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Moto X4 tips and tricks to get more from your majestic midranger

Moto X4 Android One review back in hand
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
We had to wait a while for a new entry in the Moto X line-up, but when it did finally arrive, the Moto X4 impressed us. It offers solid performance, a capable camera, day-long battery life, and IP68 water resistance, all at a very reasonable price. We have some handy Moto X4 tips and tricks here to help you get more from your phone. Our first tip is to snag one of the best Moto X4 cases before you drop it and scratch or crack that glass.

Note: There are some slight differences between the stock Android One model and the regular X4. Some of our tips will only work on the regular X4, so we’ll mention when that’s the case.

How to use Moto Actions

You’ll find an app called Moto Actions on your X4 that allows you to configure a few handy shortcut actions. Open it up toggle the shortcuts you want. Most of them are self-explanatory, for example, there’s Pick up to stop ringing, Chop Twice for Flashlight, and Twist for Quick Capture.

Our favorite is One Button Nav, which allows you to turn off the onscreen Android navigation buttons for Back, Home, and Recent apps and use the fingerprint sensor to navigate instead. With it activated, a tap on the fingerprint sensor takes you Home, a swipe from right to left goes Back, and a swipe from left to right opens the Recent apps list. This frees up space on screen. It’s also good because we find ourselves naturally trying to use the fingerprint sensor like a Home button anyway. Unfortunately, One Button Nav is not available on the Android One version of the X4.

How to manage your data usage

It’s good to keep a handle on your data usage, especially if you have a limited monthly allowance. Go to Settings > Data usage and you can turn Data saver on to stop certain apps from updating in the background – they’ll still update when you open them. It’s also a good idea to tap Billing cycle in the Cellular section and set the date on which your monthly allowance refreshes. You can also Set data warning, if you want to be informed when you’re close to using up all your data for the month, and Set data limit, if you want to make sure you don’t go over that allowance. This tip isn’t specific to the Moto X4.

How to set up a Wireless Sound System

This nifty feature is one of the best things about the regular Moto X4 and we’re disappointed that it’s absent from the Android One version. It allows you to connect to up to four different Bluetooth speakers or sets of headphones, and play music through them simultaneously. That means you can stream perfectly synced music to multiple Bluetooth speakers in your home.

All you have to do to activate it is open up Settings > Wireless Sound System and toggle it on. It will immediately scan for Bluetooth devices in the vicinity and you can tap to pair. If you’ve paired before, it will remember the devices, just like regular Bluetooth. Anything you play on your X4 will come through on all the connected devices in perfect sync, so you can transform your collection of Bluetooth speakers into a multi-room sound system like Sonos.

How to take a screenshot

If you want to capture your Moto X4 screen, then you have a choice of ways to do it. Holding down the Volume down and Power button works. You can also go into the Moto app and toggle on Quick Screenshot in Moto Actions. It enables you to trigger a screenshot by touching and holding three fingers on the screen. You’ll find your screenshots in a separate Album in the Photos app, helpfully entitled Screenshots.

How to extend your battery life

We think the battery life of the Moto X4 is generally quite good, but if you find it’s not stretching as far as you’d like, then you should look in Settings > Battery. You’ll see a chart showing how fast your battery has been draining and how long it may last. Below that there’s a list of apps and services with percentages next to them showing how much battery they drained. If there are any apps on there that strike you as having guzzled a lot compared to how much you’ve been using them, then consider uninstalling them.

It’s also a good idea to tap Battery saver at the top of the screen in Settings > Battery. We recommend tapping Turn on automatically and choosing at 5 percent or 15 percent, depending on your preference. This can help make sure you don’t get caught off guard and end up with a dead device before you can get to a power outlet. It turns off certain services, background syncing, and reduces performance to extend your battery a little further. You’ll always know when Battery saver is on because the notification bar at the top turns orange and a plus symbol appears in the battery icon.

How to set up Night Display

Since it emerged that blue light from screens can impact your sleep, many phone manufacturers have been including a filter designed to cut blue light for reading in bed at night. Open the Moto app and choose Moto Display > Night Display. You can toggle it on and off as you please, but we recommend setting up an automated schedule, so it comes on automatically when it gets late and then turns off again in the morning.

How to use Google Assistant

You’ll find the Google Assistant is easily accessible on any Moto X4. Simply say “OK Google” or “Hey Google,” or press and hold the Home button, and Google Assistant will pop up ready for your query or command. If you find that your voice trigger isn’t working, then head into Settings > Google > Search > Voice and tap on “OK Google” detection. You can choose to activate Say “Ok Google” any time if you want to be able to trigger it from any screen. You can also retrain the voice model in here, so it recognizes you.

How to use Alexa

If you have the regular Moto X4, then you have the option of using Amazon’s Alexa. Look in the app drawer and you’ll see a Moto Alexa app. Open it and enter your Amazon account details. Follow the instructions to train it for you voice and you can say Alexa at any time to trigger the service and ask a question.

How to use Moto Key

Sadly, this is another feature that you’ll only find on the regular X4, and not the Android One model. Open the Moto app and tap Moto Key to set it up. This feature allows you to use the fingerprint sensor to log in to apps, websites, and even unlock Windows devices. To add apps and websites, you’ll first want to log out of them, then open Moto Key and select Logins > + then choose the app or tap Open in Chrome for a website. Once Moto Key has saved the log in info, you’ll be able to open that app or website with a simple fingerprint touch the next time.

If you want to use Moto Key to unlock a Windows device, then you’ll need to install the software on that device, then open Moto Key and select Devices. The instructions are straightforward, and it works well, saving you from typing in passwords all day.

How to tweak your display settings

There are lots of handy options in Settings > Display on your Moto X4. Adaptive brightness is on by default and it adjusts screen brightness based on your environment. The display also shows vibrant colors by default, but you can tap Color mode and try Standard for a more realistic look. You’ll want to tap Sleep and set the delay before your screen turns itself off after inactivity. The default is 30 seconds, but you can go all the way up to 30 minutes if you want, though the lower the better for battery life.

One fun feature in here that’s worth trying out is the Screen saver. We recommend selecting Photos and tap the gear icon to add your Google account, limit it to Wi-Fi for data, and choose the animations you want. Go back and tap the three dots at the top right and choose When to start screen saver. It can be While docked, While charging, or Either. Your phone will take a little longer to charge, but if you’re in the habit of docking and charging on your desk, this is a nice way to turn your Moto X4 into a digital photo frame.

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Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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