iPhone Xs Max Review & User's Guide

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iPhone Xs Max

Review & User's Guide

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Apple iPhone Xs (Xs Max weighs 7.360 oz./208.65g). bigger. I'd get it at Amazon or maybe at eBay (see How to Win at eBay).

This all-content, junk-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

August 2019 Better Pictures Apple Reviews All Reviews

Apple iPhone Xs. bigger.

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See also my shots from Yosemite, Fall 2018 and at Instagram.

Red Maple, 2:14PM, 14 December 2018. iPhone Xs Max 6mm tele camera, f/2.4 at 1/489 at ISO 16, Snapseed. bigger or full-resolution

Mercedes GLE 63S AMG Coupe, 26 October 2018, 9:14 A.M. iPhone Xs Max wide 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/6,897 at Auto ISO 25, Snapseed and Perfectly Clear. bigger.

Bougainvillea, Los Angeles, 9:08 A.M., 07 May 2019. Fujifilm GFX 50R, Fujifilm GF 32-64mm at 64mm, f/22 at 2/3 second at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear v3.7. bigger, full-resolution or camera-original © JPG file.

Yosemite Falls, 4:12.P.M., 07 May 2019. iPhone Xs Max 6mm tele camera, f/2.4 at 1/773 at Auto ISO 16, Snapseed. bigger.

El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, 2:45 P.M., 08 May 2019. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/1,748 at Auto ISO 25, Perfectly Clear v3.7. bigger, full-resolution or camera-original © JPG file.

Yosemite Valley at Sunrise with Fallen Tree in Foreground, 7:08 A.M., 09 May 2019. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/203 at Auto ISO 25, Snapseed. bigger, full-resolution or camera-original © JPG file.

El Capitan with its Reflection in the Merced River, Yosemite Valley, 8:23 A.M., 09 May 2019. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/1,011 at Auto ISO 32, Perfectly Clear v3.7. bigger.

Barn, Yosemite National Park, 2:53 P.M., 09 May 2019. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/121 at Auto ISO 32, Perfectly Clear v3.7. bigger or camera-original © JPG file.

The Crazy Crack, Yosemite Valley, 4:43 P.M., 09 May 2019. iPhone Xs Max 6mm tele camera, f/2.4 at 1/122 at Auto ISO 32, Perfectly Clear v3.7,split-toned print. bigger.

Magenta in Spring, 16 April 2019, 4:07 P.M. iPhone Xs Max wide 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/325 at Auto ISO 25, exactly as shot. bigger or full-resolution.

Panorama of Yosemite Valley View, October 2018, 3:27 P.M. iPhone Xs Max PANORAMA mode with 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 hand-held at 1/1,011 at Auto ISO 25, Snapseed. bigger, full-resolution or 4K 16:9 (3,840 × 2,160) screensaver.

Silver-Painted Brick Wall, Los Angeles, October 2018, 8:31 A.M. iPhone Xs Max 6mm telephoto camera, f/2.4 at 1/7,937 at Auto ISO 20. split-toned print. bigger.

Red Iron, October 2018, 4:31 P.M. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/1,176 at Auto ISO 25, Snapseed. bigger.

Metal Flag, October 2018, 4:49 P.M. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/364 at Auto ISO 25, Snapseed. bigger.

Rainbow Shack, October 2018, 4:57 P.M. iPhone Xs Max 6mm tele camera, f/2.4 hand-held at 1/58 at Auto ISO 16, Snapseed. bigger.

Yellow Peace Sign Against Red Wall, October 2018, 10:37 A.M. iPhone Xs Max 6mm tele camera, f/2.4 at 1/1,199 at Auto ISO 16, Perfectly Clear v3.6. bigger.

Last Light on Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, October 2018, 6:07 P.M. iPhone Xs Max 6mm camera, f/2.4 hand-held at 1/59 at Auto ISO 16, Snapseed. bigger.

Yosemite Valley as Seen by the Sculptor, October 2018, 7:25 A.M. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 hand-held at 1/77 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear v3.6. split-toned print. bigger.

Orange Trek Silque SLR (Made-in-USA) Against Blue Car, October 2018, 3:19 P.M. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/121 at Auto ISO 64, Perfectly Clear v3.6. bigger or full-resolution.

Inside a Crazy Barn, Yosemite National Park, October 2018, 4:18 P.M. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 hand-held at 1/19 at Auto ISO 800, Snapseed and Perfectly Clear v3.6. bigger.

