If you are in the market for a new smartphone and are giving the iPhone XR a long side-eye, you are likely not the owner of an iPhone X — Apple’s flagship smartphone from 2018. It is more likely you are holding an iPhone 8, 7, or even 6. You might even have the plus-sized version.
There is also a good chance that you are not interested in an iPhone XS or an iPhone XS Max. Otherwise, you would probably already have one. You might be hesitating to jump to the latest and greatest because you really like what you have. Apple is no longer offering any new phones that look like your current one. And you heard there will be a few things that will take some getting used to. Three of the most prominent new features common to the new iPhone line follow.
Love it or hate it, you can’t really hide it. The notch is here to stay on the new iPhones, well into the foreseeable future. When you play a video or blow up an image to full-screen, the notch will be an unwelcome intruder in the frame. You get used to it relatively quickly, but that doesn’t make it ideal.
Getting to the home screen is no longer a simple matter of pressing that big button at the bottom of the phone. That button is a thing of the past. It will even be a no-show on the new iPads when they are announced.
Getting home now involves the active maneuver of swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Unlike pressing the button, there is a way to do it wrong. Furthermore, a similar gesture is the only way to activate multitasking. So it has to be done slightly differently depending on what you are trying to do. It will become second-nature, but it does take some getting used to.
In Your Face
To unlock the phone, two things have to happen. You have to look at the phone, and the phone has to look at you. If the phone does not like what it sees, you don’t get in.
The good news is that Face ID is even better on the XR than it was on the X. But like going home, there are wrong ways to do it. Face ID will not work at every angle. It will not work if the phone is too close to your face — and if the Attention Aware feature is turned on, it will not register correctly if your eyes are not visible.
This is not to say that you should not get the iPhone XR, simply that it is a very different experience than what you may be used to. Be prepared to go through a bit of a learning curve. Pre-orders begin this evening, at midnight PST.