The Huawei Ascend series may be China’s best-kept Android secret. The company may not be that well-known in the U.S., but some have discovered its decent specs at conservative prices. But there are some features that you still may not know about. Ascends can be like a hidden treasure that keeps on giving.
Not everyone is thrilled with the Emotion User Interface that comes on these phones; nonetheless, it lets you perform a lot of neat tricks. Whether this is a new device for you, or you are bored and looking for new features, you will find something here that can help you make this phone your own and improve efficiency and performance.
Huawei does seem to display an admiration for iOS features (to the extent that some would call it copying), so if you are looking for some of those, you’ll be in luck. Whatever the reason that brought you here, you’ll leave knowing more than you did before about Huawei Ascends.
1. Customize Home Screen
On phones like the P7, you can long-press any blank area of the Home screen to get to the Set Home Screen message box. From the Thumbnails option you can add, move, or delete home screens. On phones like the G7, you can change your default font by visiting Settings > My Device > Display > Font Style.
Trying to install a third-party launcher on the P9 using traditional methods can make it seem like it’s not even possible, but it is if you download the launcher to your device and press Home. From there, go to Settings > Apps > Advanced > Default App Settings > Launcher, and choose the launcher you installed.
2. Change Keyboards
Keyboards can be switched out on most Huawei Ascends, but you will need to install the keyboard of your choice first. These are available through Google Play or from other third-party sources that you trust. Once the installation is complete, tap on Settings and choose Language and Keyboard (or Language and Input). At the bottom of your screen, you will find the keyboard you just installed.
Select your new keyboard. On some phones, a new dialogue box will appear where you can confirm the keyboard you want to use. Alternatively, you may need to select Input Method and choose the keyboard. If you simply want to disable auto-correction on a Google keyboard, go to Settings > Language & Input > Google Keyboard > Text Correction > Auto-correction and turn it off.
3. Gestures and Motions
On phones like the Ascend P7 and P8, there are a variety of gesture and motion controls you can implement. For instance, when it comes to the volume you can enable options like Flip to Mute or Pick Up to Reduce Volume. To set this up, go to Settings > All > Motion Control. From the Motion Control screen, select the option(s) you wish to enable. You will also find options like the ability to shake your phone in edit mode (press and hold any blank area on your screen) to organize your icons.
Additionally, you can long-press a widget or icon and tilt your phone sideways to transfer the selected item to the next screen. Almost all Huawei Ascends respond to the most standard touchscreen motions. Motions like pinching three fingers together will display screen thumbnails, and pinching two fingers together will zoom out. These tips, tricks, and hacks for the Huawei Ascend can make it seem like you are doing a magic trick.
4. Improve Face Unlock Speed and Accuracy
If you haven’t tried it out just yet, Facelock is a security feature that allows you to unlock your phone by holding it up to your face as opposed to entering a PIN or password. You can activate it on phones like the P7 by tapping on Settings > All > Security > Screen Lock > Face Unlock and follow the instructions provided. To make the recognition process faster, go back to Settings > My Device > Lock Screen > Improve facial recognition. Repeat as needed to improve speed.
If you have an Ascend Mate, you will want to go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock > Face Unlock to enable the feature as well. Once enabled, go to Settings > Security > Improve Face Matching. Performing this process multiple times will further improve speed. To aid in accuracy, use different views or angles of the face.
5. Customize the Navigation Bar
Don’t like the color of your G7’s Status Bar? You can change it through the Accessibility service. Hide your Navigation Bar by going to Settings > All > Navigation bar > Hide navigation bar. Once this feature is enabled, a Hide button will appear on the Navigation Bar that you can tap. You can bring the bar back by swiping in an upwards motion from the bottom of your screen.
On the Mate 8, you can customize the order in which the virtual buttons are displayed. You can also add a fourth option in addition to Back, Home, and Multitasking. Tap on Settings > Smart Assistance > Navigation bar and choose the one that best fits your needs. In fact, you’ll find Smart Assistance useful for a whole lot more, including Motion Control, Floating Dock, and Voice Control.
6. Take a Screenshot with Your Knuckle
Huawei started calling this Knuckle-Sense Technology on the P8. The feature allows you to take a screenshot by double-tapping the display with your knuckle. Of course, you can still also use the phone’s hardware buttons, but perhaps that’s old news. Huawei is the first company to offer the knuckle feature on a smartphone. And this isn’t the only Knuckle Gesture.
