10 things I hate about iPhone X


iPhone X
I love iPhone X, but some things really grind my gears.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone X is the best smartphone Apple ever made. It could be the best smartphone released in 2017. Like its rivals and every iPhone that came before it, however, it’s imperfect.

As much as I love using mine, certain things drive me crazy almost every day — and no, the “notch” isn’t one of them. Here are 10 things I hate about iPhone X.

iPhone X annoyances

Some of these irritations stem from the iPhone X’s hardware, which is set in stone. But Apple could fix some of the other iPhone X annoyances with software tweaks.

Let’s start with the physical.

iPhone X is too slippery

Hoco iPhone X case
Hoco’s silicone case adds plenty of grip, and it’s cheaper than Apple’s.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Unless I’m reviewing a case, I like to use my iPhone naked. But that’s not possible with the iPhone X, because it’s too damn slippery.

Its curved glass panels, coupled with its size and weight, mean it’s nearly impossible to go a week without dropping the iPhone X. And if you don’t drop it, it will surely slide off something or slip out of your pocket. You need a decent iPhone X case for grip and protection. (Here’s our list of the best iPhone X cases around.)

Apple used steel to reinforce the iPhone X glass this year, but drop tests prove that doesn’t make a massive difference when it comes to durability. The iPhone X is so fragile that Consumer Reports recommends you buy an older model instead — or an Android-powered rival.

I don’t remember the iPhone 4 being this slippery. Perhaps that’s because it was significantly smaller and lighter than iPhone X, making it easier to hold onto.

iPhone X scratches easily

If you don’t need a case for grip, you definitely need one to protect the iPhone X’s stainless steel frame. It scratches incredibly easily, at least on the silver model I have. It seems just as susceptible to scratching as the metal bezel around the iPhone 3G and the chamfered edge on the iPhone 5.

iPhone X scuffs
iPhone X scuffs easily.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

I have no idea how my iPhone X picked up so many scuffs. I’ve been using a case since day one. I already had a bunch waiting for launch day, and soon after setting up my iPhone X for the first time, I put one on. I’ve used three different cases so far.

When I took the latest off the other day to clear out dust, I noticed a bunch of scratches on the corners of my iPhone X. They’re only light surface scratches, but they’re noticeable up close.

Maybe the iPhone X got scratched while I changed cases. Maybe the scratches resulted from lint or other debris getting in between the case and the handset. I’m not sure. But I’m always careful with my devices; I had no scratches or scuffs on my iPhone 7 after six months of use.

Face ID doesn’t make everything easier

I love Face ID, the iPhone X’s flagship facial recognition feature. I got used to life without a Home button in less than an hour. Face ID is simpler to use than Touch ID, even more reliable (at least in my experience), and significantly more secure, according to Apple. But certain functions worked better with Touch ID.

Face ID iPhone X
Face ID isn’t always easy.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Authorizing Apple Pay transactions with Face ID can be cumbersome. Double-clicking the iPhone X’s power button feels more finicky than double-clicking a Home button. And if you place your handset on the payment terminal too quickly, Face ID doesn’t have time to recognize you.

You end up holding up the line in the supermarket, with your iPhone held up in front of your face, trying to initiate Apple Pay again. Customers behind you start to lose their patience. The cashier wishes you’d just brought your wallet. No one is impressed with your iPhone X.

Confirming App Store downloads is even more annoying. With Touch ID, you simply scanned your fingerprint. With Face ID, you must double-click the power button before using facial recognition for authentication. And Apple doesn’t make that explicitly clear.

A friend called me to ask why their iPhone X was asking them to double-click when they attempted to install a new app. Other users on Twitter seem just as confused.

I understand why you need an extra step for confirmation on the iPhone X. You had a chance to cancel an accidental download with Touch ID; you could back out before scanning your fingerprint. But you can’t do that with Face ID if you’re already looking at your iPhone.

But why couldn’t Apple give us a simple confirmation button on the screen?

It’s too difficult to access Control Center

I use Control Center all the time for many different things. Unfortunately, accessing it on the iPhone X is a pain in the ass.

Control Center iPhone X
Control Center requires some stretching.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

You must swipe down from the top-right of the screen, which proves incredibly difficult if you’re trying to operate your device with one hand — especially if it’s your left hand. You have to stretch to reach the top corner of the screen, unless you have abnormally large hands.

Accessing Control Center from the bottom of the screen seemed so much easier. Could we not swipe diagonally from the bottom-left corner instead?

