13 tips and tricks to master your HTC One (M8)

htc one m8 hi res

The HTC One (M8) is a powerhouse of a device, boasting a sleek and sexy design with top-notch specifications. While a seasoned Sense user may know their way around the HTC's custom interface, a first time HTC phone owner might need a little help getting off the ground. 

Getting a new smartphone is fun, but it can be easy to miss all of the cool features tucked away within it. Here are a few tips and tricks that you might find helpful with your new HTC One (M8)!

Themes

changetheme

Want to quickly change the look of your home screen (and some applications) without too much work? Change the theme! In Sense 6, HTC has provided four themes to choose from. While the selection is lacking, you can change from a cool blue-green theme to something with warmer reds, purples, or even a dark grey theme.

To change your theme, simply go into your settings and hit Personalize, then tap on Themes. Select the theme you’d like to use, press Apply, and you’re good to go.

Lock screen shortcuts

lockscreenshortcuts

The HTC One allows users to quickly jump into certain applications right from the lock screen. Out of the box, these applications include the essentials, like the phone, messaging, browser, and camera apps. Luckily, it’s easy enough to customize these applications, but there’s a bit of a restriction. 

The four docked icons at the bottom of your home screen are the same as those found on your lock screen. This isn’t a coincidence. In fact, the only way you can change the lock screen shortcuts is to change the docked home screen icons. This can be done by long-pressing on the app you’d like to replace and dragging it to the remove link that appears at the top of the display. Don't worry, it doesn't delete the app, it just removes it from your home screen. After that, you can replace the empty slot with any application you choose and it will reflect on your lock screen. 

BlinkFeed tweaks

HTC now offers up even more content for BlinkFeed, bolstering the selection we saw on previous versions of Sense. 

You’ll also be able to create custom topics, so you can get as specific as you’d like. Just type in a subject you'd like to see content about and BlinkFeed will find news posts, YouTube videos, tweets and more.

removeblinkfeed

If you want to free up that extra panel and rid yourself of BlinkFeed, that’s also an option. HTC makes this simple to do, too. To kill off BlinkFeed, all you’ll need to do is long press on an empty space on the home screen and select Manage home screen pages. Swipe to the BlinkFeed panel, and tap on Remove at the bottom of the display. Done and done.

If you want to keep BlinkFeed but don’t want to see it every time you unlock your phone, you can change this, too. By going back to the Manage home screen panel pages screen, you can swipe to whatever panel you’d like to see when you unlock your phone and tap on Set as home on the bottom of the screen. Now that will be the first screen you see.

Move your home screen panels around

move panels

You might want to have your home screen set up just the way you like it. For example, I always have my twitter widget to the left of my main home screen and my bookmark widget to the right. If you want to give yourself some space from Blinkfeed, it's simple enough to do.

From anywhere on the home screen, simply use a two-fingered pinch gesture, which will "zoom out" your home screen and show all available widgets below and your home screen pages at the top. You can now re-position panels (with the exception of BlinkFeed) by long-pressing on the panel you’d like to move and dragging it to the desired location. 

Unlock your phone the right way. Or the left way. 

Building upon the LG G2’s Knock On feature, HTC has gone a bit further with the M8. Not only can your double-tap the screen while it is locked to wake the device from sleep (and double-tap again to put it back to sleep), you can also swipe it to get around more quickly.

While your phone is asleep, a quick swipe to the right launch will launch BlinkFeed. Swiping to the left will unlock the phone and take you directly to your home screen. Swipe up from the bottom edge of the display to go to your last opened app, and swipe down from the top of the screen to launch voice dialing.

The implementation works well, but it’s a little disappointing to see that these applications/gestures can not be customized in any way.

Quick camera access

Want a faster way to get to your camera app without unlocking the your phone? While your HTC One is in its locked, sleeping state, you can easily jump into the camera by holding the device in landscape view (sideways) and holding down one of the volume keys. This will launch the camera app and let you take new photos or videos, but don't worry, your content is safe—viewing previously-taken pics requires you to unlock your phone.

Don’t forget HTC’s Getting Started Guide

Don’t know where to start with your new HTC One M8? HTC provides an optional “getting started” guide that should help ease you into your new phone’s capabilities. You’ll be able to customize your phone with apps, feeds, and more right from your computer. 

You’ll be able to access the Getting Started guide during the initial setup of the phone, where you’ll be prompted to go to the website https://start.htc.com/pair. Simply type in your unique code into the site and you’ll be up and running in no time. 

Save your own custom settings as a Camera

savecamera2

Among the many features found on the camera, there is one that many will find incredibly useful, and it’s the ability to save customized settings as a camera. What does that mean? Well, if you want to keep your ISO set at a certain level at all times or you always want HDR photos when using the camera, the HTC One allows you to change those settings and save it as a new camera mode. This way, you can jump into the Camera app and take photos without wasting precious seconds on fiddling with white balance and other settings.

Launch Camera and tap on the three dots on the top left (bottom left if in landscape) to access the settings. From there, you can tweak the effects just the way you like them. After you’ve adjusted the settings, tap on the cog-like icon and scroll down until you you see the Save as camera option. You can even give this camera its own name, like "high-ISO no flash."

Prioritize quick settings

Quick settings can be accessed by dragging down the notification panel and tapping the icon on the top right of the screen. Alternatively, you can also use two fingers to drag the panel down to immediately reveal the quick settings. 

The quick settings options are rather busy, and there are some you may never use. To clean up these settings, simply tap on the edit icon at the top of the screen, which is depicted as a piece of paper and pencil. You’ll then be presented with the option to edit your quick settings.

To change the positions of your quick settings, simply tap and hold the icon to the right (three lines) and drag the panels up or down as you see fit. Moreover, you can drag a panel down past the “hidden items” section to keep it from showing at all. 

editquicksettings

Use the M8 to control your TV

Like its predecessor, the HTC One M8 ships with an IR blaster that allows you to control your TV. The setup is relatively painless, and the application itself is slick and well-designed. You no longer need to worry when your lose your TV remote. 

Head into your app drawer, tap on the TV icon, and follow the prompts to set up the phone to work with your make and model of TV. It even controls some other A/V gear, like receivers. Don't miss out on this feature!

Show battery percentage in the status bar

A simple feature that’s not turned on by default is the option to show the percentage of remaining battery life in the status bar. In addition to the usual vague icon, you’ll be able see exactly how much juice you have left on your phone. It’s a helpful feature, but might add a little clutter to your status bar. 

Go to Settings, scroll down to Power, and check the box next to Show battery level.

Change app drawer grid size

gridsize

HTC decided to change the default grid size to 3 x 4 in the app drawer for the One. This requires the user to scroll through more pages to get through the same amount of applications. This can be changed to a 4 x 5 grid by tapping the three dots on the top right while inside the application drawer and selecting Grid size.

Do not disturb

Tired of your phone beeping and blinking from notifications in the middle of the night? There are apps in the Play Store to prevent that, but the HTC comes with a Do not disturb feature built-in. When you turn it on, it prevents the phone from making any sound, or vibrating, or the LED from blinking.

Just head to the Settings, then Sounds and select Do Not Disturb from the list. You can set a schedule to make DND turn on and off at selected times and days, and "whitelist" certain contacts to make sure you still get calls and texts from them. It's really quite flexible.

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