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10 Moto G4 tips to help you get more from your budget phone

The Moto G4 may be the bargain Android smartphone of the year. It combines a big, 5.5-inch screen with some decent power under the hood and a great camera. It’s a great device, one that’s packed with plenty of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow goodness and a Moto topping that offers a handful of clever features. Luckily, we have a healthy assortment of Moto G4 tips and tricks to make the most of your phone. These also work on the Moto G4 Plus.

Related: Five great Moto G4 cases and covers for style and protection

Random Moto G4 tips

How to quickly turn on the flashlight

It’s handy to be able to switch your flashlight on without fumbling in the dark, and you can do it with a simple karate chop motion on the Moto G4. To turn this gesture on, go to the Moto app in your app drawer and choose Actions > Double karate chop for torch, then toggle the feature on. You’ll also find a toggle for the torch in the quick settings of your notification shade.

How to tweak display notifications

The Moto G4 doesn’t have an LED for notifications — it lights up the whole screen instead. You might not want this happening during the night, or perhaps you don’t want notifications from specific apps showing up for everyone to see. If so, go to the app drawer, open the Moto app, and choose Display, where you’ll find the option to block apps. Then, choose the detail level and schedule times when you’d like to keep the screen dark.

How to schedule quiet time

It makes sense to keep your display dark at night, but you can go one step further to ensure that nothing disturbs your slumber by using Android’s Do not disturb feature, found in Settings > Sound & notification. You can set up schedules for different days and choose the hours when you don’t want alerts disturbing you. You can also set exceptions that you want to allow through.

How to ask Google

With Google, you can easily get help regarding whatever you happen to be doing on your Moto G4. From the home screen, simply swipe left to right to access Google Now. You also have the option of saying, “Ok Google” to launch a voice search from the home screen. You can extend the “Ok Google” command so that it works anywhere by going to Settings > Google > Search & Now > Voice > “Ok Google” detection and toggling on From any screen.

You can also access Now on Tap from anywhere on your Moto G4 by simply holding down the on-screen home button. The notable feature will then provide information and relevant links about whatever you’re looking at.

How to tweak your user interface

You can change your Quick Settings, edit what appears in the status bar, get a percentage embedded in the battery status icon, and enable Demo mode by unlocking the System UI Tuner. All you have to do is pull down the notification shade and tap and hold on the gear icon for a few seconds. When you let go, you should see a message about unlocking Status UI Tuner, and you can find it by scrolling to the bottom of the Settings menu. You’ll see a warning about the fact that these features are experimental and may disappear in the future.

Camera tips for the Moto G4

How to quickly launch the camera

There are actually a couple of different ways to quickly launch the camera on the Moto G4. Go to the app drawer, open the Moto app, tap Actions > Twist for Quick Capture, and toggle the feature on. Now, a quick double twist of your wrist will open the camera app.

Alternatively, you can go to Settings > Display and toggle on Press power button twice for camera. With that turned on, your camera will start up when you press the power twice in quick succession, even if the Moto G4 is locked.

How to tweak the brightness

According to Lenovo, the Moto G4 is supposed to be good in low-light situations. If you’re taking a photo in a dark room or at night, you can tweak the brightness on the fly by tapping on your subject and bringing up the focus circle. Then, you merely need to slide the wee sun icon around the outside edge.

How to lock the focus

The autofocus capabilities of the G4 are pretty good, though the G4 Plus has a definite advantage in this area. In either case, you can override autofocus and lock your focus quite easily. All you have to do is tap and hold on your subject and you’ll see the focus circle appear with a small padlock attached. The camera will then focus on that particular spot, even if you move it around.

How to take a photo by tapping anywhere

Sometimes you’ll line up the perfect group selfie only to realize that you can’t get to the on-screen shutter button without ruining the shot. If you want to be able to tap anywhere on the screen to take a photo, then swipe left to right in the camera app to open your options. Afterward, tap on Shutter type > Tap anywhere.

How to backup photos and clear space

Instead of a superfluous gallery app, the Moto G4 comes with Google’s Photos app. It’s perfect, because you can back up all of your photos in the cloud for free. You should be prompted about it early on, but if not, you can set up your photo and video backup by going to Settings > Google > Google Photos Backup. There, you can choose your desired upload size, set it to back up exclusively over Wi-Fi, choose which folders you’d like to back up, among other things.

If you find that you’re running low on storage space on your Moto G4, then open the Photos app and tap the three horizontal lines in the top left to open the menu. Then tap Settings > Free up device storage, which will remove any photos and videos that have already been backed up from your Moto G4. You can also download individual photos again by tapping them in the Photos app.