Best tips for getting started with the OnePlus 5

So you just got your OnePlus 5. Let us help you get the most out of it right away.

When you unbox your brand new phone, it can be enticing to jump right into setting it up how you’ve been using your previous phone without any consideration of the new features you now have. So after you get through setup and start downloading your apps, we encourage you to take a few minutes and check out some of what the OnePlus 5 has to offer that makes it unique.

These are the first things you need to do with your OnePlus 5.

Choose capacitive or on-screen buttons

The debate on capacitive versus on-screen navigation buttons will rage on, but this isn’t the place for that argument — because the OnePlus 5 lets you choose whichever you prefer. You’ll find the toggle for it in Settings and then Buttons — switch between the two at any time.

If you decide to go with capacitive keys, take the extra few minutes to configure long-press and double-tap actions for the buttons as well. For each of the three buttons, you can have something else happen when you long-press or double-tap them, including actions like opening menus, opening the camera, turning off the screen, pulling down the notification shade and more. It’s a huge point of customization if you want to spend the time on it.

Decide if you want that screen protector

Like many phones, the OnePlus 5 comes out of the box with a pre-installed screen protector. It’s actually a decent protector, but it really detracts from the experience of touching the Gorilla Glass 5 on the front directly.

Just take off that screen protector and touch the glass.

It may be worth keeping the screen protector on there for a day or two if you’re on the fence about the phone and may return it or sell it on to someone else. But if you plan to keep your OnePlus 5, you should bite the bullet and remove that screen protector to really enjoy the phone fully.

If you’re tough on phones and must have a screen protector, we recommend going with one of the purpose-built tempered glass protectors from OnePlus directly.

Actually unbox the charger

If you’re a typical smartphone nerd like us, you have more phone chargers than you know what to do with. But when you get your OnePlus 5, there’s a good reason to actually take the in-box charger out and have it handy. The OnePlus 5 has a proprietary fast charging system called “Dash Charge” that requires both an approved charger and cable to work, and that means you’ll need to use the one in the box or another sold by OnePlus.

Dash Charge is darn useful — unbox the charger.

Dash Charge is a really smart piece of technology because it lets the charger do more of the work than the phone, letting your phone charge up faster without getting warm. It has the benefit of charging super fast, but also letting you retain near-max charging speeds even while playing a game or using hardware-intensive apps like navigating in car mode.

That doesn’t mean your OnePlus 5 won’t charge quickly off of another charging brick you have, but it won’t be anywhere near the charging speed that a proper Dash Charge charger can offer.

More: Essential accessories for the OnePlus 5

Customize your status bar

One of the OnePlus 5’s biggest features is its bevy of unique software customization options that are available without rooting or modifying the phone’s firmware. A perfect example is the option to choose which icons show up in your status bar: go to Settings then Status bar and you’ll see tons of choices.

You can change the battery bar style and add a battery percentage indicator, choose how you want time displayed and even show your active network speed up there. The best part is the “icon manager” that lets you turn off icons you have no interest in showing — like the auto-rotate, Bluetooth, VoLTE or NFC icons that will always be turned on.

Check out Reading Mode

The OnePlus 5 has a new hardware sensor that can better identify ambient lighting, and it leverages that for a new “Reading Mode” to help reduce eye strain when reading on the phone. With Reading Mode on, the screen shifts to a near-greyscale color palette that’s much easier on your eyes. You’ll find it in Settings then Display and Reading Mode.

Reading Mode can help save your eyes during long reading sessions.

The best way to seamlessly use Reading Mode is to select specific apps that will toggle on the mode when you open them. For example it would be a good idea to turn on Reading Mode when you open the Kindle app, the Android Central app, or your favorite news aggregation service.

If you want to use Reading Mode more sparingly in apps, you can also add a toggle for it in your notification quick settings.

Configure gestures

OnePlus has iterated on its idea of screen-off gestures to let you configure exactly what you want to happen when you perform one. The phone supports swiping an O, V, S, M or W on the “off” display to perform actions — for each one, you can choose to do things like open the camera, open the flashlight or launch a specific app you have installed.

In addition to the active on-screen gestures, OnePlus also uses this area to include toggles for flipping the phone to mute incoming calls, swiping with three fingers to screenshot and double tapping the screen to wake it.

Get acquainted with the Alert Slider

Every company handles notifications and Do Not Disturb in different ways. OnePlus has stuck with a three-stage hardware switch to handle the duty — it’s called the “Alert Slider” and it’s found up above the volume rocker on the left edge of the phone.

This may be the biggest change in daily use for most people.

The specific actions can be customized, but the Alert Slider has three basic locations (from bottom to top): “ring,” “do not disturb” and “silent” that are pretty self-explanatory. In the settings, you can slightly tweak how each acts: “ring” can include vibration or not, “do not disturb” can handle various alerts in different ways, and “silent” can completely mute media and vibration if you so choose.

Because all sound is handled by the Alert Slider, that means that you can’t set automatic rules for Do Not Disturb — it’s likely a change from what you’re used to, but it also feels like a better way to handle things for most people.

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