Best OnePlus 3 tips and tricks

OnePlus 3
OnePlus 3

The OnePlus 3 is one of the best phones you can buy for $399. Featuring a fantastic metal chassis, a 1080p Optic AMOLED display, Snapdragon 820 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 64GB storage, and a 16MP camera, the phone undercuts traditional flagships by a few hundred dollars while providing a similar user experience. Hardware prowess has always been OnePlus' forte, but this time around the software has also picked up much-needed polish in the latest version of OxygenOS, which offers a stock Android experience layered with several customizations.

Here's how you can get the most out of your OnePlus 3.

Alert Slider

The three-stage Alert Slider made its debut last year, and is one of the best features on the OnePlus 3. The slider lets you quickly toggle between different notification modes — all notifications, priority, or silent. You also have the option of customizing what types of notification alerts are allowed when the phone is in priority or silent mode.

With the slider all the way down, you'll receive all notification alerts. The middle stage is for priority alerts, and you can put the phone in silent mode by pushing the slider further up.

How to configure the Slider on OnePlus 3

  1. Open Settings from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Navigate to Alert slider, located under the Device category.
  3. Toggle media, alarm, reminder, event, and message settings for Priority and Silent modes.

OnePlus 3 Alert Slider

Change the button layout

With the OnePlus 3, you have the option of using the built-in capacitive buttons or software navigation buttons. The capacitive buttons are enabled by default, but you can easily switch over to on-screen navigation keys by heading into the Settings.

How to toggle on-screen navigation buttons on OnePlus 3

  1. Open Settings from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Navigate to the Buttons section, which is located under Personalization.
  3. Toggle the on-screen navigation bar.

OnePlus 3 software buttons

In addition to switching to on-screen buttons, you can alter the layout of the back and recent buttons if you're more comfortable with having the back button to the right. If you're sticking with the capacitive buttons, there is an option to assign secondary functions to each button, including different actions for long press and double tap. For instance, you can configure the home button to launch the camera with a double tap. Here's how to assign secondary actions.

How to assign secondary actions to capacitive buttons on OnePlus 3

  1. In Settings, navigate to the Buttons section.
  2. Under Home button, assign a function for Long press action.
  3. Assign a function for Double tap action.

OnePlus 3 home button

You can also disable the backlight for the capacitive buttons.

Go dark

The OnePlus 3 has a dark mode that switches white and grey UI elements to black, including the notification shade, settings, and app drawer. The dark mode looks great on the AMOLED screen, and you can also customize accent colors that contrast the black background. Here's how to enable dark mode.

How to enable dark mode on OnePlus 3

  1. Open Settings from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Navigate to Customization under the Personal category.
  3. Toggle Dark mode.

OnePlus 3 Dark Mode

The phone also comes with a night mode that effectively acts as a blue light filter. If you've experienced eye fatigue after starting at your phone's screen for an extended duration after dark, harsh blue spectrum light is likely to blame. Thankfully, the OnePlus 3's system-wide night mode alters the display's color temperature so that it shows warmer tones, making it easier on your eyes particularly at night. You can adjust the strength of the yellow tint as well.

How to enable blue light filter on OnePlus 3

  1. Open Settings from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Head to Display, located in the Device category.
  3. Toggle Night mode.
  4. Adjust intensity with the slider.

OnePlus 3 Night Mode

Customize the display

Don't like the way the display looks on the OnePlus 3? The screen is calibrated to show cooler colors out of the box, but you can tweak the white balance to show warmer hues.

How to adjust white balance on OnePlus 3

  1. Open Settings from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Head to Display.
  3. Use slider to adjust color balance.

OnePlus 3 color balance

While you're tinkering around with the display settings, you should enable ambient mode, which wakes up the screen for a few seconds every time you receive a notification (à la Moto Display). There's also proximity wake, which lets you switch on the screen by waving your hand over it.


Shelf is a panel that sits to the left of your home screen. By default, it highlights your frequently-used apps and contacts as well as weather information for your current location. There's also a basic note-taking client, but the best part about Shelf is the ability to stack widgets vertically. To add a widget, select the floating action button on the right hand corner, and choose your desired widget. It's as easy as that.

OnePlus 3 Shelf

If you're not keen on Shelf and are looking to disable the custom screen, here's how you do it.

How to enable Shelf on OnePlus 3

  1. Tap and hold anywhere on your home screen.
  2. Select Customize from the bottom right.
  3. Toggle Enable Shelf.

OnePlus 3 Shelf enable

Change icon and app drawer size

OxygenOS allows you to easily change the size of icons as well as the app drawer. If you feel that the standard icons are too large (or small), here's how you can adjust their size without using a third-party launcher.

How to change app and icon size on OnePlus 3

  1. Tap and hold anywhere on your home screen.
  2. Select Customize from the bottom right.
  3. Swipe left twice to get to the Icons card.
  4. Select between small, standard, and large.
  5. Swipe left once again to alter the size of the app drawer.

OnePlus 3 change icon size

Customize quick toggles

You can quickly arrange the layout of the quick toggles. Here's how.

