20 tips about HTC Sense 3.0 on EVO 3D

Sense-3-evo-3d If you've never seen a Sense 2.x/3.0-flavored custom ROM like MikG or Synergy running on the HTC EVO 4G, then nearly everything about the latest version of HTC Sense on the EVO 3D is brand new to you.

Sense is more than just a skin; it's a full-fledged user interface experience that includes widgets, apps, and customizations that are weaved pretty deeply throughout the system. It's a massive visual and functional improvement over the version (1.0) preloaded on the EVO 4G, and although it's fairly straightforward and intuitive, here are 20 tips and facts about Sense 3.0 to help guide you through the transition.

Some of the items on the list below were introduced in Sense 2.0, but since the EVO 4G is still on 1.0, I'm treating them as features of Sense 3.0.

    Swap home screen icons without "making room" first. In previous versions of Sense, rearranging apps required an empty "holding" space; if a screen was already filled, there was no way to move anything around unless you deleted something else first. Now you can long press an app on the EVO 3D home screen and drag it to an already occupied space. The existing app will automatically trade places with the new one. 

    View your most recent and most used apps in several ways.

    • Long press the Home button to launch the recent apps window.
    • Swipe down on the status bar to see recent apps listed at the top of the notification panel.
    • Tap Applications (grid icon) in the dock then tap the star icon at the bottom to access frequently used apps.

    Swipe recent apps bar in notification panel to see more apps. Only five apps are shown at once, but the top bar in the notification panel actually holds a total of eight apps. Swipe left to see the other three.

    Customize with Personalize. Long press an empty area of the home screen, press Menu > Personalize, or tap the palette icon in the dock to access Personalize, where you can add items to your home screen, change scenes/skins/wallpapers/lock screens, and manage sounds (sound sets, ringtones, notifications, and alarms) all in one place

    Rearrange home screens in thumbnail view. When viewing apps in overview/thumbnail mode (accessible by pinching a home screen or tapping the Home button when already on the main screen), you can long press any thumbnail and drag it to a different location.

    Swipe slowly between home screens to view 3D details on widgets. Eye candy enthusiasts will appreciate little details like the silver hinges on the flip clock widget and the visual depth on some of the other HTC widgets that are visible when "stuck between" home screens.

    Customize the lock screen. Third-party apps like WidgetLocker used to be the only way to add useful information to the EVO 4G's lock screen. Now widgets and app shortcuts on the lock screen are a basic element of Sense 3.0. To customize it, go to Personalize and select "Lock screen" from the "Personalize display" section at the top. Select your desired preset lock screen and tap "Settings" to change the app shortcuts.

    Change directions when 3D carousel is spinning, tap to stop it on a particular screen. The home screens are presented in a carousel, with no end points; it just goes round and round. You can flick a screen to send the carousel spinning, but you don't have to wait until it stops to continue interacting with it. You can change directions mid-spin and if your fingers are quick enough to tap the screen you want while the carousel is in motion, it will stop and put that screen into view.

    Check out new widgets and apps. Sense 3.0 includes 3D widgets not found in previous versions, as well as both new and improved apps. Mail and Camera, for example, both have new features (e.g., message previews in the former, easily accessible settings in the latter), while apps like HTC Watch, Transfer, HTC Likes, and Mirror are brand new to the EVO line.

    Give your EVO 3D a new look with HTC Skins. HTC Skins originated with Sense 2.0 and are what most people refer to as themes in Sense 1.0 and other user interfaces. They include skinned widgets, docks, and taskbars, as well as new lock screens and wallpapers. To apply one on the EVO 3D, go to Personalize and select "Skin" from the "Personalize display" section at the top. Then just select a skin and hit "Apply" to start using it.

    Sign up with HTCSense.com to manage and protect your EVO 3D from a computer. Debuting with Sense 2.0, this free service lets you locate your phone, remotely lock or wipe it, make it ring at full volume, and forward text messages to another phone or an email address. HTCSense.com is still in beta in the US and doesn't have the backup and web-based HTC Hub features offered in other regions, but it's still nice that an EVO is finally officially supported.

    Register for an account at HTCSense.com and then sign in on your EVO 3D by tapping Settings > Accounts & sync > Add account > HTC Sense.

    Don't bother trying to rotate the home screen to landscape. Even though home screen rotation has been supported since Sense 2.0 and it works on several other phones, the home screen and app drawer are both locked to portrait mode on the EVO 3D.

    Free up internal storage space with "Make more space" option. Go to Settings > SD & phone storage and tap "Make more space" under "Internal storage" to clean the app cache, batch uninstall and batch move apps to the SD card, and manage mail/messages storage.

    Toggle wireless radios on/off without home screen widgets. Forget about dedicated home screen widgets to turn WiFi, 4G, Bluetooth, GPS, etc. on and off. The new Quick Settings tab in the notification panel provides quick access to all the individual wireless radios. You'll find an "All Settings" shortcut and a used/free memory widget that's linked to the preloaded Task Manager there too.

    Get free widgets, wallpapers, ringtones, and more from HTC Hub. Also making its debut with Sense 2.0 last year, HTC Hub is where you can download free apps and plug-ins, widgets, sound sets, scenes, skins, wallpapers, ringtones, alarms sounds, and notification sounds. New item notifications can be enabled/disabled in the Hub's settings menu.

    Browse all applications in free-flowing list. HTC opted for page-style scrolling in the Sense 3.0 app drawer, displaying 20 apps at a time. If you don't like the choppy effect of scrolling in "chunks," tap the Menu key in the app drawer and select "List" from the menu. The list presentation may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the grid, but you'll get that familiar river-like scrolling back.

    Associate new dock icons with old functionality. The home screen dock in Sense 3.0 features two new icons on either side of the unnecessarily large Phone button, but their functionality is the same as what you're used to in Sense 1.0 on the EVO 4G. The grid icon on the left opens the app drawer (just like the circled arrow icon did) and the palette icon on the right launches Personalize (equivalent to the + icon launching "Add to Home").

    Enable HTC Trace in stock keyboard and don't try to use it everywhere. HTC Trace is a Swype-like feature that can be enabled in the stock HTC keyboard, allowing users to input text by dragging their finger across the keys in a continuous motion.

    To enable it, go to Settings > Language & keyboard > Touch Input > Trace keyboard. Tap the checkbox to turn it on. Make sure that prediction is enabled in Touch Input > Text input. If it isn't, Trace won't work. Put another way, Trace will only work in prediction-enabled text fields like email, messages, and notes. Search fields and URL bars do not support prediction, so you'll need to tap the individual keys in these areas.

    View photos not stored on your EVO 3D in HTC Gallery, swipe quickly for ribbon-like scrolling. In addition to supporting 3D content, the Gallery app also has a drop-down menu in the right corner that lets you quickly access photos (both yours and your friends') from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, and media servers.

    When viewing any of these photos in the Gallery, swipe an image quickly for fast ribbon-like scrolling. This works in either orientation, but the filmstrip effect that occurs is better in landscape.

    Don't expect to fit more shortcuts on the home screen. The EVO 3D's qHD resolution may be higher than the EVO 4G's WVGA resolution, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to fit more content on the home screen. Unless you use a widget or app like Multicon to squeeze more shortcuts into one space or change the LCD density once the phone is rooted, you can still only get a total of 16 individual icons (4 x 4 grid) on each screen.

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    If you have any more tips about Sense 3.0 (even if they're carryovers from Sense 2.0) on the EVO 3D, please share them in the comments.

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    Jenn K. Lee

    Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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