How to Use the Cover Screen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Part of the appeal of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is what you can do with the phone half open in Flex mode, like make a hands-free video call or take a selfie. But there’s also plenty you can do with the phone closed, thanks to that tiny 1.9-inch OLED on the front panel, aka the Cover Display.

It may be small, but it’s a place where you can read notifications, check the weather, set a timer, and control your smart home, all without opening the phone. Additionally, you can customize the display with a live wallpaper or photo of your choice.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 with cover screen on

The 1.9 inch cover screen allows you to see information without opening the phone.
Photo by Allison Johnson/The Edge

Here’s how to take control of the Z Flip’s cover screen and get the most out of it. For reference, we used the Galaxy Z Flip 4 to write the following guidelines.

Basic commands

First, an introduction to basic controls. By default, the cover screen will show nothing until a notification arrives. You can reactivate the display by double-tapping it. From there, swipe right to see your notifications and left to view widgets. Swiping down from the top of the screen will bring up a quick settings panel, and swiping up from the bottom will access Samsung Pay.

clock style

With the screen active, you can also long press the screen to change the wallpaper and clock style to another predefined option. To customize these options, you will need to open the main phone screen. From there, tap Settings > Cover Screen > Clock Style.

Here you can choose between a basic or graphic style. Tap on any of the basic styles and you’ll enable an option at the bottom of the page to add a clock background image (they’re all on a black background by default). You can choose from one of the wallpapers provided by Samsung (yawn) to set behind the clock, Where if you want to have funyou can select photo or video from phone gallery.

Choose a background photo for basic clock screens or customize an illustrated widget.

Some of the graphic backgrounds offer color variations and customizations.

You can only choose one custom photo or image to use on the 12 base clock styles – you can’t assign a different photo to each, for example. With your photo selected, you can tap customize to change the font color of the clock.

Below the basic clock style options are a few graphics options, with plenty of customization options to get it to your liking. Tap one and tap “Customize” at the top of the screen to see all your options – the animated image with the bright yellow flower, for example, can be replaced with a purple flower with a bee buzzing around the scene. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, so take a look at all your options if you’re not into the default graphics.

Cover Screen Backgrounds

You can also browse through different cover screen backgrounds without diving into menus. Double tap the cover screen to wake it up, then long press the screen. From here, you can swipe left and right between the different clock and graphics options. Some days you are in a minimalist mood; sometimes you want the little bee to buzz – it’s your world.


In the main cover screen settings menu, tap Widgets to activate and deactivate individual widgets and to rearrange them. Your options are:

  • Time
  • next alarm
  • Today’s program
  • Timer
  • Music
  • Calendar
  • Direct line
  • Samsung Health
  • SmartThings Scenes

These are all simple on/off toggles with no customization options except direct dial – tap it to add up to three contacts you can call from the cover screen. You can change the order in which widgets appear by tapping Reorganize and drag and drop them. When you’re happy with it, go back – there’s no “Save” button to press.

Always on show

There is another way to customize your cover screen – by enabling always-on display or AOD. By default, the cover screen turns on when you receive a notification and shows the clock when double-tapped, but it will time out and turn off completely unless you enable AOD. It uses more battery, so watch out for that, especially if you’re a power user.

To enable AOD, go to Settings > Lock screen > Always on display. Faucet Always on show and set the main toggle at the top of the page to On. You can use the options below to configure it to always show the screen or to stay on during scheduled times. Other options like clock style and Show music information refer to the internal screen lock screen.

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