It's amazing what I can pull out of a pitch-black barn with a hand-held iPhone!

Crazy Stacked Rocks, Yosemite Valley, October 2018, 8:33 A.M. iPhone Xs Max 6mm tele camera, f/2.4 hand-held at 1/92 at Auto ISO 125, Snapseed and Perfectly Clear v3.6. bigger.

DMH Walkway, 6:12 PM, 08 March 2019. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 at 1/30 at Auto ISO 640, Perfectly Clear v3.6. bigger or full-resolution


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The iPhone Xs Max has an incredible camera as you can see. Better than any of my exotic professional Nikons, Canons, Sonys, Fujis or even any of my immortal LEICAs is that my iPhone is always in my pocket 24/7/365 and can be drawn and fired faster than any other camera, so I never miss a shot. My iPhone camera has better color rendition than any of my Sonys, Fujis or LEICAs.

You can see more photos I make at my gallery and at Instagram.

The iPhone Xs Max is a work of art rendered in glass and stainless steel. It's not a plastic throw-away consumer item like most everything else today.

Also better than any other camera is that the screen is much larger on my iPhone for seeing what I'm doing, and that I can fully select and edit my images for publication all on the iPhone, and then send them out to my clients direct from my iPhone — no computer needed.

The iPhone Xs Max has a flawlessly color-accurate OLED screen. It's ultrasharp (so sharp it's still sharp when looked at through a magnifier), and it's bright enough to be legible in direct sunlight.

The OLED displays of these newest iPhones look even better than the LCD displays of the iPhone 7 Plus and earlier. These newest iPhones also have what's called True Tone displays which optimize their colors automatically to the ambient light in which they're being used. Thus the iPhone Xs Max display is the best screen I've ever seen, and don't tell anyone, but I use it as my absolute reference to see how my photos really look. It's more accurate under more conditions than any other picture monitor.

The iPhone Xs Max actually has three cameras for taking pictures: two on the back with two different focal length lenses and one on the front. What seems like a zoom lens when you use the main camera is actually two separate cameras, lenses and sensors. All three cameras can make stills and video, and the iPhone does the best job of any camera snapping stills as you roll video without a hiccup.

The iPhone Xs has the same camera in a smaller package; I just happen to prefer the larger screen of the Max.

The camera is continuously capturing multiple frames at different exposures for zero shutter lag and free, no lag HDR. The iPhone XS Max displays HDR images in real-time as you compose, so you're seeing what you'll get. No other phone or camera can do this today.

Face ID works flawlessly and immediately to unlock your phone with just a flip. It works even if I put on glasses, am wearing a bicycle helmet, have a desk phone stuck to my head, make funny faces, have a toothbrush, flashlight or gyoza in my mouth, yawn or stick out my tongue. Bravo! You won't even know Face ID is there; we always look at our phones when we open them, and day or night, so it just opens for us. Bravo!

The iPhone Xs Max makes all my iOS devices with Home buttons feel primitive. It's easy to flick left or right to swap among apps.

Brilliant is how fast you get to the camera or flashlight — just press the icon on the lock screen and you're there! The camera is now the world’s fastest waking and shooting camera. No other camera can wake up, focus and shoot faster.

It's water resistant; drop it in water and you probably won't hurt it at all. Don't tell anyone, but I know people who take their iPhones surfing zipped in the pocket of their shorts, and it works fine even under water (press a volume button to snap a picture).

It's easy to set it for hands-free, touch-free "Hey Siri" for making phone calls, checking the weather, composing and sending emails and texts, swapping among apps and much more — and once set, it all works with your eyes closed and no hands! I can talk to it while driving and never have to look away from the road to get directions, restaurant suggestions or send texts and email and make notes. I can add calendar events or change the screen brightness, and Siri gets smarter all the time.

The iPhone Xs Max is a class act. Not only is Apple's packaging a joy to unwrap, the iPhone Xs Max arrives fully charged so you can get going fast.

Apple iPhone Xs. bigger.


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Say "iPhone Ten S Max;" the X is a Roman numeral ten also used for the previous iPhone X.

It's not pronounced "XS" any more than Rocky III would be pronounced "Rocky Eye Eye Eye."


My iPhone Xs Max weighs 7.360 oz. (208.65g) without its case.


