Apple’s latest flagship phone, the iPhone X, has been out for over a month now and shipping times have finally improved to just a day or two. With more and more people getting their hands on the latest and greatest iPhone there will be more and more people looking for tips specific to their iPhone X. Here are our top 10 for the X.
10 OLED Black Magic
Probably the biggest (and brightest) addition to the iPhone is its amazing display. The iPhone X has an edge-to-edge Super Retina OLED display manufactured by Samsung.
“Super Retina” is Apple’s marketing terminology for a truly high-resolution display (458 pixels per inch to be exact). The display is incredibly large at 2436-by-1125 pixels and very bright (it can reach over 800 nits). But what makes OLED truly amazing is its high contrast ratio.
The iPhone X delivers an other-worldly 1:1,000,000 contrast ratio thanks to its OLED display. With OLED technology, each individual pixel produces its own light, and when set to true black, a pixel won’t produce any light at all. It’s a really cool experience you can only get from an OLED display. Try watching a 4K HDR movie set in space—like Star Trek Beyond—in a pitch-black room on your iPhone X and you’ll see what we mean. Stars will light up bright while the blackness of space will disappear into the room around you. It’s truly incredible.
But OLED true black doesn’t stop being magical with just movies and content. It also is a tremendous battery saver. Some apps, like Bear—a writing tool—offer true black themes so only text and necessary objects light up. The pixels that are black don’t produce any light and save battery as they are essentially off.
It would be awesome if Apple released a dark-themed, power saving mode in the future. In the meantime try using a true black wallpaper (such as the one included with iOS 11) to squeeze out a few extra minutes of battery life each day.
9 Home Bar Tricks
With iPhone X, the home button of yesterday is gone and in its place is a simple bar made of pixels at the bottom of the display. The bar isn’t a secret or anything like that, but it may hold some secrets you’re not aware of.
From a navigation standpoint the bar is quite simple. You swipe up to go home and you swipe up and pause to open the app switcher.
If you want to get fancy you can slide left and right on the home bar to switch between recent apps. Some people have found that swiping up and to the right or left slightly is faster for accessing the app switcher. If you’re using a game or a media content app the developers may have chosen to hide the home bar or have it take two swipes to enable. Don’t worry, if you go to use it, it will be there.
With a 19.5:9 ratio display it can sometimes be difficult to reach the top areas of the display. On other iPhone models Reachability could be enabled by double-tapping (not clicking) the Touch ID sensor on the home button.
- With iPhone X you can enable Reachability. Open Settings > General > Toggle on Reachability
- Once enabled, simply swipe down on the home bar to bring the top of the display down a bit.
One more thing. The home bar can also be used to reinitiate Face ID if it fails while unlocking your device. Simply lift the home bar up slightly and lower it back down. Alternatively you can lower and raise your device.
8 Use the Force (Quit) Luke!
Sometimes apps don’t work the way we want them to, they drain our batteries or play sound while running in the background, or maybe there’s an app you don’t want to see in the app switcher. On previous iPhones you just brought up the app switcher and flicked those apps away.
On the iPhone X, if you flick up on an app in the app switcher you’ll be brought back to the home screen instead. This is probably an intentional implementation. Apple has designed iOS to intelligently handle memory and closing apps can actually be worse for battery and performance then just leaving them in the background.
In fact, apps in the background are essentially put in “standby” most of the time and background processes are handled intelligently by the OS as needed. But not always, sometimes apps are poorly designed or they malfunction.
So how do we close apps on the iPhone X when needed? Simple really: In the app switcher just tap and hold an app until a little red close icon (⛔) appears at the top of each app. Now you can tap the close icon (⛔) or swipe up on apps as before to close them. If you’re feeling extra productive you can even close multiple apps at once using multiple fingers.
Just remember, most of the time it requires more battery and processing power to close and relaunch and app, than simply suspending and resuming the app.
7 Biometric Kill Switch
The iPhone X is the first device to use Apple’s new Face ID technology to unlock the device, authorize payments, and access passwords or third-party apps. While biometrics are convenient, there may be times where you want a passcode to be entered in order to unlock your phone.
Apple has added a new Emergency SOS feature in iOS 11 that effectively disables biometrics while simultaneously contacting emergency services and your emergency contacts.
