The general theme with flagship releases this year has been evolution, and not revolution, and the HTC One (M8) is a great example of how just an update also works. What HTC has done right is focus on the user experience with the best version of the Sense UI yet, packed in a stylish, refined device that will appeal to consumers. The HTC flagship does have a lot to offer, and we’re here to help you get the most out of your device. If you’ve just picked up this smartphone and are still finding your way around, here’s a look at some our top HTC One (M8) tips and tricks!
Tip #1 – Motion Gestures
Motion Gestures should already be activated by default, but if not, you can do so by going into the Settings menu, tapping on “Display and Gestures,” selection “Motion Gestures,” and make sure “Motion Launch Gestures” is checked. The various gestures and there associated activity include –
- Double Tap – A simple double tap on the screen will wake the device, or go back into sleep mode if the screen is on, without having to reach for the power button.
- Swipe Up – If you want to not only wake the device but unlock it, a simple swipe up on the display will do the trick. Not only do you not have to press the power button, but it also completely bypasses the lock screen, making it easy to get into the OS.
- Swipe from Left to Right – A swipe on the turned off display from left to right will take you directly into BlinkFeed. If BlinkFeed is what you use a lot and where you get all your social media updates and news feeds, this gesture will definitely be a big help to you.
- Swipe from Right to Left – A swipe from left to right will also take you directly into your home screen, but in this case, it’ll be regardless of where you were before. Basically, if you were using on app and the display turned off, unlocking the device will take you back into the app that was open. With a swipe from left to right, even if you were doing something else, it will take you directly to the home screen.
- Swipe Down – If you want to call someone using voice dialling, a swipe down will open up a voice command for calling anyone on your contact list. This is very useful, and a nice and quick way to call someone, without having to unlock the device, open the dialer, find the contact, and then place the call.
- Launching the Camera – The final gesture gives you the ability to launch the camera without needing to wake or unlock the phone. All you have to do is pick up the phone in landscape mode, and press either the up or down button on the volume rocker, and this will take you right into the camera UI.
With all of these gestures, you’ll find yourself not needing to reach up top for the power button as often any more. This is certainly useful, as the the HTC One (M8) is a tall phone, and reaching for the power button all the time can get quite annoying. It also has to be mentioned that the camera launch gesture can be a little finicky, but when it works, is a very simple way to quickly take a picture.
Tip #2 – UFocus
The HTC One (M8) retains its 4 MP “UltraPixel” camera, but this time, comes with a Duo Camera setup. The secondary camera allows you to do some really nice depth of field with photos you’ve taken, using the UFocus feature. Obviously, you have to first take a photo, and for the best results, the picture should ideally have a clear subject of focus, so that it doesn’t look too artificial when the effect is applied. After you’ve taken the photo, tap on “Edit” and select UFocus.
From here, all you have to do is tap on anything that you want to be in focus, and you’ll notice that everything else will become blurred. There is also a slider that lets you adjust the intensity of the blur, to make it a little more realistic. The UFocus feature doesn’t always work out perfectly, but depending on what you select, you can get some convincing depth of field in your images.
Tip #3 – Themes
The default Sense 6 theme features green accents everywhere, such as the toggles in the quick settings menu, the camera, BlinkFeed, and even in the settings screen. If you don’t like that, or if you’re just looking to switch things up, you can do so. All you have to do is go into Settings, tap on “Personalize,” and select “Theme.” Options are somewhat limited, but you can select an apply any theme available on that list. Once you do so, you’ll notice that the colours of the accents have changed throughout the user interface. Themes allow for a little more customization, that is built right into your smartphone.
Tip #4 – Quick Settings
In the notification pull down, tapping on the Quick Settings icon takes you into the menu. Tapping on the “Edit” button takes you into a screen that lets you change the menu. A slider lets you adjust the position of the toggles, and once you’re done, you’ll see that the toggles have been re-arranged. This definitely a useful feature to have built-in, giving you easy access to the toggles that you use the most.
Tip #5 – Disabling BlinkFeed
While BlinkFeed is useful to some, the ability to remove it is something users wanted when the feed aggregator was first introduced with the original One (M7), and was eventually possible after an update. If you don’t like BlinkFeed, you can turn it off, and HTC has made it very easy to do so. All you have to do is do a pinch gesture on the home screen, long press on the BlinkFeed screen, and drag it to the top to remove. If you change your mind, you can tap on the plus icon that says BlinkFeed, and that will bring it back.
Tip #6 – App Drawer
There are a few options available in the App Drawer that will allow you to customize it to your liking. Starting with the order of the applications, you can set them to be ordered alphabetically, by the most recently downloaded apps, and a custom option. In the custom order setting, you can individually drag and drop apps across the app drawer and place them in the way that best suits you. You can also create folders within the app drawer, using the same method you would to create folders on the home screen. Drag and place an app on top of another, and that will create a folder. You can then add more into the folder, and also rename it. You are also able to hide applications, and change the grid size, with a choice between 3 x 4 and 4 x 5. Hiding apps is a great way to clean up your app drawer, especially if you download a lot of wallpaper and icon packs, or to hide any carrier bloatware.