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First 15 things every OnePlus 3 owner should do


If you were some of the first to order the OnePlus 3, there’s a good chance you’ve already received, or will be receiving your shipment any day now. Truth be told, we’re loving the time we’ve spent with the phone.

To help get everyone up to speed with the OnePlus 3, we’re putting together a quick list highlighting the first things you should do upon booting up your OnePlus for the first time. Even if you already have the phone, you might want to give this list a quick once over to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Let’s get started!

1. Use your fingerprint to lock your phone down

fingerprint OnePlus 3 DSC00341

One of the most important and convenient features most modern day smartphones offer is the ability to secure and unlock your device using only a fingerprint. The OnePlus 3 is no different, with a fingerprint button located on the front chin of the device, registering your fingerprints with lightning quick precision. You can either set up your fingerprints during the set up process, but if you skipped over that section for whatever reason, here’s how you can set it up all up inside the Settings app.

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to Security & fingerprint
  3. Tap on the Fingerprint option (confirm lock method if you already set one)
  4. Tap Add fingerprint
  5. Rinse and repeat

We recommend adding your most commonly used thumb twice to help with accuracy and then each index finger so you can easily wake the phone while its laying down on a table without having to pick it up.

2. Learn how to find a lost or stolen phone

Android Device Manager Lost of Stolen Phone

It’s something nobody thinks about until it happens, but one of the worst things that could happen to you is having your smartphone lost or stolen. In the event that it does happens, you’ll want to know exactly how to recover your device, or erase any personal information stored therein. Thankfully, Android’s built-in feature called “Android Device Manager” will help you with all of that, you just need to know how to use it.

  1. Go to google.com/android/devicemanager
  2. Select your phone from the drop-down menu
  3. You’ll see the device on a map and a few options for finding it (ring), locking it (if it wasn’t locked already), or erasing all of its contents

Read More: How to find a lost or stolen phone

3. Backup your photos and videos for free


Since nobody likes having to worry about losing precious memories in the event your phone is lost or stolen, it’s super important to make sure your OnePlus 3 is safely backing up photos to the cloud. To do this, you’ll need to dive inside Google Photos. Since Google Photos offers unlimited high-quality photo backups — and videos up to 1080p — there’s really no excuse to not backup everything. Here are the steps:

  1. Open Google Photos
  2. Open the slide out menu by swiping from the left
  3. Tap on Settings
  4. Select Back up & sync
  5. Tap on the On switch

Under the Backup Settings section, you can fine tune and customize your backups:

  • Choose between High quality photo/video backups (unlimited), or original quality (will use up your Google/Gmail/Drive storage)
  • Back up photos Over Cellular (unlimited data plan recommended) or only when connected to WiFi.
  • If you choose to back up photos over cellular, you can also choose whether to back up videos separately over cellular or WiFi.
  • While charging only is a nice option so that backups wont use up precious battery (it also give you time to delete photos/videos before you plug in for the night).
  • Select Choose folders to backup… to pick specific folders you want to also back up (by default, all your camera photos are backed up).

Once backed up to Google Photos, all your photos will be stored in the cloud and immediately accessible from all your devices, computers, or other web connected devices. Google Photos also makes it easy to share

4. Customize the Alert Slider settings

OnePlus 3 DSC00307

The OnePlus 3’s Alert Slider is the physical switch along the left side of the phone that allows you to quickly change your sounds profiles without having to wake or unlock the device. It’s easily one of the most convenient little features we’ve seen on an Android device to date, especially if you find yourself constantly in meetings or just need to turn of notifications while taking a quick nap.

Th Alert Slider features 3 sound profiles settings — all, priority, or silence —  something you can fine tune and adjust in the Settings app. Priority lets you customize whether or not you want alarms, media, reminders, events, or selected contacts to still trigger audible notifications while in that mode. You can also customize the Silence setting, although you’re only given two options: alarms and media.

We’d definitely recommend playing around with a few of these settings. It might behoove you to allow calls from your family to still come through, or even when someone calls repeatedly within a 15 minute period (in case of emergency).

