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The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S6 have a hidden 'Condensed' display mode, here's how to activate it

Posted: , by Mihai A.

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The Galaxy S7 phones hide a 'Condensed' display mode

The Galaxy S7 phones hide a 'Condensed' display mode

As an XDA-Developer member has recently discovered, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge come with a hidden DPI scaling setting. Meet the Galaxy S7's hidden 'Condensed' display mode!

In this piece, we're going to show you how you can fit in more elements on the screen of your Galaxy S7 smartphone by enabling this hidden DPI scaling setting. But first, let's talk about what this setting is and how it was discovered on Samsung's TouchWiz implementation of Android. 

Update: we can now confirm that the same trick also works on phones from the Samsung Galaxy S6 series, but only on handsets which have received their update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Although modern Android smartphones come with large displays running at extreme resolutions, the user interface does not adapt to fit in more content on screen. This is due to an Android feature called DPI scaling, a setting that allows Android device manufacturers to scale up UI elements such as photos, icons, and texts for a consistent UI experience across multiple display sizes and resolutions.

While a large portion of smartphone users don't need to scale down the UI elements, a growing number of power users have started to long for the ability to manually tweak the DPI scaling on their smartphones without having to go through the sometimes complicated process of rooting their handset. 

Google has taken notice that some Android users are interested in compressing UI elements, and the first preview Android N that Google launched a few weeks ago notably integrates the ability to adjust the DPI scaling on the fly.

Using the Nova Launcher's experimental Android activity-exploring widget, an XDA-Developer member found that TouchWiz on the Samsung Galaxy S7 phones hides a settings-related activity called DisplayScalingActivity. If you're not versed in mobile app development, Android activities are the building blocks of all Android apps.

As it turns out, launching this ability allows Galaxy S7 owners to switch to a 'Condensed' display mode that fits it more elements on the screen. As you can note in the screenshots below, the transformation is on the mild side:


Here's what you need to do to enable the hidden Condensed display mode on your Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge:

Step 1.Step 1. Install Nova Launcher. If you're not already using it, there's no need to dump your current launcher, we just need Nova to enable the hidden DPI scaling setting.

Step 2. Open Nova Launcher. You don't need to set it as the default launcher, just open it once.

Step 3. Go to the Nova Launcher homescreen, long-press in an empty space, then select 'Widgets'.

Step 4. Find the 'Activities' widget, then drag and drop it on a homescreen.

Step 5. Find the 'Settings' folder, then choose .DisplayScalingActivity. Doing so will create a new icon on the homescreen.

Step 6. Tap the icon. Once the activity opens, select the 'Condensed' display mode.

Step 7. Your Galaxy S7 will now need to be rebooted. Once Android loads back up, UI elements should now be smaller.

Note: once you've enabled the 'Condensed' display mode on your Galaxy S7 device, you can switch back to your favorite launcher.

29 Comments
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posted on 17 Mar 2016, 19:08 3

1. kevin91202 (Posts: 514; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)


Mild? More like barely noticeable.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 01:39 10

12. Hoggington (Posts: 128; Member since: 23 Feb 2016)


Your vision must not be that great. No offense. Huge difference.

I tried it out but switched back to Standard, as the icons were too far apart and font was just a little too small.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:40

14. max1c (Posts: 50; Member since: 11 Oct 2014)


You can change the size of both, text and icons in Nova Launcher.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 11:12

20. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Wow, really? I'm gonna try it out. Thanks

posted on 19 Mar 2016, 00:48

24. emmawilliam834 (Posts: 137; Member since: 09 Feb 2016)


I dont know why Samsung is hiding all these goodies.

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 19:11 3

2. jpuv_ (Posts: 10; Member since: 28 Jan 2015)


I can do this on my M6.0 galaxy s6 as well. thx

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 19:12 2

3. gomulkaaa (Posts: 39; Member since: 02 Sep 2011)


The drop-down status bar icons are small enough as it is. I won't be activating this feature.

