before making your new PIN, password, or pattern. Once you’ve entered and confirmed your new pass-code, you’ll be returned to the “Lock screen and security” menu.
Set Up Smart Lock
While you’re in your “Lock screen and security” settings, you should take advantage of one of the handiest features in Android. From the “Lock screen” menu, select “Secure lock settings.” This will give you plenty of options for locking your screen, including the time it takes for the phone to lock after turning off automatically, the ability to lock instantly with a press of the Power key (recommended), and the ability to enable “Auto factory reset,” which will completely reset your phone to factory settings if your device fails its unlock method fifteen times in a row. Finally, at the bottom of the list, is the “Smart Lock” option. Tap that selection, and you’ll be prompted to enter your PIN or password.
If this is your first time setting up Smart Lock, you’ll see a quick, one-screen guide explaining what exactly Smart Lock does. Essentially, Smart Lock is a way for your phone to recognize devices and locations surrounding it, and lock or unlock based on the parameters your set for your device. It’s really handy if you spend most of your day in one location, like if you work from home, or if you use a device like a smartwatch.
Once you’re inside the menu for Smart Lock, you’ll see four separate options: on-body detection, which detects when your phone is in your hand or your pocket and prevents locking until you’ve set the phone down; trusted placed, which saves a location where the device can be left unlocked (say, for example, your home address); trusted devices, which stays unlocked while paired with specific Bluetooth devices (like a smartwatch or Bluetooth headphones); and trusted voice, which unlocks the device upon hearing your voice saying “OK Google.” In my testing, all four of these work well to some extent, although I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how amazing trusted devices is in particular. As a smartwatch user, being able to keep your device unlocked as long as your paired watch is nearby feels truly futuristic.
Though all four of these will keep your device unlocked, you can also manually lock your device at any time. Once Smart Lock is set up and active, you’ll see an unlocked lock icon on your lock screen. Tapping this lock icon will lock your device and require a fingerprint or pass-code to unlock. If you’re in an area where you want to keep your phone locked without disabling Smart Lock, this is a great feature to have ready at hand at all times.
Add Text to the Display
Let’s move away from the topic of security for the moment, and talk again about customization options. If you wish, you can add text to the lock screen on your Galaxy S7, to read whatever you’d like. The function is designed to display your name or other personal info (to quickly identify a lost phone as yours), but you can also use the function to display a signature, quote, piece of information, or anything else you wish to use.
Head back to the “Lock screen and security” menu and select “Info and app shortcuts,” just as we did above to select our lock screen shortcuts. This time, select “Owner information.” A prompt will appear on your screen to enter any message you’d like. You can enter anything you’d like, including emojis, so make the message your own. Once you’ve entered your text, hit “Done” to be returned to the “Info” menu. If you lock your device, you’ll see that your text has been added to your lock screen, displaying directly below the time and date. You can change or erase this text at any time by returning to this menu, so don’t feel like you’re locked into a singular message.
Lock Screen Replacements
Sure, the stock Samsung lock screen has plenty of functionality and customization, but for some of us, it just doesn’t go far enough. There’s a huge market for lock screen replacement apps on the Play Store, from basic themed lock screens to more complex options. While there are plenty of not-so-great lock screen apps out there, there’s also plenty of quality ones, like Echo Lockscreen, Hi Locker, and Microsoft’s Next Lock Screen. Though most of these apps will take you through how to set their own functions up specifically, it’s important that, before you switch to a third-party lock screen, you disable the Samsung lock screen to prevent two separate lock screens from showing up on your phone.
Start by opening the “Lock screen and security” menu and tap “Screen lock type.” Enter your PIN or password to gain access to the menu, and then locate the “None” option on the list. This will completely disable your lock screen, preparing your phone to be set up with a third-party lock screen downloaded from the Play Store. After you’ve done this, you can exit the settings menu and install the lock screen of your choice.
One important thing to remember when replacing your lock screen with an app from the Play Store: you’ll have to modify any and all changes to the lock screen, both regarding security and specific settings, through the independent application’s settings. The standard lock screen menu found in your device’s settings only corresponds to the Samsung-designed lock screen. Also remember that switching to a lock screen from the Play Store may result in some unforeseen loss in functionality, including using fingerprints, Smart Lock, and even apps like Android Pay or Samsung Pay that require the system lock screen to be enabled on the device. Whether or not this matters is up to you, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Of course, the payoff here is the added functionality some third-party lock screens can add to your device, so you’ll have to compare and contrast features among apps to find a lock screen replacement that works for you.
The lock screen on your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge has so much functionality that often goes unused or unnoticed, but it’s secretly a great little system of its own. It has plenty of security options, including the ability to utilize Smart Lock for easier access to your device when you’re actually using it. You can change the wallpaper, and have several different selections rotating on your screen at once, and you can even add app shortcuts or custom text to the display to make it your own. And if that isn’t enough, third-party lock screen replacements are a dime a dozen in the Play Store, ready to be downloaded at any time.
Since you probably already spend more time than you think looking and using your lock screen each day, you should utilize the customization options to make it feel custom-built for you. Luckily, with all the settings and functions ready to be accessed, you’ll have a great-looking lock screen in no time.