How to Use Air Actions with the Samsung S Pen?

Last Update date : Jul 22. 2022

Air actions are an S pen feature that allows you to control your Galaxy device like a remote by simply waving your S pen. You can open apps, control music, browse through your pictures, and much more. This guide will teach you how to use the default Air actions for key apps and also 5 additional ones for Galaxy Note 20 devices and above. 


  • You must have an S Pen and a compatible Galaxy device in order to use Air actions.
  • App actions only work with certain apps, and the available commands vary depending on the app.
Air actions sample

The S Pen button can be used to start an Air action, or open an app. You can set which app the button can open in Settings. Below are the default actions you can use the button for:

Press and hold: Opens Camera app by default.

Press and hold and wave: Start an Air Action. The type of Air action depends on how you wave the pen.

There are preset Air action commands that come with certain apps, like Camera or Gallery. Remember the available actions will vary depending on the app you're using. The six basic Air actions you can perform are left/right, up/down, and rotate clockwise/counter-clockwise.

Below are the default Air actions when you are using your Camera or Media app:


Air actions when using Camera or Media app

S Pen Intutive Gestures

Camera Air actions by Mode

S Pen Basic Gestures Set

For Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra devices and above, the S Pen has five additional Air actions that work anywhere, regardless of which apps are running.

  • Left and back: Browsing back
  • Right and back: Go to Recents app
Air actions left and right
  • Up and down: Go to Home
Air actions up and down
  • Down and up: Smart select

You can use the S Pen to select an area and perform actions, such as sharing or saving. You can also select an area from a video and capture it as a GIF animation.

Air actions down and up
  • Shake: Capture and Screen write

Capture screenshots to write or draw on them or crop an area from the captured image. You can also capture the current content and the hidden content on an elongated page, such as a webpage.

Air actions shake

Step 1. Navigate to and open Settings.

Step 2. Tap Advanced features.

Step 3. Tap S Pen, and then tap S Pen remote or Air actions.

Step 4. Tap Hold down Pen button to.

Step 5. Choose an app to open when you hold down the S Pen button. When you’re done, tap Back.

Step 6. The new app you chose should automatically launch on the phone when u hold down the S Pen button.

Air actions only work with specific apps. But which apps are compatible? And which commands can you perform? There's an easy way to check all of your Note phone's App actions.

View actions for specific apps

Step 1. Open Settings, and then search for and select Air actions.

Step 2. Tap your desired app under App actions.

Step 3. Here you can see all of the selected app's default Air actions. You can also view commands by opening a compatible app, and hovering your S Pen over the blue Air command icon. The app’s default actions will appear in a small window.

Customise actions for specific apps

Step 1. Open Settings, and then search for and select Air actions.

Step 2. Tap your desired app under App actions.

Step 3. Tap your desired gesture (e.g. Left), and select a new command.


  • The S pen must be charged before you can use the S pen Air actions feature.
  • When you detach the S Pen from the slot, the S pen icon will appear on the status bar.
  • If the S Pen is too far from the device, or if there are obstacles or external interference between the S Pen and the device, the S Pen will be disconnected from the device and the icon will turn grey.
  • To use the S Pen Air actions, feature again, connect the S Pen with the device by reinserting the S pen into the slot. The Air Action feature requires a distance of at least 10 cm from the screen.
  • Visuals shown above may vary depending on the device model and software version. 

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