The iPhone X ushers in a new age of all display, notches, facial recognition, Animoji, and new gestures for controlling everything.
You may find yourself confused by how to do things without a home button and notice many features have been moved around. To help you get the hang of things quickly, we’ve compiled the 12 best hidden tips that’ll help you master your iPhone X.
We know, there’s a learning curve, and nobody likes relearning things. But we promise it’ll be worth it. So take a deep breath and let’s do this together.
1. Open the App Switcher like a pro
Now that there’s no home button, you’ve got to learn a whole new set of gestures, and opening the App Switcher can be tricky. Apple tells you to swipe up from the gesture bar towards the center of the screen, and then wait for the App Switcher to appear when you feel a little vibration. This is not only slow, but hard to pull off. Instead, swipe up and at an arc towards the right or left (if you’re a lefty) and, voila!
2. Bring back the home button (sort of)
Honestly, you get used to not having a home button pretty quickly. But if you simply can’t live without it, there is a way to bring it back (albeit in virtual form).
Go to General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch and turn it on. You’ll now see a virtual home button that you can customize to activate shortcuts.
You can set the virtual button to go home with a single-tap, double-tap, long press, or 3D Touch. Or set the button for other shortcuts like launching Control Center. Additionally, if you’re worried about screen-burn in, we recommend lowering the “Idle Opacity” setting below the 40 percent default.
In some ways this virtual home button is more versatile than a physical one. You don’t have to place it where the real button used to be — it can be place anywhere along the sides of the display.
3. Unlock with Face ID faster
Novice users will think there’s only one right way to unlock the iPhone X: raise it and then swipe up after the Face ID padlock has opened. Seasoned iPhone X users already know of a faster way: raise and swipe.
That’s right, Face ID is usually so accurate that you can just swipe up — no need to wait for the padlock icon to open — when the TrueDepth camera is held directly in front of your face. You save a half a second, but when you’re unlocking your phone all day long, they add up.
4. Show battery percentage
iOS doesn’t display the battery percentage by default, but you could go into the Settings app and turn it on. On the iPhone X, the setting’s been removed. But have no fear. You can still see the battery percentage by swiping down on the right side of the notch. It’s now incorporated into the Control Center.
5. How to disable Face ID in an instant
If for whatever reason you find yourself in a situation where you don’t want Face ID to be your primary form of security — like if you’re being held captive somewhere and someone has your phone and could force you to look at it — you can quickly deactivate it.
Quickly press the power button (officially called the “Side Button”) five times and it’ll automatically turn Face ID off and default to your passcode to unlock. Entering your passcode will re-activate Face ID.
6. Flip quickly between apps
You should already know this trick, but you may have missed it during setup. Because who doesn’t swipe through the tutorials to hurry up and get to the phone?
Swipe right on the gesture bar from the home screen and you’ll see that you can quickly flip between suspended apps. Additionally, you can swipe left and right once you’ve flipped to an app that wasn’t the last one opened.
7. Save up to 60% battery life
We’ve been consistently impressed with how long the iPhone X lasts. On many occasions, it lasts up to a day and a half.
Putting you phone in low power mode will extend the battery life even further. But you can extend battery life even more, by up to 60 percent according to AppleInsider’s tests, simply by using black wallpaper, inverting colors to create a pseudo “dark mode,” and by turning on grayscale mode.
These extra power-savings are the result of the iPhone X’s OLED display. Unlike traditional LCD screens, which have pixels that are backlit across the board, the pixels on OLED displays are individually lit. Black pixels are essentially “off” and not lit, therefore conserving power.
8. Make Control Center easier to reach
Accessing the Control Center on the iPhone X is not exactly intuitive, especially with one hand. Good thing you can make it easier to call up with Reachability.
The setting’s turned off by default. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Reachability.
Now, when you activate Reachability (swipe down on the gesture bar), the entire screen will slide down and you can swipe down right above the upper right app icons.
Sure, it’s a two-swipe process now, but it’s better than fumbling with one hand and accidentally dropping and smashing your iPhone X.
9. Quiet alarms with your Face
Blaring alarm clocks suck. On iPhone X, you don’t need to hit snooze. After picking it up, Face ID will look for your face, and if it see it, it’ll automatically lower the volume.
10. Animoji as stickers
Animoji are highly addictive and the karaoke remixes people are doing are so much fun to watch. Most people know that you can send Animoji as 10-second videos, but don’t realize you can also pose them and send them as iMessage stickers.
To do this, open up the Animoji recording feature as you normally would by tapping the App store icon to the right of the camera button. Create the Animoji face pose you want and then tap it, and it’ll automatically be placed inside of the text input box for sending as a sticker.
11. Force quit apps
It’s a myth that force quitting apps will conserve battery life. In fact, Apple says doing so actually wastes more power.
But sometimes an app freezes up and there’s no way to reset with other than to force quit it. On the iPhone 8 and older, force quitting apps was as easy as opening the App Switcher and swiping up on the app.
On iPhone X, this action is a little more complex. First, you need to bring up the App Switcher. Then, you need to long-press on the app until a little red minus symbol appears in the left corner. You can tap on the minus symbol to force quit an app or swipe up on an app.
12. Tap to wake
Many Android phones have had a “double-tap to wake” up the display feature for years. Now, iPhone X users have a similar feature, only it only requires a tap.
Tap-to-wake is nice for when you just want to check the time or peek at your notifications without lifting the phone up and triggering Face ID. You can tap anywhere on the iPhone X’s display to activate this feature.