You can find the complete list by going to Settings > Smart Assistance > Motion Control. Smart Screenshot is the name of this feature, and you’ll want to switch it on. Now when you double-tap the display with your knuckle, a screenshot will appear. To take a partial screenshot (and avoid having to crop later), tap one knuckle on the display and then drag that knuckle around the portion of the screen you wish to capture.
7. Take Pleasure in Your Privacy
How easy is it to get past your lock screen? Perhaps easier than you think. It’s likely that someone could determine the PIN or pattern by holding the phone up to the light and seeing the trail the natural oil the skin on your fingers leaves behind. And if you have private information on your phone, it might be best to implement a second layer of security.
For instance, maybe you want to hide your albums, contacts, and apps from prying eyes when you aren’t with your phone, or maybe even while someone is borrowing your phone. You can enter a Guest user profile (as opposed to Admin, which restricts nothing). Go to Settings > All > Security > Privacy Protection. You will first need to set (or enter the password for, if you have created this user profile previously) the Owner (Admin) information, and then you will be asked to enter a password for the Guest profile.
8. Quickly Access Apps Even from the Lock Screen
Children don’t like to hold still. Cameras don’t do as well with movement as with stillness. Many moments can’t be re-enacted exactly as they were. Sometimes you need quick access to certain features of your phone before the perfect opportunity passes.
That is why it can be so nice (and necessary) to not have to fumble with a lock screen. You can double-press the Volume button on the Mate 7 to snap a picture. On phones like the Mate 2, there’s a pull-up menu at the bottom of the lock screen that will afford you immediate access to apps like Calendar, Torch, Calculator, and Mirror. On the G7, you can also pull downward from the top of the lock screen to access the notification panel, and some models allow widgets directly on the lock screen itself.
9. Type Less
If nothing on the list of predicted words is quite what you had in mind, don’t give up. Try long-pressing the middle word being suggested. This will bring up a menu with more options. Word prediction must already be enabled for this to work.
On phones like the Mate 8, this can be accomplished by going to Settings > Language & Input > Keyboard > Predictive Text. Another way is to go any screen that displays the keyboard, long-press the Dictation Key (to the left of the space bar) and choose Settings. Under the section labeled Smart Typing, you can enable or disable Predictive Text, or just disable certain aspects such as punctuation marks or auto-capitalization. For even more control over predictive text, go to Advanced Settings where you can specify that you want a special character to appear when you long-press a particular letter or number.
10. Distinguish Your Display
Huawei does have a way of altering icons to the point of being unrecognizable. You can regain some normalcy by downloading your icon pack, like the one given below. And if you don’t like what Huawei’s done with the Home screen and general interface, you can change it up with a new theme, especially in phones like the Mate 7. Instead of being stuck with only built-in options, this phone gives you access to loadable themes.
Download: Pure Icon Pack
You can also adjust the screen temperature (warm or cool tint) by going to Settings > Display > Color Temperature. Glove Mode enhances the touch screen’s sensitivity so that you can still use the display even while wearing gloves. However, with no app drawer on phones like the Mate 8, looking for a particular app can quickly become a drag.
You can at least make it to where you don’t have to go back to the screen you were just on when you reach the end of the list and circle back around like a carousel instead. Just press and hold any blank area of the Home screen, choose More Settings, and enable Home screen loop.
11. Store or Restore Contacts Quickly
If you want to text, dial, or add a phone number to your Contacts from an SMS, email, or website, simply long-press the entire number. You will then see the option to dial the number, send an SMS, or add to Contacts.
You can import contacts saved in a .vcf file from a storage device by going to Contacts > Menu > Manage Contacts > Import from Storage. You can also import contacts from a Bluetooth device by visiting Contacts > Menu > Manage Contacts > Import via Bluetooth.
If you have lost your contacts or other files, there are data recovery programs out there that work with phones like the P8. One such program is Android Data Recovery.
Download: Android Data Recovery
You can also use another computer-based program like Wondershare’s Dr. Fone.
Download: Dr. Fone
If it’s photos you lost, try an app like DiskDigger.
Download: DiskDigger photo recovery
What did you decide to do to customize your Huawei Ascend? Did you experience any issues during or after?
Send us your thoughts on all of these topics. We hope you find these ways to customize your Huawei Ascend to be useful.