10 tips to make your OnePlus 3 the best phone it can be

A more fulfilling OnePlus 3 experience is just a few steps away.

oneplus 3 tips primary
Ryan Whitwam

It's time to tweak your OnePlus 3

The OnePlus 3 is the upstart Chinese manufacturer's third attempt at offering a flagship-level phone for a midrange price, and this might be its best phone yet. The OnePlus 3 has a lot going for it out of the box, but there are a few features and settings you should acquaint yourself with early in order to get the most out of the phone. Here are the 10 things you should check out as soon as you liberate the OnePlus 3 from its packaging.

oneplus 3 tips fingerprints

Add your fingerprints

The OnePlus 3 has a front-facing fingerprint sensor, and it's one of the fastest and most accurate on any Android phone. You have the option of adding fingerprints during setup, but this can also be done later from the settings under Security & fingerprint. Simply tap the sensor repeatedly, paying attention to the prompts at the top. The device will tell you to tap, roll your finger, and shift as it builds an image of your prints. Doing the whole song and dance will improve recognition.

oneplus 3 tips navigation buttons

Customize navigation buttons

The setup experience will also ask you if you want on-screen or capacitive buttons, but that's only the start of the navigation customizations. Find the Buttons menu in system settings if you want to switch between on-screen and capacitive buttons at any time. When you are using on-screen buttons, there aren't many settings to toy with—you can swap the back and recents button, and that's basically all you've got.

If you choose to rely on the capacitive buttons, you can set long-press and double-press actions for the back, home, and recents button. For example, you can configure a double-press of the home button to put the phone to sleep or a long-press of recents to open the previous app. The home button is also the fingerprint sensor, of course, but the other two can be swapped just like you can with the on-screen buttons. They're just backlit dots on the bezel, so the action you assign is entirely arbitrary.

oneplus 3 tips color balance

Fix the color balance

The OnePlus 3 has a 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display that's not bad, as far as a $400 phone goes. However, the color calibration leaves something to be desired. You can improve the look with just a few taps, though. In the display settings, there's a color temperature slider. The OP3 tends to be calibrated very cool, so sliding it to the right will push the white balance toward the warmer end of the spectrum. In my experience, you have to go almost all the way to the end to get a more neutral balance.

Note: A forthcoming software update should add an sRGB color mode. If you have that update, you should probalby choose it.

oneplus 3 tips night mode

Night mode setting

Sometimes an “accurate” display temperature isn’t what you want. Studies have shown that blue spectrum light can make your brain think it’s morning, even if it’s the middle of the night. That can cause your sleep cycle to go haywire. OnePlus has included a system-wide night mode setting that flips the display to a warmer tone that might alleviate such problems. To turn this on, open the display settings and turn on “Night mode.” There’s a slider to control the strength of the effect as well. You can also access night mode from the quick settings drop down.

oneplus 3 tips home screen

Home screen customizations

OnePlus has created its own home screen as part of Oxygen OS, and there are a few features you should be aware of if you plan to use it. All the important settings are accessible with a long-press, then tap the “Customize” button. The are optional swipe up (search) and down (notifications) gestures on the first page. Swipe right, and you can change the look of the Google search bar on the home screen, or disable it altogether. Next, you can resize the icons and apply icon packs to the stock interface. Lastly, the OnePlus 3 supports several different grid sizes for the app drawer if you want to seem more or fewer apps without scrolling.

oneplus 3 tips dark ui

Save your eyes with dark mode

When it’s nighttime and the lights are low, opening the settings on your phone can be like staring into the sun. Android’s predominantly white UI can be tamed on the OnePlus 3 with the dark UI mode. To enable this, go into the system settings and scroll down to Customization. The Dark Mode toggle is right at the top. When it’s enabled, you can also choose an accent color. The dark mode will be reflected in the settings interface, notification shade, and app drawer.

oneplus 3 tips quick settings

Rearrange quick settings

The OnePlus 3 uses a mostly stock Android interface, right down to the quick settings. There’s more here than meets the eye, though. The toggles are actually customizable, and I don’t mean with the sketchy System interface tuner from Android 6.0. This is a proper implementation that can be accessed by tapping the Edit button right above the toggles toward the right. You can tap and drag to reorganize the toggles and tap them to disable or enable. When you’re done, hit save. You can also revert to the default arrangement at any time.

oneplus 3 tips gestures

Remember to use gestures

Just because the screen is off doesn't mean your OnePlus 3 is completely useless. There are several useful screen-off gestures that you might never know about unless you go digging around in the settings. The OP3 supports double-tap to wake, but that's a rather standard feature. While the phone is asleep, you can draw a circle to launch the camera or draw a "V" to toggle the flashlight. You can also draw a pause symbol with two fingers to play/pause media.

Tracing out the "<" and ">"  symbols skips tracks while playing media as well. If you visit the Gestures menu you'll be able to enable and disable each gesture individually or all of them at once, but you should leave them on.

oneplus 3 tips alert slider

Alert slider tweaks

OnePlus is the only Android device maker that puts a hardware alert mode slider on its phones. This limits some of the notification control options on the software side, but there are still some interesting tweaks that can make the alert slider more useful. Find the Alert slider menu in the settings and open it to change what each mode does. From here, you can set what types of notifications are allowed in priority mode (middle position) and silent mode (top position). For example, do you want repeat callers to ring in priority mode? Should apps still be able to make noise in silent mode? You can adjust these settings as you see fit.

oneplus 3 tips shelf

Customize Shelf widgets

On the far left of the OnePlus 3’s home screen is what’s known as the Shelf. It’s the home of a few custom OnePlus widgets, and you can add your own widgets as well. The Shelf scrolls vertically, allowing you to line up a good number of widgets on this one screen. The default setup includes recent apps, frequent contacts, and memos. If you want to get rid of any of them, it’s a little weird. You need to long-press and swipe to the right to remove widgets from the Shelf. To add new widgets, tap the floating action button in the corner. If you should decide the Shelf is just taking up space, you can disable it from the home screen customization settings.