We’re big fans of the Mate 20 Pro. It has stunning cameras and looks great in the different colours and finishes. Huawei messes around with Android more than most manufacturers though, so we’re here to help you find those hidden gems within EMUI 9 and enable some of the great features which Huawei leaves turned off.
A lot of these tips apply to the Mate 20 too, except for Face Unlock and Always on screen as it doesn't have these options.
Settings > Security & privacy > Face recognition > Require eye contact
You probably set up face unlock when you first unboxed your Mate 20 Pro. But for some reason Huawei doesn’t enable the ‘require eye contact’ option. This means anyone can point the phone at your face and it will unlock even if you have your eyes shut or don’t look at the cameras. Obviously this isn’t very secure, so head to Settings > Security & privacy. Tap Face recognition and toggle Require eye contact so it’s turned on.
You can also enable Direct unlock which will cause the phone to display the home screen - or whichever app you were last using - when your face is recognised rather than forcing you to swipe up on the screen. However, this will mean you don’t see the lock screen notifications and will have to swipe down from the top to see notifications.
How to get the app drawer
Settings > Home screen & wallpaper > Home screen style > Drawer
If you haven’t noticed already, EMUI – Emotion User Interface – is a lot like Apple’s iOS. By default it places app icons across multiple home screens and doesn’t use the traditional Android app tray. But it’s easy to get it back.
Simply open Settings, then tap on Home screen & wallpaper. Now tap Home screen style and change it from Standard to Drawer.
It’s possible to customise a lot more about how the home screen looks, so tap back, then on Home screen settings. (You’ll also find a shortcut to these settings if you pinch together on the home screen.)
Here you’ll find options for the number of icons, whether home screens should look, a handy option to shake the phone to align the icons on the current home screen and also the setting to enable or disable the Google Feed.
Settings > System > Phone Clone (or launch Phone Clone app)
You might have seen this appear as part of the initial setup and ignored it, but if you’re about to set up a Mate 20 Pro for the first time, Phone Clone is a great way to copy everything from your old phone to the new one. Phone Clone is a Huawei app that’s available for Android and iOS and should be installed already on Huawei phones, making it simple to upgrade if you’re coming from an older model.
Phone Clone copies across your apps, photos, videos, music, contacts, messages, notes, recordings and even your phone call log, but you can untick any of these if you don’t want the stuff transferred.
It all happens wirelessly, but could take a long while if tens of gigabytes need to be sent.
Navigation options & gestures
Settings > System > System Navigation
Since the Mate 20 runs Android 9 Pie, you can take advantage of the new full-screen gestures which are turned off by default.
Head to Settings > System, and find System navigation. Tap it and you can choose between Gestures, Three-key navigation and Navigation dock.
In gestures mode, navigation is similar to iOS on an iPhone X, XS and XR. You swipe up from the bottom to return to the home screen (or swipe up and hold to access the app switcher). To go back, swipe in from the lefthand side.
If you want to stick with the traditional Android on-screen nav buttons, EMUI allows you to choose a few different arrangements, including adding a fourth control which brings down the notifications dock to save you moving your hand to the top of the screen – a useful option for one-handed use.
Settings > Security & privacy > Password Vault
EMUI includes a setting that can store your passwords and logins to save you remembering them all, assuming you don’t adopt the extremely insecure approach of using the same username and password for everything. And if you do, Password Vault will allow you to ditch that terrible practice and enter those passwords automatically filling in login details for apps and accounts.
Find it in Settings > Security & privacy.
There you’ll also find Safe which lets you password protect photos, videos, music and other files.
Knuckle gestures & split screen
Settings > Smart assistance > Motion control
This is one of those features you’ll either think is brilliant or just a gimmick. For a long time Huawei has supported knuckle gestures. Just as it sounds, you use a knuckle rather than a finger to draw or tap on the screen.
Some of these are more useful than others. For example, knocking twice on the screen with a knuckle takes a screenshot and drawing a line across the screen enables split-screen mode where you can run two (compatible) apps on screen at once.
You can also draw letters with a knuckle to launch apps: c for Camera, m for Music, e for Chrome, W for weather (but you can change which app each letter opens).
You can turn Knuckle Gestures on and off in Settings > Smart assistance > Motion control.
In that menu are other useful features such as flip to mute, raise to ear and pick up. The latter lets you choose what happens when you pick up the Mate 20 Pro. Our favourite here is the Wake device option, so it works just like Apple’s Raise to wake feature.
Settings > Home screen & wallpaper > Always on display
As the Mate 20 Pro has an OLED screen, you’d imagine it would display a clock like Samsung’s Galaxy S9. But it doesn’t. However, you can enable the always-on display by going to Home screen & wallpaper > Always on display.
You can schedule this so it’s only on between the hours you set.
Settings > Display
EMUI offers a lot of control over the display, not just the always-on setting. One obvious one is the Eye Comfort option, which reduces blue light at night. You’ll find it in the Colour & eye comfort sub menu, where you should enable the Scheduled toggle rather than enabling Eye comfort manually. It’s a bit confusing.
The Mate 20 Pro also offers Natural tone, which adjusts colours so they’re consistent under various lighting conditions, much like True Tone on an iPhone.
However, you can additionally choose Normal or Vivid colours and adjust the colour temperature to your liking. Changing these settings will affect colour accuracy, so don’t mess with them if you want to edit the colour in photos, for example.
Another thing you can do is hide the notch. Go to Settings > Display > More display settings. Near the top is Notch and there’s an option in this sub menu to Hide notch by making the screen corners black. They’ll still display the usual icons, but apps won’t be able to draw in these areas.
Huawei has decided to use the 3D scanning cameras to scan and model objects. To do this you need to install 3D Live Maker from Google Play.
It’s tricky to use, since you have to point the front camera – and therefore the screen – at the object, at which point you can’t read the on-screen instructions.
Persevere and you’ll be able to make 3D models of stuffed toys and other things, but the results vary in quality quite a bit.