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How to customise the Galaxy S6 lock screen

Looking for ways to tailor your Samsung Galaxy S6's lock screen? Whether it's adding more information, improving the security or even simply personalising the theme and style – our guide has the answers you seek.

Types of lock screen

Swipe LockPattern LockPIN LockPassword Lock

Swipe Lock

Enabling swipe unlock on your handset is an easy way to prevent you from accidentally opening apps, or even pocket-dialling your friends – but from a security point of view it’s like not having a lock at all!

Pattern Lock

Setting a pattern to unlock your Android phone is more secure than a swipe ock, but still less secure than a PIN or password.

The main benefit of using a pattern lock is that they are usually much easier to remember, but please bear in mind that the smudges on your screen may give clues to your pattern if you don’t keep it clean!

PIN Lock

A numerical PIN offers a reasonable level of security, but the temptation is often to use an easily remembered number, such as a birthday.

Easy-to-remember often equates to easy-to-guess – so random numbers are usually more secure. All Android PINs must be at least four digits, but a really secure PIN would be as long as possible. Just make sure you can still remember it!

Password Lock

Using a password to lock your Android device works in much the same way as a PIN does, but can be much more secure, because each character can be a letter, number, or punctuation mark – not just a single number.

More variety means more possible combinations, and therefore enhances security – but using just a single word (which can be found in a dictionary) can mitigate that advantage. Instead, use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters (&, #, $ etc) to create a password strong enough to stop the casual would-be digital intruder.

One of the most secure types of password – and also the most memorable – is a long and seemingly nonsensical sentence. Security whistleblower Edward Snowden recommends, as a suggestion, something like 'MargaretThatcheris110%sexy' – so pick your own memorable yet cumbersome phrase to use!

Fingerprint Lock

Fingerprints are probably the quickest way of securely unlocking your phone, as a quick press of your thumb against the sensor should be enough to let you access your handset.

A fingerprint ID always requires a password or PIN as backup, as it's very easy for you fingerprints to become unrecognisable if they're dirty, wet or scratched. It's also worth remembering that someone could take advantage of you while you sleep and press your finger against the sensor without your knowledge – and in some countries, you can be forced by police to unlock your phone if it's only locked with a fingerprint.

For information on the different types of security on your phone, check out our companion article on smartphone security here.


Setting a secure lock screen

To help keep prying eyes away from your sensitive messages and other information, you should definitely consider adding a layer of security to your lock screen. This stops people from being able to pick up your phone and immediately access your private stuff.

You can do this by inserting a PIN, password, pattern or fingerprint between the lock screen and the rest of your phone.

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  1. To access your security settings, firstly find and open Settings, either in your apps list or by dragging down the notification bar at the top of your phone and tapping the cog or gear in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Scroll down the Settings list until you find Lock screen and security. Tap on it to continue.
  3. On this next page, press Screen lock type to view the different types of lock screen security.
  4. Choose a type of screen lock by tapping on the appropriate option and giving your phone a pattern, PIN, password or fingerprint scan. We'll set up a PIN for our example.

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  1. Enter at least 4 numbers to make your phone secure. The longer your PIN, the more secure it is.
  2. Repeat the PIN to make sure you entered it correctly the first time. If you set it wrong at this stage, you'll never know what PIN you're supposed to enter – so this second confirmation helps get rid of that problem.
  3. Choose whether to show notifications on your lock screen. If you want to be as private as possible, choose do not show notifications. If you like to check on your incoming messages without needing to unlock your Galaxy S6, choose show content.
  4. On the final page of the lock screen setup, you're asked to set up a fingerprint lock. As we mentioned above, a fingerprint security method is secure – but also has its drawbacks. Hit Later to save your PIN, or choose Set up to continue with the next section and add your fingerprints.

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  1. To continue adding a fingerprint to your phone, tap on Set up.
  2. Touch your finger or thumb to the Home button (but don't press the button down). Each time you touch your fingerprint to the Home button, a small snapshot of your fingerprint is taken and stored. Once the bar on the screen hits 100%, your Galaxy S6 has a complete idea of your fingerprint – and it can be used to securely unlock your phone.
  3. After your fingerprint is saved, you'll be taken back to the lock screen and security page, where you can assess your security information.

Adding recovery information

If the worst happens and someone else ends up with their hands on your phone, all is not lost.

Adding a messagee to your lock screen gives phone-finders a chance to return your Galaxy S6 to you, which means it's much more likely that you'll get your phone back – especially if you've secured it with one of the methods outlined above.

