Now that I’ve taken delivery of an iPhone X and I’ve spent a few hours getting it to work, there are some lessons that I’ll pass along to other new owners to save you some frustration.
But first you need to do a few things to get ready to use your shiny new smartphone.First, make sure you have some means, besides the iPhone X, to connect to the internet, because you’ll probably spend some time searching Google to learn how to do various things.
Apple doesn’t tell you everything you need in those handy tips that show up when you get started.
You’ll also need plenty of time, because Apple did a few things that will make your life more difficult if you’re upgrading from a previous iPhone. You might also want to settle in with some crackers, your favorite cheese and a good Bordeaux because those will help you with your patience.
But first, prepare yourself for a little surprise. When you take your new iPhone X out of the box, you’ll see that it looks just like an iPhone 7 or 8. Until you notice the lack of the home button it’s hard to see too many differences. The fact that it’s essentially all screen without borders doesn’t become visible until you turn it on. That’s when the frustration starts.
If you performed an encrypted backup to your computer before you started your move to the new iPhone, you will probably notice that iTunes won’t let you proceed until you update iOS to 11.1 on your old phone.
You can do that by syncing with iTunes, or you can do an over-the-air update like most of us. Once you’ve updated iOS, you can back up your iPhone with an encrypted backup, which will preserve all of your passwords and other sensitive information.
Note that downloading a backup from iCloud won’t preserve that data, so you’ll need to be prepared for entering passwords and similar information all over again.
But once you’ve done that, it’s time for the next level of frustration in setting up your new iPhone, which appears after you’ve done the initial setup. This occurs when you try to restore your data from your backup. That’s when you find out that you can’t. Your restore from iTunes won’t happen because the versions of iOS don’t match.
You’ll also find out that you have no way from the restore screen to upgrade iOS. What you have to do is move back a few screens, then tell the setup routine that you’re starting up a new iPhone. That means that you’ll have to answer the same questions about your Apple ID, your passcode and so forth all over again. Then you’ll need to upgrade iOS.
This because Apple released a new version of iOS on the same day the new iPhone X was first arriving in customers’ hands, thus ensuring that the process of moving from an old iPhone to a new one would not go smoothly.
Fortunately, once the iOS upgrade is complete, you can connect the iPhone X to your computer and start the data restoration process from there. All of your content, your apps, and of course, the relevant passwords, will be transferred to your new phone. Once you’ve activated your phone with your carrier, you’ll be all set.
This is when you’ll really notice the lack of a home button. You will now start swiping up from the bottom of your screen with your thumb, which will get rid of the lock screen. It also dismisses any running app and it closes folders that you might have open.
Once your phone is activated with your carrier, you’ll notice another nice feature. When text messages arrive, they won’t display on the lock screen. Instead you’ll see a text message announcement, but that’s all. When the Face ID features scans your face and decides it’s really you, then you can see the text messages.
You’ll know that Face ID is working because a padlock icon on the screen will change from being locked to being unlocked. So far, Face ID seems to work well, although to set it up you’ll need to swivel your face around while the Face ID camera watches.
There are other differences that you’ll notice right away. For example, the side button that used to lock the screen or turn off the iPhone has changed. A quick press will still lock the screen, but a longer press brings up Siri, the digital assistant. If you want to turn the phone off, you have to press that button, plus a volume button to power it down.
Turning the iPhone X on requires a long press of the side button as was in the case in earlier iPhones.
You’ll need to get used to using the swiping motion to dismiss apps instead of using a home button, now that the home button is gone. For me that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. You also have to get used to not having a lower bezel as a place for your thumb when you’re holding the phone, since that are is all screen now.
It’s also not clear how you identify yourself for Apple Pay, but apparently you can do the same thing just by looking at the phone. I’ll reserve judgement until I try it a few times.
So far, my first impressions are that it’s a nice phone. It feels solid in my hand, and the glass and stainless steel combination looks attractive. Whether you’re ready for the changes depends on your patience and perseverance. But be aware that you’ll need to set aside a few hours to get everything working.