Flagship phones are for chumps. If you’ve been smart, you’ll have saved yourself a wallet-load of cash and bagged a OnePlus 5 instead.
This 5.5in stunner has dual cameras that take fantastic photos, a ridiculously powerful Snapdragon CPU, and super-speedy Dash charging. There’s plenty to like beyond the great price.
But how the heck do you get the best out of it? That OxygenOS operating system might look just like vanilla Android, but it’s actually hiding lots of sneaky hidden extras. Extras you’re going to want to know about.
We’ve got the lot, so you don’t have to spend your first few hours scrolling through settings screens. Here are our top tips.
1) Hardware or onscreen buttons? Time to choose…
There are two capacitive buttons hidden at the sides of that stupid-quick fingerprint sensor. But you don’t have to use ‘em if you don’t want to.
Maybe you prefer onscreen buttons instead? Or don’t like having “Back” on the left and “Recents” on the right? That’s fine – you can change them with just a few taps.
Head to Settings -> Buttons and assign all the shortcuts you like, with double-tap and long-press options as well as short taps. Disable them altogether and you’ll get an onscreen navigation bar instead.
2) Get a grip with onscreen gestures
Who needs buttons at all when you can scribble onscreen and have the phone do what you want? That’s the idea behind quick action gestures.
Head to Settings -> Gestures and choose which ones you want. The choices include flipping the phone to mute it, waking the screen with a double-tap, opening the camera with two taps to the power button, or pausing your music with a two-fingered screen swipe.
The OnePlus 5 goes further, too, so you can draw letters and jump into specific apps. Or you can turn them all off here too, if you hate the idea.
3) Enjoy the sound of silence with the Alert Slider
Don’t want to be disturbed? The OnePlus 5 makes it easy to switch between sound profiles, with an Alert Slider at the side that flips between loud, vibrate and silent profiles.
By default, the top “Silent” position mutes your music and ringtones. The middle “Do Not Disturb” setting blocks messages and calls (unless you’ve starred your fave contacts, that is) but lets through repeat callers in case of emergency. The bottom “loud” settings lets your godawful tone choice ring out loud and proud whenever you get a text message.
Want to change any of those? Flip the slider and tap the cog icon that appears at the top of the screen.
4) Give your eyes a rest with Night Mode
Blue light filters aren’t really new – they’ve been showing up on OnePlus phones for at least a year. But you’ve always had to turn ‘em on manually. Like a peasant.
Now, though? You can set it automatically, with the phone stripping out those sleep-destroying hues from the screen as soon as the sun sets, then restoring the normal colours once it rises again in the morning.
To save your eyeballs from getting seared by an overly bright screen, head to Settings -> Display and tap Night Mode. From here you can set the whole sunrise-to-sunset thing to kick in automatically, or add a manual mode with set times to save your eyes. If the effect is too strong (or not strong enough) you can adjust that too.
5) Copy the Kindle look with Reading mode
LCD screens aren’t kind on your eyes like E-ink, but the OnePlus 5 comes close thanks to a new Reading Mode. It pilfers data from the ambient light sensor and automatically tweaks the colour temperature for more comfortable reading.
It’s basically a Night Mode, but for specific apps – ones you get to choose and have Reading Mode kick in automatically whenever you open ‘em.
Head to Settings -> Display and tap Reading Mode. Either toggle it on manually (for everything) or choose from your list of installed apps and have it activate only when you want it to.
6) Get your play on with Gaming DND
No, that doesn’t stand for Dungeons ‘N Dragons. OnePlus is clearly as sick and tired as we are of being interrupted by notifications while planning out which card to play next in a heated game of Hearthstone – it’s why the OnePlus 5 has a Do Not Disturb mode saved specifically for games.
Head to Settings -> Advanced and tap Gaming Do Not Disturb. Pick which apps are included, and this’ll stop any notifications from showing up while you’re gaming, and if you don’t fancy being chucked back to the home screen because of an accidental tap, you can lock the capacitive buttons as well.
7) Hide unwanted notification icons for a clean look
NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi… we all use ‘em, pretty much all the time. But do we really need icons telling us they’re switched on? Thankfully OxygenOS lets you hide all the pointlessness and go for a minimal look instead.
Just head to Settings -> Status Bar and tap on Icon Manager. From here, you can toggle off the ones you don’t want and leave your homescreen looking fresh.
8) Put your life on a shelf – or your widgets, at least
Hate having to swipe through a load of home screens to see all your widgets? Keep everything in one handy place with the excellent Shelf feature.
Call up the Shelf with a swipe right from your main home screen, for quick access to Recent Contacts, Recent Apps and Notes, plus whatever other widgets you’d like to add. They scroll limitlessly so you’ve got everything in one place.
To add new widgets, tap the Plus icon at the bottom right corner, then tap Widget. Once they’re in line, press and hold until it pops, then drag and drop to wherever you want. Time to get rid of one? Just tap and hold, then tap the cross icon.
9) Take looooong screenshots
Got a long webpage you want to send to someone, but a link just won’t cut it? Snap a screenshot of the whole thing, and have the phone scroll through the page automatically.
Simply snap a screenshot in the usual way, with a simultaneous squeeze of the power and volume down keys. When the preview appears onscreen, hit the icon at the bottom – the phone then grabs everything shown onscreen, scrolling down until it hits the bottom of whatever web page you’re on. Neat.
10) Turn a 5.5in phone into a one-handed wonder
That might sound like a truly awful magic trick, but it’s actually a great way to use the OnePlus 5 without having to use both hands – or dropping it and shattering the screen into a million pieces.
Just swipe down anywhere on the home screen and you’ll drag down the top notification tray – no finger yoga required. It’s on by default, but you can turn it off if you don’t like it: Press and hold the Recents key, tap Settings, and then Swipe Down to disable.
11) Create a stir in your pocket with vibration intensity
Last year’s OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T were great phones, but they had pretty weedy vibration motors. That’s not true of the OnePlus 5: it’s got a much more powerful motor that can really rock your pocket.
There’s now a lot more control over how much of that power it uses, too. Head to Settings -> Sound & Vibration, then scroll down to Vibration Intensity.
You’ve got three levels of rumble to choose from, with different triggers like incoming calls, messages and vibrations from tapping the screen, so you can properly customise the feedback you feel through your fingers.
12) Split your screen for mega multi-tasking
Android 7 has very handy Split Screen multitasking, but it’s not exactly obvious how it works.
On the OnePlus 5, you’ve got to head to Settings -> Buttons and assign split screen mode to one of the hardware keys. The Android default is a long-press on the Recents key, but you can have whatever combination you like.
Now, just open the first app and trigger your shortcut – it’ll split the screen and let you open a second app for side-by-side scrolling.
13) Stash your secrets with Secure Box
Got some illicit photos you want to keep hidden from prying eyes? You dirty dog, you need Secure Box. This hides files and photos away behind a second password (not the one you use to unlock the phone) or fingerprint.
The feature is pretty hidden away itself, but you’ll find it loitering inside the File Manager app. Open it up and tap on Secure Box. You’ll have to tap in a pin, and then you can store whatever you want in perfect secrecy.
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