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Flaws & annoyances with the HTC Desire (with workarounds!) [updated Aug 4, 2010]

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By ohyeahar, Senior Member on 19th April 2010, 07:56 AM
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I've been using the Desire for a while now. I've come to discover tiny flaws and annoyances with the device. The purpose of this thread is not to say it's a bad device. On the contrary, it has been a dream to use. None of the items listed here are deal-breakers, at least for me.

The purpose is to just foster discussion and perhaps find workarounds to share with the community.

Is there anything about your Desire that rubs you the wrong way? Or perhaps you have a good solution for any of the items listed?

Most recent entries are numbered highest

The items here should be things that are experienced by ALL HTC Desire users.
The reaction to each item by everybody should be either of the following:
  • "Yeah, that's true for my device."
  • "Oh? Really? My device has that problem?" (Turn on your device to test...) "Oh, damn, it's true..."
You may or may not care for the items listed here, but nonetheless, they're there and they apply to your device.

That being said, things not included here are the following:
  • Hardware limitations. Eg. No call start/end keys. You knew about things like this before you bought it.
  • Hardware defects. Eg. Dust under screen, device not going into standby properly. Most of us don't experience these. Contact your retailer to exchange the unit or HTC to claim warranty.
  • Problems arising because of your carrier. Eg. Some carriers limit your device's max volume. Speak with your carrier.
  • Problems arising because of your geographic location. Eg. The FM Radio application freezes in some European countries.

Message from me!
Thanks everyone for contributing! Just a reminder for everyone: Please try not to think of these "issues" as problems. Consider them limitations that we have to work around. There's no such thing as the perfect device and I'm not sure there ever will be. Don't let this list worry you. I don't think there's a single HTC Desire user who thinks that his/her device is absolutely un-useable because of these limitations.

That being said, thanks for those who contacted HTC about this thread. But do manage your expectations because it's unlikely anything will get done since these are such minor things.

Let me redefine the purpose of this thread:
-Identify limitations
-Foster discussion of such limitations in order to find workarounds

For those of you who don't have the HTC Desire, don't be put off by the sheer number of issues listed here. Most are minor nit-picky things. Some have workarounds. Others you might not even care about.

Please read this post before submitting an item. It's being updated for a reason. I'm going to ignore all submissions if it's already mentioned in the 1st post.

Some of you are posting tips and tricks for items that are not in the 1st post. That's fine; I'll just add them to my Tips & Tricks blog entry. Link is in my signature.


10. Turning the device facedown on a surface during a call does not activate speakerphone. (Minor issue, but it was something I just took for granted from my Touch Pro2)

14. Vertical slide gesture to answer/dismiss calls. Submitted by DoomFragger. Sometimes leads to accidental answering or dismissing of calls when device is taken out of pocket.
Workaround: Install alternative lock screen and/or take extra care when taking out your device.

16. Only standby button wakes the screen. Submitted by mlear.
Workaround: Install "No Lock". Thanks Karolis.

19. Can't specify duration of notification light. Submitted by Bart1981.

20. Voice-to-text feature removed from Android by HTC. Wonder why...
Workaround: Use HTC IME Mod keyboard. Thanks gogol
Update: The official Froyo update included voice search. But still no voice-to-text button for keyboard.

21. Can't disable proximity sensor. Causes phone to behave unpredictably in pocket if using bluetooth headset. Submitted by Tearlow.

23. The device sometimes thinks you're somewhere you're not. Gives you the wrong weather and/or time. Submitted by Phil750123.
Workaround: Remove your clock widget and add it back. Manually select your location.

24. Compact QWERTY keyboard does not "learn" your typing style. Submitted by Phil750123.

27. Can't just have the pattern lock screen without the default slide lock screen. Submitted by Unfriendly.

30. Alarm sometimes snoozes if the proximity or light sensor is tripped. Submitted by nicelad_uk.

31. Poor button placement for "Snooze" when the alarm activates. It's positioned near the bottom of the screen where it's easy to accidentally hit when attempting the downward slide gesture while barely awake. Submitted by streetdaddy.
Workaround: Start the downward slide gesture towards the top of the display. It's not necessary to swipe the bar on the bottom. Thanks tifosi256.

