How to Use iPhones with No Home Button: X, XS, & XR

Gestures on the iPhone’s touch screen have always been important, but with no Home button on the iPhone X and later models, gestures become essential. To perform functions like a forced shut down or returning to the Home screen on your iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR, you're going to use unique gestures that combine the Side and Volume buttons in place of the missing Home button. Common features, like talking to Siri, opening Apple Pay, and closing apps, now have unique gestures that utilize your phone's physical buttons, Face ID, and the touch screen. This article covers all the tips you need to know, like how to use Reachability, take a screenshot, and how to temporarily disable Face ID on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR. Let’s get started with how to use gestures to navigate iPhone models X and later.

Related: iPad Multitasking: The Complete Guide to Split Screen, Slide Over & Picture in Picture

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There are a lot of new gestures and changes to navigation on the iPhone now that Apple has done away with the Home Button. You're probably familiar with the usual iPhone gestures, such as pinching with two fingers to zoom or Shake to Undo. You can even drag multiple photos and drop them into another app. Gestures on the iPhone have always been a part of navigation, but the iPhone X introduced a lot of new ways to do old stuff. Unless otherwise indicated, these methods all apply to the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR. 

What's in this article:

How to Unlock Your iPhone with Raise to Wake

Raise to Wake is turned on by default on the iPhone X and other newer models. To use Raise to Wake on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR, simply lift your iPhone and the screen will automatically turn on. If Raise to Wake isn't working, you might have accidentally disabled the feature inside Settings.

How to Enable Raise to Wake:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Display & Brightness.
  3. Toggle Raise to Wake to the on position to enable the feature.

You don't have to lift your phone wake up the screen on iPhone X; you can simply tap the screen to wake up your iPhone X, even if Raise to Wake is disabled.

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How to Return to the Home Screen From an App

Returning to the Home screen can seem impossible if there's no Home button. On the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR, you can return to your Home screen by swiping all the way to the top of  from the home bar, the small rectangle at the bottom of your screen.

How to Return to the Home Screen:

  1. From within any app, place your finger on the home bar on the bottom center of the screen.
  2. Swipe up toward the top of your screen.​

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How to Unlock the iPhone X & Newer iPhones

To unlock your iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR, you'll need to make sure your Face ID is set up. Using Face ID, you can raise or tap your iPhone X, or other newer models, to wake and unlock your iPhone by looking directly at the screen.

How to Unlock an iPhone X or Later Using Face ID: 

  1. Wake the screen up by either tapping the screen or using Raise to Wake.
  2. Look directly at the screen to use Face ID to unlock your device.
  3. Swipe up from the bottom of your Lock screen to go to the Home screen.


     
  4. If, for any reason, Face ID didn't unlock your phone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to retry Face ID or to enter your passcode instead. Once you've entered your passcode, your iPhone will automatically return to the Home screen or whatever app was open last.

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How to Open the Control & Notification Centers

The notch on the iPhone X and later models divides the top of the screen into a left and right hand display. On your iPhone X, XR, XS, or XS Max, the right side of the notch at the top of the screen is used to access your Control Center while the left side is used to open Notifications.

  1. To open Control Center, swipe down from the top right of the screen.​


     
  2. To open Notifications, swipe down from the top left of the screen.​

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How to Access Siri with the Side Button

The removal of the Home button also changes how you access Siri on the iPhone X and newer models.

  1. If you want to use gestures instead of Hey Siri on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR, then you'll need to use the Side button to access Siri.
  2. Click and hold the Side button (formerly known as the Sleep/Wake button) to talk to Siri.


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How to Activate Apple Pay

On earlier iPhone models, double tapping the Home button brought up Apple Pay from a locked screen, but on the iPhone X or later you'll need to use a new gesture to access Apple Pay. To use Apple Pay from a locked screen on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR, you'll need to double click your Side button and use Face ID to proceed with Apple Pay. Here's how to use Apple Pay on iPhones without a Home button:

  1. Double click the Side button to open Apple Pay
  2. Glance at your iPhone screen to confirm with Face ID.

If Apple Pay doesn't come up when the Side button is double-clicked, one of two things is going on: either you haven't set up a credit card with Apple Pay (check even if you have; my card disappeared after setting up my new iPhone) or you don't have Apple Pay enabled in settings. This can be fixed with the following steps:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Select Face ID & Passcode.​


     
  3. Toggle on Apple Pay under Use Face ID For.

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How to Take Screenshots without the Home Button

Sometimes, you need to take a screenshot to save an important recipe as an image or to hang onto a text message to review later.

