Huawei's EMUI software — used on its own phones, and handsets sold under the "Honor" brand — has improved a lot over the past year. But even in its most polished form, the current EMUI 4.1 release still has its quirks. If you're used to the way Android looks and works on Google or Samsung-designed phones, there are a few things you'll want to tweak to get things looking just right. And at the same time, EMUI doesn't always make it easy to discover some of its most useful custom features.
That's why we've put together a list of the first few things you should tweak on your new Huawei or Honor phone.
1. Disable the carrier name in your status bar
This one's a no-brainer. You know which carrier you're using. You send them money every month. So turn off the annoying persistent carrier text in your status bar by going to Settings > Notification panel & status > Display carrier name and toggling the option off. (Or just search for "carrier" in the search box in the Settings app.)
2. Got a fingerprint scanner? Enable the extra shortcuts!
Fingerprint security is a convenient way to unlock you phone, but the scanner on the back of Huawei phones can be used for a bunch of other neat shortcuts. Go to Settings > Fingerprint ID to view the available shortcuts.
The most useful one, in our experience, us swiping down on the scanner to open the notification shade. You can also swipe left and right to browse through photos, and holt to take photos or answer a call. Each of these shortcuts can be enabled or disabled individually.
3. Check performance settings
Unlike most Android phones, Huawei and Honor devices let you choose whether to favor performance or battery life in day-to-day use. Go to Settings > Advanced settings > Battery manager > Power plan to see the available modes. "Ultra power saving" disables all the but most basic features of your phone, so you probably don't want that unless you're extremely low on power.
As the names suggest, toggling between "Performance" and "Smart" modes can help you maximize performance in demanding apps and games, or squeeze a bit more life out of your phone's battery. Newer Huawei models tend to default to "Performance," but the default can vary from model to mode, so it's worth checking at least once.
4. Stockify your icons
The very latest versions of EMUI no longer customize most third-party apps' icons. But if you're on an older version of Huawei's software, you may find certain Google app icons are old, and third-party apps get shoehorned into an ugly rounded border. Fortunately there'a simple way to bring some sanity to your app icons — the Stockify theme by MoDaCo's Paul O'Brien.
The theme restores apps' icons to their default, free from rounded rectangles, and changes EMUI's own icons to something closer to Google's Material Design. It's definitely worth a shot if you're not feeling any of the bundled themes.
5. Tweak your "View mode" setting
Some larger Huawei phones like the P9 Plus let you tweak the way apps and menus are displayed to show more or less on screen at a time. Check under Settings > Display to see if you have this option. "Large" makes everything appear bigger (and easier to see).
"Small" shows more stuff on-screen, improving information density. And as you'd expect, "Medium" is somewhere in the middle. (It's similar to the native display scaling feature in Android 7.0 Nougat.)
You'll need to restart to change this setting, but setting it to "Small" or "Medium" can help you make the most out of a big-screened Huawei phone.
6. Set your "Protected Apps"
EMUI is aggressive about stopping apps draining your battery in the background — really aggressive. If you want to guarantee an app won't be automatically killed when you power off your screen, go to Settings > Advanced settings > Battery manager > Protected apps and toggle on the apps you want to be able to run when the display is off.
Most popular messaging apps are already "protected" by default, but it's still worth checking that the list of apps here makes sense for you. Missing notifications from an app? This is your most likely culprit.
Huawei and Honor owners, be sure to hit the comments and share your own tips and tricks!
Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.
Stockify, whilst an otherwise great theme, doesn't standardise icon sizes, so some of the new Huawei default app icons are way too small. Also clicking the gear icon in battery manager lets you switch off the power intensive app prompts.
I've always wanted a Mate 8 just for fun. Still looks like a beast of a phone today. Posted via the Android Central App
My thoughts exactly! It's like the HTC phablet we haven't had for a while. I wonder how cheap one can get it for? Posted via the Android Central App
Got mine for $489 on Amazon. Works great!
Thanks Alex! Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
Disclaimer: I don't mind that you take corporate deals, guys, but you gotta be upfront about it.
I want to see full disclaimers.
What are you talking about? Posted via Nexus 6
Aren't you aware of this new trend in the tech blog industry?
OEMs are now paying off big money to be featured in this kind of sponsored posts. Oh, gid forbids they would start "buying" reviews.. But this kind of "(Trivial) Things you can do with with this phone" posts is getting more and more common place all over the world (literally) and that's something Honor in particular is very fond of. This is something most respectable sites would've turned down with disdain just a few years ago, but with the current rise of AdBlockers and the general proliferation of content, said content creators and outlets are seeing their revenue plummet and are forced to find new sources of income.
Huh.....o_O *An Android device on an Android site discussing useful features pertaining to an Android device. Your comment isn't paying their bills. So what *if they receive compensation for their posts on their site are you people slow or stopped o_O. Posted via the Android Central App
Well.. Yeah, that's about 50% of the essence of what I was saying. I don't mind if they do accept such deals, but then I expect them to be upfront about it, that's all.
A French site that I like to read (hello FrAndroid.com) has one such deal going on with Honor these days, and that looked awfully similar, so I asked for clarification.
Clarification was provided.
Nothing to disclaim. This isn't sponsored content in any way shape or form. Source: me, writer of this thing and editor of this site
That's good enough for me, thank you for taking the time to answer. .. But while we're at it, and since you are a writer and editor of this site, are you at liberty to confirm that this is really happening, and that it's something educated readers should be aware of?.. Maybe not on this very site, but in the industry as a whole..
I find your lack of faith disturbing. Posted via the Android Central App
You don't owe him an explanation, responding to that type of mentality is a lost cause . Posted via the Android Central App
Nova in addition to all the tips in this article.
I like my cheap-o h5X.
Actually prefer it over my LG G4,
I prefer it over the Nexus 5x Posted via the beautiful honor 5x with Android m ui theme
Is this in any way similar to Xiaomi's MIUI? I'm expecting one any day now for my mom, and would like to tidy things up a bit. Note 4 910C 6.0.1 | Good Lock UI | Android Central App
I recently acquired a P9, besides al the tips mentioned here, I've installed the Google Now Launcher, and the phone looks a lot nicer, the gestures of the fingerprint scanner are really useful too . Overall really nice phone
If I was looking for a new phone I would probably go for a honor 5c, this articles helps me a lot Posted via the Android Central App
Is it just me, or does anyone else see EMUI, and hear "Emu" in their head? Unlocked Marshmallow Nexus 6 on Verizon. I'm a happy guy.
It's not just you. Posted via the Android Central App
Same at first I didn't see the I in EMUI Posted via the beautiful honor 5x with Android m ui theme
Did all of these when I got my Honor 7 except the "View Mode" setting which my phone did not have. I did found a default "Spectrum Pure" theme (specific to Honor 7) on XDA which does the same thing as Stockify.
Even though EMUI can be a pain sometimes, I do miss some useful features of it now that I'm back to barebones stock Android.
7. (depending in model) Install tempered glass screen protector with oleophobic coating :)
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