Use Air actions with your S Pen

S pen pointing at a Galaxy S22 Ultra

Get the most out of your Galaxy phone by using an S Pen and Air action controls. You can gesture with the S Pen to open apps, control music, browse through your pictures, and more. To find the S Pen that's right for you, check out our website.

Note: Air actions are available on the Tab S7, Tab S8, Tab S9, Note series, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Ultra. Available Air action controls may depend on the app.

Change which app opens when you hold down the Pen button

By default, the Camera app will open when you press and hold the Pen button on the side of the S Pen for a few seconds. But if you’d like, you can make a different app open instead.

  1. Navigate to and open Settings, and then tap Advanced features.
  2. Next, tap S Pen, and then tap Air actions.

  3. Tap Press and hold Pen button; from here, you can choose an app to open when you hold down the S Pen button.

    Hold down Pen button settings
  4. When you’re done, you can test it out by holding down the Pen button on the side of the S Pen – the new app you chose should automatically launch on the phone.

Perform regular App actions

App actions are preset commands that come with certain apps, like Camera or Gallery. For example, flicking left or right in the Camera app will change the camera mode. Remember the available actions will vary depending on the app you're using.

Every compatible app comes with a few possible S Pen gestures that perform different actions. The gestures include flicking the S Pen:

- Up, down, left, or right
- In a clockwise or counterclockwise circle

To perform a gesture in a compatible app, flick your S Pen in the appropriate direction while holding down the Pen button on the side of the S Pen.

Regular app actions for Camera app

View and customize App actions

Like we said, the App actions only work with specific apps. But which ones are compatible? And which commands can you perform? No worries, there's an easy way to check all of your device's App actions.

Open Settings, then tap Advanced features, and then tap S Pen. Tap Air actions, and then tap your desired app under App actions. Here you can see all of its default gestures. 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.

To customize the gestures, navigate back to the Air actions menu, and then tap your desired app. Tap your desired gesture (e.g. Single press), and select a new command.

A list of Air actions for the Camera app on a Galaxy phone

Perform Anywhere actions

Note: These actions are only available on the Tab S7, Tab S8, Tab S9, Note 20 series, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Ultra

Anywhere actions are like Air actions, but you’ll have a little more freedom. You can use them… anywhere! In other words, you can use them on any screen and aren’t limited to specific apps. For example, the Up and down gesture will bring you back to the Home screen when you have an app opened.

Anywhere actions on Galaxy S23 Ultra

Just press the Pen button on the side of the S Pen and then perform the appropriate action. Here are the default Anywhere actions you can perform:

  • Left and back: Go to the previous screen

  • Up and down: Go to the Home screen

  • Right and back: Go to Recently opened apps

  • Down and up action: Open Smart select to take a screenshot

  • Shake: Open Screen write to draw on the current screen

  • If needed, you can change the default commands for the Anywhere actions.

Customize Anywhere actions

If you find yourself not using some of the Anywhere actions, why not edit them? You can make the command something else that you'll be more likely to use, like opening YouTube or any other app with a shake of the S Pen.

To edit the preset Anywhere actions, open Settings, and then search for and select Air actions. Select your desired gesture under Anywhere actions (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 button, and then perform the appropriate action.

A list of customize options for an Anywhere action on a Galaxy tablet

Troubleshoot Air actions

If you’re having some trouble using your S Pen, you can check out our helpful troubleshooting guides.

A low S Pen battery or an "S Pen disconnected" error message can be solved by resetting the S Pen. Or, you may need to check the S Pen’s range if your tablet isn’t responding to Air actions and gestures.

To replace a damaged or lost S Pen, please check out our available S Pens.

S Pen disconnected from Galaxy tablet
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