29 Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Moto X (Gen 2) Owners

Sometimes, when you get a new phone, it can be a little disappointing to discover that it came pre-installed with junk applications that you’ll never use. Fortunately, if you own a second generation, Moto X, there’s some good news for you!

Motorola packed this sleek phone with a ton of extra capabilities that truly streamline your Android user experience and make interacting with the device even more intuitive. Check out these twenty-nine nifty tips, tricks, and hacks that you can do with a Moto X (Gen II).

1. Supercharge Your Voice Commands

The standard Google Now launcher is very powerful and flexible. Its vocal recognition is unsurpassed, and you can control your device in a ton of different ways by just saying aloud “Ok Google” and then speaking a command.

However, one drawback to Google Now is that on most devices; the phone already has to be awake to acknowledge the activation phrase, “OK Google.”

The thing that’s cool for Moto X owners is that their devices come with an auxiliary voice command module housed in the Moto App. This voice recognition software adds several new commands, and it allows you to use the activation phrase even if your phone is sleeping in your pocket or lying across the room!

The Moto app comes stock for all Moto X phones.
The Moto app comes stock for all Moto X phones.

Enable Moto voice commands by accessing the Moto app and selecting Voice.

The “Voice” menu lets you control your phone without even touching it.

2. Change the “OK Google” Voice Activation Phrase

If you’re only using Google Now, then you’re stuck with “OK Google” as your activation phrase.

However, Moto X owners can change it to any phrase they want! Personally, I use “OK Jarvis,” because when I’m not writing articles about Android, I like to pretend I’m Tony Stark. Of course, you can make it whatever you want! “Ladies and gentlemen,” is another good option.

To change your voice activation phrase, access the Moto app, select Voice, and then choose “Manage Launch Phrase.” Moto will ask you to repeat your phrase three times, then enter it as text.

"Moto X, Wake Up!"
“Moto X, Wake Up!”

Once that’s done, you’re all set. Note that Moto Voice will listen for the voice commands it knows first. If you say a command that’s outside of its realm of capability, like “Show me pictures of Iron Man,” it will pass the procedure off to Google Now seamlessly.

3. Find out What’s Up

“What’s up?” is a nifty little voice command exclusive to Moto’s Voice features. After using your voice activation phrase, asking your phone “What’s up?” will prompt it to read aloud any recent notifications or looming calendar events.

If you’re busy, this can be a very handy way to keep your finger on the pulse of your day.

4. Take a selfie

We’ve all been in a selfie emergency before. You know, those moments when you need to take a selfie right now, and there’s not even time to unlock the phone? Selfie emergencies can be stressful situations, but don’t worry, Motorola has your back.

In a Selfie emergency, you can speak your voice activation command and say “Take a selfie”. Your Motorola will immediately wake up your phone, turn on your camera, switch to the front lens, and countdown from three before snapping your picture.

Emergency averted!

5. Drive Safer

Back in the days of yore, an app called Tasker allowed Android phones to sense certain situations and, based on rules you’d set up, alter the phone’s settings. The degree of control this gave users over their phones was unprecedented, but the complex intricacies of managing Tasker often scared off casual users.

It seems like Motorola had these features in mind when they created their Moto Assist module. Once you’ve activated Moto Assist, your phone will pay attention to its surroundings and alter its behavior based on your specifications.

Unlike Tasker that allowed for thousands of different situations and settings, Moto Assist narrows your options to the most frequently used. The interface far simpler this way.

Chief among Moto Assists abilities is Assisted Driving.

The Assist menu configures your phone to behave differently depending on context.
The Assist menu configures your phone to behave differently depending on context.

To activate Google Assisted Driving, open the Moto App and select Assist. Next, select Driving.

Drive safer with Moto Driving Assist.
Drive safer with Moto Driving Assist.

Once this option is activated, you can customize how your phone should behave when it senses you are driving. These options include reading text messages aloud, automatically switching audio to your vehicle’s speakers, and searching for driving-related Bluetooth devices to connect to.

6. Focus During Meetings

Driving isn’t the only thing Moto Assist can help you with. Try using it to help you stay focused when you are in a meeting!

Prevent unwanted distractions during scheduled events.
Prevent unwanted distractions during scheduled events.

By activating “Meeting” in the Moto Assist menu, you can link your phone to a calendar of your choice. From then on, when your schedule says you are busy, your phone can do any number of things such as putting itself on silence or automatically responding to incoming texts and calls.

7. Get Better Sleep

Ever pop awake in the middle of the night to a cell phone notification, only to discover that it’s just some junk mail hitting your inbox?

