5.8" iPhone X designed for two-handed use as Apple apparently drops support for Reachabili...

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2017
After years of resisting the trend of larger phones, Apple has now fully embraced two-handed smartphone use with the iPhone X, as the device apparently lacks Reachability -- a feature first introduced three years ago with the iPhone 6.




When the iPhone 5 launched in 2012, it marked the first time that Apple expanded the screen size of its smartphone, going from 3.5 inches to 4. To justify the change, Apple made a commercial narrated by Jeff Daniels, showcasing how an average person's thumb could reach all four corners of the device when being used one handed.

The commercial concluded by calling the design of the iPhone 5 "a dazzling display of common sense."





At the time, larger smartphones running Android were flooding the market, and gaining some popularity, as some users showed a preference for large displays that could show more content.

The 4-inch display eventually gave way to not one but two larger handsets in 2014: the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Not coincidentally, the iPhone 6 series also represented tremendous growth for Apple, as consumers who had been waiting for a big-screen iPhone finally got their wish.




Still, Apple didn't want to abandon its dedication to one-handed use, and so alongside the iPhone 6 came a new feature dubbed "Reachability," which brings the top of the display down to a more manageable area for a thumb to reach. To invoke this, users tap -- but do not press -- the home button twice, allowing for a single touch on the screen before automatically re-expanding to full-size.

But the new iPhone X doesn't have a physical home button, and according to iOS 11 digging by developer Guilherme Rambo, there is not currently any support for Reachability on the new hardware.

Reachability is not supported on iPhone X pic.twitter.com/vvclAXMr2J

-- Guilherme Rambo (@_inside)


While that could change ahead of launch, other tweaks to iOS suggest one-handed use is no longer a priority.

The iPhone X also utilizes a new gesture to multitask and return to the home screen, requiring users to swipe up from the bottom of the screen. This means that Control Center is no longer accessed from the bottom of the screen with the iPhone X.

Instead, users must swipe down from the upper right "notch" corner on the display to access Control Center. For users who use Control Center for quick actions like HomeKit controls, flashlight, media playback and more, the radical design change of the iPhone X will force a change in habit.

Further, the one-handed use changes don't just affect the iPhone X. Using Reachability on a Plus-sized iPhone running the golden master of iOS 11, users cannot swipe down from the top of the display to invoke Notification Center.




Interestingly, iOS 11 does offer one concession for one-handed users: A new one-handed keyboard option that makes it easier to type by cramming the virtual keys onto one side of the device.

The market has shown that users prefer bigger phone screens, and the iPhone X satisfies that trend with the largest iPhone screen ever, measuring 5.8 inches diagonally.

For those who prefer one-handed use occasionally, or basically require it for accessibility reasons, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are still available. Apple even continues to sell the legacy iPhone 7 and iPhone 6s series models. And the iPhone SE offers a no-compromises one-handed experience for users who consider that a must-have.

But the debut of the iPhone X might be an indication that Apple's catering to one-handed iPhone use is a thing of the past.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    The best part of the 2:1 phones is you can actually hold it with one hand (for those with small to medium sized hands). Phones like the Galaxy S8, LG V30, etc. all require this tradeoff, so it's not like Apple is at a disadvantage compared to the others here.

    EDIT:

    Actually, turns out the Galaxy does have a one handed mode. Even then, I don't think this is a problem for Apple.


    edited September 2017
  • Reply 2 of 31
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    Avieshek
  • Reply 3 of 31
    jkichline said:
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    I'm sure that could be turned into a gesture somehow if they really needed.
  • Reply 4 of 31
    wigbywigby Posts: 668member
    I think it’s silly to single out iPhone X as two-handed because of the lack of reachability. It’s obvious that the lack of home button is the real reason behind this omission.
    edited September 2017 fastasleep
  • Reply 5 of 31
    jkichline said:
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    Wrong. Both iPhone 6/7 and 6/7 plus support reachability.
    zroger73nhughesStrangeDaysbb-15fastasleepmike1lollivertycho_macuserwillcropointsuperkloton
  • Reply 6 of 31
    jkichline said:
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    Incorrect. My iPhone 6 (not 6 Plus) has reachability.
    edited September 2017 bb-15fastasleepmike1
  • Reply 7 of 31
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,206member
    On my Huawei, sliding a finger along the bottom of the screen will reduce the entire screen content to a proportionally smaller size in the same direction as the finger slide for one handed use. 

    I think this could be added easily to iOS if that gesture isn't already taken.
    jony0
  • Reply 8 of 31
    as a one-hand user, aiming for the iPhone X, I will be leaving daily feedback to Apple, to add a gesture for reachability under OS11. ….literally, Daily!
    edited September 2017 wcmatt
  • Reply 9 of 31
    I wonder if this means that Apple doesn't expect those who prefer to use their phone with one hand will buy the Plus-sized version? Maybe the one-hand crowd are buying the standard size, and those who choose the larger screen aren't as concerned about using both hands? If so, I wonder if it was based on observing actual use, or if it was a compromise made for other design reasons?

