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HTC One M8 Tips and Tricks

As with my previous articles about the HTC One flagship, if you own the HTC One M8 I wanted to give you some new tips and tricks.

If you own the original HTC One M7 / 2013, you can read about it here:
HTC One Tips, Tricks and Secrets
HTC One = More Secrets, Tricks and Tips

HTC One M8 – Flagship device is by far one of the best smartphones on the market today. Not just cosmetically, but strong processor and software to boot. If you are new user, or moving from a different OS, you may find the HTC One M8 a little scary at first. But I promise you after learning a few of these tricks you will be an expert user in no time and will realize how much better it is to other Android brands, and other OS smartphones out there today.  So let’s get started with a few new tricks this device has to offer.

I also have a few other reviews of the HTC One M8 here:
The Normal Guy HTC One M8 and Camera Review

*Jump straight to some camera tips*

Motion Gestures

There are lots fun tricks you can also do with gestures.  Instead of me trying to explain them all, here is a great video from CNET that demonstrates some gestures.

Hide annoying/pointless applications and bloatware

2014-05-28-18.16.02HTC has done a decent job of keeping bloatware applications to a minimum on the One M8, but most carriers like to still junk up your phone. Luckily, there is a very easy way to get rid of some of the more annoying programs in your app drawer.

In the app drawer, tap the three dot icon in the top-right corner of the display and then select Hide/Unhide apps. Tick the ones you want to remove from view and you’ll be on your way to a less cluttered phone.

Disable BlinkFeed

2014-05-28-18.42.35HTC loves their BlinkFeed feature to combine your social networks, TV listings, restaurant recommendations and more into one convenient feed. It’s okay for me, but I don’t need it really in my face too much, so the default works for me. By default, the HTC One M8 and its Sense 6.0 software place BlinkFeed to the left of your home screen, accessible with just a swipe.

But if you hate it and don’t want it anymore, you can now get rid of it unlike the original HTC One.

Press and hold on any screen, and you will see all of your pages.

Go to settings for home pages, and then tap and hold on the BlinkFeed icon. Once it lifts up, you’ll notice a remove icon at the top of the screen. Drag it over to the icon, and once it turns red, let go. BlinkFeed will then disappear from your device. Adding BlinkFeed back to your device is as simple as tapping on the placeholder icon on this same page.

Camera Goodies

2014-05-28-18.32.21So many people ask me about tips for the HTC One M8 camera, I just figured I would put all of them in one place.

Complete HTC One M8 camera guide.

Fast Access to Camera

Although I just covered Motion Gestures, this is one I use a bit, so it’s worth mentioning separately.
If you need to get access to the camera quickly, pick up the phone and press the volume up button. This will launch the camera with whatever setting you last used.

Selfies… Yes, I am going there 🙁

I hate them, but so many people like them I figured it would be good to at least give a tip or two.

HTC has included a “Selfie” shooting mode in the One M8’s camera app. Simply tap the Shot Type icon in the bottom-right corner of the camera application and select Selfie, and the front-facing camera will be ready for your moment of vain, self-indulgent glory.

Create an animated GIF from a Zoe clip

HTC’s Zoe shooting mode complies a video from a set of images, and is a great way to share precious moments with others. It’s even easier to exchange these memories thanks to the option to transform a segment of a Zoe clip into an animated GIF file, which can be viewed on most phones, tablets and computers. Simply select the Zoe clip, tap “Edit” and then select “GIF Creator”.

Save photos to SD card

2014-05-29-18.33.31One of the biggest complaints with the original HTC One, was there was no SD slot.  This time around, the addition of a microSD slot is present. You will need to make some adjustments once you have installed a card to get the most out of your expandable storage, and one of the areas it will benefit you the most is when it comes to storing photos and videos.

The first time you launch the Camera app after installing a memory card, the camera will prompt you if you want to store photos and videos on the card. If you are like me and by accident skipped it, there is another way to do it.

Launch the Camera app, tap on “the three dots”, the Settings >> Storage >> SD Card.

Save custom camera settings

There are tons of features for camera settings that desire an entire article just for all the features, and lucky for you I have already created it, so I recommend reading it here.

By customizing exposure, ISO, white balance, and more, you can enhance the photos captured by your phone. Instead of constantly having to remember what settings you used to capture a brilliant low light shot, you can save the settings and access it with just a few taps the next time you need it.

Start by adjusting the capture settings and getting them just where you want. After everything is set, tap on the menu icon followed by the Settings cog. Scroll to the bottom of the settings list, and select Save Camera. You’ll then be prompted to name your camera settings.

To access your new camera settings, tap on the same button you use to switch camera modes (from photo to video or Zoe, for example) and scroll down until you find the new camera mode you created.

Facebook cover photo

2014-05-28-18.48.29One of the hidden features in the camera app makes it possible to turn your favorite shot(s) into a Facebook cover photo.