Never again with Moto Assist’s Sleeping feature. Schedule the hours of the day that you spend asleep, and your Moto X will know to keep quiet unless it’s an emergency.

Under the Moto Assist menu, select “Sleeping.”

This option will let you select the hours you sleep and modify your Downtime Settings. You can adjust your settings to let through notifications and calls only if they come from particular people.

If your mother calls you at 3 o’clock in the morning, for instance, you’d probably want to pick up.

Your phone will stay quiet while you're trying to rest.
Your phone will stay quiet while you’re trying to rest.

I schedule mine to block all calls except those coming from Pepper Potts. I don’t know Pepper Potts, but if the real Tony Stark isn’t available, then I want her to be able to get through to me just in case.

8. Kicking Back at Home

Home Mode is another scenario Moto Assist can recognize. It’s not always convenient to use voice control when you’re at work, school, or out and about in public. However, if you’re in the quiet of your home, there’s no more efficient way to interact with your phone. By using Home settings, your phone will read notifications and text messages aloud when you’re near a specified location.


To change your Home settings, select “Home” from the Moto Assist menu. From here, you can designate a Home location and enable the “Talk to me” option.

9. Never Lose a Thing with Motorola Migrate

Getting a new phone is usually pretty painless with Android. After all, most users link their contacts and data to their Google account, so all of it just comes along for the ride when you log into a new device.

However, if work or security concerns prevent you from being able to tie your contacts to an online service, getting a new phone can be a headache. Sometimes, service providers even like to charge an extra fee to have your data moved over at one of their store locations.

Migrate comes stock on the Moto X.
Migrate comes stock on the Moto X.

Moto Migrate erases all of these irritations and effortlessly allows you to transfer your data from one phone to another.

Activate the Migrate app and select your old device from the menu. Migrate will walk you through different data transfer procedures depending on which device you choose.


10. Conserve Battery with Attentive Display

How smart is the Moto X? At least smart enough to be able to tell if you’re paying attention to it or not.

Activating Attentive Display lets your phone’s camera determine if a human face is looking at it. If it doesn’t detect a face, it will power down the display quicker to conserve battery.

Conversely, if it does detect a face, it will assume that the user is still reading something on the screen. Because it knows you are still looking at the screen, this will delay turning off the display for a little while even if it remains untouched.

Attentive Display keeps your phone awake if it senses that a face is paying attention to it.

To turn on Attentive Display, go to your phone’s Settings and select Display. Then select Attentive Display.Check the boxes you desire, and your Moto X will start paying attention to whether or not you’re paying attention to it!

11. Balance Support and Privacy

The Moto X puts you in charge of your device’s privacy settings.

Privacy and Support are opposite ends of a scale. Motorola collects data from devices that enable them to so they can provide better updates and even specific recommendations for users.

To adjust these settings, got to Settings, then tap Motorola Privacy.

Take control of your privacy.
Take control of your privacy.

If you’re not comfortable with your phone transmitting extra data to Motorola, you can disable “Help Improve Motorola Products” on this menu.

On the other hand, if you would like to send even more information and receive customized information from Motorola depending on your usage, then enable “Enhanced Device Support.”

For specifics regarding the kind of data being transmitted through these features, select “View Motorola Privacy Policy.”

12. Build your Personal Dictionary

Does your Motorola keyboard keep correcting a word that you don’t want?

Click the “+” sign next to the suggestion while you’re typing to add that word to your phone’s dictionary. From then on, your Moto X will include this word in its list of suggestions.

13. Twist Twice to Access Camera

The Moto X has a few features that can be accessed by moving the phone through physical space in certain ways. The handiest of these is the double wrist twist that pulls up your camera.

Need to take a picture of a chipmunk before it scurries back off into the underbrush?

Rather than unlocking your phone and navigating to the camera, simply twist your wrist twice and the camera will pull up right away. Once you start using this, you’ll find it’s addicting.

The Actions feature lets your phone respond to physical stimuli.
The Actions feature lets your phone respond to physical stimuli.

To turn this feature on, select Actions from the Moto app’s settings. Select “Twist for Quick Capture,” and your Moto X will display an animation featuring the correct movement.

Twist your wrist to quickly bring up the camera.
Twist your wrist to bring up the camera quickly.

14. Swipe for Camera Options

Once you’re in your camera, you’ll notice that the Moto X’s default camera app has a very minimalistic user interface. Although this is a little counterintuitive at first, once you discover where everything is, interacting with your camera becomes fluid and natural.

Swipe right on the camera to reveal this tucked away menu.
Swipe right on the camera to reveal this tucked away menu.

To access most of your camera’s features, swipe from left to right to pull out a hidden menu wheel.

