1.8 Understanding the Galaxy S23 screen

Introduction: The Galaxy S23 touchscreen is the main interface for you to interact with the phone. So, it is important to master the common touch screen gestures. Using navigation bar and navigation buttons, home screen, apps screen, lock screen, Edge panel, and status bar are all covered on this page. If you need to understand the meaning of status (indicator) icons and notifications on Galaxy S23 in detail, you may check this guide. Some other detailed guides will be added.

Please note that the Android 14 (One UI 6) update added the drag and drop with two hands gesture, allowing you to use a second finger to navigate through while tapping and holding an object with the first finger.

Table of Contents

Controlling the touch screen

If you pasted a screen protector on the Galaxy S23 touchscreen, the sensitivity may be affected. Please check this guide on using screen protectors properly on Galaxy S23.


Touching the screen

tapping gesture

Tapping and holding

Touch and hold the screen for approximately 2 seconds.

Usage: you can tap and hold on the Home screen to enter the Edit mode to add widgets to the Home screen.

tapping and holding gesture


Touch and hold Double tap the an item and screen. drag it to the target position.

dragging gesture

Double tapping

Double tap the screen.

double tapping gesture


Swipe upwards, downwards, to the left, or to the right.

swiping gesture

Spreading and pinching

Spread two fingers apart or pinch on the screen.

spreading and pinching gesture
Alert to Galaxy S23 owners
  • Do not allow the touch screen to come into contact with other electrical devices. Electrostatic discharges can cause the touch screen to malfunction.
  • To avoid damaging the touch screen, do not tap it with anything sharp or apply excessive pressure to it with your fingertips or other object.
  • It is recommended not to use fixed graphics on part or all of the touch screen for extended periods. Doing so may result in afterimages (screen burn-in) or ghosting.

Note to Galaxy S23 owners:The device may not recognize touch inputs close to the edges of the screen, which are outside of the touch input area.

Navigation bar (soft buttons)

When you turn on the screen, the soft buttons will appear on the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. The soft buttons are set to the Recents button, Home button, and Back button by default. The functions of the buttons can change according to the app currently being used or the usage environment.

navigation bar
Recents button RecentsTap to open the list of recent apps.
Galaxy S23 Home  button HomeTap to return to the Home screen.
Touch and hold to open the Google Assistant app. Update: after updating Galaxy S23 to One UI 6.1, this gesture is assigned to Circle to Search.
Galaxy S23 Back button BackTap to return to the previous screen.

Hiding the navigation bar

Check files or use apps on a wider screen by hiding the navigation bar.

Open Settings, tap Display → Navigation bar, and then tap Swipe gestures under Navigation type (to use Galaxy S23 navigation gestures). The navigation bar will be hidden, and the gesture hints will appear. Tap More options and select an option you want.

hide navigation bar

If you want to hide the gesture hints at the bottom of the screen, tap the Gesture hint switch to turn it off. Please check this guide on how to use and customize Galaxy S23 navigation gestures.

Please refer to this guide on how to use the navigation bar and navigation buttons on Galaxy S23.

Home screen and Apps screen

The Home screen is the starting point for accessing all of the device’s features. It displays widgets (including stackable widgets, camera widget, battery widget, or Gallery widget), shortcuts to apps, and more.

The Apps screen displays icons for all apps, including newly installed apps.

Switching between Home and Apps screens

On the Home screen, swipe upwards to open the Apps screen.

To return to the Home screen, swipe upwards or downwards on the Apps screen. Alternatively, tap the Home button or the Back button.

switch between Home screen nd Apps screen

If you add the Apps button on the Home screen, you can open the Apps screen by tapping the button. On the Home screen, touch and hold an empty area, tap Settings, and then tap the Show Apps screen button on Home screen switch to turn it on. The Apps button will be added at the bottom of the Home screen.

Apps button

Editing the Home screen

On the Home screen, touch and hold an empty area, or pinch your fingers together to access the editing options. You can set the wallpaper, add widgets, and more. You can also add, delete, or rearrange Home screen panels.

  • Adding panels: Swipe to the left, and then tap Untitled.
  • Moving panels: Drag a panel preview to a new location.
  • Deleting panels: Tap Deleteon the panel.
edit Galaxy S23 Home screen
  • Wallpaper and style: Change the wallpaper settings for the Home screen and the locked screen.
  • Themes: Change the device’s theme. Visual elements of interface, such as colours, icons, and wallpapers, will change depending on the selected theme.
  • Widgets: Widgets are small apps that launch specific app features to provide information and convenient access on your Home screen. Select a widget and tap Add. The widget will be added on the Home screen. For example, you can show photos on the Galaxy S23 Home screen with the Gallery widget. Or you can launch the camera app in a specific camera mode with the Camera widget after updating Galaxy S23 to Android 14 (One UI 6).
  • Settings: Configure settings for the Home screen, such as the screen layout.