    In the three years I've owned my 6+, I have never used Reachability even once (not on purpose, anyway, I've invoked it many times by accident). I just asked my wife about it and she said exactly the same thing. Obviously a sampling of two doesn't make for a very scientific data set, but maybe there are lots of users like us -- those who have no objection to the existence of Reachability but never actually use it. If that's the case, and Apple knows that, I can see why they might drop it if there was some other benefit to doing so.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    jkichline said:
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    As others have already noted, this is incorrect. Apple introduced Reachability for both the 4.7" and 5.5" models when the screen size increased. It was a key way for the company to appease users who prefer one-handed use.
    bb-15
  • Reply 11 of 31

    In the three years I've owned my 6+, I have never used Reachability even once (not on purpose, anyway, I've invoked it many times by accident). I just asked my wife about it and she said exactly the same thing. 
    For what it's worth, you can disable Reachability in settings, under accessibility.
    bb-15lolliver
  • Reply 12 of 31
    Ever since getting a iPhone 7+, never used it, when it enabled, usually by accident, I found it largely useless.. This to me is a don't care feature..
    zroger73
  • Reply 13 of 31
    jkichline said:
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    When I tap my iPhone 6's home button twice, my screen "seems" to be coming down.  Nah - couldn't be - @jkichline said reachability wasn't available for my phone.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    nhughes said:
    jkichline said:
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    As others have already noted, this is incorrect. Apple introduced Reachability for both the 4.7" and 5.5" models when the screen size increased. It was a key way for the company to appease users who prefer one-handed use.
    I only discovered this feature by accident once I connected the action of the screen automatically moving down on my iPhone 6S with my double-tapping on the Touch ID ring. For months I thought there was something wrong with Safari.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    Like many, I used Reachability a few times before I got used to holding my iPhone 6 differently.  By resting it on an inwardly curled pinky, my thumb can easily reach the far corners of the screen (but a side effect is that 3 years of this have caused an occasional pain in my pinky - arthritis coming? :-(

    In any event as @jkichline  pointed out, the iPhone X isn't much bigger than my iPhone 6, so I expect to continue to use it one-handed.  So I'm not sure how the author can claim that iPhone X is "designed for 2 handed use" if some/many of us can still use it one handed.
  • Reply 16 of 31
    jkichline said:
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    ???  Apparently someone "liked" your misinformation. :smile:  
    tycho_macuser
  • Reply 17 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,645member
    jkichline said:
    The iPhone 6/7 doesn't support reachability – only the iPhone 6/7 Plus.  The iPhone X has a larger screen, but is roughly the same size of iPhone 6/7.  Also, you don't have a home button to double tap to use it so...
    Not true. Non-plus models also offer reachability by double tapping the home button. 
  • Reply 18 of 31
    tjwolf said:
    I'm not sure how the author can claim that iPhone X is "designed for 2 handed use" if some/many of us can still use it one handed.
    Because there is no reason to reach up and touch the bezel above the iPhone 6/6s/7/8 display, because it is not a part of the screen. Same reason the lock button moved to the side and is no longer at the top — because you're not meant to reach up there when holding it one-handed. The iPhone X display is considerably larger (4.7" vs 5.8"), meaning you have to actually reach farther to touch the top of the display. Despite the fact that the dimensions are similar, there is more screen to reach (even moreso if you are reaching the top-opposite corner one-handed).

    To be clear, I'm not saying it's impossible or unusable one-handed. But these changes make it clear that two-handed is the preferred way to use the iPhone X — it was designed with two-handed use in mind.
    Ayan_Karlolliver
  • Reply 19 of 31
    If it were up to me, we'll have 3 indicators in the bottom for swipe up gesture, Notification Center (left), Home (middle), Control Center (right). The iPhone X big enough to comfortably fit 3, and that way you have one-handed use for all 3 of those.
  • Reply 20 of 31
    Ayan_KarAyan_Kar Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    nhughes said:
    tjwolf said:
    I'm not sure how the author can claim that iPhone X is "designed for 2 handed use" if some/many of us can still use it one handed.
    Because there is no reason to reach up and touch the bezel above the iPhone 6/6s/7/8 display, because it is not a part of the screen. Same reason the lock button moved to the side and is no longer at the top — because you're not meant to reach up there when holding it one-handed. The iPhone X display is considerably larger (4.7" vs 5.8"), meaning you have to actually reach farther to touch the top of the display. Despite the fact that the dimensions are similar, there is more screen to reach (even moreso if you are reaching the top-opposite corner one-handed).

    To be clear, I'm not saying it's impossible or unusable one-handed. But these changes make it clear that two-handed is the preferred way to use the iPhone X — it was designed with two-handed use in mind.
    To add to that, all iPhone X videos show 2 handed use- to pull down the notification shade or the control center. I'm especially upset about the control center. It was supposed to be a quick way to do stuff single handedly. Now it's the same as an android that requires you to go all the way to the top to do anything. 
    lollivercurtis hannah
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