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(Pocket-lint) - With the KeyOne, BlackBerry Mobile created an Android phone that's unlike any other. The physical keyboard is the most obvious difference, but there's plenty about this phone's software that makes it different to most too. Read our in-depth tips and tricks list to find all the bits you need to know. 

BlackBerry KeyOne keyboard

There’s no denying that the keyboard is easily the most important feature on the new BlackBerry Mobile phone. But it’s more than just a typing tool, it’s been equipped with a number of interesting features.

Add a shortcut - Each one of the keys is a potential shortcut key. From the home screen, just press one of the letter keys, then choose an action from the “Assign Shortcut” window that pops up. You can select to open an app, choose a contact, or choose a function like starting a time, viewing alarms, creating a calendar event, plus many more.

Add a long-press shortcut - The process is just the same as assigning a regular shortcut, except you press and hold the key you want to assign a shortcut to. After that, you get the same options.

Edit shortcuts - If you’ve made a mistake and want to change the shortcut for any of the keys, open the app drawer and tap the settings cog in the top corner. This is the BlackBerry Launcher settings menu - very much worth remembering. Choose “Keyboard shortcuts”, then scroll through your Long Press and Short Press lists to change the apps and functions assigned.

Swipe to choose predictive words - When you type, you’ll notice three predictive words on the screen, right above the top row of keys. You can choose one by making use of the touch sensitive surface of the keys. To select one of the words instead of typing it, swipe upwards on the corresponding part of the keyboard. For instance, swipe on anywhere on the left third of the keys to choose the first word on the left, swipe the middle to choose the middle word, swipe on the right side to choose the word on the right.

Swipe to delete words - To delete the last word you typed, just swipe quickly from right to left on the keyboard.

Swipe through menus - As well as being used for predictive typing, the touch sensitive surface of the keys can be used to navigate through various layers of phone’s software. Swipe left and right to scroll through the home screens, or up and down to read through an email, Hub inbox, or Settings menu.

Activate swipe-typing - Bizarrely, you can use the touch sensitivity to type, rather than pressing the actual keys. In the same menu as above, choose “Type by swiping”. Toggle this on and you can type by gliding from key to key without pressing them. It’s worth noting, it takes time to get used to this, and it will deactivate the other touch sensitive swiping.

Move cursor - When typing, if you double tap the surface of the keyboard, it brings up a cursor, which you can then move around by swiping across the surface of the keys. 

Assign fingerprints - The spacebar also plays home to the fingerprint sensor. To use it, head to Settings > Security and choose “Fingerprint”. If it asks you to set another form of security first, go through that process, then you’ll get to the screen that lets you add a new fingerprint. Once you’ve chosen to do that, place your finger/thumb on the sensor then lift, and repeat until it tells you it’s done.

Switch on the software keyboard - If you want to use a software keyboard for whatever reason, head to Settings > Languages & Input, then choose “current keyboard” and toggle the switch for “show virtual keyboard”.

Add multiple languages - In the same settings menu choose “Keyboard settings” and then select “BlackBerry keyboard”. This list includes a multi-language keyboard option; select this and choose the languages you want to be able to type in.

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Switch between languages - You can create more than one multi-language keyboard, and can switch between them pressing and holding the spacebar. Choose from the languages that appear on the screen. To switch back to the previous one, just hold Alt+Enter simultaneously.

Change add typing sounds - Sticking with the BlackBerry keyboard settings, choose “Key press feedback” and then toggle the “Sound” switch on. You can also choose to have a pop-up appear on screen when you press a letter.

View typing stats - In the same menu again you can access your typing statistics by tapping “Statistics”. Here it tells you how many words, emojis and symbols you’ve typed. It also shows you a breakdown of how many predictions and auto-corrections you’ve used, any learned words and if you prefer the physical or virtual keys.

Type to search - If you don't mind losing keyboard shortcuts, you can choose to instantly start a search by just typing when you're on the home screen. Tap and hold the home screen, choose "Settings", then "Typing Action", and choose "Start a Search". 

BlackBerry Hub

Like the keyboard, the Hub is an important part of the BlackBerry KeyOne’s experience. It gathers incoming messages and alerts from all your most used accounts into one inbox. It’s useful, and can be customised to look and work the way you want it to.

