iPhone X: Learn all the new touch gestures and commands

Jason Cross
16 November, 2017
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The Home button has been the one constant on the iPhone over the last decade. From day one, you would press the Home button to return to the home screen. As Apple added features to the iPhone, the Home button took on more capabilities.

But it’s time for a new era, one that kicks the home button to the curb. With the iPhone X, Apple pushes the display right up to very edge of the phone and eliminates the Home button. If Apple says the iPhone X is “the future”, the Home button is ancient history.

How do you even use an iPhone without a Home button? Here’s a quick guide to all the new gestures and button combinations you’ll need to re-learn as you acquaint yourself with the iPhone X.

Return Home: Let’s start with that most basic of Home button features: returning to the home screen. Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Easy!

Wake it up: You can still raise the phone to wake it like you can on other modern iPhones, or tap the side button. But the iPhone X also supports tap-to-wake. Just tap the display to wake it up.

Jump between apps: Swipe left or right along the bottom edge of the phone to jump back and forth between apps. You can sort of ‘flick’ from the bottom corners, moving your finger up and over, to ‘bounce’ between the apps, or just slide directly side-to-side along the bottom edge.

App switcher: Want to see all your running apps? Swipe up from the bottom edge and pause for a second with your finger still on the display. App cards will quickly pop up, and you can lift your finger off and swipe around through them.

Close an app: You shouldn’t have to do this often, but if you need to kill an app from the app switcher, you do it a little different. On other iPhones, you swipe up on the app card. On the iPhone X, you press and hold on the cards until a red (-) symbol appears in the corners. Tap those to close the apps. It’s very similar to the way you delete apps from your home screen.

Take a screenshot: Simply press the side button and the volume up button at the same time.

Reachability: This isn’t enabled by default on the iPhone X. You’ll have to go to into Settings to turn it on. Once you do, swipe down from the bottom edge of the screen – the little dark bar that indicates where the gesture area is. Your entire display will shift downward so you can reach the top of your apps more easily.

Notifications: You still swipe down from the top of the screen, just as with other iPhones. But with the iPhone X, there are two ‘swipe from the top of the screen’ gestures, so you gotta swipe from the left side of the sensor notch to get to your notifications.

Control Centre: With the bottom of the screen consumed with other home gestures, the control centre swipe has moved to the top of the screen. Just swipe from the right side of the sensor notch. The right ‘horn’ if you will. The left side is Notifications.

Invoke Siri: Just press and hold the side button. Of course, you can still use your voice by saying, “Hey, Siri!”

Apple Pay: Tap the side button twice. You’ll have to authenticate the purchase with either Face ID or your passcode. You’ll notice that with Siri and Apple Pay, you just use the side button as you used to use the Home button, so it should be pretty familiar.

Power off and SOS: To get the power off slider and SOS button, press and hold the side button and either volume button for a few seconds.

Force reset: Quickly tap the volume up button, then the volume down button, then press and hold the side button.

Accessibility: If you’ve turned on the Accessibility Shortcut feature in Settings > General > Accessibility, you invoke it by triple-pressing the side button.

Generally, most of the gestures that have you swiping from the edge of the screen don’t require a lot of precision. As long as you’re somewhere in the general vicinity of the edge, they should work. Apple indicates the bottom ‘gesture area’ with a horizontal bar. Some apps have their own screen-edge gestures (games, in particular, are known for this). If you’re using an app that has a screen-edge gesture the same as a general iPhone X command, just repeat it. The first swipe should perform the game’s command, but the second swipe should perform the iOS system command.

Jason Cross has written professionally about technology and for about 20 years.

One Comment

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  1. Hedware says:

    All seems rather tedious for not much justification for the removal of a button.

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