Life after the Home button: The iPhone X gestures guide

If you are one of the few million people who managed to pre-order an iPhone X when it was briefly available, you will be one of the first people lucky enough to need this guide to the new gesture controls on Apple’s next-generation smartphone.

Apple, iPhone, iPhone , iOS, iOS 11, Home button, Face ID, iPhone gesture controls

If you are one of the few million people who managed to pre-order an iPhone X when it was briefly available, you will be one of the first people lucky enough to need this guide to the new gesture controls on Apple’s next-generation smartphone.

Let the gestures begin

The iPhone X lacks a Home button. This means that many of the controls you’ve grown familiar with using on previous iPhone models just don’t work the same way. Instead of tapping Home, you use the following new gesture controls to make things happen:

Wake it up

There are two ways to wake an iPhone X:

  • Tap the display
  • Raise the device toward you
  • Press the side button, sometimes referred to as the sleep/wake button.

[Also read: My first week with iPhone 8 Plus]

Take me Home

To get to the Home screen, just exercise a simple and fluid swipe up from the bottom edge of the display.

App Switcher

Because there is no Home button there is a new way to access the App Switcher. To do so you must press the bottom part of the display (where the small gesture bar is visible) and swipe up to about halfway up the screen. Keep pressing the display and you should see a card appear at the left side of the screen to indicate you are in the App Switcher. Now you can swipe left and right to explore your active apps. 

(Another way of putting this might be to swipe up from the bottom edge and pause to show the App Switcher).

App sliding

You can also slide between the apps you have most recently been using: Just swipe the gesture bar at the bottom of the screen to the left or right. Swipe right to get to the previous app you were using, or left to return to the current app.

App gliding

Another gesture lets you very swiftly “glide” between apps using your thumb. Tap and hold the bottom left or right of the display (near the gesture bar) and move your thumb in an arc from left to right, or right to left. You will now very quickly move between apps on your device.

How to invoke the Control Center

While you were learning those new app switching gestures did you expect to open Control Center? While on previous iPhones you access Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the display, iPhone X requires that you swipe down from the right top corner of the display.

The Notifications List

To check your notifications, you must remember to swipe down from the top left corner of the display.

How to launch Siri

Siri is accessed by pressing and holding the Side button.

How to use Apple Pay

To use Apple Pay you will need to double-press the sleep/power button while holding the iPhone up to the payment terminal. Make sure you have your eyes open and are staring directly at the device when you do this as iPhone X will attempt to authenticate your identity using Face ID. (You can also use your password to verify this if you do not use Face ID). 

How to take a screenshot

Back in the olden days of yesterday, taking a screenshot on an iPhone required you to press the Home and sleep/power buttons at the same time. Now you must press the Side and Volume Up buttons together to take a screenshot.

What is Edge Protect?

Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines warn developers not to interfere with the gesture controls it has built into iPhone X. The guidelines concede that in “rare cases” some apps (it references games) may require their own custom gesture controls. It proposes something called Edge protect, in which the first swipe “invokes the app-specific gesture and a second-swipe invokes the system gesture”. You probably won’t see this happen too much in your apps, but now you’ll know what is happening when you do.

How to turn off your iPhone X

There are two ways to turn your iPhone off:

  • Hold down both the volume up and side buttons for a few seconds
  • Or use the new Shutdown option in Settings>General.

How to Force reset your iPhone X

Follow these steps to Force Reset your iPhone X:

  1. Press and quick release the Volume Up button on the left of your device
  2. Then press and quick release the Volume Down button
  3. And then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

Will you be getting an iPhone X? Or do you like what you have heard about the iPhone 8 enough to wait a while for the technology to mature?

**This article updated 31 October with additional information.

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