14 essential tips and tricks to master the iPhone X

You just got your shiny new
iPhone X
. It’s the phone of the future, today! You got it

all set up
and even picked up a few new
iPhone X-optimized games
.

Now it’s time to take your iPhone X mastery to the next level.
These tips will help you work through some of the interface
quirks and point out features about which you may not have
known.

Show battery percentage

Unfortunately, there’s no setting to show the battery
percentage in the status bar. Now that it’s split into the left
and right side of the notch, there just isn’t room.

The quickest way to show your remaining battery percentage is
to look at Control Center. Just swipe down from the upper-right
side of the notch.

iphonex battery percent
IDG

The easiest way to see your battery percentage is,
unfortunatley, to show the Control Center.

Hopefully, a future iOS update will allow you to tap on the
status bar to show battery percentage, Do Not Disturb status,
and other useful info.

Master the new gestures and commands

When you first set up your iPhone, it showed you how to go to
the home screen and bring up the app switcher. But do you know
how to
take a screenshot
? (Press Volume Up and the Side button at
the same time.) 

Lucky for you, we have a quick, simple guide to all the most
common
new gestures and commands
.

Quickly show the app switcher

iphonex appswitcher IDG

A quick up-and-over motion brings up the app switcher in a
split second.

Officially, one brings up the app switcher by dragging up from
the bottom of the screen and pausing for a second, until all
the app cards show up.

But you can speed this up a bit. For starters, you don’t always
have to wait for all the cards to show up—just a brief pause
will do it. 

You might find the easiest way to pop those app cards into view
is to quickly swipe up and over to the side (in either
direction), sort of like an upside-down “L” shape. You can do
this very quickly and it makes the app cards pop right up.

You don’t have to swipe up very far, either. Really, any upward
swipe will work as long as your finger remains on the screen
when it stops its upward momentum. Experiment a little bit and
you’ll find that you can get the app switcher to show
up very quickly. 

Quit apps

On other iPhones, you force-close apps by bring up the app
switcher, finding the app you want to close, then swiping
upward on its app card.

If you do this on the iPhone X, it will simply return you to
the home screen without closing the app. 

iphone x close apps Jason Cross/IDG

Closing apps works a bit differently on iPhone X.

You need to bring up the app switcher (see the previous tip),
then press and hold anywhere on the stack of app
cards. Then you can swipe up on an app to close
it, or you can tap the little red circle close button in the
upper left of each card.

Speed up Face ID

Face ID is pretty fast, but can be a little slower than Touch
ID in some circumstances, like unlocking your phone after
taking it out of your pocket or bag. You can speed this up a
little, though, with the right settings and habits.

First, make sure that “Raise to wake” is enabled. You’ll find
the toggle in Settings > Display &
Brightness
. This will prevent you from having to tap on
the screen to wake it up before swiping to unlock, unless
you’re unlocking your phone while it rests on a desk or in a
dock.

Next, get used to swiping up on the screen before you have it
facing you. If you swipe upward before Face ID can see your
face, the phone will simply wait for Face ID to authenticate
and then pop right to your home screen. So swiping up on your
phone while you raise it to look at the screen
will get animation going, and you’ll be at your home screen as
soon as your face gets in view.

In Settings > Face ID & Passcode, you’ll
find a toggle called “Require Attention for Face ID.” If you
disable this, Face ID can authenticate you even if your eyes
aren’t looking right at the phone. This is a bit less secure,
but it can speed things up a bit, and may be helpful if you
find that your sunglasses don’t work with Face ID very well.

Improve Face ID accuracy

Sometimes, Face ID will not recognize you. Maybe the lighting
is weird, or you’re holding your phone at a funny angle, or
you’ve done something to significantly change the way your face
looks.

That’s okay, Face ID will continually learn what you look like
and improve its accuracy, but only if you let it.

When Face ID doesn’t recognize you, the phone will prompt you
for your passcode. It’s tempting to press Cancel and try again,
but you shouldn’t. Just enter your passcode. This will tell
your iPhone “yes, I was the person you were trying to identify”
and it will take that failed attempt as new data to incorporate
into its biometric model of your face. 

Over time, this will help Face ID recognize you more
accurately, more often.

Master Animoji

Animoji are limited to only ten seconds, but if you want to
record something longer, use the screen recording capability
and then edit out all the iPhone interface in the editing app
of your choice. Be sure to Force-touch the recording button in
Control Center and enable microphone recording, or nobody will
hear you!

animoji sticker IDG

Animoji can be stickers! Just make a face and drag it up
into your messages.

It’s not obvious, but you can use Animoji as a sticker in
iMessages, too. Just bring up the Animoji interface as usual,
but instead of recording, make the face you want to use for
your sticker and then drag the Animoji character right up into
your conversation.


For more Animoji tips, check out our Animoji
FAQ.

