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HTC U11 Tips and Tricks Guide: Best hidden features in the U11

Our HTC U11 tips and tricks guide shows you how to get started with HTC’s new flagship phone. We’ll cover some of the best features that you might not know about, including the Edge Sense shortcuts, split-screen mode, how to use the USonic earphones and more.

How to personalise your HTC U11 desktops

If you want to change pretty much any aspect of the U11’s desktops, that’s easy enough to do. Simply find a blank space on any of your desktops and press and hold your finger. A menu will pop up on the screen, with a few different options.

If you simply want to change up your wallpaper, that’s accomplished with just a tap or two. You can select any image on your phone, including your camera shots and pics you’ve downloaded. For a more significant change, try tapping the ‘Theme’ option instead. This changes up the look and feel of your phone, including the fonts, icons and more.

Widgets can also be added to your desktops via this menu, for instant real-time info. And if you tap ‘Edit page’, you can remove entire desktop pages and change which one is your home screen.

How to use two apps at once on the U11

The HTC U11 comes packing a spacious 5.5-inch screen, which means it’s perfectly possible to use two apps at the same time. Step forward, Android’s new split-screen mode.

Open up an app and then press and hold the Recent Apps button, to the right of the U11’s home button. This will shift the first app up to the top half of the screen. In the bottom half, you’ll spy a menu of other apps which you have running right now. Tap the one you wish to also use, and it will fill the second half of the display.

Don’t see the app you require? Just head back to the home screen and find the one you need and give it a tap. Split screen mode will then be activated.

We love this mode, because it allows you to watch video on the likes of YouTube while checking emails or whatever. Handy until Android O’s Picture-in-Picture mode lands on the phone.

Get to grips with Edge Sense

When you first set up your U11, you’ll have the chance to initialise Edge Sense. This brilliant bonus feature allows you to jump straight into your favourite app or feature with a quick squeeze of the handset. Just grip it near the bottom and push the edges with your fingers and thumb and you should see an instant result.

Head to the phone’s settings menu and you’ll see an Edge Sense option partway down. The switch beside it indicates whether the feature is activated or not – if the switch is positioned to the right and green in colour, that means it’s turned on. Just tap to toggle on or off.

To jump into the Edge Sense settings, tap the icon in the settings menu. From here you can customise every aspect of the feature, including which app is opened when you squeeze the U11. The camera app is selected by default, but you can also launch the Google Voice Assistant (or the Sense Companion when available), select a specific app and so on.

You can also alter the sensitivity of Edge Sense in this settings menu. There’s a handy test to see if you’re happy with the new sensitivity level before you commit.

If you want to use the Edge Sense feature to perform two different actions, that’s also possible. Just tap Enable Advanced Mode and you’ll be able to set up two separate shortcuts – one a short squeeze, and the other a long squeeze-and-hold. These can be used to access two different apps of your choosing.

How to turn on Night Mode, for comfortable viewing on the HTC U11

If you’re the kind of guy/gal who enjoys staying up ‘til the wee hours, binge-watching YouTube rubbish or surfing through your friends’ Facebook posts, you’ll love the U11’s Night Mode.

Head to the phone’s settings and tap the Display, Gestures & Buttons option. In here you’ll spy the Night Mode setting. This is set to off by default. Poke it and you’ll have the option of manually activating the feature, or setting it on auto mode. We recommend allowing the phone to enable Night Mode between sunset and sunrise.

When Night Mode is on, blue light will be filtered for a less disruptive viewing experience. You should find that your eyes don’t grow so tired and you can slip off into a blissful slumber no problem when you’re done watching endless Epic Fail videos.

Shut out the world with HTC’s USonic earphones

In the box you’ll find HTC’s rather good USonic earphones bundled. Normally these free ‘phones are best used as a last-resort pair, but the USonics are actually strong enough to work as an everyday set. That’s thanks to their built-in smarts.

The first time you plug these phones into the U11’s Type-C USB port, the handset will recognise them and begin the setup procedure. Just follow the instructions and the USonics can actually scan your ear structure and tailor the audio output to suit your own lugholes. Note that you can setup different profiles for more than one user, if you don’t mind sharing the ‘phones – and the odd it of ear wax – with someone else.

If you’re in a noisy environment, the USonics will actually dampen that unwanted sound using the active noise cancellation. Lovely stuff.

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