When viewing a photo you’d like to turn into your Facebook cover, tap on the Edit button followed by Tools, then Crop. Scroll to the right through the list of preset crop ratios until you get to the Facebook Cover option. Reposition and resize as needed, save, and then upload to Facebook.

Secure the HTC One M8

The HTC One M8 does not prompt users to set a lock screen during setup, so it is a good idea to turn this on soon after you get up and running. While there is no fingerprint reader there are multiple lock screen security options including face recognition and a pattern.

Go to Settings >> Security >> Screen lock.

Note: If you mess up more than 10 times in a row, your phone will be completely erased for security. Unless you are James Bond, be careful…

Enable faster typing

Trace-to-type has been available on Android for ages thanks to the availability of the Swype keyboards, but many handset makers are now baking it into the firmware – and HTC is no exception. When the keyboard is open, long-press the key with the “cog” icon to access the keyboard settings menu. Make sure “Trace keyboard” is ticked and you’re away.

Add Lock Screen Widgets

If you want fast access to tweets, Google Now and other information you can add lock screen widgets to the HTC One M8.

Settings >> Security >> Enable lock screen widgets.

Next you need to slide to the screen to the right of your main lock screen by swiping from the upper right corner where you should see a few arrows. You can then tap the plus sign and add a new widget.

Customize Lock Screen Notifications

2014-05-29-18.21.59Once you set up a lock screen you can dive into the settings and turn off certain lock screen notifications to keep your information private.

Go to Settings >> Security >> Notification settings >> Uncheck what you want to keep private.

This is a simple way to prevent a room-mate or someone who picks up your phone from snooping without knowing your pass code.

Make the HTC One M8 keyboard even better

Although the HTC One M8 keyboard is nice right out of the box with auto suggest and usually accurate fixes for many typos, you can still do some other things to make the keyboard even better.

  • Turn on Trace – This is a Swype-style typing experience.
  • Turn on Arrow keys – for easier cursor movement.

Re-Calibrate – If you are not typing accurately, calibrate the keyboard again in the advanced keyboard settings to dramatically improve the typing.

Switch from iPhone or Samsung to HTC One M8  /  Transfer data from your old phone

2014-05-29-18.22.18If this is not your first smart phone there is an easy way to bring most of your contacts and content over to the HTC One M8. While moving from one Android phone to another is fairly easy because of the great connection with Google, it can sometimes be harder to move from another phone, let’s say Apple. HTC has your back though and has included a transfer option which allows you to port a surprisingly large amount of content and data over from your previous device. The amount of data you can transfer depends on the phone you used before buying the HTC One M8.

Go To Settings >> Get content from another phone >> pick your previous phone and the method you want to use.

This is great for pulling over data from an iPhone or an older Android phone. The iPhone switch is best when done on a computer with an iTunes backup.

Grid size

One annoyance with Sense 6.0 is the way it lays out app icons in your app drawer. Besides the fact HTC forces you to scroll through apps vertically, the default grid size is 3×4. With this setting, you’re going to spend a lot more time scrolling to find an app.

I recommend changing the setting by tapping on the menu icon (upper right-hand corner) when viewing the app drawer, and selecting Grid Size. There you’ll find an option to change the grid to a more convenient and respectable 4×5.

  • fb login | July 30, 2014

    The main issue I have is that 99% of mobile phone reviews on the net are just subjective.Sure there should always be room for the author to give an opinion however when a review comes down to 100% the opinion of the reviewer then its worthless.

    Very few review sites use set images to compare the camera for example. You basically need to extrapolate teh true state of play yourself based on differing reviews.

    HTC are getting at least 3 of the stars in most reviews based on “Ohhhh dosent it look pretty ” I’m looking at you “Techradar”

    The camera on this phone is plain and simple sub standard compared to the competition. Samsung get many sales just based on the fact that you can replace the battery. Expandable memory is another key point that they have had to concede this time as well.

    • k.shoffner | July 30, 2014

      Thanks for commenting Sarah, but I cannot tell if you think this post about tips and tricks is subjective or not. Thanks again for visiting my site.

  • Tony | September 25, 2014

    Scrolling through apps is my biggest criticism of this phone. It seems that every app I use either starts with an “A” or a “Z” and apparently I alternate between using them. I’m constantly scroll-scroll-scrolling to find the app I want, going past it, scrolling back – it’s a disaster. It stops on each new “page” of apps, and snaps to one page of apps or another, so even though I may stop scrolling when I see what I want, it still continues to the next 20 apps.

    Have you found any way to make this experience any more user-friendly? Besides just changing the grid size, that is…

    • k.shoffner | September 25, 2014

      This was an issue with me at first as well, but I realized there are many great options to work around that. When you click on the 9-dot icon (middle-bottom), you get a listing of all of the apps. From here you can go to the left-hand corner and do multiple different sort functions. I personally put my apps in category folders and do a custom search. Also, you can use the magnify icon from you app screen and start typing there. I like using Google Now, so when I am in there a lot of times when I am looking for something (want to order pizza, etc), I start typing and the app icon comes up anyway.

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