Huawei EMUI Five.0 tips and tricks: Take charge of your Mate 9, P9, Honor 8
Many have been quick to dismiss Huawei’s latest mobile operating system, EMUI Five.0, as an less desirable rework of its Android Nougat base. It’s because, by default, the system flings a lot of repeat alerts in your general direction in a bid to better refine user practice and save battery.
Over time, however, and with some digging around and private adjustments, you’ll not only learn to love EMUI Five.0, you’ll begin to appreciate some of the Huawei-only features that embellish the latest iteration of this OS.
Here’s how to boss EMUI – which stands of Emotion User Interface (don’t sob now) – and make your Huawei phone the very best it can be.
EMUI Five.0 availability: Which Huawei handsets have the latest OS?
Right now EMUI Five.0 is available for:
It will soon be available for the Honor 6X, with the expected-to-be-announced Huawei P10 to go after.
To check for an update from EMUI Four.1 swipe down from the top of the home screen, select the Settings cog icon to the top right, then scroll all the way to the bottom of the Settings and hit System Update. This screen will auto-check for an update, as signified by the large spinning wheel, assuming a Wi-Fi connection.
EMUI Five.0: Lockscreen shortcuts
Quick-access Recorder, Calculator, Flashlight, Stopwatch, QR code. Simply swipe up from the bottom edge of the lock screen and it will expose an iPhone-style arrangement of circular shortcuts. Click the relevant icon to activate. This is not possible when the phone is unlocked and you’re viewing its home screen or in any other apps.
Shortcut: wallpaper switch, affix, share. Again, no need to unlock: a swipe up from the lock screen and the upper row permits you to:
- eliminate a wallpaper cover (x symbol)
- fix one in place rather than it cycling through (heart symbol)
- share a cover (requires app access and, therefore, unlocking)
- select a fresh wallpaper cover (again, requires an unlock).
There’s also a play/pause symbol which does nothing of use; furthermore if music is playing (which we assume this icon to be for) via Google Play Music it will override any of the wallpaper shortcuts from the lock screen.
Quick camera launch. As per stock Android, a swipe from the bottom right corner of the lock screen with geyser the Camera app. To explosion the app and instantly capture a shot a double-tap of the volume down button will be your fresh best friend (within the Camera app this can be set to just open the camera, or deactivated entirely).
Set PIN / Pattern / Password to unlock. Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Screen Lock & Passwords. Here you can set pattern, PIN, password or liquidate lock methods.
Instant lock / auto-lock by sleep time. When you press the power button it will lock your phone instantly by default. If you would rather this not happen, head to Screen Lock & Passwords (via the method above) > Secure Lock Settings > Power Button Instantly Locks. It’s also possible to set automatic lock from 5-seconds to 30-minutes after sleep.
EMUI Five.0: Fingerprint features
Fingerprint unlock. In addition to a pattern, PIN or password lock you can register numerous fingerprints to login to EMUI. On the Mate nine the rear-positioned scanner is near instant to operate. It’s possible to add up to five individual fingerprints.
Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Fingerprint ID > Fingerprint Management (come in PIN as prompted) > Fresh Fingerprint, then go after the enrolment process.
Use fingerprint to take photo / response call / stop alarm. Access Fingerprint ID (method above), then under the Touch And Hold Gesture tab these options can be individually activated.
Use fingerprint scanner to display notifications / swipe through pics. The scanner isn’t just capable of reading your fingerprint, it can be used as a gesture pad too (without a fingerprint being registered). Top-to-bottom swipes can expose the notifications panel (opposite way to hide it), while left-to-right or right-to-left swipes can flick through pictures in the gallery.
Access Fingerprint ID (method above), then under the Slide Gesture tab these options can be individually activated.
EMUI Five.0: Home screen adjustments and organisation
Shortcut: Wallpaper, Widgets, Transitions. To adjust your homepage wallpaper, adjust the way the animations perform inbetween screens, or add widgets from installed apps, simply press-and-hold anywhere on the home screen (not over an app icon) to fountain these shortcuts.
More/fewer app icons. To select inbetween a 5×5, 4×5 or 5×4 icon grid layout, again press-and-hold anywhere on the home screen > select Settings to the bottom right corner. To the top of the settings page is Home Layout with these options available.