Create custom views - While the default Hub view is useful, you can create your own. Go to the Hub, open the side menu and scroll to Settings. Tap “Add view”, here you can choose which accounts and notifications you want to show. You can also add an “unread” filter so that it only shows you your unread notifications.

Change default email account - In the same Hub Settings menu, go to “General Settings” . The top option is the default email account, which lets you choose which email account you want to use by default to send a new message.

Enable dark theme - Underneath the default email account option is the toggle for switching on the dark theme. Switch it on and hub transforms from its clean, crisp white to a dark grey theme.

Customise gestures - By default, when you swipe left on a notification in the Hub, it deletes that message. Swiping right snoozes it. You can changes these gestures in the same General Settings list. Scroll down to the "Swipe Gesture Action", and choose what you want each swipe to do.

Remove Conversation view - As a default setting, any replies within the same thread of emails are grouped together in the same conversation view. If you’d rather have an individual message for each reply, you can switch this off in the General Settings by switching the toggle off.

Create custom alerts - Back in the main Hub Settings, there’s a Custom Alerts option. This lets you create a custom alert within an email account. You can choose to create one based on who the email is sent to, or from, or based on what’s in the subject. In the next step, you can choose the alert sound, LED notification light colour, and even set it to override any notification settings.

Change account colours - Because the Hub can show messages from many accounts, including Instagram, WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook and more, it can be helpful to distinguish between them. You can add different colours to each one by selecting the account in the Hub settings, then choosing “Account Colour”, then selecting the hue you want.

Rearrange accounts - If you don’t like the default order of the accounts in Hub, tap “Rearrange accounts” and you can swap them around as you please.

BlackBerry KeyOne home Screen

Add shortcuts - Like the keyboard, you can add shortcut actions to your home screen. Tap and hold the screen, select “Widgets” then choose “Shortcuts” in the pop up window. Choose which shortcut you want and drag the icon onto the screen.

Swipe-up widgets - Any app that has an available widget will have three white dots beneath its icon on the home screen. Swipe up on the icon, and choose which widget view you want to see. Now you’ll see that widget every time you swipe up on the icon.

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Customise app icons - BlackBerry’s launcher supports third party app icons. Press and hold on the home screen and select “icons”. This is where you’ll find any installed icon packs. If there’s only the default option, tap the Google Play Store icon in the top right corner, and it’ll take you to the downloadable icon packs. Download which ever ones you like, then you can use them.

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Customise Productivity tab - Slide the Productivity Tab across from the right of screen, then tap the settings cog. Now you can alter the size of the tab, adjust its transparency, swipe sides or remove it completely.

Change recent apps style - Go to Settings > Display and scroll down to “Recents”. You can choose from three options, each offering a different style of view for when you access the recent apps screen.

Switch to Dark Theme - Press and hold your home screen, choose the Settings and then scroll to the Theme option.

BlackBerry KeyOne other bits

Camera manual mode - To enable the manual shooting mode in the camera, launch the app and open up the settings. The top option is “Control Mode”, tap the drop down box and then choose “Manual”.

Restrict power usage for apps - Launch the Power Centre app, tap “Apps and Games”, then choose an app. The next screen lets you choose between Performance, Balanced and Energy Saving modes. The later restricts performance in the name of making your battery last longer, the middle option has minimal impact on performance, but still saves battery juice. Performance disregards battery in favour of all-out fastness.

Convenience Key action - Assign a function to your Convenience Key (the button below the volume rocker switch) by heading to Settings > Convenience Key. You can assign any of the available shortcuts, or choose to launch an app.

Device Search - Launch the Device Search app and start typing for what you’re looking for. If it’s on your phone anywhere, it should show up. If not, you can choose to search online.

Check for software updates - You don’t have to dive into the Settings to check for new software. Just find the Updates app, tap it and it’ll check for any updates to the phone’s OS for you.

Boost charging - When you plug the phone in to charge, an option pops up on screen allowing you to select Boost mode. This restricts background processes to focus on filling up the battery as quickly as possible.

App permissions log - Open the DTEK app then choose Apps and Permissions, then choose the “Permissions” tab. Here you can see which permissions have been accessed and how many times. If you have an app that’s too location-hungry, you can then choose to limit that app’s access to your location.

Writing by Cam Bunton.