15. Change between Standard and Widescreen

One of the options the Moto X offers is different photo ratios. Use the camera wheel menu to choose between Widescreen (16:9) or Standard (4:3).

The Widescreen photos are the same dimension as your phone’s screen while Standard dimension photographs are a bit shorter. However, Standard images have a higher resolution and result in larger file sizes.

Adjust the dimensions of the pictures you take.
Adjust the dimensions of the pictures you take.

Choosing what ratio to use is largely a matter of preference and depends on the kind of photo you want to take, but it’s nice to have options.

16. Swipe For Recent Pics

Swiping from left to right brings up the menu, but swiping from the right to the left accesses your most recent shots. This is a quick way to review your photographs without having to back out of the camera and open the gallery.

From here, you can delete images by swiping up and get rid of all those selfies in which you blinked.

17. Chop to Flashlight

Another physical gesture you can do with your phone is the flashlight chop.

What a great idea!

Usually, when you want to use your phone’s LED as a flashlight, you’re in the dark.The last thing you want to do is navigate a bright screen for a flashlight icon.

Once you’ve activated this feature, you’ll never have to fumble with your phone in the dark again. Two quick “chops” turns on your flashlight without ever lighting up the display.

Chop twice in quick succession to instantly turn on the flashlight.
Chop twice in quick succession to instantly turn on the flashlight.

To activate this flashlight shortcut, access the Moto app’s settings and select “Actions.” Then select “Chop Twice for Flashlight.”

An animation will demonstrate the gesture, and after checking the box, your flashlight will never be more than a hand motion away.

18. Double Pulldown for Quick Settings

Need to change a setting fast? Don’t use a Settings widget! Those things drain your battery like crazy.

First pull-down displays notifications.
First pull-down displays notifications.

The Moto X has a slick little shortcut: pull down once to see your notifications, and then pull down again to access some basic settings quickly.

Second pull-down displays a quick settings menu.
Second pull-down displays a quick settings menu.

19. Equalize Your Music

With some phones, you’re stuck with whatever audio settings came stock for playing music. Not with the Moto X.

Access Audio Effects.
Access Audio Effects.

In your Settings, select “Sound & Notification,” and then choose “Audio Effects.”

Now you’re free to rock to some crisp-sounding brilliant treble or sync up with some subwoofers and max out the bass.

Customize how your music sounds.
Customize how your music sounds.

20. Track Your Battery Usage

Ever wonder what’s draining your battery so quickly? Now you can access a timeline and see which apps are sucking up the most battery power.

See what's draining your battery.
See what’s draining your battery.

Under settings, select “Battery.”

Your phone will even analyze how much battery you’ve been using lately and predict how much life your phone has left in it before it will need to recharge.

21. Manage Data Usage

On a limited data plan? The Moto X constantly keeps up with your data usage so you can be careful not to go over.

Keep an eye on how much cellular data you're using.
Keep an eye on how much cellular data you’re using.

To access this feature, go to Settings and select “Data Usage.”

You can even set up custom data notifications and tell your phone to turn off data completely once you reach a certain threshold.

22. Fall in Love with Moto Display

Most cell phones use a front-facing color LED to display notifications. Usually, reading the LED involves interpreting its color: maybe blue indicates a Facebook notification, green is an email, and yellow a text message.

The Moto X foregoes this interpretation in favor of lighting up pixels directly on the screen. If Moto Display is activated, then your phone will show up to three notification icons directly on the lock screen. Using this method to show you the notifications, you to see several of them at a glance and jump quickly from the lock screen to the relevant app.

Moto Display makes notifications clearer and easier to manage.
Moto Display makes notifications clearer and easier to manage.

To turn on Moto Display, access the Moto app settings, select “Display,” and check the box marked “Moto Display.”

If you leave the “Hide Notification Details” box unchecked, then each notification will come with a snippet of content, like an email’s subject line and the sender or the content of a text message. Checking this box will show only the relevant app icon.

You can also interact with notification icons without unlocking your phone. Swipe to the side to ignore them, swipe up to open a specific app directly, or swipe down to unlock the phone normally.

23. Wave to Check Notifications

Sometimes I like to eat Cheetos. Other times, I like to check my phone’s notifications. In the past, these two preferences could never overlap because I didn’t want to get my phone all Cheetoey.

With Moto X, this isn’t a problem anymore. With this feature turned on, you can wave your greasy hand over the phone like a magician, and it will display your most recent notifications.

To enable this, open the Moto app’s settings, select “Actions,” and enable “Approach for Moto Display.”

