Something Apple screwed up with the iPhone X

This piece accompanies my YouTube video on how I think Apple screwed up the user interface of the iPhone X.

I’m going to start by saying that overall, I love my iPhone X.  I’m getting over the notch.  When I hold the phone in landscape the notch gives my thumb a nice resting place.

The phone is fast, it takes great pictures (which is something because I shake), the form factor is elegant, Face ID works most of the time (I’ve had some difficulty in bright sunlight).

But there’s one thing that really burns my biscuits.  When you want to shut down an application, Apple has not made life more simple with the iPhone X, they made it more complicated.  They actually added a useless step!


In previous iPhones and iPads, you would double tap on the home button and all your running apps would appear as cards.  You would flick up with your thumb on one of those cards and the app would be terminated.  My old Blackberry Playbook used to do something similar.  It was simple and to the point.


But now that the iPhone X has no home button, Apple had to come up with something different.  Now, I have to swipe up and hold to bring up the cards with all the apps. I like it, it’s natural.  But do you think you can now just swipe up to close an app as you did before?  No!  That just brings you back to the main screen with the icons.

Has the app been closed?  No!  It’s still running!

No, Apple, in their infinite wisdom, decided to add another step.

Once you’re looking at the app cards, you have to hold down your thumb on a card until a little red minus sign appears in the upper left corner of all the cards.  Now, you can flick up to close the app or tap the red minus sign.

I’m an engineer and I wouldn’t even have thought to add another step!  By adding this step, they removed the direct focus of the task to be completed and made the interaction more complex.

This goes completely against Steve Jobs’ philosophy:

That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.

— Steve Jobs

Steve believed that things had to be simple yet elegant.


Apple is usually heads and shoulders above the rest when it comes to designing simple intuitive user interfaces.  But this time they screwed up.  They changed an old paradigm to add a useless step.

Steve Jobs must be spinning in his grave.

Shame on you, Apple.

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