S Pen remote control features on your Galaxy Note phone

A Note20 with several S Pen floating around it

Imagine the S Pen with all of its awesome features, like the Air Command menu. Now, imagine it with even more cool features. If that sounds too good to be true, you're mistaken - because the Note9, Note10, Note20 5G, and Note20 Ultra 5G's S Pen is even mightier than before. Not only can you write on the screen, you can control apps remotely and unlock your phone.

Note: The Note8 S Pen can be used with the Note9 or Note10, but it will not include the Remote Control features. Available screens and settings may vary based on wireless provider or software version. Although the Note20 5G and Note20 Ultra 5G's S Pen is identical to the Note10’s pen, it is not compatible with the Note10. Only the handwriting function will work.

Remote controllability

The Note's S Pen can act as a selfie stick, but probably in a different way than you're thinking. You can't mount your phone on it, but it can take photos on your phone remotely with just a click of its button. And it can do other cool things too, like browsing photos and pausing music.

Here are the different actions you can do with Remote Controllability: 

Person pointing S Pen at a Galaxy phone
  • Open Camera and take pictures: Hold down the S Pen button for about 2-3 seconds to open the Camera app on your phone. Then, press the button once quickly to take a picture! You can also press the button two times in a row to switch the Camera from Regular mode to Selfie mode. 

  • Browse Gallery: Instead of swiping through all your pictures, press the S Pen button once to view the next picture. Press the button twice to go back to the previous photo.

  • Play, pause and skip songs: While a media app, such as Samsung Music or Play Music, is open, press the S Pen button once to play or pause a song. Double press the S Pen button to skip to the next song.
     

    Note: The function will not work if you open up music files from My Files. It needs to be through a compatible app.

Change remote controllability commands

You keep pressing the S Pen button twice instead of once, and you're getting mixed up. No worries, you can change the S Pen's actions and commands to make them more natural for you. You can also change which app opens when you hold down the S Pen button.

Change which apps opens

Open the Air command menu using your S Pen, and then tap Settings in the lower left-hand corner. Next, tap S Pen remote or Air actions and then tap Hold down Pen button to. Choose an app to open when you hold down the S Pen button. 

Air actions settings on a Galaxy phone

Change App actions for the S Pen

To change the S Pen commands for supported apps, open the Air command menu using your S Pen, and then tap Settings in the lower left-hand corner. Next, tap S Pen remote or Air actions, and then scroll down to App actions. Tap your desired app (such as Camera), and then tap the command you want to change (such as Switch cameras) listed under Single press or Double press. Finally, choose your new desired shortcut from the drop-down menu.

Disable or reset App actions for the S Pen

To change the S Pen commands for supported apps, open the Air command menu using your S Pen, and then tap Settings in the lower left-hand corner. Next, tap S Pen remote or Air actions, and scroll down to App actions. To enable or disable an app action, tap your desired app, and then tap the switch to turn it on or off. You can also tap More options (the three vertical dots) and then tap Reset S Pen to make all of the App actions return to their default actions.

Adjust Anywhere actions on your Note20 5G and Note20 Ultra 5G

Anywhere actions on the Note20 5G and Note20 Ultra 5G can be customized as well. This will give you a lot of flexibility since Anywhere actions can be used on any screen on your phone!

To change the default commands for Anywhere actions, open the Air command menu using your S Pen, and then tap Settings in the lower left-hand corner. Next, tap Air actions, and scroll down to Anywhere actions.

Select your desired gesture (such as Left and back), and then select your desired action. You can choose a Navigation option or an app to open. Once you’ve made your selection, it will automatically be applied. Just press and hold the S Pen, and then perform the appropriate action.

Unlock your phone with the S Pen

Oh no, your phone locked while you were daydreaming. Instead of typing in your PIN for the millionth time, just use your S Pen. That's right, if your phone locks while you're using your S Pen, just press the S Pen button to unlock it.

This feature is only available when you have a Lock screen set up, so make sure you have one before trying out these steps. When you’re ready, open the Air command menu using your S Pen and then tap Settings in the lower left-hand corner. Then, tap the switch next to S Pen unlock.

You will be asked to enter your Lock screen information; once it’s entered, you can start unlocking the phone with your S Pen. Just press the S Pen button and it will unlock instantly.

S Pen unlock screen on a Galaxy phone

Even if you set up the S Pen unlock feature, your phone may still require your PIN, Pattern, or Password in the following cases:

  • If you locked your phone with the S Pen inserted and then take it out.

  • If four hours pass without an additional unlock operation after unlocking of your device.

  • Note: This action only works if the S Pen is currently connected to the phone.

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