Main (Rear) Camera

12 MP: 4,032 x 3,024 pixels.

The main camera is actually two cameras: a wide camera with a 4.2mm (26mm equivalent) 6-element f/1.8 lens with a 1/2.55″ sensor with 1.4 µm pixels, and a telephoto camera with a six-element 6mm (52mm equivalent) f/2.4 lens with a 1/3.4″ sensor with 1.0 µm pixels. Both cameras are optically stabilized.

Base ISO 25 (4.2mm f/1.8 camera) or ISO 16 (6mm f/2.4 camera).

DCI-P3 colorspace.

Front (Selfie) Camera

2.87mm f/2.2 lens.

7 MP: 3,088 x 2,304 pixels.


4K at 60, 30 or 24 FPS.

1,080p at 60 or 30 FPS.

720p at 30 FPS.

Stereo microphone.


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The OLED display looks great. Unlike other attempts, Apple's implementation is flawlessly color-accurate, and is easy to read even in direct sunlight.

The True Tone display option is activated by default. It optimizes the display's white point to the ambient lighting. Used indoors you can see the display change from cool to warm as you move away from an open window facing the sky towards your warm interior lighting.

Even with the curved glass edges and a screen that goes close to the iPhone Xs' case edge, all of the display is visible through flat glass. The iPhone Xs has none of Samsung's distortion problems with their displays being partially hidden behind the curved sections of their glass.

Face ID

Once setup, which is trivially easy, it works like magic — regardless of lighting, what you're wearing or what you're doing. Even the icon that shows it's looking at you looks great; it shows the magic that's going on for the moment it takes to open.

Better than older iPhones, this all happens fast; there's no waiting to get in. Flick up and you're in.

Even if one time in a thousand doesn't recognize you instantly and asks for your code, just look at it a moment more and it should recognize you and let you in.

It works from daylight to total darkness. Your phone does have to be held verticality; it doesn't seem to recognize me held horizontally.

Better than the old iPhone X it works great in contrasty lighting, either strong backlighting or if my face is partly direct sunlight and partly in shadow.

Think you're going to point your friend's phone at their face while they're sleeping and sneak in? No way; it won't unlock if both eyes are closed — but it will if I open one eye.

it also magically enters passwords to unlock apps and websites that use passwords.


All my shots are in focus, well exposed, have great color and magically shoot in HDR instantly when needed so my highlights and shadows and everything always look perfect. The cheap Canon SL2 DSLR doesn't deliver results as consistently sharp and well exposed as my iPhone Xs Max, and the Canon 6D Mark II can't get exposures and white balance and people in focus as consistently as the iPhone Xs Max either. The iPhone's facial recognition, lacking in those DSLRs, ensures better focus more often for people pictures.

The iPhone Xs Max' super-fast f/1.8 lens lets it shoot at ISO 25 most of the time for cleaner pictures with less noise than most dedicated point-and-shoot cameras!

I shoot silently (just turn off the ringer switch on the side). When I do this, I really like the short vibration I get as tactile feedback to let me know I took my shot.

Perfect Aspect Ratio

All three cameras use the perfect 3:4 aspect ratio. This ratio is the best because more subjects fit into it horizontally or vertically with less cropping needed than any other shape. Bravo!

Perfect Resolution

While the innocent might think more resolution is good, 12MP resolution is perfect because it is more than enough to enlarge or print at any size, it doesn't clog storage or memory, and most importantly, it lets the iPhone Xs Max engage in all sorts of high-speed internal cleverness to do more crazy and useful things with our photos, like being able to shoot at 10 FPS or make long time exposures even in broad daylight hand held:

Long Time Exposures

The camera allows Long Exposures, and it's even better than a DSLR because we can make 2½ second time exposures in broad daylight with no neutral-density filters, and we don't need a tripod! (see Long Exposures with iPhone.)

Lee Vining Falls. 2½ second time exposure, hand-held. bigger.

Portrait Mode & Bokeh (soft backgrounds)

In its Portrait mode the iPhone Xs Max has just about perfect bokeh. See the iPhone Xs Max bokeh compared to professional full-frame cameras!

Davis 6250 weather station, 22 September 2018. bigger or full-resolution file.

Davis 6250 weather station, 22 September 2018. bigger or full-resolution file.

Davis 6250 weather station, 22 September 2018. bigger or full-resolution file.

Davis 6250 weather station, 22 September 2018. bigger or full-resolution file.

