What is Smart Stay?

Annoyed by a phone that shuts off while you're using it? Here's the fix

Want your phone to stay on longer when you're using it? It can if you have an smartphone or tablet from Samsung. With Android, the Smart Stay feature can activate the front camera on your phone or tablet to scan your face occasionally to see if you’re using the device.

What is Smart Stay?

Smart Stay is a cool 'system on' feature available for users who have a Samsung smartphone, tablet, or phablet manufactured since the beginning of 2016. Smart Stay is available on these devices if they're running Android 6 (Marshmallow), Android 7 (Nougat), or Android 8 (Oreo).

A woman using smart stay on her smartphone.
Gang Zhou/E+/Getty Images 

Smart Stay works using a remote form of facial recognition. If it sees your face, then your phone, tablet or phablet understands that you don’t want to turn off the screen after a period of inactivity, such as when you’re reading an article in the Flipboard app. When your device no longer sees your face, it figures you’re done for now and the screen turns off at the interval set in the Screen Timeout setting, which is 10 minutes by default, to conserve battery life.

How to Turn It On

Your smartphone or tablet doesn’t turn on Smart Stay automatically, so here’s how to turn it on:

  1. In the Home screen, tap Apps.

  2. In the Apps screen, tap Settings.

  3. Tap Advanced Features in the settings list.

  4. In the Advanced Features screen, tap Smart Stay.

At the top of the Smart Stay screen (or the Smart Stay list on the right side of your tablet's Settings screen), you see the feature is Off. This screen also tells you what Smart Stay does and how you need to use your smartphone or tablet to ensure the feature works.

How to Use Smart Stay 

First, hold your smartphone or tablet in an upright position and hold it steady so the front camera can get a good look at your face. Smart Stay also works best when you’re in a well-lit place, though not in direct sunlight. (You’ll have a hard time viewing your screen in direct sunlight, anyway).

Most importantly, Smart Stay doesn’t work with other apps that use the front camera, such as the Camera app. When you use the front camera for another purpose, Smart Stay stops working automatically, even though the Settings app reports that the feature is still on within the Advanced Features and Smart Stay screens.

If you actively use the app that employs the front camera, then you won’t have to worry about your screen turning off. Once you stop using the app that uses the front camera, Smart Stay resumes operation.

How to Turn It Off

You can turn off Smart Stay either in the Advanced Features screen by tapping the Smart Stay toggle button, or in the Smart Stay screen by tapping Off. At that point, you can switch to another app or return to the Home page and use your smartphone or tablet as you usually do.

How You Know Smart Stay is Working

You won’t see any icons or other notifications in the Notification Bar that tells you Smart Stay is on and working. However, you may notice that if you’re just reading something on the screen, it’s not turning off after 15 seconds to 10 minutes depending on your Screen Timeout setting.

You can turn Smart Stay off again by repeating the same process you used to turn the feature on. After you turn off Smart Stay, your smartphone or tablet screen turns off after the interval of inactivity specified in your Screen Timeout setting whether you’re looking at the screen or not.

  • Where is Smart Stay on the Galaxy S7?

    To access Smart Stay on a Galaxy S7, swipe down to reveal the Notification Panel, tap Settings > Advanced features > Smart stay.

  • How do I fix Smart Stay when it's not working on my Galaxy S7?

    Make sure you're holding the phone upright in front of you. Also, ensure you use your phone in an area with adequate lighting while avoiding direct light on your phone or backlighting behind you. Another factor could be that another app is using the front-facing camera.

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