App drawer vs apps everywhere. If you’re content with your app icons being scattered everywhere across your homepage and other pages, the default Standard layout will suit you fine. If you choose an App Drawer – where all apps are contained to neat up the home screen, in an iPhone-like style – this can be activated too (it lacked from some earlier versions of EMUI).
To access swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > tap Home Screen Style (visible within very first page) > choose inbetween Standard and App Drawer options.
Create a folder. Press-and-hold an app icon, after a brief moment the device will give a brief stimulation feedback, now leisurely haul the icon over anothe, release and they’ll be combined in a folder. Huawei folders are arranged 3×3 per page, with numerous pages possible.
Add apps to a folder. Numerous app icons can be dragged into an existing folder. A simpler way is to hit the ‘Add +’ icon (which will be at the furthest point in an existing folder).
Liquidate an app from a folder. Open the folder, press-and-hold the app icon in question and haul it out of the folder onto a home screen.
Switch a folder colour or name. Open a folder and come in the name you want at the top. If you don’t want a name, leave it blank. To switch the folder background colour, tap the palette in the right-hand corner and select a fresh colour.
Stop adding fresh app icons to home screen. If you don’t want fresh apps you install cluttering up your home screen, head into Play Store > hit the three horizontal lines to the top left > Settings > Add Icon To Home Screen.
EMUI Five.0: Custom-made controls and soft keys
Adjust soft keys layout. Don’t like the way your trio of soft keys – back, home, open apps – is arranged, then you can exchange them around. It’s possible to switch left and right soft key positions, plus add a fourth settings shortcut soft key which saves you from swiping down from the top of the homescreen to view notifications (handy for a larger device, or smaller arms).
Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Navigation Key.
Add Floating Dock. Another handy feature for a larger phone is the activate the Floating Dock, a side-positioned shortcut (which you can haul to position) that contains the trio of Android soft keys, plus a lock screen button and quick tidy-up (for closing unnecessary apps). It only comes with the five shortcuts, tho’, and there’s no way to edit these.
Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Clever Assistance > activate Floating Dock. Alternatively, swipe down from the top of the screen, expand the shortcuts and Floating Dock is within here.
Movement control. Also contained within Brainy Assistance is a Maneuverability Control tab. This permits control over:
- Spin to mute the phone when it’s ringing or the alarm is sounding.
- Pick Up to reduce ring/alarm volume by lifting the device.
- Raise to Ear which auto-answers calls.
These three options can be independently switch on or off and each have deeper customisation for calls and alarm settings.
Knuckle gestures. Don’t worry, it’s not a fresh meme sensation, it’s a Huawei special. By using a hard knuckle to write on the screen rather than a softer finger, a “2nd layer” of instructions can be instructed:
- Dual tap for screen shot (using one knuckle – does what it says on the tin)
EMUI Five.0: Live record the screen
Another Huawei specific feature is the capability to live record your device – which could be handy if you desired to make a how-to movie to share with a friend. It’s activated by tapping two knuckles twice on the screen.
The resulting movie is saved in your Files > Movies area (not Screenshots as the system claims). It’s a nifty feature, albeit one with limited application.
EMUI Five.0: Business card scanner
Another EMUI special – it’s possible to capture business card information and render it as a contact using the camera. Open Dialler > hit Contacts > then either hit Business Cards at the top of your contacts list, or hit the Scan button on the floating widget bottom centre. A QR-like reader will pop up permitting a card to be scanned in to render a fresh contact. It’s not always one hundred per cent flawless, but it’s a clever little idea.
EMUI Five.0: Quickly free-up space
Running low on space? If you’re not using two SIM cards then there’s a slot for a microSD card.
Alternatively there’s a quick and effortless (albeit uncouth) way of clearing out the app cache and other settings which can often relieve a good few hundred Megabytes of space, possibly into Gigabytes.
Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Memory & Storage. Here you can see the calculations of your various files – Firmware, Cached Data, Apps, Photos, Movies, Audio, Other – and select the Storage Cleaner option in Storage Settings.
The Storage Cleaner automatically selects what it thinks you won’t want. A word of caution here: deleting all your cached data in Chrome might just end up annoying you when certain things aren’t quickly available. Fortunately, you can check boxes per suggestion to tailor a clean-up as you see fit.