5. Get acquainted with the OnePlus Launcher’s Shelf (or turn it off)

By default, the OnePlus 3 uses the OnePlus Launcher, a custom home screen replacement with one unique feature: a special home screen called Shelf. It’s located directly left of the main home screen and shows you all kinds of information from the weather, recently opened apps, and even jot down a quick memo or reminder.

Shelf can also display various app widgets, making it the perfect place to store multiple widgets without taking up room on your main home screen. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Swipe the right to open Shelf
  2. Tap the “+” button to add a widget
  3. Tap on the widget to add to Shelf
  4. Long press on widget and let go to resize
  5. Long press and swipe to the right to remove widget

Should you decide Shelf isn’t for you, no worries. You can always turn off Shelf by following these steps:

  1. Long press on blank part of your home screen
  2. Tap on Customize
  3. Turn off the Enable Shelf toggle
  4. Tap Save in the upper right corner

6. Make your phone more snappy by speeding up animations

Without question, the OnePlus 3 is one of the fastest phones we’ve ever gotten our hands on. But all those silky smooth animations are only getting in the way between you and wherever you’re trying to go. To speed things up even further — or at least make the UI feel more snappy — you can actually decrease the animation scale duration in the Settings app. It’s not available by default, so you’ll need to first activate the hidden Developer options by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down and select About phone
  3. Scroll down and tap Build Number 7 times
  4. “You are now a developer” message will appear
  5. Press back and you’ll see a new setting: Developer options


  1. Open Developer options
  2. Scroll down select Window animation and choose .5x
  3. Select Transition animation and choose .5x
  4. Select Animator duration scale and choose .5x

Once you’re all done, go back to the home screen and turn off the display using the power button. Wake your phone to enjoy a speedier, more kicky fast UI. Keep in mind that the setting is persistent, so you don’t have to worry about having to redo anything after a reboot or system update.

7. Turn on battery percentage

Although the battery icon in the status bar is a great visual indicator of how much juice you have remaining, sometimes you want some cold hard numbers. There’s two different ways to display an actual battery percentage: a percentage that replaces the battery icon, or the percentage inside the battery icon. Here’s how you enable one or the other:

  1. Open up the Settings app
  2. Select Battery
  3. Tap the battery icon at the top
  4. Choose the Battery percent option

To enable the percent inside the battery icon, you’ll need to activate the hidden Developer options first, then the hidden System UI Tuner settings. Here’s how:

  1. Slide open the notification panel
  2. Hold the Setting gear icon for about 10 seconds
  3. When released, you’ll see message “Congrats! System UI Tuner has been added to Settings
  4. Open the Settings app
  5. Scroll down and select System UI Tuner
  6. Turn on Show embedded battery percentage

8. Quickly open the camera by double tapping the power button

OnePlus 3 camera DSC00328

There are few things more painful than missing an important moment because you couldn’t get to the camera app in time. Whether it’s the kids doing something funny, or you just witnessed a hit and run, sometimes every millisecond counts.

Normally, to quickly access the camera on the OnePlus 3 you’d have to open it from the shortcut on the lock screen, or by completely unlocking the phone and tapping the camera app on your home screen. But there’s a better, even faster way and it involves double tapping the power button to open the camera in an instant — all you have to do is turn it on. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Select Display
  3. Turn on the Press power button twice for camera toggle

9. Quickly launch apps without waking your phone

Although it’s a feature not everyone will want to turn on, Gestures on the OnePlus 3 allow quick access to features you frequently use. Things like double tapping the display to wake your phone, opening the camera or flashlight by drawing a letter on the display, or even basic music controls — all without having to wake your phone or turn on the display. Here’s where you’ll find the setting for each:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Select Gestures
  3. Turn all of them off using the toggle at the top
  4. Or enable specific gestures by ticking their check box

10. Customize the navigation buttons

OnePlus 3 capacitive onscreen buttons

During the initial setup process, the OnePlus 3 asks if you’d like to enable on-screen navigation buttons (back, home and recents buttons), or use the capacitive keys surrounding the fingerprint sensor on the phone’s bezel. If for whatever reason you wanted to experiment with either method, you can always change it up by going into Buttons, located inside the Settings app.