You can’t customize iPhone X status bar indicators

iPhone X gives you no option to display your battery percentage in the status bar. In fact, you get no option to display anything other than what Apple gives you. You must open Control Center to see these things, and we’ve already learned that’s complicated.

Why can’t we choose what we see in the status bar?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Some users aren’t interested in seeing cellular or Wi-Fi signal strength, which iPhone X displays at all times. We should be able to choose what we see in the status bar in the same way that we can now choose which toggles and shortcuts we see in Control Center.

Killing iPhone X apps is clunky

Why can’t we kill apps by swiping them away in the app switcher anymore? It was so simple, and it made light work of killing multiple apps in one go. Swiping away apps does nothing on iPhone X.

App switcher iPhone X
Please bring back the swipe, Apple!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Instead, you must tap and hold an app in the app switcher, then use the red circles that appear to close each one individually. Closing multiple apps proves time-consuming and incredibly frustrating.

I can’t see a reason for this change. It makes no sense to me.

Portrait Mode is trash

I used an iPhone 7 before getting the iPhone X, so I hadn’t had a chance to try Portrait Mode before. Maybe I expected too much based on the demos shown during Apple’s keynotes, but I’ve been sorely disappointed by it. I think it’s complete garbage in its current form.

I’d say I’ve taken around 30 photos in Portrait Mode so far, and I’ve only kept two of them. The others weren’t worth the storage space. I struggle to take a Portrait Mode photo that doesn’t leave my subject incredibly fuzzy around the edges, and I hate that look.

truedepth iphone x camera portrait lighting
Portrait Mode never looks this good for me.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

I’ve seen much better portrait photos from the Google Pixel 2, which has just one rear-facing camera lens instead of two.

Perhaps I’m using it wrong, but I’ve spoken to others who have experienced the same. I think the feature has potential, and Apple can make improvements easily through software updates. But for now, I’ve stopped using it.

There is no dark mode

iOS needs a dark mode now more than ever.

OLED displays, like the one packed into iPhone X, are far more efficient when displaying darker images. That’s because unlike LCD displays, OLED displays have the ability to light each pixel individually. And black pixels don’t need to be lit at all.

That’s why the user interface is so dark on Apple Watch; black backgrounds use a lot less energy, and this helps make the most of battery life. But we still don’t have a dark mode option in iOS 11, and that needs to change.

When you consider how big the iPhone X’s display is, a dark mode could dramatically increase battery life. All those white backgrounds are taking up too much power.

The software is buggy

I’ve already written extensively about the problems with iOS 11 (and macOS), so I’ll try to keep this brief. Apple’s mobile OS remains plagued with bugs three months after its release. Apple continues working to iron out the biggest issues, but even after the arrival of iOS 11.2, plenty of glitches remain.

iPhone buggy software
iOS 11 is painfully buggy.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apps crash or simply don’t open at all. Funky things happen with the user interface. Wi-Fi stops working when it can’t be bothered to work anymore. There’s a whole Twitter Moment dedicated to the “nightmares.”

It’s unacceptable for a company with billions of users around the world. Apple possesses the resources to eliminate these problems so users would not need to endure them. We expect better when we cough up $1,000.

The price tag is steep

And that hefty $1,000 iPhone X price tag is the least you’ll pay when you buy one of Apple’s futuristic phones outright. You’ll spend an additional $150 if you want the 256GB model.

Yes, I paid the price. And so did millions of others. But I still think iPhone X is wildly overpriced.

I understand the iPhone X brings a cutting-edge OLED display, advanced facial recognition, incredible cameras and more. It should certainly command a high-end price tag. But a 64GB model costs Apple just $370 in components and manufacturing.

That’s around $150 more than the manufacturing cost of an iPhone 7 at launch. Did the iPhone X’s price tag really need to surpass $1,000? Other consumer electronics become more affordable every year. You can buy a fairly decent laptop for next to nothing these days.

So, why is the price of Apple’s smartphones rising so quickly?

I still love iPhone X

I still love iPhone X, despite all these complaints. Every smartphone suffers from some flaws. The best models let you look past their deficiencies by doing plenty of other things incredibly well.

The iPhone X nails the things that matter most to me.

I’m talking about excellent cameras, decent battery life, a great display and simple software (for the most part).

As much as some things frustrate me with iPhone X, its ability to deliver all this and more means I’m still happy with my purchase. But if you’re listening, Apple, please bear my complaints in mind for next year.