8 February 2014

Motorola Moto X tips and tricks

Want to get the most out of your Motorola Moto X? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve been investigating every feature and secret of the phone to find out the ways to get that little bit more out of it. It’s not quite ready for primetime fresh out of the box.

Here are our top tips, tricks and secrets of the Motorola Moto X.

How to get the Nexus 5 interface on the Moto X

One of the slight disappointments of the Moto X is that it does not have the Google Experience interface used in the Nexus 5. Instead, it has the plain old ‘normal’ Android KitKat interface used in the Nexus 4.

There is a way to unlock the Google Experience UI in the Moto X, though. You just need to download a special apk installer file that acts as a loader for the launcher (which is actually already on the phone). Android Police has the file. And we’ve tried it. It works.

Transfer it to the phone's internal memory then use ES File Explorer (or another file manager app) to find and run it. Once installed, when you press the home button you'll be given the choice of which launcher UI to use.

Don’t try to remove the back cover

One of the key design differences between the Moto G and the Moto X is that the X has a non-removable backplate, despite being pretty similar in terms of how it’s made. Having foolishly tried to see if the back does come off our Moto X, we can confirm that the rear is glued down.

It’s part of the reason why it feels a bit nicer in-hand than the Moto G, without any of the creakiness of that cheaper one.

How to turn off Active Display

The Moto X’s OLED display means the phone can use its Active Display feature without killing the phone battery. However, it does have an impact on stamina.

You can turn Active Display off completely in Settings > Active Display. There’s a tick box for the feature that acts as a global switch for the notification.

How to customise Active Display notifications

If you don’t want to kill Active Display completely but do want to reduce the amount of battery it drains, you can manually select the notifications that make Active Display fire up. This handily lets you remove any email accounts that are mostly spam, and any notifications you simply don’t care about.

We recommend turning off game notifications as they are mostly nonsense messages to try and get you playing again. You’ll find the checklist of Active Display apps in Settings > Active Display > Manage notification types.

Get the Google keyboard for faster typing

One of the first tweaks to make with the Moto X is the keyboard. The Android keyboard that comes pre-installed just isn’t quite good enough in our book. However, the very similar Google keyboard (free from Google Play) is. It offers gesture typing, the one big omission from the ‘Android’ version.

If you don’t like either, other keyboards worth checking out include Touchpal (free), Swiftkey and Swype. However, we’re happy with the Google tapper.

Essential apps to download

The Moto X is not loaded with apps fresh out of the box. Part of its strategy is to keeps things simple, virtually guaranteeing good performance and a nice, clean UI.

It does mean you’ll need to download a bunch of apps to get going, though. Our top picks include Whatsapp, Facebook, BBC iPlayer, Spotify, Flipboard and TuneInRadio.  They’re all free (although some offer paid-for premium versions).

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