(Pocket-lint) - LG didn't rush its 2018 flagship phone out to launch, taking a little while longer and letting rivals Samsung get the Galaxy S9 launched, before it put its own offering out - the LG G7 ThinQ.
Unlike the 2017 LG G6, the G7 is more competitive - it's a great size, it's loaded with the latest hardware (at the time of writing) and it has a great camera. Comparatively, it's better than the G6, which although dramatic at launch (it was the first 18:9 phone), soon aged because it used older hardware.
That makes the LG G7 a more solid choice in 2018. But it's also a phone packed with features. Here's how to get the best out of your LG G7 with our comprehensive tips and tricks.
LG G7 home screen tips
Change home screen layout: LG lets you change how you organise you home screen. You can have a traditional version with an app drawer, a simplified EasyHome with large icons and text, or no app drawer. Long press on the wallpaper on the home screen, select "Home screen settings" and select the style you want form the top option.
Change the number of apps on the home screen: You can change the number of apps that sit on the home screen by adjusting the size of the grid. Head into the home screen settings as above and you'll see grid size. If you think there's too much crammed in or want things tighter packed, you can change it here.
Customise folder appearance: Tap and hold on any of the app folders you’ve created, then tap the folder title. You’ll then be able to not only change the name of the folder, but change the background colour.
Enable Smart Bulletin: One of LG's long serving software additions is Smart Bulletin. It's essentially a widget that appears as a new home screen page showing useful information from calendar, music, health and other areas, like device management. To turn it on or off, head to the home screen settings with a long press on the wallpaper and toggle the Smart Bulletin on or off.
Change screen swipe effect: In the same home screen settings menu you'll find the screen swipe effect option. This essentially changes the animation or transition between each of the home screens when you swipe through them.
Change icon shape: By default, all app icons have a rounded square background. To remove it, stay in the home screen settings menu and choose "Icon shape", then select "original" to remove the icon background.
Swipe down to search and access shortcuts: With phones getting bigger, it can be a bit of a struggle to access everything easily. LG has enabled a downward swipe that will take you to a page that collates some of your frequent apps and services. You can swipe down to get to top contacts, messaging conversations, frequent apps or web pages. It's really useful. Head into the home screen settings and enable "search".
Customise navigation button background colour: In the Display settings menu you'll see a "Home touch buttons" option. Open this up and you'll see a selection of background shades you can choose to customise your phone a little more.
Rearrange the order or navigation controls: In the same "Home touch buttons", you'll see "Button combination". This will let you rearrange the selection of buttons, with the option to add a notification shortcut, capture and QSlide if you want. You can also swap button positions to suit your preferences.
Hide navigation buttons in some apps: With an 18:9 display, the navigation buttons will auto hide if you want them too. If you don't want them to, you can lock the navigation bar in place by double tapping the icon on the left. Or, you can choose which apps will have the nav bar hide and which won't. Head into "Hide Home touch buttons" and you'll get a list of all the apps so you can select to hide on "all" or just some apps.
Change system theme: Still within the Display settings, hit "Wallpaper & Theme" and you can choose from and apply a new theme. This changes the app icon design, wallpaper and menu colour schemes. To download new themes, either hit the download icon in the top corner or head to the SmartWorld app.
Change system font: In the same Display settings menu, under the Font section you can choose between pre-installed fonts, font sizes and select the bold option if you want thicker strokes.
LG G7 display tips
How to hide the notch, or colour it: Confusingly, LG is calling the notch "new second screen". Head into the Settings > Display > New Second Screen, and you'll find all the option for notch control. You can hide it, flank it with colour and change the shape of app corners.
Adjust the screen resolution: If you want to save a little battery, you can opt to knock the display resolution down from Quad HD+. You can choose 720 or 1080, or keep it at the highest 1440 setting, which will give you the most detail.
Scale apps to fit 18:9: With LG's 18:9 screen, apps don't all automatically scale to fill screen. That means you often to see black bars across the top and bottom of the display. To change the ratio, go to Settings > Display > App scaling. Select the app you want to change and select "full screen" to force it to fill the display. You don't have to scale them all.
Filter out blue light: Comfort View is LG's name for the blue light filter or night mode which makes for more comfortable night time reading and watching. You can find it in Display > Settings as well as in the quick settings. You can adjust the level to your preference, as well as set a schedule for it to automatically turn on or off.
Activate Always-on display: Similar to Samsung, LG phones have an Always-on display feature that shows a clock and notifications on the lock screen in standby. Settings > Display, Always-on display and toggle on to activate it. You can also set a schedule so it turns off at particular times.
Boosted ultra brightness: The LG G7 offers an ultra bright mode at 1000 nits that will cut through reflections on the brightest of days. It has to be manually engaged though, so swipe does the quick settings pane an tap the icon at the left side of the brightness slider. The will engage screen boost.
Enable or disable KnockON: You can double tap the display to turn the screen on or off. Head into Settings > General and you'll find the toggle switch for it.
LG G7 lock screen tips
Add a weather animation: One of the cool things about LG’s lock screen is that when it rains or snows, you can get an animation to show up. Just head to Settings > General > Lock screen & security, then "Customise Lock screen" and toggle the weather animation switch.
