HTC Desire Tips and Tricks

HTC Desire is undoubtedly the first phone that doesn’t suck. There is nothing really wrong with it apart from its typical smart phone 1 day battery life and a screen that is slightly harder to read under bright sun. Even then you can ramp the brightness up to make the screen readable again and buy spare batteries when you’re a long trip (official batteries are dirt cheap).

At the moment my HTC Desire lasts roughly a full day with normal usage of web surfing, music and push mail. I still need to charge it every night when I come home and in the morning before I leave for work though. Thankfully its easy to plug it in when using the USB cable charger. Anyway, here are some suggestions and tips to get you started with the phone.

Phone Protection

Screen protectors
The two most popular choices at the moment appear to be Brando and Martin Fields, although neither offers full body protection like the Invisible Shield for HTC Desire. I have Brando Ultra Clear and it is indeed very nice but the surface can be rather grippy when your fingers have little natural skin oil (e.g right after you washed your hands).

Pouches and Cases

  • Mofi luxury fashion pouches are good in quality. Google for merchants that ships to your location.
  • Soft gel cases from Ebay can be bought to protect the back part of the phone, although I’m not sure if this is good for the phone since the Desire generates quite a bit of heat on its back plate with heavy usage. The gel cases also provide better grip for the Desire as its really thin. Silicon cases from Cellopad are particularly nice as they cover up the entire phone while keeping button presses effortless thanks to its very soft material.
  • Those wanting to pimp their Desire more can look for Gelaskins.

Battery Saving Tips

  • Use only WCDMA Mode instead of GSM / WCDMA, it’ll tremendously improve battery life. May not be good for those in poor 3g coverage areas. Can be set by going into Settings -> Wireless and Networks -> Mobile Networks -> Network Mode
  • At home, switch to Wi-Fi and the mobile data connection is automatically disabled. Wi-Fi on the Desire drains the least amount of battery life.
  • Screen brightness can be reduced down to 10% indoors but needs 50% outdoors under a bright and sunny day. A good app for adjusting screen brightness is the Quick Settings app or the Dazzle Configurable Switcher.
  • Call *#*#4636#*#* to view more detailed information on your battery usage.
  • Do NOT use task killers as they actually drain more battery. The Android OS can intelligently manage idle applications on its own therefore apps can be left running in the background.
  • Use as few widgets as possible, especially the widgets that constantly refresh for new information. (Twitter, FaceBook, Weather etc)

Adding New Ringtones/SMS Notifications/Alarms

(Courtesy of
To add new ringtones or SMS alerts, connect your Desire to USB and mount the device on your PC.

Create the following folders if they aren’t present already and place your songs/tunes there.

Ringtones: /sdcard/media/audio/ringtones
SMS Alerts: /sdcard/media/audio/notifications
Alarm Alerts: /sdcard/media/audio/alarms


  • Refer to my other post for a list of must have android apps.
  • Apps can manually updated by entering the Android market and pressing on the Downloads section.
  • Apps can be added by scanning the barcode off websites, launch your barcode scanner, scan and walla!
  • Skype isn’t available for most users but you can try Fring or Nimbuzz instead.


  • The middle round input button on the bottom section of a phone is also an optical trackpad. Use it to fine tune your cursor. E.g. swipe the optical trackpad to correct a spelling mistake on the 3rd letter of a word.
  • Long press on the Home (house) button brings up the list of currently running applications. You can switch over to a running application quickly that way.
  • Long press on the Menu button brings up the QWERTY keypad on applications that require input.


  • Customize your home screen by pressing the + on the bottom right of the screen. Remove or rearrange an application by long pressing on its icon. You can shift and application between home screens by dragging the application up to the top section of the screen, and then swiping your home screen left or right.
  • Use the Anycut application to rename the applications on your home screen. E.g rename the Xscope browser to Browser instead of Xscope.


For a more customizable qwerty keyboard, use the HTC IME mod from the cool guys at xda developers. The modded keyboard has some nice features such as changing the button sizes, the layout and adds a pipe ( | ) key, very handy for linux users wanting to manage their servers via command line (connect bot).

Multi touch keyboards can be downloaded from the Market, Smart Keyboard Pro and Better Keyboard are both good choices.

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