What's different about the iPhone's out-of-focus areas using the Portrait mode is that while backgrounds are blurred just as they are with a full-frame professional camera, the foregrounds are not blurred more in portrait mode. This is even better than full-frame cameras because the human eye usually finds it weird and unnatural when foregrounds are fuzzy. While full-frame cameras blur foregrounds and backgrounds equally, the iPhone's portrait mode applies additional blurring only to the backgrounds, which looks even better.

Variable Aperture

Set to f/1.4. bigger. Set to f/4.5 (default). bigger. Set to f/16. bigger.

To do this, first shoot a picture in PORTRAIT mode. Then play it back in Photos and tap EDIT, which will show this screen.

This also works with the front "selfie" camera, so long as you shoot it in Portrait mode.

Zoey, iPhone Xs Max Portrait mode at default synthetic f/4.5, 22 September 2018. iPhone Xs Max 6mm camera at true f/2.4 at 1/122 at Auto ISO 32. bigger.

HDR: High Dynamic Range

HDR is much better than before. No longer are HDR shots often too dark; now they all look great, in fact, HDR shots often are punchier and have higher contrast than the straight shots!

Because they always look great automatically, gone is the HDR option inside the Camera app. Now the iPhone Xs Max camera simply shoots in HDR or not as it's needed, with no input from us, by default.

You have the option in Settings > Camera to turn off Smart HDR (default is that it automatically works as it needs to) and you can turn on the option to save one regularly-exposed frame each time the iPhone Xs Max creates an HDR image.

Depending on the brightness range of what you're shooting, the iPhone Xs Max may shoot many of its frames as HDR, which happens instantly.


The iPhone has always been praised for its great macro ability, and the iPhone Xs Max is superb. It gets super close and stays super sharp:

Flower, 22 April 2019. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera at f/1.8 at 1/1,845 at ISO 25. bigger or full-resolution file.

Mondaine A132.30348.11SBB at close-focus distance, 20 April 2019. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera at f/1.8 at 1/2,033 at ISO 25. bigger or camera-original © file.

But wait, let's hit the 2x zoom option:

Mondaine A132.30348.11SBB at close-focus distance, 20 April 2019. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera at 2x digital zoom at f/1.8 at 1/1,845 at ISO 25. bigger or camera-original © file.

The tele camera can't focus as close as the wide camera, so at macro distances these are actually digitally zoomed from the wide camera — not that you'd ever notice except by looking at the EXIF data.

Ladybug Eating a Bug, Yosemite Valley, October 2018, 5:13 P.M. iPhone Xs Max 4.2mm wide camera, f/1.8 hand-held at 1/116 at Auto ISO 100. buggier.

The iPhone gets so close that I had no idea that the ladybug was eating another bug until I saw the image on my 55" monitor back in my studio!

Frame Rate

Just hold the shutter button onscreen (or hold either Volume button) and the iPhone Xs Max runs at 10 FPS silently. Be sure to turn off the speaker/ringer switch if you want it silent.

Not only does the iPhone Xs Mas run at 10 FPS all day at full resolution, it's easy to pick the best shot and throw away the rest. The iPhone Xs Max make a better sports and action camera than many much larger "real cameras," so which is the real camera now?

Low Light

Delta Jetliner at dawn, 5:51 AM, 31 May 2019. iPhone Xs Max 6mm tele camera at f/2.4 at 1/60 at ISO 200 (LV 8½). bigger, full-resolution or camera-original © file.


Now that I’m shooting everything in 4K, of course I’m using my iPhone Xs Max. The images are superb!

For instance, the autofocus is superb, always knowing what’s supposed to be in focus, and clairvoyantly just focussing on whatever should be in focus as things come in and out of the frame. It’s just like having a dedicated focus puller in Hollywood; my iPhone's results astound me.

I can walk around, and the stabilized image looks like it was shot on rails. It seems everyone’s forgotten about this; it looks awesome just walking and shooting; no need for a gimbal mount.

Likewise, the colors and tones look awesome. I see HDR (High Dynamic Range processing) working to control crummy lighting and keeping highlights and shadows from blocking up, all by magic. (I’ll sometimes see this if something moves and it loses its mojo and the highlights wash out, and then a moment later suddenly gets it all corrected again.) This works better than trying to shoot a dedicated video camera in LOG mode and trying to reduce contrast to "fit it all in" a wider dynamic range, which leaves everything too low-contrast and too dull. The iPhone's magic video HDR keeps the contrast where it should be and magically corrects the too-dark and/or too-light areas to make them all look great.

