For a decade the Home button was the center of iPhone navigation. No matter where you were or what you were doing, clicking Home once or twice would bring you exactly where it says it will — Home. Depending on how often or how long you clicked it, the Home button would also do a number of other highly useful things for you, from summoning Siri or Apple Pay to bringing up the app switcher or accessibility menu. It was our escape hatch and convenience key all in one. And now, with iPhone X, it’s gone.
To make room for that edge-to-edge display and in recognition that, a decade later, our training wheels can come off, Apple has replaced the Home button with a fluid, gesture-based navigation area. And it’s magnificently fun.
The Home button is gone but you still need to get Home. From the Lock screen to the Home screen. From additional Home screens or widget screens to the main Home screen. From apps back to the Home screen. Luckily, the Home button has been replaced with a Home gesture and it’s incredibly easy to do.
It’s almost exactly how you used to bring up Control Center, and it becomes natural very quickly. (More on what happened to Control Center below!)
Previously on iPhone, you had to invoke the fast app switcher to swipe back and forth between apps on iPhone. With iPhone X, you can do it even faster. You can literally just swipe. There may be a few older apps or games that cause you hiccups, but most of the time it’ll just work.
Note, if you stop or get interrupted, the last app you were on becomes the most recent app so you can only swipe back from it, not forward anymore.
If you want to quickly swipe back and forth through multiple apps on iPhone X, you can do that too. You can’t double-click the Home button or use the 3D Touch firm swipe to bring up the multitasking interface and fast app switcher, though. You have to use the new gesture.
It can take a few tries to get right, and you can exaggerate the movements at the cost of speed if you need to at first. After a while, though, the gesture is lightning fast.
Sadly, you can no longer flick away apps that you want to close — force quit or kill when you’re feeling salty. Hopefully, that’ll come back one day. In the meantime, you can still quit ’em just to watch them die. You simply — and sadly — have to go through more steps to do it.
Once you’re in killing mode, you can kill as many apps as you want. Just remember, iOS prefers to manage apps for you, so only kill them if they really deserve to die. (Looking at you, battery draining Facebook, Snapchat, and Pokémon Go!)
iPhone X has an iPhone Plus-sized screen crammed into an iPhone non-Plus-sized casing. But that doesn’t mean everyone has thumbs long enough to tap every corner of it. That’s why Reachability lets you dag the interface down to your level. Literally, with iPhone X!
Unlike the other gestures, you do need to set it up first.
Once set up:
You can even swipe down from the top right of Reachability to access Control Center.
Because a swipe up now invokes the multitasking fast app switcher, Control Center had to from the bottom to the top. And moving Control Center to the top then meant Notification Center had to learn to share. So, now, Notification Center is limited to swiping down from the top left “horn” or the TrueDepth camera module in the center. And Control Center get the right horn as its new home.
Again, you can even swipe down from the top right of Reachability to access Control Center.