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.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

trifid Avatar
70 months ago
What a UX nightmare. Jesus.
Score: 108 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macTW Avatar
70 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
70 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
70 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
70 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
70 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)

Popular Stories

iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Max MacBook Pro

Thursday January 26, 2023 12:14 pm PST by
New 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with the latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are available in Apple retail stores and are already in the hands of customers, and we picked up one of the new M2 Max machines to answer all of the questions MacRumors readers considering a purchase might have. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Yesterday, we asked MacRumors fans on...
iPhone 15 General Mock Feature

Kuo: iPhone 15 Models to Adopt Wi-Fi 6E

Thursday January 26, 2023 5:09 pm PST by
The upcoming iPhone 15 models that are set to be introduced later in 2023 will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note about Apple's work on a Wi-Fi chip, Kuo said that the company will upgrade the iPhone 15 to Wi-Fi 6E. Apple is already using Wi-Fi 6E for the 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models introduced last year, along with the new Mac mini and...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Expected to Feature Wi-Fi 6E Like Latest Macs and iPad Pro

Wednesday January 25, 2023 5:39 pm PST by
The iPhone 15 will support Wi-Fi 6E, according to a research note shared this week by Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O'Malley. The analysts did not specify whether the feature will be available on all models or limited to the Pro models. Apple has added Wi-Fi 6E support to a handful of devices so far, including the latest 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook...