What is EMUI? A closer look at the Android skin from Huawei

10 min read

The EMUI skin is on top of Android on Huawei and Honor devices. It is far from the most popular skin there is. It gets a bad rap because it changes the look and feel of Android and Apple tries to imitate it in many ways.

Despite the shortcomings, Huawei & # 39; s skin offers many useful features that enhance the smartphone experience – the best can be seen below. Some of these are specific to the most recent version of EMUI, while a few others are only included in the company's advanced devices.

Read more: the best Huawei phones that you can buy now

The latest version of the skin is currently EMUI 9.1, which made its debut on the Huawei P30 Pro series. It is a minor upgrade from EMUI 9.0 that was announced alongside the Mate 20 series and now runs on quite a few Huawei and Honor phones.

EMUI: App drawer

EMUI app drawer - what is EMUI

Older Huawei and Honor devices did not have an app drawer, unlike most Android handsets. All apps are placed on the home screens, just like on iPhones. Although some users liked this feature, most felt the opposite. The lack of an app drawer did not meet the home screens of the device and made it difficult to find a specific app if you had many installed.

Fortunately, Huawei listened to his community and brought the app drawer back with EMUI 5.0. With the skin, users can enable or disable the app drawer and offer the best of both worlds. It is disabled by default, but you can go to Settings> Home Screen and Background> Home Screen Style to turn it on. The path may differ slightly depending on your device.

Huawei is not the only company that lets users turn the app drawer on or off. LG & # 39; s smartphones offer the same function. Most other Android handsets, including those from Samsung, HTC and Sony, have no option to turn off the app drawer.

EMUI: AI-related functions

EMI camera AI functions - What is EMUI

EMUI brings a few AI-related functions to a few Huawei and Honor devices. The most important is scene and object recognition, with which you can improve your photography game. The camera identifies different scenes and objects in real time and automatically adjusts things such as color, contrast, brightness and exposure to enhance the image.

Scene recognition is available on Kirin 970 and 980 devices.

This feature is usually available on devices powered by the Kirin 970 or Kirin 980 chipset such as the P20 Pro, Mate 20 and Honor View 20. According to Huawei, phones such as the Mate 20 Pro with EMUI 9.0 can recognize 5000 different objects and 1500 scenarios in 25 categories.

Other AI-related functions include photo-based translations and smart tips that provide advice, such as suggestions to enable the blue light filter when reading in a dark environment. Then there is the shopping experience, with which you can scan an item with the camera and then show similar products on Amazon. EMUI 9.0 also has a feature called HiVision, which allows the camera to recognize important landmarks and famous paintings and then provides basic information about them.

EMUI: Navigation platform

Telephones have become huge over the years. Huawei & # 39; s own Mate 20 X has a huge 7.2-inch display. This is great for watching videos and browsing the Internet, but it can cause problems when handling a device – making it difficult to reach the capacitive or screen keys for navigation.

Read next: Best telephones with 8 GB RAM – what are your current options?

Huawei is trying to solve this problem with its navigation dock, a translucent floating button that you can use instead of the traditional home, back, and multitasking keys. It can be placed anywhere on the screen for easy access. You can enable it by going to Settings> System> System Navigation> Navigation Dock. The path may differ slightly depending on your device.

The navigation platform is easy to use: tap it to go back, long press to go to the home screen, and hold and slide to activate the multitasking menu. You can check what this looks like in action in the screen shots above.

EMUI: app lock

Huawwei P20 Pro Emui App lock function - what is EMUI

This EMUI function keeps your data-sensitive apps away from prying eyes. To open an app that is protected with App lock, you must use the fingerprint scanner. That way only you have access to it.

This function is useful for finances, messages and other apps with private data.

The feature is super useful for hiding sensitive apps when other people such as friends or family members want to play with your phone. I personally use it to secure a personal financial app, Google Photos, and Facebook Messenger. You can use it for any app installed on your phone.

