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6 handy OnePlus 3 tips you can't afford to miss

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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

When you start up your flashy OnePlus 3, you’ll be surprised by the Nexus-like, almost standard Android experience that greets you. This is thanks to OnePlus’ bloat-free OxygenOS interface, one that’s installed over Android 6.0 Marshmallow. However, the mobile operating system has some idiosyncrasies of its own, and it’s by learning those that you’ll get the most from your new-fangled device. We’ve gathered some of the best OnePlus 3 tips, tricks, and hints for getting to grips with the OnePlus software, along with some helpful advice about the hardware and its accompanying features. Pick up your OnePlus 3, and get ready to master it.

OnePlus 3 articles you may find helpful:

Use the supplied charger and USB cable

OnePlus 3 Dash

The OnePlus 3 is the first OnePlus phone to support quick charging. We’ve found the system — aka Dash — can take the battery from almost empty to completely full in around 75 minutes, or to about 60 percent in roughly 30 minutes. That’s something you don’t want to miss out on, but to get it, you must use the Dash charger and the USB Type-C cable that comes with your phone. It’s tempting to use the other chargers you have laying around, but even when combined with the right USB cable, it won’t provide the full Dash effect. Remember that when you’re in a hurry after forgetting to charge the phone.

Find manual mode on the camera

OnePlus has improved the camera on the OnePlus 3, and regardless of its apparent low-light expertise, there are times when only a few manual adjustments will do the job. While there is a manual mode inside OnePlus’ camera app, it’s somewhat hidden. Here’s how to find it.

Step 1: Open the camera app.

Step 2: Tap the menu key in the top left of the screen.

Step 3: Manual mode is the fifth option down. Tap it.

The viewfinder will reappear and you’ll see a selection of adjustable settings spread across the bottom of the screen. Tap each one to apply your changes.

Activate Shelf

Shelf is a handy shortcut and quick access panel that lives to the left of the main home screen. It shows information on frequently used apps, has a memo feature, and can hold all your Android widgets so they don’t crowd the home screen. It should be activated by default, but if a right swipe doesn’t bring it up, then here’s how to get it running.

Step 1: Long press on the home screen until you see a helicopter view of your screens.

Step 2: Tap the Customize button in the bottom right.

Step 3: Make sure Enable Shelf is switched to on. If you want to turn off Shelf, just toggle the switch the other way.

That’s it, Shelf should now be active. Simply swipe and tap the addition sign in the bottom right to add new widgets.

Customize the Alert Slider

The Alert Slider is the mechanical slider switch located on the left side of the OnePlus 3, and like the one fitted on the OnePlus 2, it’s used to change the alert status on the phone. Here’s how it works, and how to customize it.

With the slider all the way down, you’ll be notified of all messages, calls, and alerts. Push it up to the midway point, and you’ll only receive priority notifications. One more push switches your phone to silent mode.

To set up Priority alerts, go to Settings > Alert Slider > Priority Settings. Here, toggle the switches for the alerts you want to receive when in Priority mode, including events and reminders. Another option changes the notification settings for calls. By default, it’s set to starred contacts only, but this can be changed to have any contacts or no-one at all.

Under the same menu is the chance to change the Silent settings, so pick that option instead of Priority Settings if you want to enable or disable alarm sounds, and for media and games.

Gesture controls

OnePlus 3

Not everyone is into gesture controls, and OnePlus leaves them disabled by default. If you want to try them out, however, then this is how you activate them.

Step 1: Tap Settings, then scroll down the list until you find Gestures.

Step 2: Toggle the switch to On.

There are four gestures in total: double tap to wake the screen, draw an “O” to launch the camera, draw a ‘V’ to activate the flashlight, and a set of music control gestures. Tick the corresponding boxes to turn each on.

Navigation, recent, and back buttons

OnePlus 3

The OnePlus 3’s back and recent menu buttons are defined only by little dots on either side of the fingerprint sensor. That’s fine if you’re used to the layout and Android phones in general, but these can be potentially confusing and annoying to those who aren’t. Luckily, there’s a way to make life easier.

Step 1: Tap Settings, then scroll down the list to find Buttons.

Step 2: Tap Buttons, and you have the option to swap the order around — so back is on the right, or vice versa — or alternatively use on-screen navigation buttons.

Once you’re used to the OnePlus 3, head back to the menu to turn off the on-screen buttons (if you prefer).