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Samsung gave the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra new stylus tricks. This is how they work



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Note 20’s S Pen has some new tricks.

Angela Lang / CNET

Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra get some nice new S Pen tricks. Samsung first introduced gesture controls with the launch of last year’s Galaxy Note 10, but they were somewhat limited.

With Note 20, you get more gestures for action, including going back to the home screen, switching between apps and even triggering Smart Select, the Note 20’s screenshot tool.

Below you will find Note 20’s new Air Actions, how to use or customize them and some of our favorite S Pen features as an added bonus.

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The S-pen is part of what makes the note so appealing.

Angela Lang / CNET

Navigate in Note 20 without touching your phone

There are a total of five new Anywhere actions that join the app-specific gestures that already existed. These five gestures are:

  • Back: Functions in the same way as the back button does on your Android phone.
  • Home: Goes to your home page.
  • Recently: Opens the app switch so you can see your recently used apps. (You can not scroll through your reviews with the S-pen, so you have to tap the screen to open an app.)
  • Smart Select Unleash the tool that lets you capture a section of the screen to share in a screenshot or create an animated GIF.
  • Screen Writing: Takes a screenshot of what’s on the screen right now, so you can comment or write on it and then share.

Each action has its own specific gesture that you can trigger when using the S-pen. You must hold down the button on the pen for your note to recognize the movement and respond correctly.

You can see the basic gesture for each command by going to settings > Advanced features > S Pen> air measures. During Anywhere command The section is a small picture of the movement you need to make with the S Pen while holding down the button.

Trust me, it will take a few tries before you consistently trigger the desired action. I’ve struggled the most with the Screen Writ gesture because it’s just a giant spinning line – I would end up triggering nothing at all or triggering the back gesture.

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The thumbnails are the gestures you use to trigger the commands.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

You can customize what is triggered by each gesture

If you do not want to take a screenshot and type on it or use your S Pen to go back, you can customize each of the five new triggers to do something else.

Click on any of the commands anywhere to change what it does on the Air Actions screen. You can reuse it to launch a specific app on your phone, launch a new note in Samsung Notes, or change the navigation feature.

If you do not like a certain gesture – or any of them, for that matter – you can turn off one or all of them.

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Click the Air Action icon to access more features.

Angela Lang / CNET

Not sold on the new gestures? Here are some of our favorites

The gestures and tricks that make the S-pen more of a magic wand are not all you can use it for. Here are some of our favorite S Pen tricks that we still find useful:

  • Turn on the camera by long pressing the S Pen button. Press the button again to take a photo.
  • The Smart Select tool makes it easier to take precise screenshots. Remove the S Pen and then click the Smart Select icon to capture just what you need.
  • Create an animated GIF on the screen with the Smart Select tool.
  • Remove the S-Pen when the screen is off to start taking a note without even opening the Notes app.
  • Use the magnifying glass to get a better look at something on the screen by removing the S-pen and tapping the glass icon.

Now that you have mastered the right wrist girl to control your phone with a pen, check out some of our favorite hidden Note 20 features. If you’m still on the upgrade fence, read our ongoing note 20 Ultra review, then order your Note 20 right now.






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