In my review of the Doro 7010, I pointed out several limitations with the device which I mentioned could be remedied by implementing some customizations. This article outlines some of the tweaks I’ve had to devise to improve the phone’s experience for my uses.
You may find some of them useful if you own the device and don’t particularly like the stock interface.
Note: None of the tweaks here carry the risk of damaging the device as we’re not rooting or carrying out customizations that would normally void your warranty. Nevertheless, take caution when applying them and make backups if necessary.
We need to enable Developer options and USB debugging to be able to install new apps and customize the OS over ADB (Android Debug Bridge). You’ll need a computer to push the commands over ADB.
1. Enable Developer Options, USB debugging and App Installation
- Open the Phone app and dial *#777# to access developer options
- Turn on the toggle at the top to enable developer options
- Scroll down and turn on the toggle for USB debugging
- Open the Phone app and dial *#666# to allow app installation
2. Install ADB
ADB works by pushing commands to the phone over command line / terminal. This can be time consuming and prone to errors if you have little to no experience using the command line.
To make work easier and less daunting, I recommend using ADB AppControl which provides a graphical user interface for ADB amongst other useful features. The program is however only available on Windows. Download it from the official website and install it or use the portable version.
On the other hand, if you’re comfortable with the command-line just download the Android SDK platform tools for your OS and extract the ZIP package to access the ADB executable.
Note that you may also need to install the Android USB driver for ADB to detect your Doro. On Windows 10 my device was detected automatically, but on Windows 7 I had to install the USB drivers for MediaTek devices (the Doro 7010 uses a MTK chipstet). Use the MTK_USB_All_v1.0.8 package available here.
3. Confirm ADB works
a. For ADB AppControl
Launch the app then connect your Doro to your PC over USB. Assuming the correct USB drivers are installed, you’ll get a prompt on the phone asking you whether to allow USB debugging. Check the Always allow from this computer and click OK to accept.
The app should now load the apps from your device. If it does not, click the refresh button next to disconnect for it to detect the device or alternatively restart the app.
b. For ADB
With the device connected, open the terminal or command prompt window where the ABD executable is located and enter the following command:
Accept the prompt on the device to allow USB debugging. You’ll then get a response that the device identified by its serial number is attached.
NOTE: Do NOT run ADB AppControl and ADB simultaneously as they may conflict with each other.
How to Install Apps on the Doro 7010
To install an app you’ll need to download its APK first then install it manually. You can download APKs online from reputable sites like F-Droid, APKMirror or APKPure. You can also fetch APKs from Google Play Store using an online downloader like Evozi.
Note however that you won’t be able to access any newly installed apps via the default launcher. As such you need to install a new launcher app. Check the section on app recommendations below for some launchers you can use.
You can install an APK via ADB or directly from the device as follows:.
1. Installing APKs via ADB
For ADB AppControl, click the Install button, followed by Quick Install then select the APK to install.
As for ADB, use one of the following commands:
a. If APK is located in the same folder as the ADB executable use:
adb install -r --user 0 filename.apk
b. If APK is located in a different folder use:
adb install -r --user 0 "path-to-apk" e.g adb install -r --user 0 "path-to-apk-file"
adb install -r --user 0 "path-to-apk" e.g adb install -r --user 0 "D:\Downloads\filename.apk"
2. Installing APKs from the Device
The default file manager on the Doro does not support installing APKs. Instead it gives an error that the file format is supported if you try opening an APK file.
Nevertheless, you can install APKs via other apps as follows:
- Use the Browser app to download the APK from a site.
- Once the download completes, open the notification drawer and click Ok on the completed download.
- Accept the prompt to allow app installation from this source then install the app.
Alternatively, after installing a custom launcher that allows you to access new apps you may also install apps by:
- Installing the F-Droid APK using the browser as explained above or via ADB. You can then install most of the apps in its database, though note that the interface is a bit tricky to navigate with the keypad.
- Installing a different file manager that will allow you to install downloaded APKs.
Most of the apps below are FOSS and can be downloaded from F-Droid. They’re also lightweight both in terms of size and memory consumption.
Note that these apps are not optimized for use with buttons, the small display and default large resolution of the Doro 7010. I’ve however stuck to apps that are either fully or semi-useable with the buttons alone (no mouse unless the app includes it natively).
As for the display issue, check the next section on how to increase the resolution and DPI which allows more of the apps’ content to fit on the display at any given time. It also looks much better, assuming you don’t mind a much smaller font.
Note: The DorOS uses a system-wide theme with a black font which interferes with apps using dark themes. Therefore, switch to light themes whenever available for any apps you install (including the ones listed below).
1. App Launcher
Use a lightweight and minimalistic launcher like Niagra launcher or Text launcher. After installing it, use ADB AppControl to disable the stock launcher (com.sagereal.launcher) so that the new launcher takes precedence.
I prefer Niagara launcher over other launchers for the sole reason that it allows one to launch apps using the number buttons i.e. you can open an app by pressing the number corresponding to its position in the list e.g. pressing number 1 launches the first app that’s visible in the list.
Niagara also supports app icons, app search and options to customize visible apps.
- Install two launchers so in case one crashes (e.g. Niagara launcher) the system will default to the next available one (e.g. Text launcher) and allow you to restart the default one.