Displaying all apps on the Home screen

Without using a separate Apps screen, you can set the device to display all apps on the Home screen. On the Home screen, touch and hold an empty area, and then tap Settings → Home screen layout → Home screen only → Apply.

You can now access all apps on the Home screen.

Launching Finder

Search for content on the device.

  1. On the Apps screen, tap Search. Alternatively, open the notification panel, swipe downwards, and then tap Untitled.
  2. Enter a keyword.

Apps and content on your device will be searched.

If you tap Search key on Galaxy S23 keyboardon the keyboard, you can search for more content.

Update 1: with the Android 14 update (One UI 6) for GalaxyS23, S22, and S21, you can now access app actions (shortcuts) from the search results.

Update 2: One UI 6.1 update now lets you access Google web search from the Finder.

Moving items

Drag an item to a new location. To move the item to another panel, drag it to the side of the screen.

To add a shortcut to an app on the Home screen, touch and hold an item on the Apps screen, and then tap Add to Home. A shortcut to the app will be added on the Home screen.

You can also move frequently used apps to the shortcuts area at the bottom of the Home screen.

Creating folders

On the Home screen or the Apps screen, drag an app over another app.

A new folder containing the selected apps will be created. Tap Folder name and enter a folder name.

Please check this guide on how to create, manage, and use app folders on Galaxy phones.

creating app folders on Galaxy S23 Home screen
  • Adding more apps

Tap add apps to app folder on the folder. Tick the apps to add and tap Done. You can also add an app by dragging it to the folder.

  • Moving apps from a folder

Tap and hold and app to drag it to a new location.

  • Deleting a folder

Touch and hold a folder, and then tap Delete folder. Only the folder will be deleted. The folder’s apps will be relocated to the Apps screen.

Edge panel

You can access your favourite apps and features from the Edge panels.

Drag the Edge panel handle towards the centre of the screen.

If the Edge panel handle is not visible, open Settings, tap Display, and then tap the Edge panels switch to turn it on.

Galaxy S23 edge panel

Lock screen

Pressing the Side key turns off the screen and locks it. Also, the screen turns off and automatically locks if the device is not used for a specified period.

To unlock the screen, swipe in any direction when the screen turns on.

If the screen is off, press the Side key to turn on the screen. Alternatively, double tap the screen. By default, the lock screen timeout is about 5 seconds. You need to use Good Lock or Accessibility timeout to adjust the lock screen timeout on Galaxy S23 and other Galaxy devices.

Please check this guide on how to secure Galaxy S23. When using some flip covers, e.g., Galaxy S23 S View (Clear View) Wallet cover, you can wake up and turn off the screen by flipping the front cover.

Changing the screen lock method

To change the screen lock method, open Settings, tap Lock screen → Screen lock type, and then select a method.

When you set a pattern, PIN, password, or your biometric data for the screen lock method, you can protect your personal information by preventing others from accessing your device. After setting the screen lock method, the device will require an unlock code whenever unlocking it.

Note to Galaxy S23 owners:You can set your device to perform a factory data reset if you enter the unlock code incorrectly several times in a row and reach the attempt limit. Open Settings, tap Lock screen → Secure lock settings, unlock the screen using the preset screen lock method and then tap the Auto factory reset switch to turn it on.

Indicator icons

Indicator icons appear on the status bar at the top of the screen. The icons listed in the table are the most common. Please check this page for a detailed explanation and more icons.

Galaxy S23 indicator icons
Note to Galaxy S23 owners:
  • The status bar may not appear at the top of the screen in some apps. To display the status bar, drag down from the top of the screen.
  • Some indicator icons appear only when you open the notification panel.
  • The indicator icons may appear differently depending on the carrier or model.

Other Galaxy S23 Online User Manual pages

Pages also in this part:

List of all pages of Galaxy S23 Online User Manual:

You may check other Galaxy S23 guides organized in the following 4 sections.

Besides, you can read and download (in PDF format) the official Galaxy S23 user manual (including the updated Galaxy S23 user manual for Android 14 (One UI 6).

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Enjoy your Galaxy S23!

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