15 Tips and Tricks for Onyx Boox Android eReaders


With the release of the new Onyx Boox Nova Pro and Note Pro, I’ve been using the two devices a lot lately so I thought I’d put together a list of tips and tricks for getting started.

These type of Android ebook readers take a lot more time to setup and optimize than a basic ereader like a Kindle or Nook. Some things aren’t very obvious, especially if it’s your first Android ereader.

With the new models getting released, Onyx updated the software on their ereaders to version 2.1.1.

Some of these tips are specific to the features available in the new software.

Feel free to post some additional tips in the comments section if you want to share them.

Onyx Boox Tips

Enable Google Play Store – I posted about this earlier but they’ve since removed the video tutorial. Basically just go to Settings > Application > Enable Google Play > Tap GSF ID and sign in > Reboot.

Sideload Apps – If you don’t want to bother with Google Play, you can easily sideload Android apps and use alternate appstores like APKPure. Go to Settings > Application > and check the box for Unknown sources to sideload apps.

Power Off Settings – I’ve seen people complaining about how Onyx devices turn off automatically after 15 minutes of inactivity, but you can change the power off timeout in settings. The first thing I always do is set it to never; the impact on battery life is minuscule. Go to Settings > Power > Power off Timeout.

Navigation Ball – The new software added a navigation ball that is really handy. You can move it to any part of the screen and set it up to use 5 different shortcuts, like taking screenshots, accessing the frontlight, etc. It makes it much easier to optimize apps because you can see how the settings are changing things while using the app.

Optimize Apps – Using the Navigation Ball is the easiest way to optimize 3rd party apps, and you can also long-press an app icon from the app drawer to bring up the option to optimize it. Boosting the contrast can help a lot with reading apps to make the text bolder.

Share Notes – There’s a sharing option when using the Note app that lets you easily share your notes with other devices using a QR code. Just use your phone or tablet to scan the code and the option to view the note magically appears.

Wi-Fi Transfer – There are a number of ways to wirelessly transfer documents to Onyx devices. One option is to use the included Transfer app. All you have to do is enter a url into a web browser and then you can use the browser to upload files to the device as long as it’s connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Additionally, you can use a QR scanner from your phone or tablet to quickly upload files.

Add Templates – You can add additional templates to the Note app by placing PDF files in the noteTemplate folder on the root directory.

Set Default Template – There’s a small checkbox at the bottom of the templates page that lets you set a default template.

Screensaver – You can change the sleep screen image by using the Screensaver app. Or you can use your own images simply by long-pressing a PNG image using the file manager.

Add Fonts – You can sideload fonts to use with the default Neo Reader app by placing the font files within a “Fonts” folder on the root directory.

Power Saver Mode – Tap the top menu bar to open quick settings, where you can turn Power Save Mode on and off. With power saver on 3rd party apps will be blocked from running in the background.

Lockscreen – For security you can set it up so that you have to enter a password to use the device. Go to Setting then tap the arrow at the top right to open the About Device page > Screen Lock Pin Code.

Turn Frontlight On/Off – It’s not entirely obvious, but you can hold down the back button to turn the frontlight on and off.

Download Manual – Go to Settings page and tap picture of the device at the top to download the user manual.

On a related note (pardon the pun), I just posted a video review for the new Onyx Boox Note Pro. I’ll get the written review posted early next week.

Onyx Boox Note Pro Review

15 Responses to “15 Tips and Tricks for Onyx Boox Android eReaders”

  1. Good tips, I just got the Note Pro so not all of this is obvious. You seem a little apprehensive about the play store, any reason why one should avoid it and use a different store?

    • After using Android ereaders for several years now, I’ve learned that using 3rd party Android apps on E Ink devices is mostly a waste of time because they aren’t designed for E Ink screens so they inevitably don’t work very well, and often lead to faster battery drain.

      Plus there aren’t any paid apps that I want to use on an E Ink device so that pretty much makes the Google Play store redundant when you can easily sideload apps without having to go through the trouble of activating Google apps and signing in. Then every time Onyx updates the software you have go through the process again, and you can’t trust app updates not to break something. It’s more hassle than it’s worth if you just want to use free apps.

      • Thanks. BTW, do you know how to quickly scroll to the top of a webpage or app? This is driving me nuts, on iOS you just double tap the top of the screen.

  2. Is the v2.1.1 software stable and bug-free?

  3. I discovered that with the latest version of the software (2019-04-23_15-59_2.1.1_853b9d3) that one of the choices for the navigation ball is “Full Refresh”. (It is on the second page of choices, so perhaps it has always been there and I missed it before.) This can be very helpful when using third party android apps. When ghosting builds up, just use the Navigation Ball to force a full refresh.

  4. I’ve received my Onyx Note.
    After testing with Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, I’ve found OneDrive performs very well. After I open the file on Onedrive then I open the file with neoreader. I can see that once my handwriting notes are saved, I can immediately see the notes on my MacBook. Also, the reader recorded the file location and I can reopen the file easily. With this technique, I can have my notes and files backup and synced conveniently.

  5. Just checking, but, other than the Onyx Max 2, are there other Onyx ereaders that can be used as an external monitor?

  6. I’ve got a nova pro. I don’t see any navigation ball. Do I need to do anything to activate? Also I got a 404 error when I tried to get the manual. Otherwise the tips are very helpful, like turning the backlight on and off and template file. Thank you.

    • You have to launch the Navigation Ball app and toggle the switch to have it always on display.
      You can customize each of its buttons.
      It’s quite handy.

  7. I can’t get he firmware 2.1.1 to download from the boox.com/downloads page for the Note Pro. When I click on the item as listed “BOOX Note Pro V2.1.1(20190423)” it just jumps to the main download page.

    Is there another place to get the file?

  8. Follow up to previous post:

    I just found this comment on the boox.com site which looks like it was posted on May 5

    Dear user, we recently updated the firmware to version 2.1.1, which may cause bugs during use. This update has been temporarily suspended and we are currently developing a fix for these issues. The fix will be announced on our official website and social media once it is available. Apologies for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding.

    • Thank you for this heads up, Terry! I’ve spent hours trying to find a working download link, thinking that thr Onyx website is broken.

      All we have to do now is wait. Hopefully for a better firmware.