So, how are you liking that $1,000 iPhone X? If you’re anything like me, you’re digging the big screen and fancy camera — and not digging certain other things.
Indeed, after about a week with Apple’s latest, I’m finding myself irritated at times — in part due to Face ID issues, but also because of other hassles.
Let’s take a look at the iPhone X’s biggest annoyances and how you can work around them.
1.Face ID seems to be delayed
Actually, you might just be waiting a little longer than necessary. When you tap or raise the iPhone, or press the wake button on the side, you see a little padlock near the top of the screen. After your face is recognized, the lock opens — which takes a second or two — allowing you to swipe up and get to work.
But guess what? You don’t have to wait until you see the padlock perform its little animated opening. In my experience, Face ID actually works faster than that, meaning you can swipe up almost immediately after the screen turns on. There may be a split-second delay while Face ID finishes, er, ID-ing, but it definitely eliminates that “padlock pause.”
2.Face ID doesn’t work when my phone is on a table
Arguably the biggest Face ID-fail of all: You can’t unlock your iPhone X when it’s lying flat on a table — not without swiping up and then waiting a few seconds for the passcode keypad to appear.
Otherwise, it leads to the inevitable “Face ID frown,” which is where you lean awkwardly over the screen and frown at having to do so, thereby reducing the chance Face ID will accurately recognize your face.
If you spend most of your time at a desk, there’s a pretty good fix for this problem, one that kills two birds with one stone: Get a Qi charging stand. Not a charging pad, mind you, which keeps your phone sitting flat, but a stand. That way you can position the phone so it’s facing your face, and therefore much easier to unlock.
3.Notifications are hidden by default
Part-and-parcel with this Face ID issue is that you can’t see notifications at a glance — not until your face gets recognized.
This is a security feature, enabled by default, and some would say it’s a smart one. It can also be incredibly annoying.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough to toggle off. Just tap Settings > Notifications > Show Previews, then choose Always. Just remember that your notifications will now appear with previews even when your phone is locked.
4.I miss the Home button!
Could I interest you in a virtual substitute? iOS has long offered this option in the form of AssistiveTouch, but iPhone X users are really embracing it.
The feature adds an omnipresent “soft” button to your screen, one you can drag and drop just about anywhere you like: off to the side, into a corner, or right near the bottom where the old Home button used to be.
Even better, it can perform different functions depending on whether you single-tap, double-tap, long-press or 3D Touch. One of those functions is a pop-up menu that can be used to quickly access even more functions (like Control Center, SOS and screenshot).
To enable it, tap Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch, then toggle it on. To customize the aforementioned pop-up menu, tap Customize Top Level Menu.
5.I miss my headphone jack!
OK, so this isn’t an iPhone X-specific problem; it’s also an iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 problem. But if you skipped those two models and came from, say, an iPhone 6, the lack of jack can be jarring.
Fortunately, you don’t have to give up your favorite headphones; Apple supplies a dongle that lets you plug them into the Lightning port. And because the iPhone X can charge wirelessly, using that dongle doesn’t have to be at the expense of charging.
Need a place to keep that little adapter so it’s always available? Check out this dongle keychain accessory. Normally I’d also recommend picking up some extra dongles in case yours goes missing, but there are few MFi-certified adapters in the current crop of clones — most of which have very poor ratings.
There are, of course, other options, including Bluetooth audio adapters, Lightning-compatible headphones and so on.
6.The old ways of doing things don’t work anymore!
Want to take a screenshot? Reset your phone? Close an app? Invoke Siri? Uh, yeah, good luck doing any of that on an iPhone X. You can, of course, just not in the ways you’re accustomed to.
To quote everyone’s favorite Jedi master, you must unlearn what you have learned. Because there’s no longer a Home button, certain functions have been rejiggered and/or relocated. Here’s a quick primer:
- Turn off the phone: Press and hold either volume button and the sleep/wake button for about two seconds. You’ll feel the phone vibrate and then see an onscreen menu that includes the old “Slide to power off” slider. (This is also where you access Medical ID and Emergency SOS.)
- Reset the phone: Press volume-up, then volume-down, then press and hold the wake button until the Apple logo appears. (Then release that button.) You have to do all this in fairly rapid succession: press-press-hold.
- Take a screenshot: Simultaneously press and release the volume-up and wake buttons.
- Invoke Siri: Press and hold the wake button for about two seconds.
- Close apps: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, but keep your finger in place for about two seconds. Now you’ll see all your open apps represented on a carousel of “cards.” Scroll left or right till you find the one you want to close, then press and hold on it for a second or two. You’ll see a red icon with a white stripe; tap it to close that app. (Repeat with any other apps you might want to close.)
7.My thumb can’t reach the far reaches of the screen
This has actually been an issue since the iPhone got Plus-sized, which is why Apple added the Reachability feature: a double-tap of the Home button would bring the top of the screen down near the bottom, thus making it more thumb-accessible.
Of course, the iPhone X has no Home button, so the feature is now gesture-controlled: You swipe down at the very bottom edge of the screen. If this feature isn’t enabled on your phone, tap Settings > General > Accessibility, then toggle Reachability on.
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