10 things I changed about my LG G4 soon after I got it
This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
The LG G4 has been my one and only personal smartphone for several days now. Overall, it has been a smooth ride so far, and I can honestly say that I'm quite happy with having LG's latest flagship in my pocket. I'm satisfied with the look of the phone – that leather back cover is quite a conversation starter, as it turns out. I'm enjoying the responsiveness of its software as the Snapdragon chip and LG's software make for a great tandem. The near-excellent camera is also among the many things to love about the G4 as it is easy to use and snaps great photos.
But on the other hand, when I started using the LG G4, quite a few things about it didn't feel exactly right. And, being the perfectionist that I am, I wasn't willing to settle for a phone that didn't behave as I wanted it to. Sooner than later, I found myself digging through the G4's settings menu, looking for tweaks that I could use to improve my experience. Did I succeed? Yup, I'd say so, and I'd like to tell you all about it.
Please note that this article is about how I configured the LG G4 to fix many of the things I didn't like about it. Your preferences as to how the phone should be configured could be completely different from mine, and that, of course, is perfectly fine. But I hope that in the lines below you'll find helpful tips and tricks on how to make the most of the LG G4. And who knows, perhaps you'll come across a tweak you never knew was possible.
1. Finding a substitute alarm clock
Just like a billion other people, I use my phone's alarm clock to make sure I get up on time in the morning. Without it, the chances of me rolling out of bed at noon would rise dramatically. The stock Clock application on the LG G4 is reliable, that I can confirm, but the tones it plays when it goes off are horrendous. They're loud to the point of being frightening, but at the same time, turning their volume down isn't an option as then I might sleep through them.
To get out of this Catch-22 situation, I installed Timely. It now wakes me up with a gentle tune that ascends in volume over time, which makes the whole waking up experience a whole lot less painful. Besides, the app is pretty and bundled with a whole bunch of pleasant tones. Better yet, Timely works with Google Now. This allows me to set timers and new alarms using voice commands, although it took me a while to figure out how to make Google Now treat Timely as the default alarm clock app.
Timely is available on the Google Play store, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone not satisfied with their Android phone's Clock application. Here's is a link if you want to give it a try:
Download: Timely (Free)
2. Disabling the camera's Quick shot feature
There's no denying that camera shortcuts on smartphones are extremely useful. So is the one on the LG G4 – when the phone is in stand-by, double-pressing the volume down button takes you to the Camera app straight away. However, when the camera is launched this way, it also snaps a picture – that's what it is configured to do by default. I do realize that the idea is to point the camera and then trigger the shortcut to take the picture, but I don't find this convenient, and I do like to take my time when composing an image.
Thankfully, LG is giving me the freedom to disable this so-called Quick shot feature. That is done from Settings > General > Shortcut Key, and the tick for disabling Quick shot is right there at the bottom. With Quick shot turned off, the shortcut launches the Camera app, but doesn't take the photo until I press the shutter, which suits my photographing habits much better.
3. Switching the positions of toggle buttons
Speaking of shortcuts, the notifications panel on the LG G4 features a ton of toggle buttons for controlling various settings. Better yet, users have the freedom to customize these buttons' order and to remove the ones they don't need. After doing some housekeeping, I was left with just 7 toggle buttons in my notifications panel. The one I put in first spot was the flashlight toggle, which I often find myself using.
4. Activating Smart Settings
Smart Settings is a feature I came across while exploring the LG G4's Settings menu. In a nutshell, certain settings can be set to change based on the user's location. My LG G4 is now configured to switch its profile to Sound when I'm home and to Vibrate when I'm not. The phone's Buletooth and Wi-Fi radios can be automated as well, which could potentially extent the phone's battery life by a bit. There's also the option for a specific app to launch when you plug in a pair of headphones – Spotify, YouTube, the stock Music app, or whatever application fulfills your music listening needs.
All in all, Smart Settings is a pretty cool feature – one you wouldn't find available in stock Android or most of the third-party user interfaces. Setting it up, however, is not as straightforward as I wish it was. For starters, you need to make sure that the phone's Location services are up and running. You must also double-check if your Home location is properly configured. Then comes the process of configuring Smart Settings to suit your needs. But I'd say that going through the trouble is worth it.
If Smart Settings sounds like something you want to try, here's my guide on how to automate your LG G4 using Smart Settings.
5. Increasing vibration strength
My LG G4 is in Vibrate mode throughout most of the day; I'd hate to distract my colleagues with ringtones and notification sounds. However, the LG G4's vibration motor is not set to full strength by default. It was more than a few times when I missed a call or message because I couldn't feel my G4's vibes. That's why I cranked up its vibration strength setting to the maximum. The option is found in Settings > Sounds and Notifications > Vibration strength. That's also where you'll find the option to have the G4 vibrate when you have an incoming call or text.
6. Enabling haptic feedback
The LG G4's stock keyboard has its haptic feedback feature turned off by default. That is, the phone doesn't give off a short vibe to confirm that you've pressed a button. This can be easily changed by going to Settings > General > Language & Input. Pressing the cog icon next to "LG Keyboard" will display its settings list. You have to scroll down and tap "More" to get to the "Vibrate on keypress" option. While there, I disabled the "Sound on keypress" option because I find the beeps extremely annoying.
7. Disabling Smart Bulletin
Smart Bulletin is an LG G4 feature that's kind of like an aggregation of widgets. Accessed by swiping to the left, past your first home screen, it displays upcoming calendar events, controls for your music player, a ticker counting your steps, and more, alongside tips on how to use features on your LG G4 you might not know about. But for the most part, I find Smart Bulletin pretty useless, which is why I chose to disable it – the small cog icon in its upper right corner lets you do that. In its place, I put the step counter widget which comes pre-installed.
8. Personalizing the lock screen shortcuts
Using lock screen shortcuts is a great way of accessing frequently used apps in an instant. However, the ones set on the LG G4 by default don't count as useful in my book. That's why I replaced them. Instead of the stock Messaging app, I put Facebook Messenger. QuickMemo+ got replaced by Google Keep. The Gallery app shortcut got ditched for Facebook. And a shortcut to Chrome is where the Camera app shortcut used to be. Editing the lock screen shortcuts on the LG G4 is done from Settings > Display > Lock screen > Shortcuts.
9. Adding on-screen shortcut buttons
With its 5.5-inch screen, the LG G4 is far from the most comfortable phone for single-handed use. Most people would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pull down the notifications panel using one hand only. LG's software, however, has a solution. Next to the on-screen buttons can be added a shortcut button that brings down your notifications when tapped. Tap it again and the notifications panel goes back up. It is a handy feature that I've been taking advantage of ever since I learned about it.
To enable the said shortcut, go to Settings > Display and choose Home touch buttons. Then tap on "Button combination" and arrange the keys to your liking by dragging and dropping them to a position of your choice. Note that various other shortcuts are available as well, such as one for launching Dual Window and one that activates LG's QSlide feature, which lets you run certain apps in their own hovering windows. There's a couple of limitations, however – you may have no more than five buttons active at a time, and Android's navigation buttons cannot be disabled.
10. Tidying up the app drawer
First of all, kudos to LG for not overloading the G4 with bloatware. Yes, there are a few pre-loaded apps that kind of lean towards that category, but they can be uninstalled. Apps that you can or don't want to uninstall can be either hidden or put in a folder. Personally, I chose to do the latter.
To make a folder in your LG G4's application drawer, tap on the three little dots in the upper right corner. Tap on "Edit/Uninstall apps" – this will let you drag and move the icons around. If you drop one app icon onto another, this will create a folder, which you can fill up with the apps you don't want in your way.