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 19:40 7

6. joevsyou (Posts: 670; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


i wouldn't say small, they are a good size and is what they should be,

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 19:15 1

4. ZeneticX (Posts: 60; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


From the screenshot it seems to just make everything smaller?

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 19:40

5. joevsyou (Posts: 670; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


i like it!

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 19:47 2

7. zodd1982 (Posts: 4; Member since: 15 Apr 2015)


It works almost perfect. But the bottom of the lock screen (wallpaper) is kinda cut of..

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 21:49 2

8. Bjray (Posts: 177; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Perfect! Was already used to custom dpi settings on my N6 to make it take more advantage of the screen size. These screenshots don't seem to really do it justice, in real-use it "feels" simply like the display is more space efficient now.

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 21:50

9. Chuck007 (Posts: 1011; Member since: 02 Mar 2014)


I dunno the condensed mode looks a little bit too messy for my taste. :/

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 23:01 1

10. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 472; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


I mean, you can just make your font to the smallest, and still create the same effect...

posted on 17 Mar 2016, 23:44 3

11. Bjray (Posts: 177; Member since: 29 May 2014)


I actually did that previously and it didn't change the actual UI elements, just... the fonts. Which was expected.

posted on 19 Mar 2016, 02:04

25. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 472; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


I actually have the Note 5 lol. Just like a post mentioned below, the DPI is lower than the S7/S7Edge

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 13:58 2

23. nepalisherpa (Posts: 207; Member since: 17 Jul 2015)


Changing the size of your font only changes the text on the screen. This changes every element on the screen.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 01:52 1

13. Talhamid (Posts: 31; Member since: 13 Jun 2009)


PSA: For users that know, this is a Godsend.

See, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 had smaller DPI. So there was more text on screen, smaller bars and buttons; the true benefit of a big screen.

I upgraded to S7 Edge and was shocked to see everything coming at my face. I then discovered that it was set to 640, rather than 560 of the Note5/Edge+. I changed it through ADB and now the phone is perfect.

I urge all users to try it for a few hours. You won't go back. It is harmless, safe and adds a lot of value.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 09:17

15. xocomaox (Posts: 112; Member since: 14 Dec 2015)


How did you change it with ADB without root? Could you go into more details?

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 11:08

19. yoosufmuneer (Posts: 1467; Member since: 14 Feb 2015)


"the true benefit of a big screen"

Nope, More likely the higher resolution

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 12:30 1

22. xocomaox (Posts: 112; Member since: 14 Dec 2015)


Bother, really.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 10:05

16. jeevanand88 (Posts: 99; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


Is it going to consume any additional RAM??

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 11:06 2

18. yoosufmuneer (Posts: 1467; Member since: 14 Feb 2015)


Nope.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 10:08

17. LoneWolfArcher (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Mar 2016)


Whoever wrote this isn't in their mid-40s. At this point the bigger the better! And you'll all get here if you live long enough!

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 12:05 1

21. technitude (Posts: 95; Member since: 19 Dec 2013)


This was nice for me. I created a folder called 'Productivity', the title previously wrapped... Now it doesn't (so nice). Thanks for posting this.

posted on 19 Mar 2016, 03:49

26. ojz0r (Posts: 13; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


I've been using 320 DPI on my Note3 for years and its like a completely different phone, alot more use for it. Higher DPI are for old people.

posted on 20 Mar 2016, 05:46

27. RuneMaster (Posts: 75; Member since: 31 May 2015)


Great news indeed. I'll try it now.

posted on 22 Mar 2016, 22:03 1

28. xDragonZ (Posts: 4; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


Check out "Display Scaling", no need mess with nova settings

posted on 31 Mar 2016, 19:53

29. irossdrummer (Posts: 85; Member since: 17 Jan 2015)


I did this on my galaxy s6, I honestly like it more than I thought I would!!

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