6 Gestures You'll Need To Learn For The iPhone X

Image: Apple

The iPhone X's lack of a physical home button is the most significant update to Apple's world-changing smartphone since the original iPhone's launch in 2007. I've had an iPhone X for the last day, and I'm still getting my head around the new list of gestures and interactions -- so here's what I've learned. If you want a quick guide to everything new before you get your own new iPhone X on Friday, here's your cheat sheet.

Gestures like tap, double tap, pinch, drag, tap and hold, shake, flick and swipe remain the same from previous iPhones, but it's the iPhone X's lack of a home button that primarily changes the way you'll interact with this all-screen phone. The power button replaces the home button when it comes to a couple of tactile interactions and Face ID's biometric authentication. Apple Pay, for example, takes a double-click of the home button and a Face ID authentication before it unlocks.

But to navigate iOS without a home button, this is what you need to know.

Swipe up to go home. The replacement for the home button is an inch-long bar, either black or white depending on the background on the content you're viewing. It's universal, just like the physical home button was, and the direct replacement for a quick tap on that tactile button is to swipe up from the base of the iPhone X's screen and flick your thumb or forefinger up and off the display. This'll drop you back at the home screen from any app, or drop you back at your first home screen if you're a couple of pages deep.

Swipe the bar to switch apps. Swiping right on the bar will take you through a chronological list of your most recently used apps. Once you've swiped right, you can continue swiping right or left to move back and forth between apps as you're switching between them. There's one extra thing to learn here -- once you've stopped on an app for more than a few seconds, it'll 'move' to the rightmost position in the list -- and you'll have to swipe right again rather than left to find other apps.

Swipe up and stop to multi-task. To access the multi-tasking app drawer of currently running apps, you'll have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen and then stop -- it's that pause that distinguishes between this gesture and the upwards swipe that replaces the single press of the home button. Swiping the bar is quicker, though. From there, if you want to close apps, tap and hold and then tap the minus icon in the top left of each pane.

Image: Apple

Swipe down from the right corner for Control Centre. This is probably the most significant swiping change from previous iPhones -- instead of living on the bottom of the screen as an upward swipe, the iOS 11 Control Centre on the iPhone X can be accessed from the top of the phone by swiping down from the cellular, Wi-Fi and battery icons over to the right of the notch.

Swipe down from the left corner for Notification Centre. Swiping down from the clock on the left of the notch will drop you into the iPhone X's notifications screen. This is also accessible by swiping down from almost the entirety of the iPhone X's notch, so it's much easier to access than the Control Centre -- but if you're right-handed that's easy enough to get to anyway. Notifications work like normal -- tap one and you'll go to the app.

Swipe down anywhere on the home screen for Spotlight. The iPhone's universal Spotlight search is still there in iOS 11, and you can find it by swiping down from any part of the home screen that's not right up the top where you'd activate Notifications or the Control Centre.

If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of the list of Apple's gestures on the iPhone X, here you go. We'll share a full list of the iPhone X's gestures from Apple soon. [Apple]



    I find it odd they chose right for Control Centre and left for Notifications. With one handed use I'd have thought right would be the easier to get to and that the preference would have gone to the Notification Center over the Control Centre.

      I'm not very good at iOS notifications, to be honest, so I tend to ignore Notifications much more than I do on Android where it's gospel. But I switch Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off a lot. So it works for me!

    Everyone complained about BlackBerry OS 10 and how the gestures were oh-so-hard to learn. "Why can't they just have a home button like every other phone?" people cried.

    Here's Gizmodo's take on gestures on BlackBerry, which was the first to have a "swipe up to go home" gesture. (https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/02/blackberry-z10-review-not-good-enough/)

    You're not used to using a phone like you use BlackBerry 10. Everything is gestures. Literally everything. There is no physical home or navigation button. To go home, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. To see notifications swipe up and hold, then continue swiping to the right. It's deeply disorienting when you first start using the phone, and there are zero visual clues to tell you what to do.

    You can get to everything quickly, sort of, but it doesn't always make sense the way you do. For instance, when using BlackBerry Hub, you can always swipe down from the top of the screen to display your new few appointments. Handy! But random. It's more like knowing your sunglasses are always in your left-hand cup-holder than knowing that the cup-holder is always on your left-hand side.

    What?! You mean swiping down in the hub to see next appointments is more confusing than swiping down in iOS to see your next appointments? Crazy!

    No, the gestures aren't intuitive, and that's going to be a problem for a lot of users.

    So, swiping up on a BlackBerry to get to your home screen is going to be a problem for a lot of users - but the exact same thing on an iPhone X (which incidentally, now works differently to every other iPhone) isn't an issue.

    When Apple do the same thing it's oh so user friendly and magical. I guess Apple somehow solved those problems?

    People shouldn't underestimate the power of marketing and advertising on their perception of the world. This is why there are now only two viable mobile platforms in the world. I hope you're happy.

    Last edited 02/11/17 1:51 pm

      To be fair, I don't think EVERYONE thinks removal of home button is "magic", maybe a step backwards or sidewards at best.

      To be fair that gizmodo review you pointed to does say gestures (once you're used to it) is an efficient way to navigate around or something like that

      The Best Part
      The speed. No, the gestures aren't intuitive, and that's going to be a problem for a lot of users. But once you figure out exactly where everything is, how it works, and how to get where, you can zip around from app to app, task to task with admirable efficiency.

      Where in this article was the author specifying that "When Apple do the same thing it's oh so user friendly and magical". This is a purely informative article; no opinion on whether the gestures are a good idea or not.

        Sometimes what isn't spoken is as loud as what is spoken.

      Lee, Lee, Lee. BlackBerry is gone. The mourning period is over. It’s ok to move on.


        The reason BlackBerry is gone is because reviewers ultimately expected it to work the way an iPhone worked and panned it when it didn't. Ironically iPhones have then evolved to work the way BlackBerries used to work.

        I'm not mourning BlackBerry specifically - I'm mourning the resultant lack of competition.

    I often times unlock my phone with my finger while it is either still on the table or still in my hand without lifting it up to my face. FaceID seems one step backwards in this case as I have to actually show it my face.

    Another gesture sure to be oft-repeated is picking your jaw up from the floor when you realise how much it costs.

      I'm not seeing the gesture to throw it in the bin and buy a Pixel2/Samsung S8+/wait for Samsung S9 etc. Odd.

        That's because gestures are for making things faster not slower.

          Must be why Androids have been faster for many years then, gestures are nothing new in smart phones mate. Apple will tell you otherwise though, while they're using Samsung screens and saying they have the best screen on the market.

    I’m really enjoying my decision to go the 8plus instead of wait for the X. I really wish that Apple had gone with the same idea as the new Galaxys, where the home button is hidden, and you just use force-touch to use it. I think all these different gestures would really quite annoy me.

    you'll also need the single finger gesture for all the haters.

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