iPhone X Notch: Everything You Need to Know

Given the iPhone X's design was leaked months before it was unveiled, many people wondered how Apple would choose to approach the notch housing the device's new TrueDepth front camera and facial recognition system.

iphone x truedepth system 2
Now that the iPhone X is official, we know the answer. Apple's new human interface guidelines for the device advise developers to embrace the notch by ensuring the layout of their apps fill the entire screen.

Don't mask or call special attention to key display features. Don't attempt to hide the device's rounded corners, sensor housing, or indicator for accessing the Home screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Don't use visual adornments like brackets, bezels, shapes, or instructional text to call special attention to these areas either.

In fewer words, Apple doesn't want developers to hide the notch or swipe indicator by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

iphone x top bottom bars
Apple says most apps that use standard, system-provided UI elements like navigation bars, tables, and collections automatically adapt to the device's new form factor. Background materials extend to the edges of the display and UI elements are appropriately inset and positioned.

To ensure that content isn't clipped or obscured by the iPhone X's rounded display edges, sensor housing, or swipe gesture indicator, all apps should adhere to Apple's safe areas and layout margins to ensure approval on the App Store.

safe areas iphone x
Apple also instructs developers not to place interactive controls at the very bottom of the screen, or in the corners, to avoid interfering with gestures such as swiping up from the bottom edge to return to the home screen.

Avoid explicitly placing interactive controls at the very bottom of the screen and in corners. People use swipe gestures at the bottom edge of the display to access the Home screen and app switcher, and these gestures may cancel custom gestures you implement in this area. The far corners of the screen can be difficult areas for people to reach comfortably.

Apple's website provides plenty of examples of how apps with system-provided elements will look, such as Messages and Apple Music.

iphone x portrait apps
Notably absent from Apple's marketing materials are any screenshots of apps in landscape mode, aside from games, and the reason may very well be that many of them don't look as pretty in that orientation.

Using the iOS simulator in Xcode, several developers have shared screenshots of what landscape apps will look like on the iPhone X, and some of them have expressed their dismay about how they look.

As noted by developer Thomas Fuchs via The Verge, landscape orientation on iPhone X looks especially worse in Safari, as Apple has letterboxed websites by adding bars to the left and right of the screen—all to avoid the notch.

Fortunately, it appears the bars won't always be white. The exact color may depend on HTML background color values.
The situation is different for widescreen photos and videos, and full-screen games, which are partially overlapped by the notch.

iphone x photos videos
Fortunately for videos, at least, Apple automatically insets them to avoid the notch by default. A user can double tap a video to make it full screen, at which point it becomes overlapped by the notch again.


Meanwhile, based on Apple's size classes, iPhone X is considered to have "compact width" and "compact height" in landscape orientation.

Essentially, because of the iPhone X's swipe gesture indicator, its 5.8-inch display actually has less vertical space than the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 in landscape orientation, according to developers Sean Choe and Steven Troughton-Smith.

A number of tech enthusiasts believe Apple should have given the iPhone X's slightly larger top and bottom bezels to avoid having a notch, akin to Samsung's Galaxy S8, Xiaomi's Mi Mix 2, and LG's V30. A few Twitter users went as far as mocking up what the iPhone X could have looked like with said design.

iphone x no notch

Notch-less iPhone X mockup by UI/UX designer Matthijs Klaver

For now though, at least, the notch is the future. When the iPhone X is released in early November, we'll get our first taste of the new user experience, and many developers will certainly tailor their apps as best as possible.

Top Rated Comments

trifid Avatar
53 months ago
What a UX nightmare. Jesus.
Score: 108 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macTW Avatar
53 months ago
"Make a bezelless phone! Smaller bezels the better!"

"Why didn't you make thicker bezels to hide the necessary cameras and sensors? Nobody asked for bezels that small."
Score: 69 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gob Bluth Avatar
53 months ago
We can only hope that Apple starts putting notches on their MacBooks, iMacs, and iPads so that there is uniformity. A notch in every Apple display would take a lot of courage.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ds6778 Avatar
53 months ago
Purely a marketing tatctic. If they hid the sensors within a small bezel, the phone would look just like an S8, G6 etc. they want this phone to stand out. When you see that notch you’ll know exactly what phone it is.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rettun1 Avatar
53 months ago
"The far corners of the screen can be difficult areas for people to reach comfortably."

That's why we moved control center AND Notification Center to the corners furthest from the users thumb...

I anticipate these guidelines changings, and software updates changing how the edges of the display will look within apps.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Act3 Avatar
53 months ago
"Controversial"... just like the iPhone 7/7+'s "controversial" camera bump. Now nobody even thinks about it. People always have to make something out of nothing. Ugh.
the notch will always be in your face, unlike the camera bump on the back
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
twitterqrcode

Twitter Introduces QR Codes for Sharing and Following Accounts

Wednesday November 16, 2016 4:13 pm PST by
Twitter today introduced Snapchat-style QR codes, which are designed to make it easier to find and follow friends on the social network. Each Twitter QR code is unique to an individual Twitter user, so when scanned, it'll bring up the person's account. To access your Twitter QR code, you'll need the official Twitter app for iOS. In the app, go to your profile, tap on the gear icon, and select...
macOS Monterey on MBP Feature

Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of macOS Monterey to Developers

Monday August 30, 2021 1:11 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth developer beta of macOS Monterey, the newest version of the macOS operating system. The sixth beta comes three weeks after Apple released the fifth macOS Monterey beta. Registered developers can download the beta through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...