How to Use an S Pen With Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra

You no longer need to splurge on a gigantic Galaxy Note to use a stylus with your Samsung phone. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, which launched in February, also supports Samsung’s S Pen—though you’ll have to buy one and store it separately, because unlike the Note, the S21 Ultra doesn’t have a built-in stylus slot.

But if you do decide to buy an S Pen (or if you already have a Wacom-compatible stylus on hand), you can use it to do a bunch of cool things with your S21 Ultra.

Advertisement

You don’t need to pair the stylus to your phone; it automatically recognizes the S Pen when you hover over its screen. From there you can view a slew of options by tapping the floating button that appears on-screen.

You can take notes and draw on the Ultra, and in Live Messages you can draw your own emojis, create GIFs, and scrawl notes on photos. Selecting AR Doodle lets you draw with the S Pen in a 3D space. Or you can use Smart Select, which lets you select, clip, and collect images or videos to quickly share with friends.

Advertisement

For right now, the S21's S Pen can’t do exact same stuff a Galaxy Note can, but Samsung is expected to release an even fancier and more expensive S Pen Pro sometime in the future (though the company hasn’t said when). That more advanced stylus will let you use it as a remote shutter for your phone’s camera and unlock Air Gestures, similar to what you can achieve with the Galaxy Note’s stylus.

Senior editor, consumer tech @ Gizmodo

DISCUSSION

I’ve tried using pens and styluses for 15 years. Just can’t do it...the smooth glass and lack of friction makes handwriting look awful, and I can often use the keyboard much more efficiently. Tried the Apple Pencil too...same deal. Maybe it’s just me? 

Advertisement

Advertisement