32. The order of articles in the News widget appears very random and fluctuates depending on time of update rather than time of publish. Submitted by andycted.

33. No native tasks or notes application. This means no syncing with Outlook or Exchange for these items. Submitted by david_inuk.

36. No native file explorer for Android. Can't upload files from browser, eg. can't attach files to posts here at XDA, can't upload to Dropbox. Submitted by mcgon1979.
Update: The official Froyo update didn't include a native file browser. But you are now able to upload files via browser. (Regarding Dropbox, you may use their official app to upload/download files)

45. Cannot turn off camera shutter sound for HTC's Footprint application. The shutter sound will play even if you disabled the shutter sound in the Camera application. Submitted by gogol.

48. Hyphens confuse the phone number recognition software. If you want to dial a phone number displayed in an email or the browser and it contains a hyphen, it will not dial correctly. Submitted by MissStabby.

49. Too easy to power on the device. It takes just a tap of the power button. Would have been better if it required a long press of the power button. Submitted by Cleargrey.

51. Unable to add custom locations into weather application. Submitted by Snowskip.

53. Can't select multiple or all to mark as read in News application. Submitted by benko286.

65. Screen automatically turns on unlocked after ending a call. Leads to accidental screen inputs if device is in pocket while using headset.Submitted by unrealnet.

68. If you start dialing a number, the contacts list in the dialer will not filter to all contacts containing that sequence of numbers. Rather, it will only filter to all contacts that begin with that sequence of numbers. Submitted by hubogoss62.


2. Internet bookmarks can't be organized into folders. (Sure you can put a folder on the homescreen and put quick links there, but it's not what I'm referring to.)
Workaround: Use alternative web browser. Thanks jannen. But the default browser is so capable.

47. Limit of 4 browser windows/tabs opened at any one time. Submitted by Borgini.


7. Can't specify sync schedule for Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar.
Workaround: Sync with Google's Exchange server instead.

17. HTC removed multiple Exchange accounts support. Submitted by nbedford.
Workaround: Download TouchDown. Thanks defectivereject.

37. When syncing with Exchange server, Exchange Managed Folders are not synced. Submitted by daesimps


4. Gmail application icon does not include counter for new messages.
Workaround: "Gmail Unread Count" from Android Market

6. Can only attach photos in Gmail application
Workaround: Attach other file types via 3rd party file explorer like Astro.

8. Can't select multiple messages to mark as read or unread in Mail application.

9. Mail Widget doesn't display messages from Gmail application.
Workaround: Setup Gmail in the Mail application if you want it to be displayed in the widget.

15. Cannot zoom in/out in Gmail application. Submitted by mlear.

18. Can't hit certain hyperlinks in Gmail application. This is just silly. Eg, this link doesn't work ""
Workaround: Sync with Google's Exchange server to use Mail application.

58. For POP3 email accounts, marking emails as read on your device doesn't mark it as read on the server. This is actually an problem not specific to the Desire, but to Android OS in general. It's been reported to Google already back in Oct 2009. Submitted by well0549.


12. When watching video or listening to music via the default applications, it's difficult to navigate to a particular point in the middle of the clip, especially if the clip is long. You can only drag the progress bar but you can't get very precise. HTC/Android should allow the optical trackpad to be used for precise navigation here (ie, perhaps use left/right commands to move the clip by several seconds) or just copy Apple (ie. decrease horizontal sensitivity of the screen as you drag your finger vertically away from the progress bar. Those of you with iPod Touches or iPhones will know what I'm talking about here).
Workaround: Install alternative video player. Thanks defectivereject.

13. No equalizer for the music player. Submitted by admoo. Some would argue that equalizers distort and add noise. But there's enough people who want it that it should have been included by Google/HTC.
Workaround: Use alternative player. Thanks quicksite.

39. Default Music application does not display lyrics even if they are properly tagged. Submitted by daesimps

50. The default music application will not use track numbers as the play order if you long-tap on an album (in album view) and select "play". They will be played alphabetically by song title. Similarly, if you long-tap on an album and select "add to playlist", the tracks will be added in alphabetical order. Submitted by Scottland.

