Home how-tos 10 iPhone X tricks that unlock the magic of Apple’s new phone

10 iPhone X tricks that unlock the magic of Apple’s new phone

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The Apple iPhone X you just received as a present this holiday season behaves differently in a few significant ways from all other iPhones.  

Oh sure, it runs the same iOS 11 software as on other models, and nearly all the same apps. But just for starters, the absence of the traditional home button coupled with Face ID facial recognition sets the $999 (on up) iPhone X apart.

Here are 10 tips to help you master Apple’s most expensive iPhone, which often involves learning new gestures.

More: I’ve had an iPhone X all week. Here’s what’s easier and what’s still a struggle

More: iPhone X first look: Face ID passes our quick tests and ‘animojis’ are addictive

Switch between running apps in a hurry

From a Home screen, swipe from right to left on the bottom of the screen on what is  sometimes called the gesture bar.

Open the app switcher

To get at the app switcher (or multitasking screen) on your phone, swipe about halfway up the screen and pause for a second. Or try this alternative method, which you may find is even quicker. In one fluid motion, swipe up and then without lifting your finger move left or right as if you were drawing an inverted letter L. Yes this is harder than the old school method of double-tapping the home button to get to the app switcher.

Quit running apps

From the aforementioned app switcher, press down on a card representing a running app for a moment until a circled red dash appears. Swipe up to shut that app down and repeat this action for any other apps that you want to close. This is a departure from other iPhones in which you could swipe up a card to close an app without waiting for a red dash to appear. If you do that now, you’ll return to the home screen, but any apps will still be running in the background.

Find the battery percentage

Many iPhone users like to glance at the screen to see how much life the battery has remaining in percentage terms. You can no longer view the battery percentage, at least from the home screen. Instead, you must take the extra step of summoning the Control Center by swiping down from the upper right portion of the screen where the battery percentage indicator is visible. This action is another departure from other iPhones. On those devices, you get to Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

Using the X with one hand: 

On the iPhone Plus devices with their large-size screens, Apple introduced a “reachability” feature that let users access the upper portion of the screen while using the phone with one hand. On those models, you would lightly double-tap the home button to bring the upper half of the display down towards the bottom. Without such a button on the X, summoning reachability is a bit more challenging. Gently swipe down from the very bottom edge of the screen. You will have to first enable the reachability feature by visiting Settings–>General–> Accessibility. Then tap the Reachability switch to turn it on.

Bring back the home button

Buried inside the accessibility settings of your phone is a feature known as AssistiveTouch, with tools for people who have difficulty touching the screen or who need an adaptive accessory. Such assistive tools aren’t new but on an iPhone without a home button one of the options lets you display a virtual button that can serve as a home button. If you turn the feature on, you can assign different tasks to this button: shortcuts to home, Siri, notifications and other settings.

Use an Animoji as a sticker

The Animojis feature unique to the iPhone X is both silly and additive at the same time. There are a dozen of these animated characters, and they range from a monkey to a unicorn. The camera system on the phone analyzes and mirrors more than 50 different muscle movements of your face so that when you wink your Animoji winks or when you make an angry face your Animoji’s face responds in kind. While you can record and send a short (up to ten seconds) video snippet to a friend in which the the Animoji’s mouth moves as you speak, you can also send an Animoji as a sticker. Select the Animoji of your choice from the left panel inside the Messages app, look straight into the camera and make the face you want the character to mimic. Once satisfied, tap the Animoji so that it appears inside your outgoing message and then send it off in a message as usual.

Reveal the contents of notifications

The iPhone X will let you know when you have a notification (and where that notification came from) but won’t preview the contents of that notification until you through Face ID gaze into the screen. That’s the default on the X anyway, all in the name of privacy. If you’d rather have the preview show up on the screen right away, go to Settings–>Notifications–>Show Previews, and tap Always instead of When Unlocked. Of course if you’d rather not see notifications on the screen at all, tap the Never option instead.

Forcing a restart 

If your phone freezes or otherwise misbehaves, you may want to force it to restart. Press and quickly release the volume up button, followed by a quick press of the volume down button, followed by having to press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo. That’s a longer set of hoops to go through than on previous models but the expectation is that you shouldn’t have to go through this drill very often.

Capture a screenshot

Sometimes you want to show off what is on your iPhone display. To take a screenshot, press and release the side button at the same time you press and release the volume up button.

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow USA TODAY Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter

Baig is co-author of iPhone X For Dummies, an independent work published by Wiley.

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