When you consider that the OnePlus One costs just $300, even though it matched last year’s top Android flagships on specs, it’s little wonder that it has raised a few eyebrows. Throw some limited availability and dodgy marketing into the mix, and the OnePlus One has barely been out of the tech news.
But just how do you take full advantage of the customization options? What handy tweaks lay waiting at your disposal? If you’ve taken a chance on it, we’ve got a steaming hot batch of OnePlus One tips coming your way right now.
After a dispute with Cyanogen, OnePlus developed Oxygen OS, which gives OnePlus One owners a choice of Android-based operating systems. We’re going to offer up tips for Oxygen OS on this page, and push the original tips for CyanogenMod onto page two. There may be some that will work on both. Bear in mind that this is only the first Oxygen OS release, so it’s very close to stock Android right now.
Updated on 4-22-2015 by Simon Hill: Added seven tips for new Oxygen OS and pushed Cyanogen tips to second page.
If you’ve heard the news about Oxygen OS, and you’re excited to try it, then you’re going to have to download and install it for yourself. It’s not being pushed out OTA (over-the-air). Make sure that you’ve backed up all of your files, because your phone will be wiped during the installation. You’ll need to manually flash the new ROM, but it’s not as daunting as it sounds. Proceed through the official installation guide carefully and you’ll have Oxygen OS on your OnePlus One in no time. Once you have it installed, future updates to Oxygen OS will come OTA.
How to use gestures
If you want to use gestures such as Double tap to wake, or you want to be able to launch the camera by drawing a circle on the touchscreen, then you need to head into Settings > Gestures. You can also launch the flashlight by drawing a V, and there are controls for playing music and skipping tracks forward and back.
How to customize
There are lots of customization options with Oxygen and it works much the same way as stock Android. When you drag the notification shade down to get quick settings, you can tap the wee grid icon at the top right to drag settings around, and hide things you don’t want to appear. Tap on any space on the home screen and you’ve got access to widgets, wallpapers, and app shortcuts. If you pick wallpapers and scroll all the way to the right you’ll get an additional group of OnePlus wallpapers.
How to change your buttons
You could do this before Oxygen, but you’ll now find the option to change your touch-sensitive hardware buttons in Settings > Buttons. You can turn them off, or tweak what they do. You get the option to set what a short press does, and what a double tap or long press does, so there’s room to get the navigation setup you want.
How to view and move files
There’s a built-in file manager app on Oxygen OS called Files. You’ll find it in the app drawer. It shows you how much storage space you have at the bottom left. You can long press on a file to copy, cut, share, delete, or edit it. If you’re moving or copying a file you just navigate to wherever you want it and tap the wee clipboard icon at the top.
How to change the battery icon
You can choose a bar, a circle, or a percentage as your battery icon in Oxygen. Go to Settings > Battery, and tap on the battery icon next to the menu (three dots) to choose.
How to improve Oxygen
It’s early days for Oxygen OS and the team behind it plans to develop it further. You can get in on that, and make suggestions, by downloading and using the official Oxygen OS Feedback app. You will need to enable installations from unknown sources in Settings > Security to install (just remember to disable it again once you have the app installed).
LG introduced this idea with Knock-On, but you’ll find it on a lot of smartphones now, including the OnePlus One. This feature basically allows you to double tap on the screen to wake the phone, instead of having to push the Power button. Go to Settings > Display & lights and scroll down to tick the box next to Double-tap to wake.
As long as on-screen navigation is enabled, you can also use a swipe up gesture from the Home button to send your OnePlus One to sleep via Settings > Buttons > Quick launch shortcuts. You can choose up to the left or up to the right, depending on which hand you hold your phone with.
How to capture your screen
The standard Android method for capturing a screenshot will suffice. Press and hold the Power button and the Volume down button simultaneously and you’ll see a wee flash animation to indicate that you’ve captured that screen for posterity. If you need to find it later, head for the Screenshots folder in your Gallery app.
