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OnePlus 6 tips, tricks and secret features

Tips, tricks and secret feature to get the most out of the OnePlus 6

On the surface, the OnePlus 6 is quite a tasteful, minimalist phone. There are no syrupy, eye-catching finishes, no tech gimmicks of the likes you’d see on the LG G7 ThinQ and HTC U12 Plus.

It’s also a candidate for the best value phone of the year.

OnePlus hasn’t stripped it down to the basics, though. There are plenty of tweaks and extra features for those who want them. Here are some of our favourites.

Pick your colour style

The OnePlus 6 has a super-customisable screen. Want sRGB, the colour equivalent of a school textbook? That’s fine. Prefer the punchier DCI-P3 cinema standard? Sure thing.

Related: Best OnePlus 6 cases

You can change the look of the phone’s screen in Settings > Display > Screen Calibration. You might want to consider the Adaptive Display mode, which alters the colour temperature to suit the ambient lighting.

Flicking through the modes, you’ll find that the ‘pro calibrated’ ones look warmer. Screens tend to look brighter with a cooler colour temperature, but a little warmth gives the display a more relaxed and natural-looking feel.

Tweak your earphones with EQ

If you’ve always found your headphones could do with a little more bass or treble, the OnePlus 6 can handle that. When you plug in a pair into the headphone jack (or connect over Bluetooth), a set of options unlocks in Settings > Sound & Vibration > Audio Tuner.

You get a seven-band equaliser, and its effects are unusually tasteful. You can make your tunes sound a bit bloated and the mids too recessed if you try, but even with crazy settings, the OnePlus 6 won’t sound truly terrible. Have a play around.

Read books on your phone? Use Reading mode

We still tend to use a Kindle or an old-fashioned paperback for reading. But if you like to read novels, or even long-form articles, on your phone then the OnePlus 6’s Reading mode is worth checking out.

This turns the display monochrome and warms-up the screen, making it less fatiguing for your eyes. It isn’t the kind of thing you’d want to turn on 24/7, but the OnePlus 6 allows you to set the function to kick-in automatically in certain apps. If you use the Kindle app or another ebook reader app, give it a go.

You set apps to use the feature in Settings > Display > Reading Mode.

Hide the notch (if you want)

Are there really that many notch-haters out there? Many of you aren’t fans, but we really don’t think there’s too much to get upset about once you actually use a phone with a notch.

The OnePlus 6 offers a “best of both worlds” solution. In Settings > Display > Notch Display, you can hide the notch with a black bar. It doesn’t waste the area either, since the same notification icons and clock display still sit in this black bar. However, you’re also left with the impression of a familiar rectangular screen.

This is the mode we tend to use with the OnePlus 6.

Try out the Dark theme

If you’ve owned a OnePlus phone before, you may already know about the Dark theme. It isn’t some Darth Vader tie-in; it just makes the menu system appear as a light font on a black background instead of black text on a white one.

It looks much moodier, and you can choose colour accents to ensure your OnePlus 6 looks moody, not miserable.
There’s also an argument that Dark mode actually uses less battery, since the phone’s OLED screen doesn’t have to light-up these pixels. That said, most of us probably don’t spend enough time in menus for it to make a huge difference.

Lift Up mode: try it

Lift Up mode is one of the OnePlus 6 extra features that isn’t switched on as standard. It uses the phone’s sensors to determine when you’ve picked up the phone, and then brings up a clock display that also shows your battery level and notification icons. Oh, and a predefined message if, say, you want your OnePlus to tell you “you can do it, Graham” whenever you pick it up.

You’ll find this in Settings > Display > Ambient Display. You can alter the clock design – that all-important message and choose to make it come on whenever a notification arrives too.

Face unlock is an alternative to the finger scanner

The OnePlus 6 has a great face-unlock mode. In anything but terrible lighting it seems just as fast as using the fingerprint scanner.

To set it up, go to Settings > Security & Lock Screen > Face Unlock and tap Add Face Data. It scans your facial geometry, which only takes a few seconds. Then, whenever you press the power button with the OnePlus 6 in front of your face, the phone will unlock.

The tip part here: switch on assistive lighting in the menu. This uses the screen to brighten-up your face a bit in poor lighting. Maybe don’t use it if you’re out at a trendy club – it isn’t a good look.

Hide apps in the locker

Like other Androids, the OnePlus 6 encrypts your data as standard. However, you can go a step further with App Locker.

This isn’t some shady feature for hacker types. It just lets you lock chosen apps behind a passcode wall, so if you give it to a child or mischievous friend, they won’t stumble on anything they shouldn’t. Or change your Chrome homescreen. Or start WhatsApp’ing your partner with admissions of imagined crimes.

