11 HTC Droid DNA Tips & Tricks

January 21, 2013

htc-droid-dna-review-1

If you have seen our review of the HTC Droid DNA, you probably noticed that despite its shortcomings, we think it’s a great phone. While sales might not have been as high as HTC and Verizon hoped, there are still plenty of fans of the DNA, so for those of you using the phone, here are 11 tips and tricks to get the most out of it.

If you would rather see these tips in video format, you can jump to the video at the bottom of the article. Otherwise, read on.

1.) Use Best Shot Mode

You’re human; you move. It’s a fact of life that can often ruin photos. Luckily, the HTC Droid DNA has a built-in feature that can provide a solution to this problem.

When you take a photo with your DNA, instead of simply pressing the shutter button, hold it down. The camera will take a rapid series of exposures–up to twenty photos. Now you can either use Best Shot to automatically select the best looking photo, or save them all and pick the best yourself.

2.) Change Your Lock Screen

We’re all different, and that means that we all use our devices in different ways. The very first thing you’re going to do when you pick your phone up varies greatly from person to person, including what they do with their lock screen.

htc-droid-dna-lock-screen

The HTC Droid DNA offers a wide range of different lock screens, starting with the most basic: your wallpaper and a few icons. By going to Settings -> Personalize -> Lock screen style, you can choose from a variety of different lock screens starting with Productivity, which shows your most recent notifications, Photo Album, Weather, People, Clock, Stocks and Music. You can even choose to have no lock screen whatsoever if you wish.

3.) Turn Off 3-Finger HTC Gestures

If you have an HTC Media Link device, you can easily connect your Droid DNA by swiping up on the screen with three fingers. However, this has the side effect of preventing other apps from using three-finger gestures.

If you don’t use HTC Media Link or would rather have three-finger gestures available to other apps, simply go to Settings -> Display & gestures and uncheck the box next to HTC gestures. Now any three-finger gestures will be recognized by other apps. Music apps in particular seem to use these gestures, so you may want these types of gestures to pass through.

4.) Create Custom Scenes

If you like to customize your home screens but don’t like to take risks, custom scenes may be for you. While there are a few included to choose from, like Verizon, HTC, Work, Play and Travel, you can also create as many custom scenes as you want.

htc-droid-dna-custom-scene

Just go to Settings -> Personalize -> Scenes, and hit the menu button at the top. You will see the option to delete or rename existing scenes as well as create new ones. When you create a new scene, your home screen will be nothing but wallpaper and the app drawer button. Feel free to add widgets and apps as well as customize your skin and wallpaper. If you want to return to a previous look, just select the desired scene in Settings.

5.) Turn Off Fast Boot

Fast Boot is a great feature that does exactly what it promises to–it allows your HTC Droid DNA to boot up quickly. The problem is that when this feature is enabled, you’re never really actually shutting down your phone. Instead, it’s more similar to the hibernate feature found on PCs. While this is handy, sometimes you just want to start over with a clean slate.

htc-droid-dna-fast-boot

To turn off Fast Boot, just head to Settings -> Battery and uncheck Fast Boot. Now the next time you reboot or power off your phone, you will actually be rebooting. While you’re probably not always going to want to have Fast Boot turned off, it might be nice to do this if you want to flush out your system, so to speak.

6.) Flip Your Phone

We’ve all been there: your phone starts to ring at the worst possible time, and you need to scramble to silence it. Luckily, with the Droid DNA, you can simply flip the phone face down on a desk, for example, to silence it immediately.

htc-droid-dna-review-6

This same gesture can also prove useful when you’re in the middle of a conversation as well. Flipping the phone down in front of you mid-conversation will automatically activate the Droid DNA’s speakerphone. Picking the phone up again will deactivate speakerphone.

7.) Use Two-finger Scrolling Options

While this isn’t going to work with every app, some of the built-in apps included with the HTC Droid DNA offer alternate modes of navigation when scrolling with two fingers. Two examples are the built-in Mail app and your Contacts.

In contacts, for example, scrolling with two fingers allows you to quickly scroll through the alphabet. I personally don’t have enough contacts for this to be especially useful, but those of you with huge contacts lists will no doubt find this incredibly useful. It’s a shame that this type of navigation can’t be used in Gmail, for example, but it’s understandable that this doesn’t work. Still, one can hope.

8.) Try Out Slo-mo Video

While a lot of the items on the list so far have leaned more toward the useful side of the fence, this item is a lot closer to just plain cool. I doubt you’ll find much use for this, but it is definitely worth playing around with.

To try out Slo-mo video, all you have to do is enable in the shooting options menu in the camera app. Now any video you capture will be slowed down considerably. Unfortunately, there’s a major downside in that the quality of the video is reduced drastically. Still, experimenting with this feature can lead to some fairly interesting results.

