iPhone X is a user interface disaster

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/07/iphone-x-is-a-user-interface-d.html


The contents of this “Manual that Apple forgot” are printed on a sheet that comes with the iPhone X. ¯\⎽(ツ)⎽/¯


That is why I don’t own nor want to own an iPhone.

And because of the insane price tag.

And Apple’s cult like marketing/fanboys.


A good half of those manual entries are also ‘issues’ on Android. (if I may be presumptuous about your os platform)


The cult of avoiding apple is pretty obnoxious too.


That’s like complaining about the windows command line availability to power users that most users never touch.

Nobody needed cheat sheets to use them to their full potential. Then, little by little, a divide opened between two types of iOS device users–between regular users who use the iPhone in the simplest way possible and have no idea about most of the hidden gestures and the power users who know the secret ninja moves.

The gestures are useful if you want them, but honestly this article is just fishing for discontent, as the “Regular user” will be fine swiping up and finding the app they want to use, just as they did when they pressed the home button. When they get to a place where they want to or need to learn the more complex behaviors they can, and it’ll be easy.


I had to google how to do a “<” yesterday on my Moto. How would I know I had to hold down the “(” ?

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But apple still gets made fun of for not enabling right click by default in in OS X (they might now, it’s been a while since I’ve done a clean install, and right click is fully functional once enabled). Something that is even more inconsistent in functionality than all these swipes.

Yes, the home button was an elegant solution, but even it was criticized for having too much functionality built in - single click, double click, hold.

Whatever gets the pageviews I guess.

For me it’s the forced assimilation. If you’re comfortable with a UI design, you can’t keep it. You either never update or you update and they’ve changed the interface. Android gives you so many more options to change which kind of interface you use on your phone.

It was bad enough when they didn’t have a back button, but losing the home button makes it even worse. This location based swiping just reminds me of Windows 8 too much.


If we’re going to complain about the iPhone X can we at least start talking about the millions of pixels that are rendered useless by the gesture bar, the notch, and the rounded corners?

They could at least give us a way to stop displaying the gesture bar. It’s a visual annoyance and doesn’t serve a purpose in a gesture driven display. Developers can get rid of it if there’s no touching on the display, but in games, web pages, and other applications with touch you can’t get rid of it.


The problem with Android is that Google arbitrarily changes things during random updates. They changed the swipe direction to answer a call a few months ago. Just a point.point.something release of the phone app.

Maybe it matched functionality to something else on a Pixel phone, or the new OS version, but I don’t have either of those (Nexus 5 here) so I just have to learn to drag up instead of to the right to answer completely out of the blue.

I know, first world problems, but stuff like this is muscle memory after so many years of consistent use.

To your point, yes I can at least download a different dialer app.



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Yknow, my crappy knockoff Android can do all of those things, and I don’t even need to learn semaphore.

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Yeah, this. iOS has had non-obvious gestures for a while, like force-press at the edge of the screen and swipe to switch between apps, swipe down from the top for notifications, etc. Some of these gestures become second nature pretty quickly.

People want to do more with their phones, and OS developers need to make maximum use of the affordances they’ve got to give access to those functions. Some people want a big screen without a big phone; Apple has tried to square that circle by removing one of those affordances, which means that others get (more) overloaded.

Maybe this experiment will prove to be a failure and people complaining about these hidden gestures will be in the majority. Maybe people will get used to them and look back at the home button as an antiquated stepping-stone to our glorious button-free future. Writing an article like this when the device is brand new makes you sound like this.

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The one nice thing about the gesture bar presence is that it can be eliminated, changed, or re-imagined with a simple software release. Can’t turn the iPhone home button space into screen space with a software release.

I’m all for software definable user interfaces.

Steve would never have allowed this.



Apple always has a few things they get in their head that they will never budge on and then go though crazy hoops to deal with it.

  • Get rid of buttons (Single mouse button?!?! How about NO mouse button)
  • Eliminate wires even if it doesn’t make sense (We’ll force your mouse upside down to charge so you wont leave it plugged in)
  • No Fans ever (Even if your Apple III melts or your laptop runs dead slow)
  • No Fingerprint sensor on the back even though that apple logo might due for one.

There are lots of these quirks but I need caffeine right now.


I like my iPhone 7 just fine. I have zero desire nor see any incentive to upgrade from this one.

Also @TheGreatParis Steve allowed a one button mouse. I don’t put anything past what he’d have allowed. That damn mouse is a blight on all things.


For the good of the industry and of phone users, eventually we really need the UI of various brands of phones to converge and have a efficient, more or less “standard” design that people don’t need to constantly re-learn every time they get a new device or borrow one from their friend. It happened with bikes, cars, physical keyboards, etc. But for inexplicable reasons Apple is actively fighting against this, such as by suing Samsung for millions for violating their "swipe to unlock " patent.

Imagine where we’d be if Mercedes has sued every car maker that used a steering wheel.


I actually read Joanna Stern’s WSJ article associated with the post and the entire article was her raving about how great the iPhone X is and how easy it was to use. The tweet seems to be click bait.

I’ve had the iPhone X since Nov 3rd (looks like the 64GB model was trivial to get on the day of release, everyone was buying 256GB model!). And I had concerns about the new “homeless” iPhone. But I adapted instantly and find it totally intuitive. It took a second or two to figure out how to kill apps since you can’t just swipe them away anymore. But that was about it. The little bar at the bottom of the screen makes it easy.

Screen is gorgeous! I wish the notch wasn’t there, but I’m already not noticing that. That being said, Jobs would never have allowed the notch IMHO.