How to change quick toggles on OnePlus 3

  1. Swipe down from the home screen to pull up the notification shade.
  2. Tap the Edit icon located at the top right corner.
  3. Rearrange the tiles to your liking.

OnePlus 3 toggles

Get a different battery icon

Don't like the default battery icon? You can change it.

How to change battery icon on OnePlus 3

  1. Open Settings from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Head to Battery from the Device section.
  3. Tap the battery icon in the top right corner.
  4. Choose your desired icon.

OnePlus 3 battery

Use gestures everywhere

OxygenOS has gestures for various functions, such as opening the camera, controlling music playback, and switching on the flashlight. The one I like the most is double tap to wake the screen, which should be a standard feature across all Android phones.

How to enable gestures on OnePlus 3

  1. Open Settings from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Navigate to Gestures in the Personal category.
  3. Select the gestures you want to enable.

OnePlus 3 gestures

Use the camera's manual mode

The OnePlus 3 has a great manual mode for the camera that lets you adjust the ISO, white balance, exposure settings, and much more.

How to access manual camera mode on OnePlus 3

  1. Open Camera from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu at the top left corner.
  3. Select Manual mode.

OnePlus 3 camera settings

Your turn

How are you liking your OnePlus 3? What kinds of tips and tricks do you have for a better experience? Let us know in the comments!

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • Tip #1. Get a ZTE Axon 7 if you're looking for a kick ass $400 phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah that's not going to get past android N Posted via the Android Central App
  • No guarantee that the one plus will either Posted via the Android Central App
  • Unless you include custom ROMs... Wouldn't be surprised to see the OnePlus 3 hit P with those. As far as I know ZTEs third party support is... Bad. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nah. Poor Dev support, they aren't trellising the interesting variant and most importantly... I can't. It seems it's not available here yet (the UK). Posted via the Android Central App
  • I would agree with you 100% if it wasn't for a few areas. I am just not a fan of ZTE's hardware buttons, they seemed like such an afterthought, but I do like the MicroSD support. The biggest factor for me personally is the locked bootloader of the Axon 7. If ZTE can't provide timely updates (not that OnePlus can either) you can't load a custom ROM on. At least if ObePlus is crap with updates you can load any ROM on it and continue to see new OS's from Devs. It really depends on what you want. If you are not that concerned with updates after a long period, go ZTE, it is a fantastic phone, but if you are an advanced user who wants ROMs, that unlocked bootloader of the OnePlus is very tempting.
  • The US version of the Axon 7 now has an unlockable bootloader. Just announced today. Posted via the Android Central App
  • ZTE's hardware buttons are way too close together to get anything done! My fingers would be hitting 2 or 3 buttons every time!
  • Looks good on paper but the design is ugly as sin.
  • I love 99% of the A7, but I HATE the stupid painted-on capacitive buttons. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol. It is a good phone. But reason people choose op3 is because os is almost everything, and so is dev support. Plus, rooting and customizing it won't void warranty.
  • They do buttons better than anyone else lol. It's worth noting that cool as gestures are, they irritatingly do not work with Netflix. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Gestures are irritating no matter what app you use them in! I always disable them on every phone. Heck, I also think that fingerprint/iris scanner crap is a gimmick so I've even disabled that as well.
  • That's just personal preference though. I like gesture controls, they work in YouTube, Spotify, play music, Avia etc but not Netflix! Even though you don't like them, I'm sure you can appreciate why that's frustrating. I agree iris scanners are a gimmick at this stage, but not fingerprint scanners, they're incredibly useful... One touch and my phone is unlocked and ready to use. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If you learn how to use it it will work.
  • I didn't realise how much I have missed having LED notifications. Could it be more configurable? Sure. But I'm really happy they included it on the OP3.
  • Don't buy it is the best tip Posted via the Android Central App
  • If you don't buy it, you're missing out on one of the best smartphones I ever bought! And I've had Samsung, Alcatel, BLU, iPhones, Nexus as well as Windows Phone 10, Android and iOS operating systems.
  • Yeah op3 is MY personal best phone experience so far, and I've had all the Nexus's, LGs, Motos, few Samis, few HTCs etc. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Let me guess, you review phones without ever using them. Great advice.
  • Had a oneplus 3 for a month now. Best Android phone I ha e had in a longtime. It's great. (I'm not a review er) and I don't understand these idiots that comment without actually ever having one in there hands. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Your instructions don't show how to get the battery percentage inside the bar icon. But that's okay, I found out how...
  • I like the circle battery with the percentage inside. It's such a small change, but it goes a long way to making the phone feel like it's mine. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This.
  • System UI tuner FTW. Even though it gives us like one option in there lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • Probably because it's nothing to do with the op3, it's an Android setting, and it's been there a while now. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Fresh new OnePlus 3 user here! The phone kicks some serious but! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Damn you, Harish. You are making me regret buying a Moto X Style and not a OP3 :(
    These customizations take me back to when I was using Cyanogen OS on OPO. Those were the days