The 25 Best iPhone XR Tips and Tricks

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 25 Oct 2018

iPhone XR Tips and Tricks

The iPhone XR is the first sub $1000 iPhone with an edge-to-edge design and Face ID. It is the new default iPhone for everyone. If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 6, this is the iPhone you’re going to buy.

But the iPhone XR in a whole new beast. The new design comes with a new gesture-based interface. Touch ID makes way for Face ID. The button placements are new too. If you’ve just upgraded to the iPhone XR, congratulations, you’re going to have a lot of fun using awesome apps and games on that 6.1-inch screen.

But getting used to all the new changes will take a lot of time. And that’s where we come in. Follow our tips and tricks below and you’ll master all the new features and changes in the iPhone XR in no time!

Best iPhone XR Tips and Tricks

1. Tap to Wake

All you have to do is tap on the iPhone XR’s screen to wake it up. This is a great quick way to view your notifications without fiddling around with the Side button.

2. Swipe Up to Go Home

iPhone X Go to Home Gesture GIF

There’s no Home button on the iPhone XR. A simple swipe up from the bottom home bar will take you Home or will unlock the device.

3. Access App Switcher Faster

iPhone X 45 degree gesture

To get to the App Switcher, you swipe up from the Home bar and hold a bit. But this can be time-consuming. Instead, try swiping up from the left edge, in a 45-degree angle. You’ll end up in the App Switcher every single time.

4. Open Notification Center

Swipe down from the notch area to access the Notification Center and view all your notifications.

5. Open Control Center

iPhone X Access Control Center Gesture

Swipe down from the right edge, or the right ear (the area next to the notch) to reveal the Control Center. You can customize this area by adding extra controls for things like Apple TV remote, Accessibility controls, and more.

6. Pay with Apple Pay

iPhone X Apple Pay Gesture GIF

To pay with Apple Pay, press the Side button twice (it’s the big button on the right side of the phone). After that, hold your phone up to your face to scan with Face ID.

7. Quickly Switch Between Recent Apps

iPhone X Quick App Switcher Gesture

There’s an awesome gesture that lets you quickly and seamlessly switch between the last app you used. Just swipe right on the app to go back to the previously used app. Right swipe again to go back further. If you left-swipe immediately, you’ll get back to the app you were using originally.

But if you interact with an app, this system resets and you’ll have to swipe right instead to get to the previously used app (it’s a bit confusing at first but you’ll get a hang of it).

8. Take a Screenshot

Take screenshot on iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max

There’s no Home button on the iPhone XR. So how do you take a screenshot? You press the Side button and the Volume Down button together.

9. Use Siri

iPhone X Access Siri GIF

To use Siri, just press and hold the Side button. You can also set up Hey Siri functionality if you find the Side button too tedious.

10. Reboot Your iPhone

To reboot your phone. Hold the Side button and either of the Volume buttons.

11. Do a Hard Reset

Hard Reset iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max

This is just an advanced reboot, it won’t wipe any data. Press Volume Up, then Volume Down and then quickly hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo on the screen.

12. Create Your Own Memoji

iOS 12 Memoji in Camera View 2

The iPhone XR is the first sub $1000 iPhone that comes with the TrueDepth camera and Face ID. A side effect is that you get to use features like Animoji and Memoji. Memoji is a lot more fun. You can create your own Bitmoji kind of character. Go to Messages, select an iMessage conversation and tap on the Animoji app icon to get started.

13. Take a Depth Effect Selfie

iPhone X Portrait Mode Portrait Lighting Selfie

Now that you have an iPhone with a TrueDepth camera sensor, you can take selfies with depth effect as well. In the camera app, switch to the Portrait mode and then flip the camera.

14. Take Control of Notifications from Lock Screen

iOS 12 Manage Notifications From Lock Screen

iOS 12 lets you manage notifications right from the Lock screen. Swipe left on a notification and tap on Manage. From here you can quickly turn off notifications for an app. If you tap on Deliver Quietly, the notification won’t show up on the Lock Screen and it won’t make a sound. But when you open the Notification Center, it will be waiting for you.

15. Use Two Pane Landscape View

iPhone XR supports the landscape view of the iPhone XS Max. So when you’re in an app like Notes or Mail simply turn your phone sideways for a two-pane view (similar to what you get on an iPad).

16. Swipe Up If Face ID Fails Once

Face ID works perfectly in most conditions. But sometimes it doesn’t get it right on the first try. If that happens, you don’t need to enter the passcode. Just swipe up once again and it will probably get it right the next time.

17. Set Up a Second Face ID Face

iOS 12 Alternate Face ID Face

If you want your spouse or significant other to access your iPhone, you can use a workaround to add a second face to Face ID. Open Settings -> Face ID & Passcode and select Set Up an Alternative Appearance. Follow the prompts on the screen to set up another face.