Turn on Reachability

The extra-tall display on the iPhone X makes it even harder to
reach up to the top with your thumb. And now that Control
Center is there, you may have to do it more often.

The easiest solution is to enable Reachability, which shifts
the entire screen downward so you can easily reach the top.

iphonex reachability IDG

Reachability can make that tall screen a little easier to
manage, but it’s off by default.

You’ll find the toggle in Settings >
General > Accessibility.

Swipe back and forth between apps

If you want to quickly switch between open apps, just swipe
left or right on the little Home indicator at the bottom of the
screen. No need to swipe up first at all. You can swipe back
and forth through all your open apps this way, making it much
more useful than the old “double tap the Home button to switch
to the last app you used” command.

Add a virtual Home button

If you just gotta have your Home button back, you
can create a virtual one using Assistive Touch. Well, sort
of—it’s a hack but it works.

iphonex assistivetouch
IDG

Creating a virtual home button is pretty easy to do, but
might create as many problems as it solves.

Head to Settings > General >
Accessibility > AssistiveTouch. Once
you’re in this deep settings sub-menu you’ll have to toggle
AssistiveTouch on and select Customize Top Level Menu.
You’ll notice it is set to 6 icons by default, so press the
minus sign until it’s down to one. 

Tap on that one icon (probably a star that says “custom”) and
set it to “Home.”

Back in the AssistiveTouch menu, you may want to lower the Idle
Opacity setting, so your virtual home button will be easier to
see through if it blocks an important part of the screen. 

Just drag your virtual home button to the center of the bottom
of your phone, or really anywhere else you’d like it to go.

Charge faster

The 5W adapter that comes in the box with your iPhone X (and
every other iPhone) is sooo sloooow. Your phone can charge much
faster!

Apple sells a 29W USB-C adapter and USB-C Lightning cable that will fast-charge
your iPhone X using USB Power Delivery. But that’s an expensive
solution: $49 for the charger and $25 for the cable.

Instead, buy the 12W USB power adapter (or use the one that
came with your iPad). It’s only $19, and it gives
you most of the benefit when charging your
iPhone. It way faster than the included adapter, and the
expensive USB-C adapter only charges you up 10-15 minutes
faster.


We have full testing results of several power
adapters with several iPhones here.

Force a hard restart

If your iPhone X becomes totally unresponsive, you can try
forcing a hard restart. 

Quickly press and release Volume Up, then Volume Down, then
press and hold the Side button.
Remember, do not hold down either of the volume
buttons, but do hold the Side button. After
holding it for about 10-15 seconds, you’ll see the Apple logo,
and you can let go.

how to iphone x power off
IDG

If your iPhone X becomes completely unresponsive, try a
hard restart.

Fix photo and video incompatibility

By default, the iPhone X stores photos using a new image format
called HEIF (High-Efficiency Image Format). When you use the
Share a photo on social media or send it in an email, your
phone will convert them to the more compatible JPG file format,
but this isn’t always bulletproof.

If you find some situation where your images are incompatible
with whatever app you’re using, you can force your phone to
save new images in the JPG format.

Head to Settings > Camera >
Formats and switch from “High Efficiency” to “Most
Compatible.” 

iphonex formats IDG

Most Compatible will save your images and videos as JPG and
H.264, but they’ll use up about double the storage space.

This won’t convert any existing images,
but new images will be saved in JPG so they’ll
work with everything.

With video, the situation is similar: the iPhone X will save in
HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Codec) instead of H.264. Changing
that camera setting forces your phone to use the older format.

The new formats are about half the size of the old formats, so
your new photos and videos will take up a lot more space, but
at least you’ll have solved your incompatibility problem.
Because of the huge space savings with HEIF/HEVC, we suggest
you don’t change this setting until you actually run into an
image incompatibility problem.

Turn off auto-brightness

This is really an iOS 11 issue, not just an iPhone X issue, but
it’s worth acknowledging all the same.

Auto-brightness used to be a toggle in the Display &
Brightness
settings menu, but it appears to have been
removed in iOS 11. In fact, it’s still there, it’s just much
harder to find. You’ll have to go to Settings
> General > Accessibility >
Display Accommodations to find the toggle switch.

iphonex autobrightness
IDG

The Auto-brightness toggle still exists, it’s just much
harder to find now.

Auto-brightness on iPhone takes the brightness level you set
and tries to maintain the same “apparent” brightness my making
the screen brighter if you’re in bright daylight or dimmer if
you’re in a dark indoor room. In other words, the brightness
slider is your way of telling the phone “this is how bright I
like my screen in my current environment” and auto-brightness
is your phone’s way of trying to keep that relative level in
all lighting conditions. 

For most users, having auto-brightness enabled should improve
battery life, but those who set their brightness very low and
keep it there might be better off with it disabled.

 

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