How to navigate the Home button-less iPhone X using gestures [Video]

The iPhone X ushers in a major change to the way we interact with our devices due to the lack of a Home button. In order to accommodate an almost bezel-free display, Apple eschewed the Home button and replaced its functionality with several new Screen Edge Gestures.

The presence of these new gestures present new learning opportunities for navigating throughout the iOS UI.  We’ve been using the iPhone X for a day now and have already largely adapted to the new interface methods.

Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as we step through many of the new gestures you’ll need to know to fully navigate the iOS interface sans Home button.

New definitions

The iPhone X adds a few new definitions to the table as far as buttons are concerned. For starters, the Sleep/Wake button, sometimes called the Power button, is now called the Side button. This helps to unify the button nomenclature of the iPhone and Apple Watch lines.

An outright new definition that you should become familiar with is the Home Indicator. Exclusive to the iPhone X for the time being, the Home Indicator is a software interface that helps to replace the Home button. From the Home Indicator area, users will be able to do things like navigate to the Home screen, invoke the App Switcher, and switch between apps.

New iPhone X-centric Screen Edge Gestures provide access to important items like the Home screen, App Switcher, Control Center, and Notifications. Our video walkthrough and bullet-point explanations provide more details below.

Video walkthrough

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How to wake iPhone X

There are multiple ways to wake iPhone X:

  • Press the Side button (formerly the Sleep/Wake button).
  • Tap the iPhone’s display.
  • Use ‘Raise to Wake’.
  • Open the iPhone X Leather Folio.

How to put the iPhone X to sleep

  • Press the Side button.
  • Close the iPhone X Leather Folio.

How to temporarily disable FaceID

  • Press the Side button five times while on the Lock screen.

How to navigate Home

  • Swipe up from the Home Indicator/bottom of the screen.

How to invoke the App Switcher

  • Swipe up from the Home Indicator/bottom of the screen and pause.

How to close apps

  • Open the App Switcher and long press on an app card to reveal the close button for each app. Tap each close button to quickly close each app. Alternatively, you can swipe up to close an app card, but tapping the new close button is faster.

Quickly switch between apps

  • Swipe the Home Indicator left or right.

It’s best to use this method for quickly switching between recent apps, since it’s of a serial nature. For switching between apps used less recently, invoking the App Switching and navigating directly to the app will prove to be more efficient.

How to enter and exit icon edit (wiggle) mode

  • Long press a Home screen app icon for 2 seconds to enter icon edit mode.
  • To exit edit mode, tap the Done button in the upper right-hand corner of the display area, or swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

How to invoke Siri

  • Press and hold the side button.
  • Or say “Hey Siri”.

How to invoke Notification Center

  • Swipe down from the upper left-hand corner area of the display.

How to access widgets

  • Swipe right from the first Home screen page to reveal widgets. You can also swipe right from Notification Center to access widgets from anywhere.

How to invoke Control Center

How to invoke Spotlight Search

  • From the Home screen, swipe down from the middle of the display.

How to use 3D Touch

  • 3D Touch is performed the same way as it has on previous iPhone hardware. Use a deep press gesture on a valid app icon or 3D Touch-enabled area.

How to use Reachability

Reachability is disabled by default on iPhone X. You must also be running iOS 11.1 or later in order to enable it via  Settings → General → Accessibility.

  • Once Reachability is enabled, swipe down on the Home Indicator to invoke it.

How to invoke Apple Pay

  • Double-press the Side button while near an NFC-enabled payment terminal.

How to take a Screenshot

How to force restart iPhone X

Force restarting iPhone X can be done in three easy steps:

Step 1: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.

Step 2: Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.

Step 3: Press and hold the Side button for 10 seconds until your device reboots.

To learn more about force reboots, DFU mode, Recovery mode and more, read and watch our hands-on guide.


As you might imagine, the lack of a Home button presents a major shift in the way we interact with iPhone X. The good news is that picking up the new gestures doesn’t take long, and after using the phone for a few hours it feels like a natural way to interact with iOS.

I’m happy to give up the Home button for more screen real estate and a more gesture-oriented user interaction experience. What about you?

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Avatar for Jeff Benjamin Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.