55. Only specific events trigger the Album to update. If you added/removed items from the Album without triggering the specified events, your changes may be reflected in the Album until the next time you triggered said events. These events are the following (may not be exhaustive list)
-Camera application takes a photo/video
-Modifications made from within Album application
-Save image from default browser.
-Unmount/mount of microSD card (ie, soft reset, enter/exit disk drive mode, manually trigger SD card scan)
Submitted by Laban.

56. The default music application may not display the genre tag of MP3 files correctly. It writes "Unknown Genre" instead. With OGG vorbis files the year tag is also buggy. Submitted by arminius.locustus.
Workaround: Switch your complete music collection to mp3. Tag the files according to the last standard (id3.2v4). Only use predefined genre tags. And even then: Pray that the internal number of the genres you listen to is below 100. Thanks arminius.locustus.

60. When activating Voice-to-Text during music playback, the music pauses, but does not resume after the device accepts your voice command.


28. No proxy support. Can't connect to internet at many workplaces. Submitted by Jade_user.

40. SMTP Authentications not handled properly by HTC's Mail client. Submitted by lolomin.

52. VPN connection state not consistent across reboots. After reboot, device thinks it's still connected to the VPN when it's not. Submitted by Fiouz.


3. Contact photos become blurry if synced with Google Contacts. Happens with Windows Mobile too, so Google really needs to fix this.
Workaround: After your device downloads your contacts from Google, disable contacts syncing. Any changes to your contacts will not be saved in the cloud and you have to add photos manually for each contact. Detailed instructions here.
Alternatively, create new contact in the phone memory with hi-res picture and link it with existing Google contact. Thanks spooky75.

22. Can't specify particular contact groups within Google Contacts to sync. Submitted by freddyemmer.

25. Cannot hide SIM contacts from dialer. They can be hidden from contact list but still appear in dialer. Submitted by cworrall.

29. Facebook contacts information not syncing properly. Submitted by nicelad_uk (check out items 1 and 2 at his/her post).

41. Website address is not a field you can input for a new contact. But you can input it in Google Contacts with your browser. You can however, edit that field on your device after you've set it in Google Contacts. Submitted by vlad69uk.

42. For contacts, the type for Microsoft's instant messaging users will always be "None" if you sync with Google Contacts. Google Contacts and Android use different identifiers for Microsoft's instant messaging system. Android sees labels it as "Windows Live" while Google Contacts labels it as "MSN". So, once it syncs, the IM type changes to "None" in Google Contacts and on your device.

43. If a contact card includes a website, tapping on it does not open your browser to take you there as you would expect. It doesn't do anything! That's not very well thought out.

46. Birthday information for contacts cannot be synced from your device to Google Contacts. It can only be synced from Google Contacts to your device. Submitted by yeepeekai.
Workaround: Use EboBirthday and EboBirthday Contact Sync. Submitted by tifosi256.

59. Search in the contacts list only searches the contact name. It should search other fields such as the Organization as well. Inspired by IceBone.
Workaround: Use the paid application "Contacts Search+". Thanks IceBone. See here for more info.

34. No monthly-calendar style date picker when creating new entries in default Calendar application. Only have the rotating dials. Submitted by mrdo.

35. If more than one calendar event reminder comes up, you can only dismiss all or snooze all. Cannot action on them separately. Submitted by mrdo.
Workaround: "Calendar snooze" from Android Market. Submitted by vivus.

38. Calendar does not support setting appointments as free, busy, or out of office. Submitted by daesimps

45. Can't specify end-date for repeating calendar entry. Can only do so in Google Calendar. Submitted by joeboyc2.
Workaround: Set up the recurring event. Then delete the event that occurs after the final occurence you want. You will be given the choice to delete all future occurrences. Thanks Eggmoon.

54. Google Calendar events don't sync properly if change type to/from "Default" and "Private". Submitted by mroek.

57. Reminders for Outlook all-day events starts going off at midnight.Submitted by anthonyeeles.

61. No year-view for default calendar application. Submitted by amak_ot.

63. Can't add additional sports calendars under Google's "Other Calendars". You can only add additional Google "My Calendars". Submitted by TractorMatty.
Workaround:Use Submitted by TractorMatty.

