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11 tips and tricks for the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T

Ready to get the most out of some of the hottest phones of the last year?

Juan Garzón / CNET

The OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T ($537.65 at Amazon.com) are more than respectable devices, each one offering advantages over mainstream Android devices and, yes, even Apple's iPhone ($1,099.99 at Best Buy) line. 

Running a customized version of Android, the OnePlus team has put a lot of work into customization features along with features to improve the overall experience. Here are 11 tips and trips for the OnePlus 5 ($949.98 at Amazon.com) and OnePlus 5T. 

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Customize alert slider

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

On the left side of the phone is a physical button that slides up and down. There is a total of three positions, with each one corresponding to a different alert setting.

For example, the top position will activate Silent mode. The middle position is linked to Do Not Disturb, and the bottom slot is set to Ring.

However, you can customize what exactly Silent, Do Not Disturb and Ring equate to.

Open Settings > Alert slider under the Customization section.

Select any of the three options to further customize items like whether or not your phone should vibrate when Silent mode is active, or if events are OK to break through Do Not Disturb mode.

Custom buttons

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Staying in the Customization section of the Settings app will allow you to tailor the capacitive buttons to work how you want them to.

Select the Buttons option to view a list of options. You can swap the functionality between the two buttons flanking the fingerprint sensor and home button, or get rid of them altogether by enabling the on-screen navigation bar.

Other options include customizing long or short presses on any of the three buttons.

Gestures are nice

One more area to look at in Settings > Customization is the Gestures option.

Using gestures you can do things like double-tapping the screen to wake it up while it's lying flat, drawing letters on a locked screen to quickly launch an app or muting the phone whenever you place it face down on a table.

Change font

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Judging by the popularity of changing fonts on Samsung devices, this OnePlus feature may please a lot of people. You can change the font used throughout the device, but right now your options are limited to Roboto (the default Android font) and OnePlus Slate.

Open Settings > Font then select the font you want to use. The change will take a couple of seconds to apply without the need to restart your device.

Get rid of the Shelf

The OnePlus Shelf is located to the left of your home screen, and display commonly accessed information such as app suggestions, weather and contact shortcuts.

But for some, the Shelf is wasted space and resources. Thankfully it can be disabled with a long-press on the home screen, followed by tapping on Settings and then slide the Shelf switch to the Off position.

Change app icons

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The OnePlus Launcher not only comes with its own set of custom app icon shapes now, but it also has built-in support for icon packs found in the Play Store. So instead of having to find a launcher you like in order to use an icon pack you love, you can just swap out icons on without any fuss.

To view your app icon settings, long-press on the home screen then select Settings > Icon pack. OnePlus includes three default styles you can preview by tapping on the respective icon, along with a link to the Play Store to view more icon packs.

Lockdown apps

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

A somewhat hidden feature makes it possible to add an extra layer of security to apps of your choice. When enabled, you will need to enter your PIN code or scan a fingerprint before the app will fully launch.

Go to Settings >  Security & fingerprint > App Locker then select the apps you want to protect.

Keep apps from closing

If you're anything like me, you sporadically open the app switcher and close all open apps. It's a quick and easy way to free up some resources -- or at least I like to think it is.

Sometimes though, I do this and I accidentally close a music app that I'm actively using, causing my music to stop.

Thankfully, at the top of each app's preview is a lock icon. Tapping on this icon will "lock" the app, to prevent it from closing.

Get your game on

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

There's a Gaming Mode on the OnePlus 5 that's buried in the settings app. Go to Settings > Advanced > Gaming Do Not Disturb.

Once there you will find options to block notifications and lock the capacitive buttons, as well as add games you'd like to enable Gaming Do Not Disturb for when the app is being used.

Map your photos

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

As OnePlus updates its line of phones to Android Oreo 8.0 (OxygenOS 5.0.1), a new feature has been added to the default Gallery app: Places.

If you've opted to have the camera app also store location information with each photo you snap, a new Places tab will show up in the bottom right corner of the Gallery app. Select it to view your photos mapped out.

New Camera interface

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Another new feature, at least on the OnePlus 5, that arrives along with Android Oreo is a new Camera app interface. Specifically, when in the Camera app you no longer swipe from the edge of the screen to change shooting modes and access settings. Now, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to change modes and find the settings icon. 

Update, Jan. 11: This story was originally published on Aug. 14, 2017, and has since been updated to include new features.

OnePlus 5T review: Read CNET's verdict.