It’s there you’ll also find options for swapping the order of the recent and back buttons (like how it is on Samsung devices), or even changing the behavior of the back, home, and recents buttons by adding secondary functionality like long press or double tap actions for each. With the ability to choose actions like voice search, open Shelf, or even turn the screen off, you can really have some fun with it.

11. Show new notifications by briefly lighting up the display

OnePlus 3 Ambient Display

Ambient display is one of the better features Google introduced in Android back in Lollipop, although it’s been tweaked a little bit on the OnePlus 3. This feature makes it so the display turns on briefly whenever you receive a notification, allowing you to quickly see if it’s something that needs of addressing. Because the screen wakes in black and white mode, it conserves battery better than waking your phone to view incoming notifications and is perfect when your phone is propped up at your desk for hands-free notification viewing.

There’s also a touchless wake feature that allows you to quickly peek at notifications in their black and white Ambient mode by waving your hand over the front of the OnePlus 3. Here’s where you’ll find both of the settings in order to activate them:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Go into the Display settings
  3. Turn on Ambient display
  4. Turn on Proximity wake

12. Track your physical activity directly from your phone

Even if you’re not super into health and fitness, sometimes it’s nice to track your daily steps/activity. You don’t even need one of those fancy fitness tracking smartwatch bands to do it. Using the Google Fit app, you can quickly see how much activity you’ve been getting throughout the day, keeping everything logged and allowing you to set new goals, etc..

First you’ll need to enable it and you can do this simply by opening the Google Fit app and agreeing to the terms. After that, visit the app or add the widget to your home screen to keep tabs on your daily activity. Easy peasy.

13. Use a pure black wallpaper on your lock screen to save battery

OnePlus 3 pure black lock screen DSC00340

This is something we recommend for any phone using an AMOLED display and that’s using a solid black wallpaper for the lock screen. Since you’re probably waking your lock screen multiple times a day to check for the time or notifications, it quickly adds up. Using a black lock screen wallpaper helps conserve power because AMOLED doesn’t actually light up black colors on the display. This means it requires much less power and uses much less battery as a result — and that’s a good thing. Here’s how you change the lock screen wallpaper on the OnePlus 3:

pure black wallpaper high resolution 4K

Open this image in a new tab, then long press and save it to your device

Note: If you’re using a 3rd party home screen replacement app, you’ll need to go into Settings > Home > and select OnePlus Launcher in order to change the lock screen wallpaper.

  1. Long press a blank area of the home screen
  2. Select Wallpapers
  3. Tap on the Lock screen option (left)
  4. Select My photos from the wallpapers selector
  5. Choose the black wallpaper you saved to your device
  6. Press Save located in the upper right corner

14. OnePlus’ official OEM accessories are some of the best

OnePlus 3 DSC00292

While there are plenty of great 3rd party options when it comes to purchasing accessories for your device, you may want to take a look at OnePlus’s official OEM products. Their Protective Cases by Evutec are some of the thinnest — and well built — cases we’ve ever come across, coming in a variety of finishes, textures, and colors for $25.

OnePlus 3 Dash Charge car charger DSC00315

Also worth mentioning, since the quick charging technology found on the OnePlus only works with their Dash Charge power adapter/USB cable combo, you may want to pick up a spare for $33.15. And while the OnePlus 3 comes pre-screen protected with a plastic film, it’s also a fingerprint magnet, something that could be easily remedied by picking up a glass screen protector $12.95.

You can find all accessories for the OnePlus via their online store front and OnePlus also offers accessory bundles (when they’re in stock), so you might be able to save a few bucks going that route.

15. Learn more about the OnePlus 3 at Android Forums

We covered a lot of ground here, but we’re only just getting started. There’s always more to learn and sometimes the best place to do it is by chatting it up with others on Android Forums.com. There you’ll find other users and/or prospective buyers sharing their thoughts, experiences, or even concerns they have with the OnePlus 3. It’s the best place to gain some knowledge and although there isn’t much chatter right now, feel free to start your own conversation to get things started: OnePlus 3 forum.


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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