White balance is also superb. If I have a scene that it can’t figure out, like foliage in the shade where it might try to remove what it mistakenly thinks is excess green, the moment a person steps into the frame it knows how to make the person look, and voilà!, in an instant everything suddenly corrects and everything looks perfect.

I doubt that unless you have a few 5-ton Hollywood trucks loaded with generators, grip, lighting and the people to put it up for anything you're shooting that you (and I) will get better video from an iPhone than on any other dedicated video or mirrorless or DSLR camera in real-world shooting.

I spent a decade in Hollywood: the only reason Hollywood's movies look so good and natural is the lighting that takes three days to set up for each shot — just to make it look like it wasn't shot with any extra lighting! As soon as you pull all that lighting expertise out of the picture, you and I get better results from the iPhone.

The iPhone has more patents, more smarts, more secret sauce and more processing power than any DSLR, camcorder or mirrorless camera. Apple doesn't go talking about the secret technology inside and expects us just to look at the pictures it makes. Take a look and you'll be very pleased; Apple puts more magic picture-optimizing technology in the iPhone than we can get in any other camera. If you shoot an ordinary camera you'll have to work a lot harder with lighting to get the same results you could have gotten just shooting it on iPhone.


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Versus the iPhone XR

The iPhone XR has the same processors, but it has only one lens/one camera as its main camera, not the dual wide/telephoto system of the Xs and Xs Max.

While the XR has the Portrait mode, it only works with people, not with pets and not with inanimate objects like weather stations. Unlike the Xs Max, the XR only does portrait mode from its sole wide camera.

The XR has only an LCD, not an OLED display, so it's not as big and not as bright and lacks the blacks and contrast of the Xs Max.

The XR has very slightly longer battery life (16 vs 15 hours), but it's a half millimeter thicker and has no force 3D touch ability, either.

Versus the iPhone 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 Plus also has a dual wide/tele main camera.

The biggest difference is that the 7 Plus has only an LCD, not OLED display.

Versus the World

Apple invented the iPhone. Everything else is just a copy.

Apple devices are part of a much larger ecosystem. I use Apple because all my everything all works together and all my everything is all visible from everywhere. I load music and my movies into iTunes, and it plays on all my iPhones and iPods and iPads and Apple TVs, and also plays on all my stereos around my house. I have a movie theatre in each of my homes, and the same movies play on my big screens, and each theatre is controlled by but one Apple TV remote — not three different remotes.

I don't even need a remote to control my movie theatres or Hi-Fi systems: I can use Apple's free iTunes Remote app to control iTunes from my iPhone, and the free Apple TV Remote app to replace the Apple TV remote in my theatre. I and everyone in my family can control our theater from the iPhone in their pocket, and have access to all our movies - and that means all our home videos that normally no one ever can find.

With Apple TV, you may as well throw away the remote, since the iPhone app does even more. You can use your iPhone's volume buttons to control the sound from your theater's AV receiver!

This free Apple infrastructure moves full-bandwidth pictures and sound all over the house, all controlled anyway I find it most convenient. Other things like website bookmarks and notes and email and everything else also all appear on all my computers and mobile devices.

Because it's all in my iTunes library, I can see any of it anywhere on any device. With Apple, everyone in my family can play any of our media anywhere, any way they like it — and it was all very easy to set up.



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While setup seems super easy because it prompts to hold it next to your old iPhone and it does the rest, it seems because I am a content creator rather than a content consumer like most people, the photos and movies and music I create and load into my phone with iTunes didn't all transfer over with this "restore from iCloud backup" routine.

No worries, instead I restored my new iPhone Xs Max from a backup of my old phone on my Mac that I made from inside iTunes. First, be sure you have a backup of your old phone (iTunes > select your old phone you have plugged in via USB > Summary > Manually back up and restore > Backup Now).

Now to restore everything from your old phone into your new iPhone Xs Max: iTunes > select your new iPhone Xs Max plugged in via USB > Summary > Manually back up and restore > Restore Backup > Select your old phone's backup from which to restore and then restore from that. Everything that was in your old phone should just copy over.

If you have to turn off Find My iPhone when you're doing any of these restores, be sure to turn it back on when you're done.

If all your media doesn't transfer over the first time, deselect the music or movies or photos or whatever, hit the Sync button in iTunes to unsync those things, let it finish, then select some of those items little by little and hit Sync again to bring them over piecemeal. I have a lot of media on my 512GB phone: tens of thousands of songs and over ten years of home video of my family.