App Locker is found in Settings > Security & Lock Screen.

Related: Best Android phones

How to access a hard drive… from the OnePlus 6

The OnePlus 6 supports OTG, USB on-the-go. This lets you plug things into the phone, rather than the other way around. It means you can access external storage from the phone in the file manager app.

Since the phone benefits from lots of storage anyway, we don’t need to use it much. But we’re sure some of you will find a reason. Perhaps plugging-in an action-cam to pull off the files.

You’ll need a USB-C OTG connector, however, which doesn’t come with the phone. Tooled-up? Now head to Settings > Advanced and flick on the OTG Storage slider. It automatically times out after 10 minutes, as it interferes with normal USB function.

Special features for gamers

Some top-end phones make a big fuss about their gamer modes, which are sometimes extra bits of interface that can actually get in the way as you play. OnePlus has kept them tucked away in the menu system. It means you can seamlessly add gamer optimisations, once you’re aware of their existence of course.

Dig them out in Settings > Advanced > Gaming Mode.

There are some great tweaks that include disabling auto-brightness, blocking notifications (aside from calls and alarms), and limiting the network bandwidth other apps can use. No-one wants unnecessary lag in PUBG, right?

If you’re more worried about battery longevity than being distracted – perhaps, if you’re on a long-haul flight – then the OnePlus 6 can also reduce screen resolution and even the FPS in games to let you play for longer.

The OnePlus 6 won’t take a guess at which games you’d want to apply this treatment. You specify the titles in the Gaming Mode menu.

Related: Best cheap phones

Transferring data with OnePlus Switch

The OnePlus 6 lets you transfer data from your old phone. It’s the sort of thing you normally do on initial startup. But if you didn’t, you can still access this OnePlus Switch feature later on.

First you need to install OnePlus Switch on your old Android phone. You’ll need to give it every permission under the sun, but then you just scan a QR code with Switch on your OnePlus 6.

You don’t need to install it, though; it’s already there in Settings > Advanced > OnePlus Switch.

Making the most of Shelf

Shelf is one of the features we know that many OnePlus users ignore. It’s a custom homescreen that sits to the left of your standard one. There are some good uses for it.

You can, for example, add your Starbucks or Costa coffee cards, or any that use a QR-style scanner. It saves you from digging around in specific apps.

A Spotify control widget is another good option, again stopping you from having to use an app for basic interactions. Shelf can fit in just about any widget. Remember those?


Test drive new icons (and fonts)

OnePlus software is highly recognisable. As soon as you turn on the OnePlus 6, it’s possible to determine its source. For us, this is because it uses a distinct font and custom icons. The OnePlus aroma is all over these elements.

It is possible to change this, however. Altering the font is the simplest way to do this, but OnePlus has kept things tasteful. In Settings > Font, you can swap out the custom Roboto font for something less conventional.

Want more fonts? Unfortunately, the only way to do so is to root your OnePlus 6 – which we don’t recommend, unless you’re a relatively advanced techie.

Related: Best tablets

However, what you can do without rooting is change the icon style. Just long-press on an empty area in a homescreen and press Home Settings. Then select Icon Pack. Here you’ll see three OnePlus icon styles; any other icon packs you download from Google Play will appear here too. The size of icons can also be altered in Home Settings > Home Screen Layout.

Gestures for all sorts

OnePlus phones have offered extra gestures since the start. We hardly ever use them.

There are a couple we’re going to attempt to introduce into our everyday routine.

The OnePlus 6 lets you draw letters on-screen to run specific apps right from standby. “V” is the easiest, quickest to draw, so let’s make that run Gmail. The second is to long-press the fingerprint scanner to take a photo in the camera app. This is great for one-handed photography.

You can customise these gestures, and many others in Settings > Gestures.

Getting the very best camera pics

The OnePlus 6 is a great point-and-shoot camera. However, if you want to capture the very best pics possible, perhaps on holiday, then you can go further with a bit of manual work.

Switch to the Pro mode, found by flicking right-to-left in the camera app, and then select RAW capture in the left menu bar. This saves RAW DNG files as well as JPEGs.

A RAW file won’t suddenly have 300% extra detail, but when you open one up in Photoshop on your laptop, or even Photoshop Lightroom CC on your phone, you can often highlight detail. This isn’t possible with a JPEG.

You need to bring down the exposure in one of these apps until you see the most detail revealed in the brightest areas of an image. Then use the shadow detail slider to make the darker parts clear.

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