OnePlus 7 Pro: 10 essential tips you need to know

Make the OnePlus 7 Pro work for you, not the other way around.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
4 min read
Angela Lang/CNET

Update, Sept. 26: CNET's OnePlus 7 Pro review and OnePlus 7T review are now live. Read more about the new phones from OnePlus. Original story follows.

OnePlus recently launched the OnePlus 7 Pro, the company's latest phone that once again toes the line of a budget-friendly phone that's affordably priced. Granted, it's the most expensive OnePlus phone we've seen to date, but it's a tremendous value.

From a pop-up camera on the notchless display to new software features, the OnePlus 7 Pro has plenty to offer. Long battery life, somewhat water resistant, impressive display, and fancy new camera tricks --  but just how do you use that pop-up camera? What about the new Zen Mode? We show you how to do all that, and more.

Watch this: Tips and tricks for the OnePlus 7 Pro

Where's the front-facing camera?

It's almost too much fun to switch to the front-facing camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

One of the first things you notice about the OnePlus 7 Pro is the lack of an obvious spot for the front-facing camera. Traditionally, a bezel above the screen was where you'd find the camera. More recently, device makers have used notches. The OnePlus 7 Pro has neither.

That's because the front-facing camera slides out of the phone. Anytime you activate the front camera, be it launching Snapchat or activating it in the Camera app, it will pop up.

Auto drop detection

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

If you drop the OnePlus 7 Pro when the front camera is out, the phone will detect that it's falling and retract the camera before your phone hits the ground. We don't recommend testing this feature.

Zen Mode


Zen Mode purposely locks you out of your phone for 20 minutes. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Zen Mode is a new feature from OnePlus that takes an aggressive approach by locking you out of your phone for 20 minutes. You can still place emergency calls, you'll receive any incoming calls, and you can still access the camera, but outside of those few functions, you're locked out. Not even a restart can exit Zen Mode.

Add Zen Mode to the quick settings panel by tapping on the pencil icon and dragging Zen Mode to the panel. Then, you can enter Zen Mode by tapping the icon. After you confirm you want to enter Zen Mode, a countdown timer will show up on the phone's screen.

Screen recording


Screen Recording is built into the OnePlus 7 Pro. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Screenshots are cool and all, but the OnePlus 7 Pro has a built-in screen recording feature. As with Zen Mode, you'll need to add the option to the quick settings panel. Once you've done that, tap the screen recorder button to display the recording controls. A small graphic will float above whatever's on your screen -- tap on the red record button to start recording, the gear icon to change settings or the "X" to close screen recorder.

Adjust the alert slider


The alert slider on all OnePlus phones is a handy feature. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The OnePlus alert slider is just above the power button and has three different positions. All the way up will put your phone in silent mode, in the middle activates vibrate mode and all the way down will enable ring mode.

You can once again customize what happens to your phone's sound profile depending on the position of the alert slider. Head into Settings > Buttons & gestures > Alert slider.

Disable that annoying Shelf


Do you like the OnePlus Shelf to the left of your home screen? No? Turn it off. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

If you don't like the OnePlus Shelf that lives to the left of your home screen, you can disable it in home screen settings. Find and long-press on an empty spot on your home screen, then select Home Screen settings and toggle the Shelf button to the Off position.

Switch to gesture navigation


Gestures or bust? It's up to you. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Full gesture navigation is all the rage right now thanks to Android Q's upcoming release. OnePlus already has fully gesture-based navigation built into the 7 Pro, you just have to activate it. Go to Settings > Buttons & gestures > Navigation bar & gestures. There you can pick from the half-baked gesture setup that the Pixel 3 shipped with, or go full on gestures with Navigation gestures. A quick introduction animation at the bottom of the screen will walk you through the basics.

Change fingerprint sensor animation


The fingerprint sensor is a nice touch, and totally customizable. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With the fingerprint sensor under the display, OnePlus shows an animation to help with finger placement. You can change that animation by going to Settings > Security & lock screen > Fingerprint > Fingerprint animation effect.

There are currently three options, along with the option to disable the animation altogether (the green fingerprint will still show).

Ambient display


Keep tabs on your pending alerts with ambient display enabled. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The OnePlus 7 Pro has the ability to show the time, music controls, and pending notifications on the lockscreen, but you have to enable it. Ambient display is like an on-demand version of the always-on display feature we've seen Samsung and Google use on its devices.

To enable ambient display and customize how it's triggered, open Settings > Display > Ambient display. Enable one or both options in the When to show section.

Quick launch


Quick launch cuts out a lot of effort when doing repetitive tasks. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

There's a quick launch feature built into Oxygen OS that uses the fingerprint sensor to trigger a series of shortcut options. When your phone is locked, place your finger on the sensor and then leave it there. Your phone will unlock, and after another second or so, a horizontal list of actions will show up. You can do things like open Google Assistant, open app shortcuts or launch a specific app.

Turn on the feature in Settings > Utilities > Quick launch, and then customize the shortcuts by selecting Shortcuts settings.

Want to see the OnePlus 7 Pro from every angle? Check out the gallery below.

OnePlus 7 Pro is big, blue and budget friendly

See all photos