You can set it up under Settings > Emergency SOS. By default Emergency SOS is triggered by holding the side button and one of the volume buttons for a few seconds. In Settings, you can also enable an option to rapidly click the side button five times.
Once triggered, the phone will count down from five (you can enable or disable auto call and the countdown sound in Settings) before calling your specified emergency contacts and local emergency services. You can cancel the call if you only want to disable Face ID.
To renable Face ID you will need to renter your device’s passcode or passphrase.
6 Screenshot and Screen Recording
Previously to take a screenshot with your iPhone you’d press the home button and the sleep/wake button at the same time. The iPhone X doesn’t have a home button, so now you just press the side button and the volume up button at the same time. Voila!
But maybe you’re feeling adventurous and want to record your screen instead. In iOS 11 there is a new screen recording function built into the phone. To enable it go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. Find and add the Screen Recording control and add it to your Control Center.
To use the Screen Recording Control simply access Control Center by swiping down from the top right of the display and find and tap the Screen Recording icon.
It will countdown from three and begin recording your display. You will see a red indicator in the top left corner to let you know you’re recording. Tap it when you’re ready to stop recording and confirm. Your recording will be saved in Photos.
5 Wake Up Call
To wake your iPhone X from sleep you can pick it up, press the side button, or simply give it a tap anywhere on the screen.
Speaking of waking up. The iPhone X is now “attention aware.” So it can use the TrueDepth camera to know when you’re looking at your display and lower the volume of your morning alarm.
It’s not just for alarms though, your iPhone X will lower all alert volumes and keep the display from dimming while you’re looking at your phone.
If you want to disable Attention Aware Features you can find the toggle under Settings > Face ID & Passcode.
4 Shine Bright Like a Diamond
The iPhone X is a tall phone and Control Center is now accessed from the top right corner which can make getting to your flashlight and your camera controls a little bit of a chore.
To help with this Apple added two new shortcut buttons on the lock screen (and Notification Center). On the left is the Flashlight button and on the right is the Camera button. 3D Touch them to activate.
But wait, there’s more!
Camera and Flashlight options are still available in Control Center. You can 3D Touch the flashlight control to adjust the brightness or 3D Touch the Camera control to take a selfie, record a video or slo-mo, or to take a Portrait Photo. Additionally, 3D touching the brightness slider will show additional options for enabling or disabling Night Shift or True Tone.
3 Animoji Karaoke
You probably can’t think of a better use for your $999 iPhone than using your face to control 1 of 12 emojis, right? Okay maybe you can, but there’s no denying Animoji has taken the world by storm. Within the first 24 hours of the device being out in the wild, Animoji karaoke clips started showing up on Twitter and other corners of the Web.
Maybe you wanted to make your own awesome video; but, you may have noticed that the Animoji iMessage app only lets you record 10 seconds. Great news! iOS 11 has a new screen recording tool (see number 6 in this list). Simply open iMessage, expand the Animoji app, and start recording. You can then use iMovie or other video editing software to add music and create the perfect movie to share with your friends (or the world).
2 Your Eyes Only
Because the iPhone X knows your face it won’t expand notifications on the lock screen until you look at it. So if you leave your phone at your desk and one of your coworkers tries to read your texts when you’re not around, they won’t be able to.
If you want to alter this feature (you can have it so it always or never displays a preview) go to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews.
1 Magic Button Presses
Remember how when you wanted to reset your iPhone you’d press and hold the home button and the power button simultaneously until the phone rebooted? Well, now there are less buttons so Apple had to get creative.
If your iPhone X is behaving badly and you need to perform a soft reset you’ll need to click volume up, then click volume down, and then press and hold the side button.
Also, since holding the side button now beckons Siri, if you want to turn off your device press and hold the side button and either volume button, then slide to power off. Keep in mind if you hold too long you’ll trigger the Emergency SOS feature.
√ That’s all folks!
The iPhone X and iOS 11 bring a lot of fun new features to iPhone users. Hopefully these tips will help you be more productive or have a little more fun. Check out my 12 Incredible iOS 11 Tricks You Need to Know if you’d like to learn more.
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Read iPhone X Overview