The best iPhone X tips and tricks

The iPhone X was another technological masterpiece from Apple when it debuted, but it changed a lot about how iPhones operate. If you’re switching from an older iPhone to this version, you may find there are some differences to figure out.

Adapting to your iPhone X is easier when you learn some tips and tricks to navigating the system. Our tips can help you with everything from figuring out what to do without the home button to discovering where Apple hid the battery indicator.

How to check battery percentage

ios control center
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For those switching from an older iPhone to the iPhone X, you’ll notice the battery percentage is no longer shown at the top of the display. While you can’t set it so that it’s shown on the home screen, you can see it by swiping down on the right side of the notch where the Control Center is.

How to use reachability to access apps

iPhone X plant global sales
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The iPhone X’s 5.8-inch display might make it hard for those with smaller hands to reach certain apps and content. Don’t worry because Apple’s reachability feature allows you to pull down app icons at the top of the screen so they’re within reach. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reachability and toggle the feature on. To use reachability on an older model of the iPhone, like the iPhone 8 Plus, you have to tap the Home button twice. With the reachability feature on the iPhone X, you can access apps by swiping down on the horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen. To put them back in their normal place, swipe up about an inch above the bar or tap anywhere on the display.

How to switch between apps and go back to the home screen

Before the iPhone X, the home button was how you would switch between apps, or go back to the home screen. With the iPhone X and later, if you want to view all the apps you have open while on the home screen, simply swipe up from the bottom edge of your device. This will bring you to the stack of apps that are currently running.

How to force close open apps

iPhone X

It’s easy to force close apps on the iPhone X. All you have to do is swipe up from the bottom of the display, the same way you would to see which apps are open. Once you see the lineup, simply swipe left or right to choose and then swipe up on the specific app you’d like to close and it’ll disappear from the stack.

How to set up Face ID

When you first set up your iPhone X, you’ll get the option to turn on Face ID and go through the configuration process, just like Touch ID. It requires rotating your head twice so the TrueDepth camera can capture all your facial features. If you somehow skipped this step, you can head to Settings > Face ID and Passcode > Set up Face ID. You’ll have to let it scan your face again twice. Once done, all you need to do to unlock your iPhone X is swipe up on the lock screen with your eyes open — you’ll see a padlock icon unlock. Your iPhone X will not unlock if you do not make eye contact with the phone.

There are two additional settings you should be aware of for Face ID. The first is Set Up an Alternate Appearance, which allows you to add a second face for unlocking your phone. This could be the face of a loved on, although many people also use it to make it easier for the iPhone X to recognize them with a beard, glasses, etc. (Unlocking with a face mask requires a different approach.)

The second setting is Require Attention for Face ID. If you turn this off, the iPhone won’t need to track your eyes and other features to unlock. This makes it easier to casually unlock your phone. However, the feature is automatically enabled to promote safety — no one can use your face to unlock your phone when you are unconscious, for example.

How to activate Siri

On the right side of the iPhone X is an elongated power button — we’ve started to call it the “lock” button, because its primary use is no longer to turn off your phone. You can activate Siri by holding down the lock button on the right for a few seconds. The voice assistant will appear, ready to answer any questions or follow any commands. If you want to exit Siri, press the lock button again.

How to add a home button to the display

The iPhone X was the first iPhone to forgo the home button, and getting used to it can be tough. If you’re really missing the home button, you can add one to the display with AssistiveTouch. That way, you can tap on the button to get back to the home screen rather than having to use the iPhone X gestures. To turn it on, go to Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch and toggle it on.

You’ll see a little circle appear at the bottom of the screen that you can move around anywhere you’d like. It’ll also automatically move around as you use the device to not get in the way of your content. When you tap on it, you’ll open up a menu that brings you to a variety of options like notifications, screenshot, lock screen, and more, but to get back home, simply tap on the circle again.

How to take a screenshot

iPhone X
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Taking a screenshot on the iPhone X might feel a little foreign without the home button present, especially because now it’s similar to taking a screenshot on an Android phone. All you need to do is press the lock and volume up button at the same time. Once it takes the screenshot, you’ll see it appear in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. Tap it to mark up or edit your screenshot, and you can then delete it or save it to Photos.