Add app shortcuts: In the lock screen settings screen, tap "shortcuts" and then hit the "+" icons to add the apps you want access to directly from your lock screen. You can add up to five - but remember you'll still have to unlock your phone if you choose to use these.
Change swipe swipe effect: Select the swipe screen effect option and then choose between five different animations which show up when you swipe to unlock the phone - if you're swiping that is. If you use the fingerprint scanner, you'll probably bypass this option.
Switch off lock screen: In the lock screen settings, choose the "Select screen lock" option then select "none". This is also the menu for choosing how you want to unlock the phone, whether that’s by PIN, Pattern or Fingerprint,.
Add a Knock Code: In the same screen lock settings as above, you can activate the Knock Code. Essentially, you knock the screen in a chosen pattern and unlock the phone that way.
LG G7 Context Awareness tips
Part of what's great about LG's software, and has been for years, is that there’s the option to automate several functions so that you don’t have to think about it. Once called Smart Settings, its now called Context Awareness. Just go to Settings > General then choose Context Awareness.
Set a home location: Choose the "At home" function, and turn on the option, accepting the location access request. Then choose "Change home address" option and let it find your GPS location and save that as home.
Change settings based on location: Once your home location is set you can tell your phone to automatically change your sound profile as well as your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. You can also set it to change when you leave your set home location in the "Away from home" menu.
Auto-launch a music app: Whether you use Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Tidal or any other music app, you can set your phone to automatically launch it when you connect your wired or wireless earphones. In the Context Awareness menu choose either the “When earphones are plugged in” or "When Bluetooth device is connected" option. Then you just need to choose the app you want it to launch.
LG G7 camera tips
Open the camera with the power button: It's a standard Android shortcut, but if you're looking for the controls to launch the camera with a double press of the power button, then head into Settings > General > Shortcut keys and turn this option on. Hey presto, launching the camera just got easier.
Use Super Bright Camera: New in the LG G7 is the "Super Bright" camera. This works in two modes, automatic or manual. Open the camera, hit the settings cog and you'll find the option to change between modes. But we'd recommend leaving it in manual - because in low light you'll be given the option to toggle on Super Bright Camera if it's dark enough anyway. If it's on auto, it will always fire and you might not get the photo you want.
Switch to wide angle camera: The LG G7 has a regular and a wide-angle camera. At the top of the viewfinder you'll see two icons, one with a single tree the other with three trees. Tap these to switch between the cameras.
Engage AI Cam or Google Lens: AI Cam aims to identify what is in the photo and optimise the settings. It's not automatic, you have to turn it on. You'll see the words in the viewfinder "AI CAM" just tap here and you'll see AI Cam get to work. You can also tap on "Google Lens" and you'll go straight to that application for Google's AI action on identifying what it can see.
Adjust a portrait photo once you've taken it: Portrait mode is available on the front and back cameras, again tap the word in the viewfinder to access portrait mode. Take the photo - it will tell you that portrait is working. Then view the image and you'll see an icon in the top right-hand corner. Tap this and you can adjust the intensity of the background blurring.
Say cheese to take a picture: Launch the camera, tap the settings cog and toggle the "Cheese shutter" switch.
Shoot manual mode: To enable manual controls, tap the little square "Mode" icon. You can then choose manual mode, and you can manually adjust focus, ISO, shutter speed, exposure, brightness and white balance. There's also a manual mode for video, with a useful meter so you can check the left and right mic levels.
Switch between front/back cameras: To change between the front and back cameras you can either tap the camera icon on the screen (has a rounded arrow beneath it), or just swipe up or down on the screen.
LG G7 general tips and shortcuts
Turn off the Google Assistant key: The LG G7 is a little unique in that it has a dedicated button to launch Google Assistant. If you don't like i or never use it, you do have the option to turn it off. Head intoSettings > General > Shortcut keys and you'll find the option there.
LED flash notifications: Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Hearing and then toggle the "Flash alerts" setting. With this on, the bright camera LED flash will blink to let you know when you have an incoming call or notification. You can also enable or disable the from LED from this same area.
Use the floating bar: When LG got rid of the second screen on some of its phones, it came up with something called "floating bar". This is a customisable bar you can swipe out from the edge of the display that can carry app shortcuts. You can find it in Settings > General > Floating Bar where you can fully customise it.
Use your LG G7 as a DLNA media server: You can let other devices access content on your device - photos, video, music - if they are DLNA compatible. Head into Settings > Network >Media server and you'll find the option. You can also choose which devices can and which can't access content.
Turn on the Quad DAC or DTS:X 3D Surround: Head into Settings > Sounds and you'll find the controls under "Sound quality and effects". Here you can control DTS:X effect and the Hi-Fi Quad DAC when you have connected headphones.
Take a screenshot on the LG G7: Press the volume down button and the power button at the same time.
Edit quick settings: Drop down the quick settings shade the tap "edit". Now you can add, remove or rearrange existing tiles.
If you discover any other hidden features or options, be sure to sound off in the comments section with any tips we might have missed.