Our Honor 9 tips and tricks guide shows you some of the best hidden features of this excellent mid-range mobile. From essential customisation to secret shortcuts, here’s how to get the most from your shiny new Honor phone.
The Honor 9 is absolutely packed with useful features, thanks to Huawei’s well-designed Emotion UI overlay which sits neatly on top of Google’s Android OS. This adds plenty of well-thought-out functionality, to make your very existence that much more pleasant. Or at the very least, more bearable.
Of course, a lot of these features are buried away in the Honor 9’s menus and settings. If you couldn’t be bothered to indulge in some deep digging around inside of EMUI 5.1, chances are you might not even know they existed.
Hence we’ve done the dirty work for you, to compile this complete tips and tricks guide for the latest Honor flagship.
How to activate the apps drawer
With the fifth edition of Emotion UI, Huawei finally added an apps tray – something we’d been crying out for, to tidy up those messy desktops. The apps tray allows you to store away your installed apps so only your favourites are right there on-screen all of the time.
Of course, the apps drawer doesn’t come activated by default. To turn this feature on you’ll need to jump into the Honor 9’s settings menu and then tap on Home Screen Style. In here you’ll spy two separated options: Standard and Drawer. Select Drawer and your apps tray will pop into existence, although this also annoyingly resets your desktop layout – so it’s worth doing before you spend ages getting things set up.
How to use (or get rid of) the new home button gestures
The Honor 9 boasts the same multi-functional home button as the Huawei P10 flagship phone, which replaces the on-screen home, back and recent apps buttons (if you so desire).
This button (which also doubles as the fingerprint scanner) is gesture-sensitive, so it can register and translate your taps and swipes. For instance, to go ‘back’, just quickly tap the Honor 9’s home button. If you want to return to the main desktop, you’ll need to long-press the home button instead. And if you want to bring up a list of all apps you have open right now, simply swipe your digit across the surface in either direction.
Thankfully you don’t have to stick with these home button gestures if you don’t want, as the Honor 9 has dedicated back and apps menu buttons either side of the home button. To swap between the two different methods, head to the Honor 9’s settings menu and flick down to the ‘Navigation key’ section. In here you can choose your favourite configuration, and can even swap around the order of the back and recent apps hard buttons.
How to use one-handed mode
The Honor 9 is a reasonably compact handset, although you might still need a little help to operate the phone with a single hand. Luckily EMUI contains a nifty one-handed mode, to sort you right out.
Head to the settings and then tap the Smart Assistance option and find the ‘One-handed UI’ offering. In this sub-menu you can activate the Mini Screen View feature, which shrinks the entire display down towards the bottom of the phone when needed. To activate this, just flick your thumb from a bottom corner of the screen towards the centre of the display.
Admittedly this takes a wee bit of getting used to, although it’s very effective once you have the knack.
EMUI also contains another feature to help out with one-handed play time. Inside the settings menu, give ‘Navigation key’ a poke. In here you’ll see the option to add a notifications pull-down button to the navigation bar. Every time you tap this, the notifications bar will drop down, so you can check what’s waiting for your attention. No need to awkwardly stretch your thumb to the very top of the display each time.
Of course, you have to have the virtual navigation bar activated to take advantage of this feature. You can’t use it at the same time as the home button gestures.
How to turn on Eye Comfort mode
Honor has kindly added the rather good Eye Comfort Mode, which filters out blue light in the evenings for easier-on-the-eye late night browsing. It’s an effective tool which can be scheduled to automatically activate every night at sunset, and we recommend taking advantage. This makes the screen much easier on the eye, and proves less disruptive to your sleep.
To turn this feature on or off, head to the Display menu in the Honor 9’s settings and then tap Eye Comfort. Inside here you can tap the sliders to turn it on or off manually, while the Eye Comfort feature can also be scheduled for specific times.
How to activate split screen mode for multitasking
If you want to use two apps at the same time, you’ll have to get used to Huawei’s Knuckle Mode. This is what what you’ll need to use to split the screen in half, with one app running in each section of the display.
When you’re using the first app, tap your knuckle at one edge of the screen and drag it quickly to the other edge. This should split the display and move the open app to the top segment. In the bottom half of the screen you should see a list of other apps which support split-screen mode. Just tap the one you want and it will open up alongside the original app. Alternatively, find the app in your desktops or apps tray and give it a prod.
How to use the Honor 9’s App Twin mode
The Honor 9 boasts an App Twin feature which allows you to sign into two Facebook or WhatsApp accounts at the same time on one device. Quite handy if you’re leading some kind of shady double life, or you’ve set up a Facebook account for your goldfish.
To activate this, just head to the settings menu and scroll to the App Twin option, down near the bottom. Tap the slider next to either of the offerings – Facebook or WhatsApp – to create a duplicate app.
Now, head to your apps tray or desktops and you’ll see the duplicate app is ready to be used. Just give that a tap and sign in with your second set of credentials and you’re good to go.