15 tips and tricks to get the most from your LG G5

This great phone gets even better when you customize it to your liking.

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Credit: Ryan Whitwam

LG took a lot of risks with the new LG G5—it's got a metal chassis, unusual modular "friends," and no app drawer. There are some great features built in, but there are also a few shortcomings that you'll need to address in order to have the best experience possible. No phone is perfect, after all. So, we've got 15 tips and tricks to make your G5 the best phone it can be.

Knock code

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Use a few taps to wake and unlock your G5.

LG started offering the Knock Code security feature a few years ago, and it continues to be great on the LG G5. Knock Code lets you create a series of taps on the screen that can wake and unlock the phone in a single step. You can set up a Knock Code from the Lock screen menu under Select screen lock.

When you activate Knock Code, you'll pick a series of six or more taps in four quadrants. You can enter these taps anywhere on the screen when the display is off. The correct series will unlock your phone instantly. Knock Code also includes the ability to wake the screen (not unlock) with a double-tap. A double-tap on the home screen will put the phone to sleep, but this only works with the stock launcher. Luckily, you can double-tap the status bar at any time to accomplish the same thing.

Add fingerprints

The LG G5 has a rear-facing fingerprint sensor like last year's V10. However, it ships with Android 6.0, making the fingerprint sensor much more useful. You can manage your fingerprints and related options in the Fingerprints and security menu under Fingerprints. Make sure you pay attention to the location the phone tells you to scan as it learns your fingerprint. It will make sure the middle, tip, and all edges are entered in for better recognition. The fingerprint menu also includes an option to enable fingerprint locks for LG apps like QuickMemo and the Gallery.

Disable bloatware

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You don't need to put up with your carrier's bloatware. Just disable it.

Like all Android phones, there are going to be some apps on your G5 that LG or the carrier included. Odds are most of those will just get in your way, so why not get rid of them? The fastest way to get all the junk cleared out is to go into the Apps settings menu. Make sure "All apps" is selected at the top and scroll down to find the bloatware apps you want to remove.

A few pre-installed apps might be uninstallable, but most of them can only be disabled. A disabled app is still on the device, but it won't run in the background or show up in your app drawer. To do either, simply tap on an app and hit the Uninstall or Disable button. You can go back and enable a disabled app at any time if you want to use it again.

Rearrange toggles

At the top of the G5's notification shade are a few handy settings toggles. Well, they're handy in theory. Maybe the default ones aren't particularly useful to you, but you can change them. Simply tap the pencil icon at the top of the screen to enter editing mode, then tap and drag to move the icons around. There are also some additional settings that can be displayed in the same area like brightness, volume, and more. Make sure you tap the checkmark at the top when you're done. Otherwise your changes won't be saved.

Customize the navigation buttons

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Don't like LG's stock button colors or arrangement? Change it.

LG defaults to a white navigation button row at the bottom of the screen, which matches its interface better than black. Still it looks out of place in most apps. You can customize the nav buttons by going into Display and open the Home touch buttons submenu.

You can change the color to black if you want, and even alter the layout and selection of buttons. In the button combination area, just tap and drag to rearrange the buttons or add one of the three alternatives (notifications, Capture+, and QSlide). You can have as many as five buttons at a time.

Smart settings

The LG G5 can automate some of your settings to save you from digging around in the settings multiple times each day. To set this up. Find Smart settings in the top-level settings menu. You can create sound, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth profiles for when you're at home and out. Smart Settings can also be used to launch a particular app when headphones are inserted or a Bluetooth device is connected.

Bring back the app drawer

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LG has made a version of its home screen available that brings the app drawer back. Thank goodness.

LG has hopped the train to "no app drawer" town this year, which is probably not a good idea. If you install more than a few apps, your home screen is going to get messy. You can always install a third-party launcher like Nova or Action Launcher, and you might want to consider that. For a more integrated solution, you can just go back to the regular LG home screen.

This is provided as an option for anyone who doesn't like the lack of an app drawer, but you have to install the launcher from LG's SmartWorld app store. You can search for "home 4.0" or use this link on your phone to open the correct page. UX 4.0 will show up as a new launcher in the settings so you can have the full LG experience with an app drawer.

Cloud storage accounts

You can manage your cloud storage accounts with the official apps, but the G5 also includes system integration with services like Dropbox, Drive, and OneDrive. To add your accounts, find Cloud in the main settings and choose "Add account."