EMUI Five.0: Dual SIM options
Enable/disable a specific SIM. If you’ve popped two SIM cards into your phone – say one for individual, one for business – and want to switch one off for a vacation, holiday or over the weekend then you can. It’s possible to determine if a SIM is active, enable call forwarding inbetween two numbers and assign default mobile data to either SIM.
Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > Dual SIM Settings.
WhatsApp/Facebook per SIM card. Now here’s a wise feature that few other phones can suggest. Huawei calls it App Twin. It’s possible to have WhatsApp and Facebook twins at present, but in the future there could be more twin options (that will take third-party development and approval before it’s possible).
Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > App Twin (at the bottom of the Settings page).
EMUI Five.0: App notifications and display
Alert notifications are useful, but you won’t want to necessarily receive them all the time from every app. Notifications can be individually dismissed, by swiping them away, but you can also setup an individual app’s level of notifications too, to apply to all future settings.
Permit/muffle/block notifications from an app. If an app keeps popping-up notifications and you don’t want it to, press-and-hold the notification which will raise the a trio of instantaneous options:
- Don’t make sound and stimulate (muffles notifications, but still permits them to display).
- Sound and stimulate (the default setting).
- Block all from this app (effectively ceases an app’s notification powers).
Adjust where/how an app can display notifications. There are two ways to access the deep-dive settings: from the press-and-hold of a notification, select More Settings; or swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Apps. From here it’s possible to see all your installed apps, individually select them, within which there is the Notifications setting:
- Display in the status bar. This is where you’ll see little icons show up to the very top left of your home screen. Letter icons for mail, hash icons for Slack, and all manner of other custom-made icons. You might want to switch off notifications from obscure apps you don’t use much, to keep things neater.
- Banners. These are the floating mini views that some apps present, such as Mail. They’re a fine quick access point, but if you don’t want them here’s where to switch them on or off.
- Display on lock screen. Keep the lock screen totally private by hiding all notification displays.
- Priority display. For those key apps; permits notifications to ring with preference.
- Ringtone/Stimulate/deactivate. If you want no notifications at all, turn off the Permit Notifications button. If you want only ringtone, stimulation or both then toggle the necessary Ringtone and Stimulate buttons on or off.
Apps drawing over other apps. Some apps have special permission to draw over other apps. The Facebook Messenger pop-up bubble being one prime example. This can be deactivated by accessing Apps (method above). Within your list of apps each can be selected individually, within which is an Advanced tab (for relevant apps only), with Draw Over Other Apps selectable within.
Not receiving notifications when you should be? Here’s a Huawei oddity that we’ve found to be irksome with some apps not sending alerts/notifications even when all settings are evidently correct (WhatsApp is our problematic one). It’s to do with EMUI’s rigorous power efficiency. If you stop receiving notifications attempt this (to access Overlook Optimisations): access Apps (method above) > hit the blue settings cog icon to the bottom > select Special Access under the Advanced tab > Unrestricted Data Access. Here apps can be granted always-on data irrelevant of what other settings state.
Permit system wakeup. Additionally, attempt this: access Apps (method above). Specific apps will have a System Wakeup button within their Battery tab, which you’ll want to leave active for an app alert to trigger even when the phone is in sleep mode.
Notification light and status bar settings. You can select if you want a pulsing notification light, display carrier name, network speed, battery percentage, and whether notifications are icons or numbers. Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Notification & Status Bar where all these settings can be found.
EMUI Five.0: Do not disturb and volume settings
Activate Do Not Disturb. This lets you muffle your phone, without interruptions – except for specified exceptions. You can schedule DND, add extra time rules (custom-built, per day), event rules (from calendar), or permit alarms and priority interruptions only. Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Do Not Disturb.
Permit designated apps to interrupt. Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Apps. Select the desired app from the list, within which there is the Notifications setting, choose Priority Display.
Set ringtone, media, alarms and calls volumes. These can be individually adjusted. Simply hit the volume up/down button, which will adjust the ringtone volume from loudest down to stimulate (or there’s a mute button). This pop-up banner has a blue arrow to its top right corner, hit this to open the other individual settings to adjust.