  1. To take a screen shot on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR, you'll use a combination of the side and volume buttons instead of using a Home button.
  2. To take screen shot on your iPhone X, or a later model iPhone, simultaneously press and release the Side button and Volume Up button.

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How to Enable & Activate Reachability

Reachability cuts off the lower half of the screen and moves the top portion of your screen to the bottom, making it easier to reach the top of your screen with one hand. By default, Reachbility is turned off on the X, XS, XS Max, and XR, but you can enable the Reachibility feature inside the Accessibility section of your Settings app.

To enable Reachability on your iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR: 

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Toggle on Reachability.​


     
  5. Swipe down on the home bar or bottom center of the screen to activate Reachability. ​


     

Now that you've enabled Reachibility, you can activate the feature within any app by swiping down on the horizontal bar, also called the home bar, at the bottom of your screen. There's no home bar on the Home screen, but you can still activate Reachibility on the Home screen by swiping down from the bottom center of the screen where you would normally find the home bar. 

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How to Switch Between & Force Quit Apps

There are two different ways to switch between apps on the iPhone X: with the App Switcher and without. You can access the App Switcher on the iPhone X, XS, XS, Max, and XR by partially swiping upward from the bottom of the screen. You can also switch between apps by swiping the Home bar left or right. 

How to Open the App Switcher on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR:

  1. Swipe halfway up from the bottom of the screen. 
  2. Lift your finger and the App Switcher will open. You can swipe through, as with earlier models, and tap on an app to open it.
  3. To remove an app from App Switcher, swipe up on the app.​

To switch apps without opening the App Switcher:

  1. Place your finger on the Home bar or the bottom center of the screen if the Home bar is absent.
  2. Swipe from left to right to open your most recent apps in descending order.​

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How to Temporarily Disable Face ID

Face ID is not a perfect system; users have reported that some relatives have been able to use phones protected Face ID due to a strong family resemblance. To temporarily disable Face ID, you'll need to hold down the Side and Volume Up buttons to bring up the shut down screen, and then tap Cancel to force your iPhone to temporarily require the passcode to unlock.

Here's how to temporarily disable Face ID on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR:

  1. Hold down the Volume Up or Down button and the Side button simultaneously.​


     
  2. Once the shutdown screen appears, let go of the buttons. This is important; if you continue to hold down the buttons, Emergency SOS will automatically be triggered.
  3. Tap the X at the bottom to cancel the shutdown.​

Now, Face ID is temporarily disabled until you enter your passcode. Once you enter your passcode, Face ID will continue working as usual.

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How to Turn Off Power & Perform a Hard Restart

The Home button was central to many functions, including powering down your iPhone or forcing a hard restart when your iPhone froze. To power down or force a hard restart on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR, you'll need to perform new gestures that involve a combination of the Side and Volume Up buttons. 

To turn off the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR:

  1. Hold down the Side button and Volume Up or Down button until the option to slide to power off appears.
  2. Using the Slide to Power Off toggle, swipe to the right.​

You can also turn off the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR from the General section of the Settings app.

  1. Open the Settings app and select General,
  2. scroll all the way down to the bottom, and tap Shut Down.
  3. Slide to power icon to the right to turn the power off.​

You can perform a hard restart, sometimes called a force shutdown, on your iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR. To perform a hard restart:

  1. Quickly press and release the Volume Up followed by the Volume Down button.
  2. Now, press and hold the Side button until the device shuts off and the Apple logo appears.


     
  3. Your iPhone will automatically restart.

It’s good to note that when performing a Hard Restart, it takes the iPhone X a few seconds to shut down when you’re holding the Side button. So don’t give up! I thought it wasn't working at first, but I just needed to hold the Side button down for a longer period of time.

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How to Power On the iPhone X & Newer Models

Sometimes, you need to power your iPhone off for a movie, a lecture, or other events that require your full attention. Like earlier models, when your iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR are powered off then you'll need to use a gesture to turn your iPhone back on.

To turn on the iPhone X or later models, press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears. 

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Top Image Credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock.com
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Conner Carey's picture

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.