How to access your notifications and the Control Center

The iPhone X has a notch, which is the black space at the top of the phone housing the tech needed for Face ID. The screen flanks the notch, and the right side has a very specific function: It’s how you now bring down the Control Center. Simply swipe down from the top right, and down comes the Control Center. This works whether or not you have unlocked to reach the home screen. Note that what you see on your individual control panel will depend on the settings you’ve enabled, as well as what smart device controls you have chosen to include.

To access the Notification Center, aka the Cover Sheet, swipe down on the left or center of the top of the iPhone X. This will pull down your notifications page, which you can then swipe back up to bring you back to the home screen. In the Notification Center, you can still swipe left to access the camera and right to go to your Today widgets.

How to access Apple Pay

To quickly get to Apple Pay on the iPhone X, double-tap the lock button on the right edge of the phone. Your card will then appear and Face ID will automatically scan you to verify you’re the card owner. If you don’t want to use Face ID, there’s also the option to manually type in your passcode.

How to confirm Apple payments

On the iPhone X, there is no fingerprint scanner to confirm payments when you buy apps or sign up for subscriptions. Instead, Apple uses a combination of Face ID and physical confirmation that you’ll need to learn, somewhat similar to enabling Apple Pay.

When you try to confirm a purchase, Face ID will work automatically in the background after Apple gives you a message that says Double Click to Pay (or something similar), with a guiding arrow. Note that Apple has updated these instructions a couple of times in the past.

Then, you must double-click the physical right-side button on your phone, and your download/purchase should complete. As with in-person Apple Pay, you can also go to the settings and switch this to a passcode for more security.

How to turn off your phone

You can turn your phone off by holding down either of the volume buttons and the lock button at the same time. At the top of the screen, you’ll see the “slide to power off” option. This is also how you can access Emergency SOS and Medical ID if you’re in a situation that requires emergency services.

How to force reset your iPhone X

If your iPhone has frozen and become unresponsive, it’s difficult to know what to do next, since you really rely on the touchscreen. That’s why Apple has a built-in way to force a reboot whenever you need to. Just follow these steps with the physical buttons on your phone:

  1. Tap and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Tap and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Hold down the Right-Side button for several seconds until your iPhone visibly restarts and shows the Apple logo.

How to take a photo in Portrait Mode

With the iPhone X, you can use Portrait Mode on both the rear- and front-facing camera. After opening the camera app, choose Portrait, and you’ll get a carousel of different Portrait Lighting options such as Natural Light, Studio Light, Contour Light, and more. Tap the rotate camera icon to switch to the front-facing camera for a professional-looking selfie.

Tap to turn on the display

iPhone X
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Normally, you’d use Touch ID to turn on the iPhone lock screen. With the iPhone X, all you need to do is tap the display to turn on the screen.

How to turn ‘raise to wake’ off/on

Whenever you lift your iPhone X to your face, the screen will automatically wake up. This is called Raise to Wake, and it has been around for some time on iPhones. If you want to turn it off, head to Settings > Display & Brightness and toggle Raise to Wake on or off.

How to customize Shake to Undo

iMessage

If you’re busy typing a message on your iPhone in nearly any app, you can quickly delete what you just wrote by giving your iPhone a quick shake. This will pop up a menu with an Undo button that you can select, which will remove everything you recently wrote. Having an undo button available this way is handy when composing emails or answering texts. If you realize you want the text back, there’s also an option to Redo Typing.

On the other hand, if you run across this feature and really don’t like it, you can turn it off. Head to Settings, go to Accessibility, and select Shake to Undo. This will give you a toggle you can switch off so this won’t ever happen.

How to send an Animoji

apple iphone x hands on review
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Animojis are animated emojis you can send to any iOS or Android user. The emojis use the Face ID TrueDepth cameras to track your facial animations, kind of like motion capture used in films. To send one, head to the Messages app. Open a chat thread, and you’ll see a bar of apps at the bottom. Next to the App Store icon sits the monkey emoji — tap it. You’re now at the Animoji record screen. You can swipe it up to expand it to the whole screen. Choose your favorite emoji, and you’ll realize it’s already tracking your facial movements. Tap the red record button to capture a 10-second video (with audio) and send it to your friends. This will show up as a video file for people without an iPhone X.

You may also want to check out how to make a Memoji, which Apple added in iOS 12.

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