EMUI Five.0: Battery optimisation and power-intensive prompts
Here’s where EMUI goes a bit mighty on its alerts. If an app is using higher-than-normal energy levels in the background, the system will prompt you to close said app with a notification alert. These can be dismissed individually, but will keep repeating without taking further act. Or you can take the advice of the system and click the close button within the alert to enhance battery life.
Deactivate power-intensive prompt. This can only be activated per app, and actively used ones at that. Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Apps. Select the desired app from the list, hit Battery and deselect Power-intensive Prompt.
Find out which apps are power-intensive. Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Battery and under the App Power Saving Tab is Power Intensive Apps. Within here the phone will demonstrate you the active apps running in the background. It’s possible to select them and close them should you want.
Close app after screen has locked. If you don’t want a certain app to be eating battery life when it’s not fully active and in use, go after the above step and select Close After Screen Locked.
Battery optimisation. There are three battery modes:
- Normal. The default setting, which doesn’t throttle the CPU or background activity.
- Power Saving. Select this for a slight lift in battery life. It will limit background app activity, such as thrust notifications, and limit the CPU.
- Ultra power saving. For when battery life is truly low as you’ll get more than dual life from this setting. It sets the phone into a plain mode, with only basic call and SMS apps available. One for emergencies/festivals. It can also be activated from a swipe down from the top of the screen and selecting from the expanded shortcuts.
Display battery remaining as a percentage. Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Battery. The bottom option is Remaining Battery Percentage (the font of which differs to the active Theme).
EMUI Five.0: Display adjustment
Adjust brightness / set auto-brightness. Swipe down for the top of the home screen and you’ll see a sun symbol with slider. Slide this up/down to desired level, or hit the Auto box to the side for auto-adjustment based on ambient light reading.
Customise colour balance. Too warm or cold for your eyes? Swipe down from the top of the home screen > hit the settings cog icon > select Display. Under the Screen tab is Colour Temperature where it’s possible to select pre-defined Warm or Cold, plus use the colour wheel to specifically customise the colour balance to your preference.
Switch font size. Within the Display settings (method above) under the Personalised tab is Font Size. Choose inbetween Puny, Normal, Large, Big and Extra Ample (the last is only available for Messaging, Contacts and Dialler).
Eye convenience (for night reading). Within the Display settings (method above) under the Screen tab is Eye Convenience. This filters out blue light to relieve visual exhaustion when reading for long periods. It makes the screen look rather yellow, however, so you won’t want it on all the time. It can be activated as you please or even scheduled per day, plus a slider inbetween Less Warm and Warmer permits for convenience customisation.
EMUI Five.0: Camera tips (for dual-camera phones)
The last lump of the puzzle is Huawei’s shove into dual camera technology, which is present on many of its top-tier phones.
Activate Monochrome shooting. Open the Camera app, swipe from left side of the screen to open the Modes menu. Select Monochrome from here to use the true black & white sensor to utter effect.
Activate Pro Mode for utter control. By defauly the Camera app is a point-and-shoot affair. There’s a puny tab with an upwards arrow just above the virtual shutter key, however, which when pulled upwards activates Pro Mode. This offers metering, ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, concentrate type and white balance control. It’s available in both Colour and Monochrome (the latter minus white balance of course).
Create fake depth of field (blurred background). Part of the reason Huawei has opted for two cameras is that it can offset the data inbetween them, creating a depth map and the capability, via software, to blur the background as if it was taken with a much wider-open aperture. The Leica-endorsed camera of the Mate 9, for example, supports f/0.95 to f/16 in post. The results aren’t always flawless, but it’s joy. Simply click on the circular aperture setting at the top of the screen.
Mute camera for silent shooting. Swipe from the right edge to left to flow the settings. Within here it’s possible to mute the concentrate and shutter sounds.
Activate a grid and horizon level. Also located in the settings (method above).
Shoot raw photos. In addition to JPEG files there’s support for DNG. Ordinary go into the camera settings (method above) and hit the Raw button.
Picture adjustment presets. In settings (method above) there’s Photo Adjustment, where +/-2 adjustment can be pre-set for saturation, contrast and brightness.
Capture a burst of pics. Simply press-and-hold the screen to whirr off a rapid burst of capture, which is saved as an pic stack. Useful for fast-moving or high-speed subjects. This press-and-hold can also be used to activate concentrate control, adjusted within the settings.