These are the key settings to change on the LG G8 ThinQ smartphone

LG G8 ThinQ
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Got an LG G8 ThinQ in your hands? There are plenty of settings you can tweak to personalize the phone a little more, but it can be tricky to wade through the cluttered user interface. We’ve done the job so you don’t have to, and picked 11 key settings you will want to tweak as soon as you set the phone up.

As a note, there are two ways to access the settings app, which is what you’ll be using for most of this guide. Either find the app on your home screen (or app drawer) — the icon looks like a gear — or swipe the notification drawer down and tap the gear icon at the very top right of the phone.

Convert the home screen layout

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If you’re coming from another Android phone, you may have noticed the App Drawer is missing, and all the apps you have installed are cluttering around multiple home screens. If you want the more traditional Android look and hide your apps into the App Drawer, you will have to change your home screen layout in the settings app.

Open the Settings app and head to Display > Home screen > Select Home > Home & app drawer. This lets you convert the home screen layout to one with an app drawer, which slides up from the dock at the bottom. If you want a physical app drawer icon to show up on the dock as well, there is a toggle for that here just below Home & app drawer.

Remove the Google feed

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We like having the Google feed on the left side of the main home screen, but you may not find much use for it. To turn it off or change it, you’re going to go to the same place you changed the home screen layout — Settings > Display > Home screen and now tap Left Home screen. You can either use the Google feed, Smart Bulletin, or have nothing on the left side of the home screen.

Smart Bulletin puts a lot of LG-specific features on the left side of the home screen, such as a quick glance at LG Health, Pocket Briefing for the latest news updates, Parking Assistant to help find your car, and Pocket Advisor, which offers tips about your phone’s features.

Customize the New Second Screen

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The LG G8 ThinQ has a notch at the top of the phone, which is the little cutout that dips into the display, housing the 8-megapixel selfie camera and other sensors. If you don’t like the look of the notch, there is a way to hide it in the system settings.

Head to Settings > Display > New Second Screen, which is LG’s confusing way of calling the screen space around the notch. Here, you can choose between Standard and Custom. By choosing Custom, the entire top of the screen (surrounding the notch) will turn black, so the notch is effectively hidden. You can go further and add rounded corners, or change the color of the New Second Screen to any of the options provided.

Turn on Always-on Display

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If you frequently look at your phone for the time, or want to see notifications quickly, the Always-on Display is a crucial feature. It shows the time and other information on the screen when the phone is in standby. Head to Settings > Display > Always-on display and toggle the On button. You’ll see a bunch of clock styles to choose from — tap on one and you can customize it even further to look exactly how you want.

There are broader settings below that let you access other features from the Always-on Display, like Quick tools & music player. You can even schedule the Always-on Display to turn off at a certain time if you don’t want it to disturb you at night, for example.

Max screen resolution

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The LG G8 ThinQ’s OLED screen is beautiful, but by default, you’re not getting the best screen resolution possible. It’s set to 2,340 x 1,080, which is still incredibly sharp, but you can go up to 3,120 x 1,440 for the best quality. To do this, head to Settings > Display > Screen resolution and slide the slider all the way to the right.

Keep in mind, doing this will negatively affect the battery life of your phone.

Turn on True View, HDR video effect

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As you can tell by now, there’s a lot you can tweak in the display settings for the LG G8 ThinQ. One more to improve the viewing experience is to turn on True View, by heading to Settings > Display > toggle on True View. Similar to Apple’s True Tone technology on iPads and iPhones, True View changes the tone of the display to match the ambient light around you. Meaning you may see a more yellow tint on the screen if the light around you is incandescent, for example. It will make looking at the screen feel more natural, and maybe easier on the eyes as well.

While you’re here, you may also toggle on HDR video effect. It punches up the colors and brightness when you are playing full-screen videos. It may not work in all video players.

Set up face unlock

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One of the LG G8 ThinQ’s key features involves the 8-megapixel selfie camera at the top of the front since it houses a time-of-flight sensor. This allows for better 3D depth mapping, which means the G8 can capture better and more secure face data for facial recognition. It also allows the G8 to use what LG is calling “Hand ID,” a way to unlock the phone by hovering your hand over the sensor. In our review, we didn’t think Hand ID was that effective, and it was awkward to use, which is why we recommend avoiding it and simply setting up Face ID instead. It’s far more natural to use and faster, too.

If you didn’t set up Face ID in the phone’s setup process, head over to Settings > Lock screen & securityFace unlock. Tap Next, and you may have to draw a pattern or type in a passcode if you’ve set one up (or you may be asked to set one up now). Now follow the on-screen instructions to hold the phone at eye level and move your head in a circle so the camera can scan all angles of your face. That’s it, you’ve set up Face ID. You can tweak additional settings here, such as turning the toggle on for Swipe to unlock, which will require you to swipe the lock screen up after the camera has identified your face, as an extra security measure.

Set up context awareness

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Context Awareness is a handy feature that lets you trigger actions on your phone automatically based on certain factors. To use it, go to Settings > Extensions > Context Awareness. You’ll see a selection to choose from, like At home, or Away from home, and At work. Tap on one of these, and toggle them on.

If you turned on At home, for example, you can set your home address, then have the phone adjust its sound profile, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi, if it enters the vicinity around your home. Another option is When earphones are plugged in — toggle this on, and you can set a specific app to always open as soon as you plug in earphones. Context Awareness is not as powerful as apps like If This Then That, but it’s a handy way to tweak some settings based on where you are.

Turn off the Assistant Key

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There’s an extra button on the left side of the LG G8, below the volume rocker. Press it, and it will launch Google Assistant. Tap and hold it, and you can talk to Assistant like a Walkie-Talkie. Double-tap it, and you’ll open the Visual Snapshot feature in Assistant to look at important information for your day, like upcoming reservations, flight information, and more. If you don’t use Assistant at all, this button is useless and can be frustrating if you accidentally press it.

There’s no way to remap the button natively, but you can turn off the functionality so the button does nothing when pressed. To do this, head to Settings > Extensions > Shortcuts and toggle off Open Google Assistant, Talk to Google Assistant, and Show Visual Snapshot.

Set up Air Motion

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One of the key features of the LG G8 ThinQ is the ability to control some apps with hand gestures. It’s not the most essential feature, because it’s awkward to use and is very limited, but it can be handy if your hands are dirty from doing the dishes, cutting vegetables, or just grimy enough that you don’t want to touch your phone. All of this can be done through a feature called Air Motion. Head to Settings > Extensions > Air Motion, and toggle on all the options as you see fit.

Shortcut and capture lets you set two apps to open by hovering your hand over the selfie camera and swiping left or right. You can also pinch your hand above this camera and take a screenshot. Control music and videos lets you move left or right again to play or pause media content, and you can turn your hand as though you’re moving an invisible knob to adjust the volume. Finally, Control calls and alarms lets you decline or accept calls by hovering left or right, as well as dismiss or snooze alarms in the same manner.

Change the keyboard

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The keyboard on a phone is important, as it’s something we use constantly. If it’s not good, it can lead to a frustrating experience. We’re not fans of LG’s pre-installed keyboard, but thankfully you can change it to one of the various keyboard apps available for download on the Google Play Store. After you have downloaded your preferred keyboard — our favorite is Gboard from Google — head to Settings > System > Language & keyboard > and tap default keyboard. You should be able to see your installed keyboard — just tap it and you’re good to go. Tap on On-screen keyboard and then keyboard you installed to further tweak its settings.

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