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  1. To add some recovery information to the lock screen, first open your Settings app either from your apps list or by dragging down the notification bar and tapping on the cog or gear icon in the top-right corner.
  2. Find Lock screen and security in your Settings list. Tap on it and choose Info and app shortcuts. This lets you control what information is displayed on your lock screen.
  3. Now it's time to pick what info you wish to display on your lock screen. Choose Owner information to add a personal message.
  4. Next you will be prompted to type in a quick message. We recommend adding the contact number for someone close to you, so whoever finds your phone has an easy way to get in touch with you. Other good things you can add are email addresses and the location of your workplace, if appropriate.
  5. Press Done when you're happy with your message. It will now appear on your lock screen, above whatever security function you've set up!

Change your lock screen shortcuts

Your Samsung Galaxy S6 has two shortcuts on the home screen which can take you straight into the camera or phone apps for ultra-fast access to popular functions.

If you can think of other apps you'd like quick access to instead, follow these steps to add your own shortcuts to your S6 lock screen.

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  1. Firstly, open your Settings menu and tap on Lock screen and security. Then, when you're on the correct page, choose Info and app shortcuts to continue.
  2. On this next screen, tap on App shortcuts.
  3. You'll now see an example of your lock screen, with two shortcuts in the bottom corners of the screen. To change either shortcut, tap on left shortcut or right shortcut depending on the one you wish to edit.
  4. After tapping on either the left or the right shortcut, you'll see a list of all your apps appear. Scroll through this list and tap on the app you want to access from your lock screen. If you're really security conscious and don't want any apps to appear on your home screen, tap the on/off switch at the top of the phone screen to disable the shortcut completely! (Don't worry, this can be undone later if you want your shortcuts back.)

Instantly lock your Samsung S6

When your Galaxy S6 goes to sleep, it doesn't automatically lock straight away. For many users, this can be very helpful when the phone goes to sleep while you're using it, as you can get straight back to what you were doing without having to type in a PIN or password.

But as you can imagine, this also makes your smartphone marginally less secure than if it were to lock immediately. If you prefer to have your phone as secure as it can be, follow the steps below!

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  1. Open your Settings app, either by dragging down your notification bar and tapping the cog, or by finding it in your apps list.
  2. Press Lock screen and security to view your lock screen settings.
  3. Tap on Secure lock settings to find even more security settings to browse.
  4. On this final screen, make sure that Lock instantly with power key is activated (turned blue). Press Lock automatically to choose how long it takes for your security to kick in after the screen turns off.
  5. If you're even more cautious of others getting access to the information on your phone, turn on the Auto factory reset option to wipe your phone of all its contents when someone fails to unlock your phone 15 times in a row! CAUTION: if you get locked out of your phone, this can cause you to wipe your own data accidentally – so be warned.

Setting a dual clock

If you're a bit of a traveller, or chat with people in other countries, and need to be aware of the time difference, you'll be interested to know you can set more than one clock on your lock screen. Follow the instructions below and add your own second clock in just a few short steps:

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  1. Open your Settings app and tap on Lock screen and security.
  2. Scroll down to Info and app shortcuts, then press it to continue.
  3. Tap on Dual Clock to view its settings page.
  4. Here, you can choose to turn Dual Clock on or off by tapping the switch at the top of the screen. You can also choose your home time zone, so if you're visiting another country you can set your home country here!

Change the lock screen Wallpaper

If you want to change the visual appearance of your lock screen, you'll be pleased to know that it doesn't need to have the same background image as your home screen.

In fact, it can be any image you like – and you can set a new background image in a matter of seconds. Follow the steps below to customise your lock screen wallpaper!

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  1. Open the Settings menu, either from your apps list or your notification panel.
  2. Tap on Wallpapers and themes.
  3. On the next page, make sure to choose the Wallpaper tab from the top of the page to continue.
  4. You can scroll through some of the preset wallpapers which Samsung offer, as well as picking something from your Gallery or downloading something new from the Samsung store. To pick one of your own wallpapers, make sure to tap View all next to the top section, My wallpapers. This will show all suitable pictures that are already stored on your phone.
  5. You can pick from some of the default wallpapers, or tap on From Gallery to switch to your own photos and pictures. Tap on any picture you want to set as your new wallpaper.

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  1. After picking a new picture, you can decide whether to place it on your Home screen, your Lock screen or both. Tap on Lock screen to see a preview of your image as a lock screen wallpaper.
  2. If you're happy with the way your lock screen looks, tap on the Set as wallpaper button at the bottom of the screen.
  3. After pressing the button, you will see a confirmation message stating that the wallpaper was applied to your lock screen. Tap your power button to lock your phone, then press it again to wake your phone up - your new wallpaper will now appear!

Hopefully this guide has helped make your S6 feel a bit more personal - and make sure to check out our guide to smartphone security here. And of course, if you've any further questions, we'd love for you to drop us a line in the comments below.

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