- You can configure and arrange the Niagara app list on your computer using the virtual screen on the Tools page in ADB AppControl. You’ll need to install Scrcpy to control the screen.
- For visibility, use a wallpaper with a light color to contrast with the default black font.
After installing a custom app launcher you’ll not be able to view notifications using the menu button (…). As a workaround, install the Notification Drawer app which slides down the drawer when you open it.
For ease of use, you can place it at the very top of Niagara launcher so that notifications are shown whenever you press the number 1.
You’ll need to increase the screen resolution as explained further below if you want the notifications to fit properly in the display as shown above.
3. File Manager
I’ve tested a few FOSS File Managers on F-droid but I have found most of them unsatisfactory for use with the navigation buttons.
Fortunately, there’s a system file manager called Files already on the device which is easy to navigate with the buttons. The only problem is that it’s only accessible when picking files or folders from Settings or other apps.
Nevertheless, you can add to it the launcher so that it’s accessible any time using the Files app which is simply an app shortcut for it.
Unlike the default file manager, Files allows you to install APKs as well as view files in the predefined categories: images, videos, audio, recent and downloads.
It’s however not possible to carry out file operations (copy, move etc) using the app. To do that use the default File Manager or install MiXplorer which works reasonably well with the navigation buttons and supports many options e.g. image viewer, document viewer, opening archives.
4. Music and Audio Books
For music listening use Vanilla Music. Unlike the severely limited default Music app, this app supports artist, albums, genre, playlists and even a folder player!
I tested several music apps and Vanilla proved reasonably navigable with the buttons compared to other apps. You can also try Vinyl though some functions are inaccessible with the buttons.
For Audio Books use AudioAnchor — it’s much easier to navigate compared to Voice.
Surprisingly, the app has held good over the years and still supports its famous compression engine. As such, it’s not only ideal for the limited memory on the Doro but also for those on limited data plans.
The app’s interface is fully operable using the navigation buttons but the web page content is navigated using the app’s own mouse pointer. This pointer works better compared to the the default one in the Browser app.
Other functions this little browser supports includes tabs, saving pages, bookmarks, editable quick dials and disabling images.
With that said, the browser is only ideal for quick searches and light browsing as it may not support some complex sites. For those, use the default browser.
Note: The app sometimes loads blank interstitial ad pages due to the server side compression. You can ignore this by going back to the previous page and clicking the link again.
The Doro 7010 does not have any map app even though it has a GPS sensor. Nevertheless, you can access some map providers using the Browser. You’ll be prompted whether to enable location access in such cases.
However, if you’re only interested in finding or sharing your current location you can use an app like Location Share or My Location. The former supports sharing location in a variety of formats including Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, GeoURI and Decimal.
7. Others Apps
- Use Shortcut Maker to add app shortcuts to frequently used settings and activities (e.g Wi-Fi, Hotspot). This will save you time since the Doro does not support quick toggles.
- The torch app becomes inaccessible when you install a new launcher. You can use this Torch or a similar app as a replacement.
- Use Tuner to tune your guitar, bass and other instruments. Use the chromatic tuner to avoid too much navigation with the buttons.
1. Remove Apps / Bloatware
You can uninstall apps completely from the Doro 7010 using ADB with no need for root. A simple way to do this is to use ADB App Control: just select the app to remove, right click and select Uninstall. You’ll be prompted by the program whether to back up the application before removing a system application.
You may also opt to use the disable option if you only want to make the app inaccessible.
Alternatively, you can uninstall an app using ADB but you need to know the package name of the app. To do that, use the following command:
adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 package.name
For example, to uninstall the Facebook app, use the command:
adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.facebook.lite
2. Change Screen Resolution
You can change the resolution of the device using ADB App Control. The default resolution is 240 x 320 with a pixel density of 120. You can experiment with different values to find what suits you.
To do that, go to the Tools page, enter the new width and height values in Resolution and the new DPI value under Pixel density then click Apply.
The new resolution will be applied without having to reboot the device. If you don’t like the result, you can restore the original resolution any time using the Default button below Apply.
Make sure not to use values that are too high or too low. Personally, I have found that a resolution of 360 x 480 with a DPI of 180 works best for me. DPI values of between 120-180 will also work. Note however, the smaller the DPI value, the smaller the font size will be.
Note: You can also set the DPi value using the smallest width setting inside developer options. For example, a width of 320 corresponds to a DPi value of 180.
3. Useful ADB Commands
a. The command belwo will trigger the home screen app (launcher) selection pop-up. Use this to start the launcher if none is currently running, e.g. after disabling the stock launcher and installing a new one.
adb shell am start -c android.intent.category.HOME -a android.intent.action.MAIN
b. Command to view and manage installed apps (hidden in settings):
adb shell am start -a android.settings.APPLICATION_SETTINGS
c. Command to view developer options:
adb shell am start -a com.android.settings.APPLICATION_DEVELOPMENT_SETTINGS
d. Command to change the screen timeout (sleep) duration:
adb shell settings put system screen_off_timeout 60000
where 60000 is equivalent to a timeout of 1 minute
To set 3 minutes which is not available in the settings use:
adb shell settings put system screen_off_timeout 180000
I hope some of these tweaks will make your Doro phone a bit bearable for you as it has for me. Unfortunately, there’s nothing as far as I know that we can do about the stiff buttons. I suppose we’ll just have to get used to them with time.