9.) Enable HTC Sense Keyboard’s Swype-style Features

When we talk about replacement keyboard apps, it is almost impossible not to mention Swype. While it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (I’m not a fan, for example), many people swear by it and the ease of use it brings to typing for some people is a huge time saver. With the Sense keyboard on the HTC Droid DNA, you don’t even need to download it.

htc-droid-dna-sense-keyboard

To enable Swype-like functionality on your DNA, head to Settings -> Language & Keyboard -> HTC Sense Input and check the Trace Keyboard option. Now you can use your keyboard either normally or exactly as you would Swype.

10.) Improve Your Battery Life

There are a lot of things you can do to save battery life on any Android phone, and I’m not going to cover them all here, but there are a few quick things you can do to improve battery life on your HTC Droid DNA in a just a few seconds with minimal impact on performance.

First, turn off automatic brightness and set the brightness as low as you can while keeping the screen usable. Not only does the reduced brightness save battery, but the lack of monitoring to change the brightness helps a bit as well. Now, if you’re on WiFi, turn off mobile data. Even if you’re not using it, this can chip away at your battery. Finally, head to Settings -> Battery -> Usage and close any apps you’re not using that are eating up battery.

Alone, none of these solutions will do much, but together, they’ll help squeeze out a little more crucial battery life on a busy day.

11.) Unload Unused Apps From RAM

I’ve said before that I’m a big fan of the multitasking or Recent Apps button on any phone that has it. With the HTC Droid DNA, there is a nice bit of functionality here that some people don’t seem to know about.

htc-droid-dna-recent-apps

In addition to simply switching between apps, it’s possible to flick them upwards and off of the screen. This does more than simply remove them from the list; it actually removes the app from memory. The simplest way to test this is to open a page in the brower and hit the home button. Open the browser again and you’ll see the page appear instantly. Now hit the Recent Apps button and flick the browser off the screen. Open the browser again and you’ll see the page has to load.

If you have a lot of apps going at once, this is a handy way to free up some extra system resources without much trouble.

Video

Now obviously everyone is going to have their favorite tips and tricks, and the ones we’ve mentioned are just a few. What are some of your favorite tips or tricks for the HTC Droid DNA? What do you think of the tips we mentioned? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments

  • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

    You’re welcome for tip #1 :)

    • Kristofer Wouk

      Yeah, I probably should have name checked you for that one. But I definitely owe you.

  • NicholasMicallef

    So don’t flip off your phone, flip off your apps?

  • samantha

    i love this phone im getting it next week cant wait

  • Arkie

    How do you actually Lock the DNA? I have set up the Pattern Lock/Unlock but haven’t figured out how to Lock. Please help

    • nick

      Your device will automatically lock after inactive for a set amount of time or if you press the lock button at the top of the device. It is red.

  • Morena

    How do you silence notifications or other sounds when you’re listening to your music?

    • nick

      Go to the settings menu and choose the sound option. Here you may set the level for each sound individually.

  • alanb4130

    I have 2 HTC DNA’s on the way in the mail. Thanks for the tips. Anything helps. I think this is a great phone and since they are probably getting rid of this phone for the HTC ONE Verizon and HTC are giving this phone away for almost free. I paid $30 a piece for my phones. That makes this phone even better. And to read that HTC will more than likely be upgrading this phone with Sense 5.0 and the newest Android operating system. This phone will be good for some time to come with quad core and 2 gigs of ram.

  • michael perez

    Also turn off WiFi when you’re on 4g. And turn off the stupid vibrations on key touch. This will help a lil bit

  • cesar

    How can I send mms on my dna? I tried sending a picture from a facebook friend and it don’t give me the option as a mms

  • help me please

    How do u get book marks off the droid dna or move them on a computer

    • help me

      Top main button on the phone locks it but lf u don’t have any code or password it will just show a Circle that you can move indicating to unlock very simple very easy to use drag the circle lock it press the top button on the phone to unlock it slide the circle the bottom after pressin the top button. (Red)

  • Nancy

    Love the tips! But was wondering why I can’t bookmark anymore. I have done everything that I read on the internet to try and solve it, buy that didn’t help. Thoughts?

  • EC

    How do I delete an app?

    • nick

      You can delete an app from your applications menu by long pressing and dragging to the uninstall option above. If you do not have this option you may also go to the Google play store and click “play store” on the top left. This will allow you to see all your apps and clicking one will give you the option to uninstall.

  • luis

    htc dna doesn’t Let me download music because I Accidentally Pressed Disable

  • Britt

    Is there any way to turn off the two finger scrolling option?