Beware: once you get used to this incredible convenience, interacting with other phones can become embarrassing, as you’ll find yourself instinctively waving your hand over a sleeping phone like an idiot.

24. Customize Your Notifications

Ever had an app that you love, you just wish it didn’t send so many notifications? Motorola’s looking out for you.

Manage which apps display notifications.
Manage which apps display notifications.

Access the Moto app and choose “Display,” and then “Select Apps.” A checklist of all your apps will appear, and unchecking an app will cause your phone to omit displaying its notifications on Moto Display.

25. Wave to Silence Calls

Sometimes, when your phone rings, and you don’t want to talk to the person who is calling. You wish you could just wave your hand with all the authority of a king and silence it with a simple gesture. Moto X lets you live this fantasy.

To enable this option, open the Moto app and select Actions. Then tap “Wave to Silence.”

Now simply waving your hand over your phone will quiet alarms and unwanted phone calls.

26. Get Synchronized with Motorola Connect

Motorola Connect sends your phone’s alerts directly to your computer, enabling you to respond to text messages from your keyboard or see notifications without checking your pocket.

To get started on Motorola Connect, go to your Settings and select Active Notifications. Then go to Motorola connect and follow the walkthrough to get your devices in sync.

27. Get into your Flow by Temporarily Disabling Notifications

Need to really buckle down and work on a project and avoid any distractions?

Tap either of your volume controls to bring up the quick sound options screen.

Choose how thorough you want the silence to be, then pick how long it should last.
Choose how thorough you want the silence to be, and then pick how long it should last.

You have two options when it comes to limiting notifications.

  • Selecting “Priority” will mute all notifications, but your phone will still ring if someone on your favorites list calls you.
  • Selecting “None” will make your phone absolutely silent, and even if the president calls, you won’t hear a peep.

Once you’ve decided how off-the-grid you want to be, tap the drop-down menu to select a time limit. If you’re feeling particularly anti-social, you can always select “Indefinitely.”

28. Take a Screenshot

There are tons of apps in the Play Store designed to let you take screenshots, but your Moto X doesn’t need any of those. To take a screenshot, just press the Volume Down and Power button at the same time.


29. Try the Smart Lock

You like having a lock pattern on your phone in general, but wouldn’t it be nice if your phone just knew when it was you and relaxed its security measures?

Enable smart lock to avoid having to unlock your phone every time you use it.
Enable smart lock to avoid having to unlock your phone every time you use it.

With Smart Lock, you can set up your phone to bypass any screen lock PIN numbers or patterns under certain conditions.

To set it up, go to Settings and then “Security.” From here, tap “Smart Lock” (this option will only be available if you have a screen lock on your phone).

The Moto X has several methods it can use to determine if its user is handling it.
The Moto X has several methods it can use to determine if its user is handling it.

Trusted Devices keep your phone unlocked if your phone is within the range of any specified Bluetooth devices. This works great if you have a Bluetooth earpiece, a wearable Android device, or a Bluetooth sound system in your vehicle.

Trusted Places will bypass locks if your phone is in a specific geographical location (like your home).

Trusted Face is a little riskier and isn’t recommended if you have sensitive information on your phone, but it will attempt to memorize your face and bypass the lock if it recognizes you.

Trusted Voice is, again, a little risky. The device’s voice recognition is pretty good, but it’s nowhere near security-grade. Choose this option if you want your phone to ignore the lock screen if it detects the melodious sound of its owner’s voice.

On-body Detection keeps track of whether the phone has rested on a surface or moved to another person since the last time you unlocked manually. If not, then it bypasses the screen lock.


The Moto X (Gen II) is a remarkably agile device. Even without all the extra goodies Motorola has crammed into it, it would be a powerfully lean machine. However, with just a few simple tricks, it’s possible to tap into this phone’s true potential and get tasks accomplished in a much more natural, fluid manner.

These are our 29 tips for the Moto X. What special features do you use most frequently?

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  1. I have a Moto X 2nd gen and would like to know if there is a way to remove the google search bar on the hime screen.

    1. It is not that easy to totally get rid of it. So there are 2 easy ways to make it go away.
      1. download a new launcher (Nova Launcher, Apex, or ADW.Launcher are all good replacements, but there are many, many more choices.
      2. disable Google now in the Apps menu of your phone’s main settings. Disabling Google now will make the bar disappear, but you will lose other functions too. You can always enable it again if you use some other feature affected by disabling Google Now.

      Let us know if you need help with either and we can point you in the right direction.

  2. It’s hard to find experienced people oon thіs subject, but ʏou seem like yoᥙ knoѡ
    what ʏou’re talking abоut! Tһanks

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