Friday 23 August 2019

Adrian Weckler: 10 crucial user tricks I've learned in using Apple's iPhone X

Credit: Adrian Weckler
Credit: Adrian Weckler
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

After using the iPhone X for a few days, there are a few practical things I've learned that you might want to know.

Because the home button is gone, performing everyday tasks requires different combinations of side button presses and swipes. Here's how to take a screenshot, access the control panel, download and app, use Apple Pay and turn the iPhone X off.


1. Taking a screenshot is easier and quicker with the iPhone X

Taking a screenshot on an iPhone is usually done pressing the home button and power key, a two-handed action. On the iPhone X, you now do it by pressing the power key (on the side) and the upper volume key (on the other side). It means you can do it with one hand. It's quicker and easier.


2. Getting to the control panel is harder with the iPhone X

This is the one user interface compromise that will slow you up. Whereas on most iPhones you swipe up to get to controls like screen brightness, volume, silent mode or torch, on the iPhone X you now do it by swiping down from the top right corner. This now takes two hands instead of one. It was obviously a necessary adaptation to allow the swipe-up control replace the home button function. But it's the only new action that definitely takes longer with the iPhone X than with other iPhones.


3. Downloading an app on the iPhone X takes a double click and Face ID

One question lots of people have is around downloading apps, as Touch ID used to be the verification method. But Face ID couldn't simply replace it on its own as then there'd be a risk you'd just download apps without meaning to because you were looking at the phone. So the iPhone X now asks you to double press the side power button. It then uses Face ID (which is pretty instant) to verify the purchase. Is this a longer method than Touch ID? So far, I haven't found that to be the case.


4. Paying with Apple Pay on the iPhone X now takes a double click

Using Apple Pay took a Touch ID press or a pin entry. Now it takes Face ID. You double click the the side power button to call up Apple Pay and while you're looking at the phone, Face ID verifies it's you before you tap the contactless payment terminal.


5. Turning the iPhone X off now takes two buttons

At first, I was a bit baffled -- how do you turn the thing off? A long press of the side power button now activates Siri. So you have both press the side power button and the upper volume button at the same time to turn it off.


6. Unlocking the iPhone X with Face ID is as quick as Touch ID

I've seen some people speculating that you might have to stare at the iPhone X for a couple of seconds before its Face ID works. Nope -- it works almost immediately, and from a couple of different angles. It's almost like it's not there, because I'm naturally looking at the phone anyway when I swipe up from the bottom to unlock it. The Touch ID home button method was never foolproof either -- I often had to revert to a pin code if my finger was damp or I didn't catch the button right.


7. The iPhone X screen isn't actually bigger than the 7 Plus or 8 Plus

This is something that only really becomes apparent after a few days of using your favourite apps or watching videos. With a 5.8-inch diameter, the glass screen on the iPhone X may be longer than the iPhone 8 Plus (and 7 Plus), but it's also narrower. While this means it's easier to hold in the hand (which is brilliant), it also often results in a smaller video or photo display because the dimensions of those videos or photos more naturally fit the screen proportions on the 8 Plus and 7 Plus screens. As for apps such as Facebook and Twitter, the amount of information on each page is about the same on the iPhone X as the iPhone 8 Plus or 7 Plus.


8. The iPhone X's upward swipe feels completely natural to replace the home button

This is the single biggest user control change -- you swipe up from the bottom to return to the home screen or get out of an app. It basically replaces that part of what the home button used to do. I was surprised at how quickly my muscle memory immediately adapted. I even find myself now swiping up on my iPad, expecting it to return to home or dismiss a screen. (It obviously doesn't, instead bringing up the control panel.)


9. You forget about the iPhone X 'notch' after a couple of days

Honestly, you do. At first, it's a bit weird and disrupts the flow of the screen. But after a while you start not to notice it.


10. The build quality of the iPhone X is out of this world

Honestly, this is on par with the best built iPhone I've yet had. Before, I would have said that the iPhone 4 and 5 models were the high watermark for Apple's industrial design on these handsets. But this is up there. The stainless steel rims on my device are gorgeous, while the glass back is very classy (even though you'll probably cover it with a case).

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