18. Get Back The Home Button

iPhone X AssistiveTouch Home button

If you’re not used to the swipe gestures, you can get back the Home button, virtually using the AssistiveTouch feature. Go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> AssistiveTouch and define shortcuts for single tap, double-tap, long press, and 3D Touch.

For Single touch, define it as Home. You can use define other gestures for different features as well.

19. Edit Depth Effect from Portrait Shots

iPhone Xs iPhone Xs Max Best Features 3

Even though the iPhone XR only has a single camera, you can still click Portrait pictures using some smart software tricks. But the depth effect won’t always be right.

Thankfully, you can go in later and edit the depth effect. Tap on Edit when you’re in the photo view and use the slider at the bottom to change the depth effect intensity.

20. Get a Fast Charging Set Up

Best iPhone XS Accessories 3

The iPhone XR only comes with a 5W charger. If you use your iPhone a lot, you might want to use a fast charger (which is officially supported by the iPhone XR). If you’ve already got an iPad, we suggest you use the 12W iPad charger to charge the iPhone.

If you want, you can get Apple’s 30W charging brick, along with the USB-C to lightning cable. But if you don’t want to spend the $80, just get Anker’s PowerPort 2 30W adapter for $30 instead.

21. Shoot RAW Images

Halide iOS 12 Update

iPhone’s default camera app is pretty good as a point-and-click. But what if you want to manually control things like exposure, focus, shutter speed, and more. Use a third-party app like Halide to get a pro mode and to shoot images in RAW.

Once you’ve saved photos in RAW, you can open it in an app like Snapseed and directly edit the attributes like exposure and brightness on a much better level than if the photo was captured using the Camera app.

22. Automate Tasks Using Shortcuts

Siri Shortcuts Cool Things Featured

Your iPhone XR is pretty smart. You can use the new Shortcuts app to automate repetitive tasks or to club multiple tasks together. Using the Shortcuts app, you can create a shortcut to make a turn off Do Not Disturb mode, send a message to someone, read you the latest headlines and turn on the lights, with just a single command.

23. Don’t Go Swimming With Your iPhone XR

The iPhone XR is rated as IP67. This means it’s splash resistant. You shouldn’t go swimming with your iPhone. Don’t keep it underwater for a long time and definitely don’t use underwater.

24. Get Apple Care+ Theft and Loss Protection

If you’re the forgetful kind, or if you’re buying the iPhone XR for your child, we recommend you buy the Apple Care+ Theft and Loss Protection plan. If you choose to pay $249 to Apple, your iPhone XR will be replaced if it’s stolen or lost. You can pay for the plan in monthly installments as well.

25. Enable Message Previews on Lock Screen

iPhone X Notification Previews Hidden and Exposed

By default, message previews are hidden on the iPhone XR until your face is scanned using Face ID. This is a great privacy feature. But for some, it might feel annoying. If you are used to waking up the screen, no matter which angle it’s at, and viewing the notification you’ll find this feature annoying.

Thankfully, it’s easy to disable. Go to Settings -> Notifications -> Show Previews and select Always.

Bonus Tips

Scroll to Top

One of the biggest hidden features in the iPhone is the gesture to scroll to the top of a page. And it works on every app. Tap on the top part of the screen (just below the notch or either side of it) to instantly go to the top of the page you were in. It’s best when you’re scrolling Twitter.

Access Flashlight from Lock Screen

If you’re coming from an iPhone 8 or below, the first new thing you’ll notice is a Flashlight icon in the Lock Screen. Just press hard on it to quickly enable the flashlight.

Reachability Still Works

If you’re used to the feature that brings the top half of the screen down for easier access, you’ll be happy to know that it exists on iPhone XR as well. It just works differently. You can enable it from Settings -> General -> Accessibility. Then just flick down on the Home bar to bring the screen down. Swipe up again to go back to the full-screen mode.

Turn off Attention Awareness Feature

Apple uses the Face ID system to determine if you’re looking at your phone or not. And based on that, it can do different things. For example, it can dim the screen when you’re not paying attention, or automatically silence the phone. But if you don’t want Apple to do these things for you, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Attention Aware Features and turn the feature off.

Disable Tap to Wake

As we talked about above, the Tap to Wake feature can be quite useful. But it’s also prone to accidental taps. If you want to disable it, go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Tap to Wake.

Turn on Automatic Updates

If you’re getting annoyed by the pop-ups asking you to update the OS every couple of weeks, you can go to Settings -> General -> Software Updates -> Automatic updates and turn on the feature that will automatically download and install new iOS updates when your iPhone is charging overnight.

Your Favorite Tips and Tricks

What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for using the new iPhone? Share with us in the comments below.