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How to use the iPhone X

The iPhone X is here – check out our roundup of the best iPhone X deals – and it’s different from any phone Apple has released before. It has the biggest screen ever seen on on an iPhone, for one thing, and it doesn’t have a Home button (or indeed, any physical buttons at all) on the front of the device.

So how do you unlock the device, go to the Home screen, activate Siri, turn on the app switcher and do all the other functions accessed via a Home button? With gestures, or alternative buttons, or with your face! In this tutorial we explain how to use the iPhone X.

How to unlock your iPhone X

The iPhone X hasn’t got Touch ID, because the fingerprint scanner used to sit in the Home button (RIP) and Apple decided not to move it to the back of the device or embed it in the screen. Instead of Touch ID, we get Face ID.

To unlock your iPhone X, you just need to lift the device up and look at it – by default you need to make eye contact, a deliberate feature designed to stop people being able to unlock your phone when you’re asleep or unconscious. It should unlock near instantly.

Note that this won’t automatically take you to the Home screen, it will just unlock the device – noticeable by the padlock icon changing at the top of the screen. You then need to swipe up from the bottom, or activate one of the other features available from the lock screen (such as the camera).

We look at this feature in more detail elsewhere: How to use Face ID.

How to use iPhone X: Face ID

How to use Apple Pay with the iPhone X

The loss of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner also impacts on Apple Pay. This too is now verified by facial recognition.

You have to double-tap the side button (formerly known as the power button!), look at your iPhone to verify your identity, then hold the device near the contactless terminal to complete the transaction.

If you’re using Apple Pay online or in an app, things are slightly different – you double-press and authenticate, and the transaction must be completed within 30 seconds. If it’s not, you’ll have to double-press and authenticate again.

How to go back to the Home screen

The original and most obvious purpose of the Home button is to take you back to the Home screen from anywhere. That’s now done with a gesture: a swipe up from the bottom of the screen, just as you used to do to bring up the Control Centre. There’s a little bar across the bottom of the screen – except when it fades out during video playback and similar – to remind you of this.

Note also that it’s possible to get the iPhone X to display an onscreen Home button – we explain this in How to get a Home button on iPhone X.

How to access Control Centre

Talking of Control Centre, that’s now activated by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen.

You may not like the notch at the top of the display, but it does have the advantage, interface-wise, of effectively turning the top edge into two separate gesture-sensitive sections. And the top-left edge is used for something else…

How to access Notifications Centre

Swipe down from the top-left edge to bring up the Notifications Centre.

How to switch from one app to another

As usual you can go back to the Home screen, find the app icon and tap to open it, but you’ll be wanting to know the equivalent of the old double-press on the Home button, which used to bring up the app switcher.

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen (on the little bar), just as you do to go back to the Home screen, but this time hold your thumb or fingertip on the screen for a moment or two, until the app switcher appears. You can now swipe left or right to scroll through your recently opened apps, then tap one to open it.

If you don’t want to bother with the app switcher and just want to jump back to the previous app, you can swipe across the bar at the bottom of the screen. Some early users have found it easiest to do a little semi-circle gesture up, across and then down, but experiment to find what’s best and most effective for you.

How to use the iPhone X

How to use the iPhone X

How to take screenshots

You can’t take a screenshot on your iPhone X by pressing the Home and power buttons at the same time, because you’ve not got a Home button. Instead you now press the volume up button and power/side button simultaneously.

The screen will flash white and, thanks to iOS 11‘s new screenshot feature, you’ll see a small thumbnail of your screenshot at the bottom left. You can tap this to add annotations or share it, swipe left to make it disappear or just wait for it to go away.

How to activate Siri

Press and hold the power button to turn on Siri – or say “Hey Siri!”, as before, and assuming you’ve got this feature switched on.

How to turn off an iPhone X

You turn off most iPhones by holding down the side button until the power-off slider appears. But, as previously explained, on the iPhone X that activates Siri.

Instead, you should press and hold both the side button and the volume button. Again, hold them own until the power-off slider appears, then swipe across it to turn off the phone.

How to hard-reset an iPhone X

Hard resetting an iPhone X is a bit of a pain, requiring you to press all three of its buttons in the correct sequence and reasonably quickly.

You need to press (and release) the volume up button, then press (and release) the volume down button. Finally, press and hold the side button – do so until the Apple badge appears.

How to activate Reachability

When Apple first debuted its big-screen iPhones it worried that people wouldn’t be able to reach the whole of the touchscreen display with their thumbs while holding the device, so it introduced a new Reachability feature, which brought the whole screen image down when you double-touched (not pressed) the Home button. There’s no Home button now, but the screen is bigger than ever, so how does Reachability work?

It’s now activated by swiping down at the very bottom of the screen. If you’re worried that this will be activated accidentally while using apps, it can be turned off (or on) in Settings, under Accessibility.

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