Messaging (SMS)
11. Autocomplete in the "To" field of the SMS application is not very smart. It shouldn't list the Home or Work numbers as options to select when you start typing a name.
Workaround: Install alternative SMS application (eg, Handcent). Thanks Smirge

26. Bug in default Messaging (SMS) application that displays incorrect timestamp and messes up the order of the threaded conversations. Happens when receiving messages from external carrier networks and/or across time zones. Submitted by Jaa-Yoo.

44. Can't set a number as the default for messaging. Where contacts have more than one number (even if they're not 'mobile' numbers), if you select "New message" from the messages tab in the phonebook, you get a "Phone numbers" prompt like you do with standard Android asking which to use. This is fine, but it does not have a "use this as default" checkbox like it should. Submitted by Simon143.

64. Strange behavior in Messaging application when sending messages to multiple recipients. Seperate threads are created for sending to multiple numbers of a single contact. Upon replies, the initial message sent out is no longer displayed. Submitted by PseudoReal.

67. SMS Received Notification does not work. Submitted by tomvdp.

Items that were initially applicable but have since been fixed by official OTA updates.

62. Can't have the screen rotated 90 degrees clockwise. It only recognizes portrait and landscape in 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Submitted by jamfitz86.
Update: The official Froyo update fixed this.

1. Internet bookmarks always default to sort by newest. It makes more sense to be sorted alphabetically.
Workaround: Use alternative web browser. Thanks jannen. But the default browser is so capable.
Update: The official Froyo update fixed this.

66. Mobile Terminated SMS are linked to random contact. Submitted by pascanu.
Update: The official Android 2.1 update 1 fixed this.

5. Can't select text to copy to Clipboard in Gmail application.
Workaround: Use the Mail application to sync with Google's Exchange server. You can select text to copy to clipboard in the Mail application.
Update: The official Froyo update fixed this.
19th April 2010, 09:07 AM |#2  
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13. Theres no bloomin' equaliser for the music player!
19th April 2010, 09:14 AM |#3  
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For the internet browsing bookmarks - you can always use Opera. Works fine on my phone - but I still prefer the default one
19th April 2010, 09:22 AM |#4  
gogol's Avatar
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I hate problem no. 3.

Can someone create an app "Replace Contact Photos" ... to replace all photo contacts programmatically using the hires one from sd-card?

That would be awesome!
19th April 2010, 09:42 AM |#5  
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Lock Screen
May I had the annoyance of the lock screen dropping calls. It's been already discussed in the forum.

When the phone is pulled out from pants, it will dismiss several calls. Why did they put a vertical slide?
19th April 2010, 10:12 AM |#6  
ohyeahar's Avatar
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Originally Posted by DoomFragger

May I had the annoyance of the lock screen dropping calls. It's been already discussed in the forum.

When the phone is pulled out from pants, it will dismiss several calls. Why did they put a vertical slide?

I've added it to the list. But I have to say that I don't think this is a very prevalent problem. I counted only 4 users who has this problem in that thread dedicated to this issue.
I keep my device in my front pants pocket with the screen facing me all the time and never have I had any problems with accidental receiving or dismissing of calls. Sure, I don't wear tight pants but they're certainly not baggy either!
19th April 2010, 10:37 AM |#7  
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i am a fat bastard with tight jeans, and i don't get a problem with dismissed calls.....
19th April 2010, 12:25 PM |#8  
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Act 1 Video Player allows optical trackball for tiny precise forward/rewind.
19th April 2010, 12:28 PM |#9  
Senior Member
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Originally Posted by ohyeahar

11. Autocomplete in the "To" field of the SMS application is not very smart. It shouldn't list the Home or Work numbers as options to select when you start typing a name.

this is particularly annoying and makes this feature almost unusable. grrrr. it's now actually quite difficult to send a simple sms.
19th April 2010, 12:37 PM |#10  
Senior Member
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1. Internet bookmarks always default to sort by newest. It makes more sense to be sorted alphabetically.
Workaround: Use alternative web browser. Thanks jannen. But the default browser is so capable.

When in bookmarks you can press menu and change the sort order.
19th April 2010, 12:43 PM |#11  
Junior Member
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cannot zoom in/out in gmail app
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