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OnePlus 5 tips, tricks and best hidden features guide

Get started with the OnePlus 5 and OxygenOS with our full tips and tricks guide, which uncovers some of the best features (hidden or otherwise) of the new OnePlus flagship phone.

OnePlus has just launched its first smartphone for 2017, the OnePlus 5, which is the natural successor to our favourite mobile of last year – the OnePlus 3T

Have you just bought the OnePlus 5, or simply want to know more about the great OxygenOS software and some of the more secret features of this phone? This tips and tricks guide takes you on a tour of the handset, to show off some of the best bits that you might not know about.

For everything else you need to know about the OnePlus 5, including our full review, comparisons and in-depth features, check out the OnePlus hub.

OnePlus 5 Shelf shortcuts

Like previous OnePlus phones, the OnePlus 5 comes packing the company’s Shelf feature. This is a nifty addition to Android which can be called up with a swipe right from your main desktop.

The Shelf once again offers quick access to the things and people you love the most. Recent contacts who you’ve called or messaged; apps that you use a lot; you can even add fresh widgets and take away any you don’t like.

To add a new widget, tap the plus icon at the bottom right corner, followed by Widget. You can add a wide selection of stuff, including Spotify controls, glimpses of recent activity in messaging apps, social network feeds and so on.

These widgets can be rearranged by pressing and holding on one until it ‘pops’ free, then dragging it up or down the list. Release it and you also have the option to remove it, by tapping the cross icon.

How to show the shortcuts menu inside of apps on the OnePlus 5

If you press and hold your finger on the recent apps button (a touch button hidden away to the right of the home button/fingerprint sensor) when you’re inside an app, you’ll pull up a handy shortcuts menu. This offers up lots of quick-access settings and actions, to save you time.

For instance, in YouTube you can beam a chosen video to your TV, share a vid or check out your general settings. In the Google Chrome browser, you can quickly open a new tab, favourite a page or access your other bookmarks and so on.

Note that this tends to only work with Google apps, as far as we can tell.

Want to disable this feature? Head to your desktops and once again long press that recent apps button. Tap ‘settings’ in the menu which pops up and then tap ‘app shortcuts’ to turn it off.

How to access the OnePlus 5’s notifications tab easily with one hand

The OnePlus 5 isn’t too bulky considering that mighty 5.5-inch display, but it can be quite a tricky phone to use one-handed. Thankfully OnePlus always adds a feature which allows you to pull down the notification tab simply by swiping a finger down your desktops at any point. No awkward fumbling around at the top of the display required.

To enable or disable this feature, press and hold the recent apps button to the right of the OnePlus 5’s fingerprint sensor. Tap ‘settings’ and then prod ‘Swipe Down’ to activate or deactivate it.

How to use the OnePlus 5’s Alert Slider

On the left edge of the OnePlus 5 you’ll spy the Alert Slider. This can be pushed into one of three positions.

At the top position, the phone will be in Silent Mode. By default this mutes any media and ringtones, although the phone will still vibrate to alert you to any incoming messages. Tap the cog icon which flashes up and you can alter these settings.

In the middle position, the Do Not Disturb feature is activated. This blocks messages as well as calls from all but your starred contacts, and anyone who tries to call more than once within a three-minute period. Again, you can change these settings – as well as add and remove starred contacts – by tapping the cog icon which pops onto the screen when you enter Do Not Disturb.

In the bottom position, the phone will ring normally for notifications and not block anything.

How to customise the OnePlus 5’s navigation buttons

The OnePlus 5 has two touch buttons beneath the screen, either side of the fingerprint sensor. By default, the left one is the ‘back’ button and the right one brings up a list of your recent apps.

However, head to the settings menu and tap Buttons and you can customise this arrangement. You can swap them around or even bring up an on-screen navigation bar instead. From here you can also assign shortcuts to each button (including the home button), when they’re long-pressed or double-tapped.

How to split-screen multitask with two apps at once on the OnePlus 5

To enable split-screen multitasking, head to the OnePlus 5’s settings menu and then tap Buttons. In here you’ll find that you can assign shortcuts to each of the back, home and recent apps buttons, located beneath the screen. One of these shortcuts is opening the split-screen mode, to use two apps side-by-side.

Choose which shortcut you wish to use to activate split-screen mode – you can assign this to a long-press of the recent apps button if you like, which is the Android default. Now just open the first app you wish to multitask with and perform the assigned shortcut gesture. The screen will split in two and you can open another app, to use at the same time.

OnePlus 5 gesture shortcuts

As usual, this OnePlus handset comes with built-in support for lots of quick-action gestures.

For instance, you can access the camera in a jiffy simply by double-tapping the power button, even when the OnePlus 5 is hibernating.

Head to the phone’s settings menu and scroll to the Gestures section and you can activate a lot of other shortcuts. You can flip the device to mute any incoming calls, or wake the screen with a quick double-tap. You can even play or pause music with a swipe of two fingers.

OnePlus has also added the ability to launch apps from the hibernation screen by tracing a letter with your finger. For example, draw an ‘O’ and you can jump straight into anything you like – although you’ll need to scan your fingerprint in addition for most features.

How to use the OnePlus 5 Reading Mode

One of the new OxygenOS features in the OnePlus 5 is the Reading Mode. This uses the ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the display’s colour temperature, for a more comfortable viewing experience based on your environmental conditions.

The idea is that Reading Mode provides a more natural reading experience, similar to an eReader. Handy if you’re going to be staring at your screen for an extended period of time.

Head to the OnePlus 5’s settings menu and then tap Display and you’ll see the new Reading Mode option. In here you can enable the feature for specific apps (such as the Kindle app), or toggle it on manually.

How to change the vibration intensity of the OnePlus 5

Is your phone’s vibration function too soft, or a bit too violent? Head to the settings menu and then select Sound & Vibration. Scroll down until you see the Vibration Intensity feature. From here you can choose from three strengths of vibration, for three separate events: incoming calls, message arrival and vibration on tap (when typing messages and so on).

How to turn on the Gaming Do Not Disturb Mode on OnePlus 5

Head to the settings menu and scroll down to Advanced. Give this a poke and you’ll find OnePlus’ hidden Gaming Do Not Disturb feature.

As you might expect, this mode stops any notifications from interrupting your gaming session and breaking your concentration. From this menu you can also lock the capacitive buttons, so you don’t accidentally quit your game with a random tap.

From here you can also add which apps should use the Gaming Do Not Disturb feature.

How to update the OnePlus 5

OnePlus will roll out regular updates for the OnePlus 5, so you can get the latest features, security patches and so on. You will also receive an update to Android O later in the year, delivering handy new features like picture-in-picture mode and improved resource management.

These updates should pop up a message when they’re ready to download and install. However, to manually check for any waiting updates, you can head to the OnePlus 5’s settings menu and then scroll down to the System Updates section. Tapping this will search for anything that’s ready to install.

Check out the OnePlus hub for more on the OnePlus 5.

You can grab the OnePlus 5 exclusively from O2 here in the UK, from £34 per month (or £36 for the Midnight Black version). Pre-order now and you will receive the phone from June 22.