10 tips & tricks for getting more out of the LG G3
August 22, 2014
The LG G3 is a beast of a phone (or, if you prefer, "phablet"). If you've picked up LG's latest flagship, perhaps you're looking for some tips and tweaks that will help you to get the most out of your purchase? Let Gizmag lend a hand.
Improve performance with a work of ART
The G3's performance is, surprisingly (considering its Snapdragon 801 processor), not the smoothest. We found that switching this one setting gave us the smooth experience we were originally hoping for. Android runtime (ART) is going to be the de facto standard starting with the next version of Android, but you can try it right now on your KitKat-running G3.
Start by opening your phone's settings menu, go to the "General" tab, and then scroll down to "About phone" and then "Software information." Now find the entry that says "Build number" and tap your finger on it until it tells you that you're a developer.
Now you can back out into the main Settings menu, and enter the new "Developer options" section (also under the "General" tab, near the bottom). The fourth entry in the list says "Select runtime." Do just that, and switch from Dalvik to ART.
After making the switch, your G3 will reboot and take some time (probably around 10 minutes or so) to upgrade all of your apps. Once that process completes, you should notice smoother scrolling and UI transitions (and possibly some better battery life). This is a developer-level tweak, which normally shouldn't be taken lightly, but I haven't noticed any instability whatsoever with ART.
Unless you really are a developer, though, it's otherwise best to steer clear of that Developer Options menu that you unlocked. If you head back there, you can hit the "Off" button at the top right of the screen to prevent any accidental changes.
Hide the navigation bar in any app
Modern Android has a terrific feature (for devices that use onscreen buttons) called Immersive Mode. In apps where the developer has taken advantage of Immersive Mode, the onscreen navigation buttons (usually home, back and recent apps) will fade out, putting the full screen at your disposal. To get the buttons back, you can just swipe in from the top or bottom edge of the screen.
Unfortunately, if an app's developer hasn't added support for Immersive Mode, you're stuck with that ever-present navigation bar at the bottom of your screen. Well, that is, if you aren't using the G3. That's because LG's developers included this handy setting that lets you put any app in Immersive Mode.
Just hop over to Settings>Display>Home Touch Buttons. Click the entry that says "Hide home touch buttons" and choose any apps that you want to employ Immersive Mode. I enjoy adding apps like Chrome, Kindle and Flipboard that look great in full-screen mode, but which don't natively support Immersive Mode.
Customize navigation buttons
Similarly, you can use that same "Home touch buttons" menu to rearrange which buttons sit in that navigation bar. You can rearrange the three default buttons, or add toggles (for things like notifications, notes, app shortcuts or Dual Window) for up to five navigation keys.
Turn off auto-brightness to enjoy the G3's display
The G3 has a stunning Quad HD display. And while auto-brightness is usually a great way to help conserve battery life on other phones, LG opted for some ridiculously low auto-brightness settings on the G3. For me, it's so dark that, with the setting turned on, there's little point in even having such a gorgeous display.
I recommend turning off auto-brightness and finding a comfortable level that's bright enough to bring out the screen's natural beauty – yet low enough that it won't murder your battery (65 percent is a great middle ground for me).
You can tweak brightness levels from the phone's notification shade. Just swipe down from the top of your screen and look for the brightness bar and the auto-brightness setting to its right.
Launch the camera without unlocking your G3
LG included handy volume button shortcuts for the camera (volume down) and its Quick Memo+ note-taking app (volume up). If, like me, you don't use LG's notes app, that one is inconsequential. But the camera shortcut is something we can all enjoy.
First, hop on over to Settings>General>Shortcut Key to make sure the setting is turned on. Once it's activated, just hold the volume down key, while the G3's screen is off, to instantly fire up your camera. You have to hold the button for about two seconds, and you'll feel a little vibration pulse once the camera starts. At that point, it's ready to capture your Kodak moment.
Tap a pattern to unlock your G3
Apple and Samsung phones may have fingerprint sensors, but LG has its own unique form of smartphone security called Knock Code. If you want to try it out, open Settings>Display>Lock Screen>Select Screen Lock, and then choose "Knock Code."
It will then ask you to choose a pattern of taps (across four corners) that you can use to unlock your phone without even turning the screen on. And of course the more knocks you add to your pattern, the more secure your phone will be.
Customize the shortcuts in the notification panel
When you swipe down from the top of the screen to look at notifications, you'll see a row of shortcuts across the top. If you swipe across that row, you'll see an Edit button at the far right. Tap that to customize and re-order the shortcuts. For example, I took Quiet Mode, which was deactivated by default, and moved it to the beginning of the list.
Type on your G3 using one hand
While Samsung's recent flagships have a one-handed mode that actually shrinks the entire display area, LG gives you the option of using a shrunken-down keyboard. If you head over to Settings>General>One-handed Operation, you can choose to use a small keyboard that's designed for reaching across the screen with one hand.
You can toggle this setting for the LG keyboard, the phone dialer and the lock screen passcode keyboard. If you turn this setting on, there will be an arrow that lets you slide the mini-keyboard to either the left or right side of the screen.
Adjust the height of the keyboard
When I get a new Android device, the first thing I usually do is replace the stock keyboard with a third-party option like SwiftKey or Swype. But LG's default keyboard is actually pretty solid, and is one of the most customizable Android keyboards I've used.
If you jump over to Settings>General>Language & Input and then click on the gear icon next to LG Keyboard, you'll see an option to Adjust the Keyboard Height & Layout. There you can tweak the keyboard's height (by dragging its top up and down) to find the best balance between keyboard size and visible screen area.
In that same settings screen, you can also adjust which shortcuts stay on the bottom row of the keyboard.
Jump to the top or bottom of a web page
If you're using the default web browser, LG threw in a neat little shortcut for jumping straight to the top or bottom of a web page. Just swipe down with two fingers to go to the top, and up with two fingers to go to the bottom.
It's a handy shortcut, but you might find that your overall browsing experience is faster by sticking with Chrome.