Enabling app locking is easy. Just go to Settings> Security and Privacy> App Lock, where you see a list of the apps that are installed on your phone. Then turn on the switch next to the apps that you want to protect and you are ready to go. The next time you open one of those apps on your Huawei or Honor phone, a screen will appear where you can see that the app is locked and that you must use your fingerprint to open it (as in the image above).

EMUI: Smart split screen


Devices with Android 8.0 Oreo already support a split screen mode, allowing you to use two apps at the same time. Smartphones with EMUI 8.0 or higher take this function one step further.

When you receive a text message while doing something important (such as watching a hilarious cat video), the phone will suggest switching to split screen mode so that you can see the message without disturbing your activity. You can enable split-screen mode in these situations by simply tapping.

This is not a feature that would convince people to get a Huawei phone over its rivals, but it can certainly be useful.

EMUI: App Twin


If you have two Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat accounts, switching between these accounts on your smartphone means that you constantly have to log out and back in – it is difficult. Huawei solves this problem with a feature called App Twin, which duplicates an app on your device, allowing you to use two accounts at the same time.

Read the following: 10 best Facebook apps for Android

Go to to enable it Settings> Apps> App Twin, where you see a list of supported apps. Then enable the function for each app to duplicate it. The only thing left is to find the new app in the app drawer, log in and be ready.

Of course, Huawei is not the only company that offers this feature. You can also find it on many smartphones that come from China, including those from OnePlus. Android handsets do not support this.

EMUI: GPU Turbo 3.0


In June 2018, Huawei announced the GPU Turbo graphic processing technology, which made its debut at the Honor Play. It is said that it increases processing efficiency and reduces energy consumption while playing games.

EMUI 9.1 is supplied with GPU Turbo 3.0.

The second generation of technology – called GPU Turbo 2.0 – is available on phones with EMUI 9.0. GPU Turbo 2.0 supports even more games and at a larger capacity. According to Huawei, it can "optimize intelligent intensive workloads and give the devices a performance improvement on demand while reducing power consumption." In addition to gaming, it is said that technology also improves the response time of the touchscreen, network connectivity and more. The supported games are PUBG Mobile, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, NBA 2k18, Rules of Survival, Arena of Valor and Vainglory.

With the announcement of the Huawei P30 series and EMUI 9.1, the company also unveiled the third generation of its graphic processing technology – GPU Turbo 3.0. It would reduce SoC power consumption by 10 percent and support 19 additional games listed below:

  • Fortnite
  • Knives out
  • Battle Bay
  • Crazy taxi
  • Real Racing 3
  • Into the Dead 2
  • NBA 2K19
  • Dragon Nest M
  • Duel Links
  • PES 2019
  • Dragon Ball Legends
  • FIFA Mobile
  • Free fire
  • Minecraft
  • screw
  • Plants vs. Zombie Heroes
  • Subway Surfers
  • Brawl Stars
  • Speed ​​Drifters

EMUI: file safe

File safe is another great security feature on devices running EMUI. Allows you to lock images, videos & audio files, and various documents, which can then be viewed in a folder that can be opened using the fingerprint scanner. It's great for those private images that you don't want anyone to see and important documents that are meant for your eyes only.

Go to to try it out Settings> Security and privacy> File safe. After the function is set, press the "Add" button at the bottom to add images and other files. After they are added, the files are transferred from the original location (for example, the gallery) to the Secure File folder. You can undo the process by safely deleting files from File at any time.

Of course, Huawei / Honor phones are not the only ones that offer a feature like this. Samsung phones are pre-loaded with Samsung Secure Folder, which works in a similar way. A few other manufacturers have also devised their own solutions.

These are the best features of EMUI, but there is much more to offer. It supports gestures such as drawing a letter on the screen with your knuckle to open an app. It has a Highlights tool that automatically creates short films from your photos and videos. It can synchronize your LinkedIn contacts with your phone's address book. The mini display view reduces the content on the screen so that you can easily reach everything with your thumb. The new password vault on EMUI 9.0 encrypts passwords and allows you to enter them automatically in certain fields with a face or fingerprint scan. Then there is also the PC mode, which brings the smartphone experience to a larger screen. The list continues.

Which EMUI function is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!


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Written by

Don Bradman

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