All the iPhone X Gestures You Need to Know

It's different, but you can swipe on iPhone X, XS, XR, and XS Max

A person looking at a website on their iPhone X while sat at a desk.

When Apple released the iPhone X in 2017, it did away with the home button included since the very first iPhone in 2007. iPhone X users now had to learn an array of new interactions, including how to return to the home screen. But did you know Apple also introduced a lot of useful new gestures?

Here are all the iPhone X gestures you need to know to get the most out of your iPhone.

This article includes instructions for iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR running iOS 12 and up.

Touch to Wake iPhone X

You can get glanceable information from your iPhone without having to unlock it. Simply touch the display to wake your lock screen.

This interaction is useful if you want to check the time, glance at your notifications, or check battery level while your iPhone is charging. From here, you can also quickly turn on the Flashlight feature or activate the Camera.

Lift to Wake iPhone X

Similar to touch to wake, lifting your phone gives you glanceable information without having to do anything else. You also have fast access to the Flashlight and Camera, but because of the iPhone's position, the TrueDepth camera system likely has a clear view of your face, allowing you to unlock it with a simple swipe up from the bottom of the display.

Unlock iPhone X

One of the key features of the iPhone X lineup is Face ID. 

To unlock your device, make sure the TrueDepth camera (housed within the notch at the top of the screen) has a clear view of your face. Then, swipe up from the bottom of the display.

If you're wearing dark sunglasses or your face is otherwise obscured, Face ID will not work correctly. Instead, you’ll be asked to enter your device pin.

Swipe up to unlock, Swipe gesture up on iPhone X

Return to the Home Screen

With the omission of a physical home button, it's not necessarily obvious how to return to the home screen. However, all you need to do is swipe up from the home bar situated at the bottom of the display to take you back to the main screen.

Swipe Up black bar, interim screen, Home screen on iPhone X

Access and Manage Notifications on iPhone X

To see a list of your notifications, swipe down from the left side of the display notch (the side showing the time). You'll see your notifications (if you have any) grouped by app.

  • To take action on a single notification, tap it to launch that app.
  • With grouped notifications, tap to expand, then tap the notification you want to launch.
  • To manage a notification, swipe it left to reveal additional management options.
  • To clear all notifications, tap X, and then tap Clear.
X button, swipe gesture, Manage/View/Clear options for lockscreen notifications on iPhone X

Access Control Center on iPhone X

To access Control Center, swipe down from the right of the notch (the side showing the network indicator and battery level). This action will give you quick access to controls such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Volume, and more.

You can also access Control Center from the lockscreen using the same gesture. Just make sure your display is awake.

Adjust Settings in Control Center on iPhone X

Once in Control Center, you can quickly adjust certain settings using 3D Touch (iPhone X, XS, XS Max) or long press (iPhone XR).

For example, if you want to change the display brightness, press down (or press and hold) to show the settings bar. From here you can swipe up or down to adjust brightness. Additionally, this window provides quick options for activating Night Shift mode and True Tone.

Brightness in Control Center and Night Shift/True Tone controls

Quickly Switch Between Apps on iPhone X

To move between an app you’re currently using and recently used ones, swipe right on the home bar at the bottom of the display. This action lets you slide along to the app you were using prior. 

You can keep swiping to scroll through the most recent apps in their order of last use. To go back to the previous app, swipe left on the home bar. This action is useful if you find yourself having to move back-and-forth frequently between two apps.

Switch Between Apps on iPhone X

To get a fuller view of your most recently used apps, swipe up from home bar, stopping halfway up the screen and then moving your finger slightly to the right. This action will reveal an ordered carousel of recently used apps. From here, you can swipe through them and tap the one you want to open.

Swipe up bar, swipe left to right, News app on iPhone X

Shut Down Apps on iPhone X

If you need to close an app that’s misbehaving, you can do so by revealing the full app switcher. From here, swipe up on the app you want to shut down to remove it from the carousel, thereby shutting it down entirely.

Swipe up on Home Screen, Swipe up apps on iPhone X

Activate Reachability on iPhone X

If you’ve ever found it difficult to reach the top of your iPhone display, Reachability is a useful tool to slide the display area down. To do this, swipe down over the dock at the bottom of the screen. Features at the top will now be more accessible.

If this doesn't work for you, enable the Reachability toggle in Settings > General > Accessibility.

To return to the standard view, just swipe down over the home bar or press the small carat at the top of the display area.

Swipe up on Dock, carat at top of screen on iPhone X

Access Today View on iPhone X

To access Today View, swipe right from the first page of your home screen. This action will reveal your array of app widgets. To go back to the home screen, swipe right or up from the bottom of the display.

Swipe right, swipe Today right, Today view on iPhone X

Access Siri Search on iPhone X

Siri Search is useful if you want to search across your device and apps. To do this, make sure you’re on the home screen, then swipe down from the middle of the display. This move will launch a search bar at the top of the screen and bring up your keyboard.

Swipe down from center, Siri Search field on iPhone X