Whenever Apple releases something radically different, there are bound to be a ton of questions about it.
It happened last year with the AirPods. It's happening again this year with the new iPhone X.
I'm here to help. I got to spend some time with the iPhone X last Tuesday and asked a lot of questions about it myself. I've also had loads of people ask me about the new device over the last few days, and have been tracking down answers when I didn't know them already.
Here's everything you need to know about the iPhone X.
When does the iPhone X come out?
You can preorder it on October 27. It goes on sale November 3.
Is it really $999?
Yes. The 64 GB model costs $999. The 256 GB model costs $1,149.
Holy cow! That's expensive. Is it worth it?
I think so. I always advise buying the best phone you can afford. If you add up all the new features the iPhone X has and realize they come on a device you'll be using several hours a day, every day, it's a good value, even at that price — assuming you can afford it.
And Apple isn't the only company asking for a lot of money for a top-of-the-line phone. Samsung's new Galaxy Note 8 costs as much as $960.
Can I buy it anywhere for less?
No. But you don't have to pay the full amount up-front. Apple and US wireless carriers offer no-interest payment plans that allow you to pay a portion of the phone monthly over a period of a year or more. For example, if you buy the 64 GB iPhone X through Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, you'll pay $49.91 per month for 24 months.
What's this facial recognition thing? How does it work?
It's called Face ID, and it uses the iPhone X's new, advanced front camera system to scan your face and identify you before allowing you to unlock the device.
So there's no fingerprint sensor?
No. Unlike other iPhones, the iPhone X doesn't include Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor. To unlock your phone, you'll need to use Face ID or type in your passcode.
Is Face ID secure?
Apple says it is. According to the company, Face ID won't be fooled by a photo or even a mask that looks like you. Apple also says it's far less likely that Face ID will unlock your phone for a random stranger than its Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
However, security researchers from outside the company haven't yet evaluated Face ID or verified Apple's claims about it.
Does Face ID work in the dark?
Yes. The iPhone X includes both an infrared light projector and an infrared sensor that allow it to scan and identify users' faces, even in the dark.
What if someone tries to unlock my phone by scanning my face while I'm asleep?
Face ID needs your attention to work. That means your eyes need to be open and looking directly at the front camera system. So Face ID won't work if you're sleeping or looking away from the phone.
What if a thief takes my phone, scans my face, and runs away?
That's technically possible, but it's also unlikely. And to prevent it from happening, you can temporarily disable Face ID by pressing the power button and one of the volume buttons at the same time.
Will Face ID work if I'm wearing a hat, scarf, or sunglasses?
According to Apple, yes. The company says Face ID will still work if you're wearing common accessories on your head or face. That includes hats, scarves, glasses, and sunglasses. Face ID mostly just needs to see the area around your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Here's how Apple executive Craig Federighi explained it in an interview with TechCrunch:
“If you’re a surgeon or someone who wears a garment that covers your face, it’s not going to work. But if you’re wearing a helmet or scarf, it works quite well.”
That also means Face ID won't work for some people who wear religious garb that covers most of their face. They will have to use a passcode instead.
What happens if I grow a beard or cut my hair?
Apple says Face ID will still be able to identify you.
Does Apple store data about my face?
No. The company itself doesn't store your face data. Instead, that data is stored securely on a chip inside the iPhone X in the same way that other iPhones securely store your fingerprint data. No one can access the data stored on the chip, not even Apple.
Can someone use an iPhone X to scan other people's faces and store the data on his or her phone?
No. The iPhone X can only store one face at a time. And there's no way to access the face data after it's been stored on the chip inside the iPhone X.
How does Apple Pay work with Face ID?
You double tap the power button to activate Apple Pay. Then you scan your face with Face ID to authenticate the payment. Finally, you tap your phone on the payment pad.
How does the phone's wireless charging feature work?
Both the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 support a wireless charging standard called Qi (pronounced: chee). You can recharge their batteries using any wireless charger that is Qi-certified; there are lots of options to choose from. To charge your phone, you simply set it on a Qi-compatible charging spot or pad; you don't need to plug in any wires.
Apple is already selling wireless chargers from Belkin and Mophie and will start selling its own wireless charger, called AirPower, next year.
Will I be able to wirelessly charge my phone if it has a case on it?
Generally, yes. The energy transmitted through wireless charging can pass through most cases. However, you may not be able to wirelessly charge your iPhone if you use a very thick case or a metal one.
Do I have to use wireless charging?
No. The iPhone X will also charge with a Lightning cable that plugs into the bottom, just like older iPhones.
How's the battery life?
Apple says the iPhone X will last, on average, two hours longer than the iPhone 7.
The iPhone X doesn't have a home button, so how do I go back to the home screen?
The iPhone X has a thin bar at the bottom of its screen. You swipe up from that bar to go back to the home screen.
How do I multitask without the home button?
You swipe up from the bottom of the display and then hold your finger or thumb in the middle of the screen. After a moment, the phone will show your assortment of open apps.
How do I take a screenshot without the home button?
You press the power button and volume-up button at the same time.
What's new with the iPhone X's screen?
The iPhone X has what Apple calls a Super Retina Display. It's an organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screen. OLED displays are more power efficient than the liquid crystal display (LCD) screens used in other iPhones. They also are able to display a wider range of colors and a greater contrast range between dark and light areas of an image. It's the best kind of screen you can get on a smartphone today.
What's up with that notch at the top of the screen?
Apple tried to cram as much screen onto the front of the phone as it could. But it still needed to make room for the front camera and various sensors, including those needed for its Face ID system. The notch area houses those components.
Is the iPhone X better than the iPhone 8? And which one should I buy?
The iPhone X has a lot of advanced features, including facial recognition, improved cameras, and its stunning Super Retina Display. The iPhone 8 is still a great choice though, and you should get it if you don't want to pay $999 or more for the iPhone X.
Did I forget something? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add it to this post.
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