Essential iPhone X tips you need to know [Video]


Watch our latest video to see all the crucial iPhone X tips and tricks.
Watch our latest video to see all the crucial iPhone X tips and tricks.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone X is radically different from every iPhone that came before it. As you strive to get accustomed to life without a Home button, these iPhone X tips and tricks will come in handy.

Check out the video below to see nine iPhone X tips you need to master immediately.

Essential iPhone X tips

The iPhone X lacks the physical Home button that previously served as a touchstone of the iPhone user interface. That means you’ll need to learn a slew of new iPhone X gestures when you upgrade to Apple’s finest smartphone ever.

Some of these iPhone X tricks I learned just from using from using it. Others came from viewers who left helpful comments on Cult of Mac’s iPhone videos on YouTube. All should prove helpful, whether you buy an iPhone X now or get one of Apple’s next-gen devices in 2018.

Here’s how to master Apple’s UI of the future.

Swipe to close apps

First up is swiping to close. When I filmed my three-day review, I thought the swipe-to-close option had disappeared with the iPhone X. Thankfully, I was wrong.

To close apps on iPhone X, open the app switcher by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and holding while in an app. Then press and hold until you see the little red close icons at the top of each app. Then you can swipe up to close apps one by one, just as on previous iPhones. (Quick shout out to David & Chad Michael, 4theluvofmusic and James Baker for pointing this out.)

App-switcher gesture

Opening the app switcher can feel a little bit sluggish if you just swipe and hold straight up. But you can swipe up and to the right to enable it a little more quickly. This small adjustment makes a big difference. (Thanks, Jayden Dickinson and Murilo Gamer, for pointing out this gesture.)

Enable iPhone X Reachability

Even though the iPhone X is only a little larger than the iPhone 8, reaching to the very top of its tall, thin screen isn’t that easy — especially with my Donald Trump-size hands.

Reachability, the iOS feature that brings the top part of the screen closer to the bottom for easier one-handed access, doesn’t come enabled on the iPhone X. To turn it on, go to Settings > General > Accessibility, and then Reachability.

Once activated, you turn on Reachability by swiping down at the very bottom of the screen. This took me a little while to get the hang of, but you’re essentially swiping down on the strip at the bottom that substitutes for the missing Home button.

Access Siri and Apple Pay

Tip No. 4 is how to access Siri and Apple Pay on iPhone X. After removing the Home button, Apple moved these services to the physical button on the right side of the iPhone X. To invoke Siri, simply long-press the side button. For Apple Pay, use a quick double tap. Then the iPhone will verify your identity using Face ID.

Bonus tip: You might be wondering how to turn off the iPhone X, since Siri took over the long press. Now it’s a combo: Press either one of the volume buttons and the side button at the same time, then slide to power off.

Temporarily disable Face ID

If you’ve seen our iPhone X review, you know how much we love Face ID, the facial recognition tech that unlocks iPhone X and authorizes Apple Pay. It works brilliantly — I’d never want to go back to Touch ID.

But what if you need to disable Face ID, like if a mugger tries to force you to stare at the iPhone? To turn off Face ID, you hold either of the volume buttons and the side button until you feel a little taptic vibration. That indicates Face ID is disabled, and the only way to unlock the iPhone X is with your passcode.

After you’ve entered your passcode and locked iPhone X again, Face ID will be re-enabled. Bonus tip: If you hold a volume button and the side button for a little longer after that first vibration, iPhone X will sound an alarm and automatically trigger the emergency SOS feature to call the authorities.

Unlock Face ID without paying attention

If you want Face ID to unlock your iPhone X a little bit easier, this tip will help — although it does make Face ID less effective from a security standpoint.

With iPhone X’s default setting, you must look directly at your device to unlock it, with your eyes open and while paying attention. To speed up Face ID, or make it possible to unlock iPhone X with just a quick glance out of the corner of your eye, you can disable the “paying attention” part.

Head to Settings > General > Accessibility, then tap Face ID, then Attention. Simply toggle Attention off to make Face ID faster. If you have sunglasses that block the Face ID sensor, this will fix that too. Just remember that doing this will make the iPhone less secure.

Lock screen icons

After moving Control Center to the top of the iPhone X screen, Apple implemented two new icons at the bottom of the lock screen for a couple of the phone’s most-used functions. At the bottom of the screen, you will find the flashlight and camera icons, which you can 3D Touch to open.

The icons make it a lot quicker and easier to open these tools without looking at your phone. (I constantly use this for the flashlight.) You can still swipe right to left to open the camera, but again it’s a lot easier and a little quicker using that new icon.

Check iPhone X battery percentage

Love it or hate it, that notch at the top of the iPhone X screen took away some room for the usual info bar at the top. One casualty: the option to see remaining battery life percentage. Thankfully, you can still glance at it. Just swipe down from the top right of the screen to open Control Center, and you’ll see that useful battery percentage once again.

Force restart

The final tip could prove one of the most useful: how to force iPhone X restart. If everything has gone wrong and you need to reboot iPhone X, you’ll need this fancy, PlayStation-style cheat. First, press and release the volume up button. Then press and release the volume down button. Finally, hold the right side button. Once you see the Apple logo, you’ll know you’ve got it right.

More iPhone X tips and tricks

These tips should help you get to grips with everything new in iPhone X. If you want even more iPhone X tips, check out our full roundup here.

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