After you've logged into your accounts, this menu will let you select each one to view your storage limits and choose which LG apps the files are integrated with. The default is music, gallery, and file manager.

Always-on display

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The G5's always-on display does suck down some of your power, so you might want to turn it off.

Despite having an LCD, LG implemented an always-on display feature on the G5. It's not a terrible idea, but it does eat into your battery life more than the Samsung AMOLED version of the feature. You might want to consider shutting it off—some carriers actually ship the phone like this.

To change your always-on setting, go to Display in the main settings. Near the top is the toggle for Always-on mode. You can also tap on the line to access a single configuration option if you want to keep it on. Instead of the time (default) the display can show some text of your choosing when the phone is asleep.

Disable smart cleaning notification

LG has included a feature in the G5 called Smart Cleaner, which is available in the top-level settings menu. It's basically a way to clear cached data, remove unused apps, and (unfortunately) kill processes to free up RAM. It's well-established at this point that doing these things is not necessary, and in come cases can be detrimental to your performance. The default setting for Smart Cleaning pushes reminders to your device, though. To disable those, open Smart Cleaning, tap the overflow button, and choose settings. The setting here will vary by carrier, but you should just turn this off completely, then forget Smart Cleaning exists.

Capture+

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Capture+ allows you to annotate and crop screenshots in a snap.

Most of LG's built-in apps are just okay, and you'll probably end up disabling some that have no value to you. You should check out Capture+, though. Capture+ lets you take a screenshot and instantly annotate or crop it. Capture+ can be triggered with the notification toggle from any screen.

The Capture+ UI pops up at the top of the screen with a few tools like a pen, selection box, and eraser. Finished images can be saved to the gallery, shared, or added to LG's note taking app QuickMemo. 

Shortcut keys

So maybe you decided to shut off the always-on display, but your phone does not have to be completely inert while asleep. The volume toggles can be used to launch two useful features. If you double-press volume down, the camera will pop up. Double-press up to launch a blank Capture+ canvas so you can jot down a note.

The Shortcut key settings are available in the top-level menu, and there's not much to them. It's either on or off, plus an option to have the camera shortcut automatically snap a photo when it launches. That's cool if you're worried about missing a photo.

Battery saver

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When you've been away from the charger too long, the G5's battery Saver is here to help.

After going through all the tweaks above and playing with the new features of your phone, maybe the battery isn't doing so hot. Fear not, the G5 has a battery saver mode that you ought to enable in the settings. You'll find it under Battery and power saving and Battery saver. Battery saver lowers the screen brightness, slows the CPU clock, and disables some animations.

It can be turned on immediately with the toggle, but tap on the Battery Saver line to access the settings first. From there you can choose the battery level when Battery Saver will be switched on automatically. There are also settings for restricting background apps and disabling always-on display. These only apply when you've manually turned Battery Saver on or the system as done so at the set level.

Wide angle camera

You've probably noticed the G5 has two cameras on the back, and for once that actually seems to be a benefit rather than just a novelty. The second camera is specifically for wide-angle shots, and this is actually a really handy feature to have. Make sure you check both standard and wide views when you're going to snap some photos. You might find the wide-angle shot is much more pleasing. You can toggle between modes with the small buttons in the center top of the viewfinder. You can also switch to multi-view mode to capture a photo that contains the front-facing, regular rear, and wide-angle rear cameras. 

Manual camera mode

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Enable manual mode to get the most out of your camera.

Whichever camera you're going to use for a shot, remember that LG has included a very capable manual camera mode in the G5's camera app. To activate, tap the overflow button in the corner and select "Manual." This mode includes your current image settings and a histogram at the top of the viewfinder. Along the bottom are all the image settings. To set one manually, tap and then use the slider that pops up. For example, if you're stationary but light is low, you can crank up the ISO and lower the shutter speed.

There's one other feature in Manual mode you might want to play with. On the left of the screen is a button that toggles between JPEG only and JPEG + RAW output. The RAW files produced by the G5 come straight off the sensor without any processing. You can drop them into an app like Lightroom or Snapseed for much more powerful editing than you'd get with a JPEG. So, even if the processed JPEG version doesn't look great, you might still be able to salvage something usable from the RAW file.

This story, "15 tips and tricks to get the most from your LG G5" was originally published by Greenbot.

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