A Guide to Motorola Apps and Software

How these features can improve your Motorola experience

Motorola offers an array of apps and software for its mobile devices, including the Moto Z smartphone series. Moto Display gives you quick access to your notifications, while Moto Voice lets you control your phone without touching it. Moto Actions provides you with gesture controls to get to your favorite apps and key settings, and the Moto Camera helps you take your best shot. These are a few of the useful apps available for your Moto device.

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Moto Display

Moto Display app on Motorola phone showing notifications
What We Like
  • Displays notification previews on locked phones.

  • Scrolls through all notifications at one time.

  • You select which apps display notifications.

What We Don't Like
  • Tiny icon size is hard on the eyes.

  • Unnecessary animations are annoying.

The Moto Display app offers a preview of your notifications without unlocking or touching your smartphone. It's a great way to see text messages, Twitter alerts, and calendar reminders without getting distracted when you're busy with something else. Notification previews don't display while you're on a call or if the phone is face down or in a pocket or purse.

To open or respond to a notification, tap and hold on it. Then, slide your finger up to open the app. Slide your finger down to the lock icon to unlock your phone. Swipe up to dismiss the notification.

You can choose which apps push notifications to the Moto Display app and how much information shows up on your screen: All, Hide Sensitive Content, or None.

To enable and disable the Moto Display app, tap the Menu icon and then tap Moto > Display > Moto Display. Move the toggle to the right to enable and to the left to disable.

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Moto Voice for Alexa

Moto Voice app showing the Alexa setup
What We Like
  • Interact with Alexa hands-free from your Motorola device.

  • Use your voice to interact with calendar, respond to texts.

  • Create your own launch phrase.

What We Don't Like
  • Voice training requires a quiet environment. Too quiet.

  • Features are somewhat limited.

  • Unnecessary for anyone with an Echo device.

Moto Voice is Motorola's voice command software, similar to Siri and Google Assistant. You can create a launch phrase, such as, "Hey Moto Z" or whatever you call your phone. Then, use your voice to add appointments to your calendar, respond to text messages, check the weather, and more. You can also say, "What's up?" to get a readout of your latest notifications.

To disable the Moto Voice for Alexa app, go to Settings and uncheck the box next to Launch Phrase.

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Moto Actions

Moto Actions app showing gesture options
What We Like
  • Launch apps or complete functions with gestures or actions.

  • Animations demonstrate the necessary moves.

  • Gestures are convenient and easy to use.

What We Don't Like
  • Split screen option is hard to activate.

  • Some features aren't available on every device.

Moto Actions let you use gestures or actions to launch apps or complete functions, including: 

  • Chop twice for flashlight
  • Flip for Do Not Disturb
  • Pick up to stop ringing
  • Swipe to shrink the screen
  • Twist for Quick Capture (launches camera)

Some, like the "chop twice" command, require some practice. There are animations of the movements you need to make in the Action settings section for extra help.

The remaining actions are:

  • Approach for Moto Display triggers Moto Display when you reach for your phone.
  • Attentive Display keeps your screen on when you're looking at it, so your phone won't go into standby mode while you're reading a long article, for example.

To enable or disable Moto Actions, go to Menu > Moto > Actions, and then check the actions you want to use and uncheck the ones you don't.

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Moto Camera 3

Moto Camera app showing various options
What We Like
  • Crystal clear short-range images.

  • Includes video, slow-motion video, and panorama shots.

  • User interface is easy to use.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't compare well to competitors' camera apps.

  • Clarity drops off on mid-range and long-range images.

  • Spot color effect needs work.

The Moto Camera app is the default app for capturing photos on Moto smartphones, and it's not very different from other smartphone cameras. It takes still images, panorama shots, video, and slow-motion video.

Moto Camera 3 is compatible with select devices launched in 2020 and later. For other phones, there's Moto Camera 2 or the original Moto app. The features differ slightly. All three apps are available at the Google Play store.

In Moto Camera 3, there's a Quick Capture mode, Portrait mode, and Pro mode, and you can assign a spot color to appear on black and white images. Moto Camera integrates with Google Photos, so you can store and share your pictures.

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Moto File Manager

Moto File Manager app
What We Like
  • Works with files on a Moto device and microSD card.

  • One-key transfer to an external SD card.

  • Creates encrypted ZIP files in the app.

What We Don't Like
  • Copying, deleting, or moving items is a slow process.

  • No option to recover deleted files.

Use the Moto File Manager app to handle your files efficiently, whether they are stored on your device or a microSD card. The app's home screen makes it easy to browse files by category. You can move, rename, copy, delete, create, and share files. You can also create encrypted ZIP files right in the app.

Particularly useful is the one-key transfer feature for transferring the music, video, and picture files from the phone's storage to the external SD card. Just as handy is the remote management feature for browsing your phone's files from your computer.

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Moto Widget

Moto Widget app
What We Like
  • Displays date, time, weather, steps, and air quality index.

  • Multiple interface designs are available.

  • Easy-to-use attractive widget.

What We Don't Like
  • The small font can't be enlarged.

  • Doesn't display severe weather notices.

  • Includes a lot of ads.

The Moto Widget app does one thing, but it does it really well. It displays the date, time, weather, dual time, and steps recorded in Google Fit at a glance. Available in three designs, Moto Widget gets you the information you need when you need it.

If you didn't find what you are looking for in this collection of Moto apps, check out the Best Moto Apps for 2021 for more ways to personalize your phone.

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