If you find that method a bit tricky, then why not add a Screenshot option to your Power menu? Go to Settings > Buttons and you’ll find that you can edit the Power menu, which pops up on screen when you hold down the Power button.
You can also use the preinstalled Screencast app to record your screen and microphone as a short video file. If you pull down the notification shade while it’s recording, you can stop it or tell it to show finger touches as a small circle on screen.
How to customize the notification LED
The LED at the top left on the front of your OnePlus One can be customized via Settings > Display & lights. In the Lights section, you’ll find a Pulse notification light entry and a Battery light entry. You can set exactly why and how the LED flashes and what colors it uses. There’s a full color palette, so you can get the exact shade you desire by either dragging your finger or entering specific color codes.
How to change your theme
The OnePlus One runs CyanogenMod 11, so you can quickly and easily change the look of your phone with a new theme. If you head into the app drawer, you’ll find an app called Themes Showcase, which allows you to shop for a new theme. You can also search for CM 11 on Google Play to find loads of compatible themes.
How to edit navigation
You can change your basic touch sensitive buttons for navigation that sit at the bottom of the screen by going into Settings > Interface > Buttons and layout and tapping the lock icon at the top right. Tap and drag to move icons or add new buttons via the plus icon. You can also turn them off via Settings > Buttons > Enable on-screen nav bar.
How to edit quick settings
Pull down the notification shade from the top right, and you’ll see your quick settings icons for all sorts of things. Tap the big + and then tap and hold to move icons around, drag them onto the trashcan to remove them, or tap Add to bring up an impressively long list of options.
Go to Settings > Profiles and you can set different combinations with preset features and functions turned on or off. For example, tap the Home option and set it up with your home Wi-Fi network, so it will automatically be triggered when you connect to Wi-Fi at home. Now, you can turn the lock screen off, so you can have automatic lock screen security outside the house, but not have to bother with it at home.
There are loads of other options in here to set profiles for various scenarios, and you can create your own. You can also trigger them with NFC tags instead of Wi-Fi and add an option to switch between them in Settings > Buttons > Power menu.
How to quickly launch the camera
If you want to snap the best spontaneous shots with that 13-megapixel camera, you need to be able to launch the camera app in a hurry. The OnePlus One doesn’t have a dedicated camera button, but you can set one up via Settings > Buttons.
You can also draw a circle on the screen when the phone is in standby to go direct to the camera. Go to Settings > Interface > Gesture shortcuts to make sure this option is activated.
You’re able to add a Camera widget to the lock screen via Settings > Lock screen, too. Then, you just drag from right to left to open the camera app directly from the lock screen.
How to block callers
Go to Settings > Privacy > Blacklist and you can block specific numbers that you don’t want to receive calls or messages from. You can set rules for private and unknown numbers via the menu at the bottom right.
How to get a good night’s sleep
You can dictate quiet hours for your phone and limit notifications during the night when you’re typically sleeping by going to Settings > Sound > Quiet hours. You could also use a special profile, as we discussed above.
How to save battery life
We’ve got a guide packed with tips for saving smartphone battery life, which mostly applies to this phone too, but there are a couple of options that differ on the OnePlus One. For example, you can reduce your screen time out in Settings > Display & lights > Sleep.
You can also make some battery saving tweaks in the developer options. Go to Settings > About phone and tap Build number seven times and you’ll unlock Developer options. In the Developer options menu you can try Select runtime and choose ART which is coming in Android L. Some people claim it improves battery life. You can also go to Settings > Performance > Profile and choose Power save or even slow your CPU in Settings > Performance > Processor > CPU governor.
You could also try using apps like Greenify to freeze unused apps and something like Tasker to automate settings.
Some people find that the Double-tap to wake feature we mentioned at the start can drain battery, so turn that off.
We’ve reached the end of our top OnePlus One tips, but if you want to share one of your own please post it below.