Set "Rise to Wake"

I set Rise to Wake at Settings > Display & Brightness > Rise to Wake > ON , and my iPhone Xs Max wakes just by lifting it. It's much faster than it was in older phones.

Touch-Free Voice Control

It's easy to set Siri so it responds at any time simply by saying "Hey Siri" — you don't even have to touch the phone!

Set this at Settings > Siri & Search > Listen for "Hey Siri" > ON .

That's right: just ask "Hey Siri" in the middle of the night and you can compose and send text and email, make phone calls, check your calender or whatever without ever touching your iPhone or even so much as opening your eyes.

I use Hey Siri when I'm driving to get directions or call anyplace I'd like to go all without taking my eyes off the road or hands off the wheel.

Make text legible

I find the default text too small and too light. No worries, I set the text to be of a normal weight (darker and bolder) rather than the very thin and light text used by default.

I set this at Settings > Display & Brightness > Bold Text > ON .

I also make the text bigger at Settings > Display & Brightness > Text size and slide it most of the way to the right.

Set "Add Reachability"

If you'd like to be able to flick down from the bottom so you can reach the top of the screen, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reachability > ON .


I love my Apple Original Leather Case. I prefer classic saddle brown, but you can take your pick of colors. Even better than Apple's earlier leather cases for the iPhone 7 Plus, the leather case for the iPhone Xs Max doesn't stain if it gets damp; the iPhone Xs Max leather case seems to be treated so it doesn't discolor in use.

The leather case has machined color-matched aluminum buttons that feel pretty much just like those on the iPhone Xs Max.


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Use the charger and cord that comes with it, or personally I use this $20 wireless charging stand.

Get to the Camera or Flashlight from the Lock screen

Just press (not tap) the Flashlight or Camera icon, and you're there!

Shoot Pictures Silently

Flick the ringer switch (just above the volume buttons) to off.

You can tap the screen's shutter button, or tap either volume control button.

While wearing headphones or earbuds with the Camera app active, you should be able to press either volume control on the headphones' remote to take a picture without even looking at the phone.

Underwater Shooting

While you're not really supposed to do this, people have tried and it works (I can't vouch for how long their phones worked after that).

Touch screens don't work underwater because they're all wet. I'd suggest tapping either of the up/down volume buttons to shoot each photo, and to set the photo/video mode and zoom before you go under.

Sharing Just-Shot Photos with Intricate Details

Don't share photos with the "Share" icon while reviewing just-shot images in the camera app if you need to add captions, details or notes because if you swap to a different app to look up details, often your drafted share is forgotten and you'll have to start from scratch.

This is very disappointing if I have to look up, copy and paste model numbers or other intricate details, and it completely forgets my half-complete draft while I'm looking up other data.

Instead, start at the Photos app when sharing photos if you're going to have to swap among apps to get the details. Once you've started a draft email or text it doesn't cancel it if you swap to a different app to get details.

Wake up

Tap the screen anywhere, or tap the lock button (top right).

I set Rise to Wake at Settings > Display & Brightness > Rise to Wake, and it wakes just by lifting it.


Wake it up, then just look at it.

Home Screen or Open to Home Screen

When unlocked, just swipe up from the bottom.

In other words, tap the screen, the Lock button or just lift the phone (Rise to Wake) as you're looking at it, then flick up from the bottom, and you're in. Voilà!

Flick between open apps

Swipe left or right along the bottom.

Select among many open apps at once

Swipe up from the bottom and either lift your finger straight off the screen, or hold it there for a moment. You'll see a parade of apps that can be selected or swiped among just like older iPhones.

Close apps

Get to the parade of apps as above, then flick up to close them.

Lock (put to sleep)

Tap the top right lock button.

Note to people over age 72: always do this before you put your iPhone in your pocket. It still is "on" and will receive calls, but the screen turns off and it won't accidentally phone people while inside your pocket. Tapping this "lock" button is not turning it off; it's just locking it so it doesn't call people all by itself. Trust me; it's still awake and you won't miss your calls or alarms.

Get to Control Center (screen that shows volume, brightness and much more)

Swipe down from the top right.

Get a Moving Cursor

Press and hold your finger down on the keyboard for a moment. The keyboeard goes gray and now the cursor moves arond as you move your finder around.

You also can do this by holding down the spacebar, no force required.

See your carrier's name

Swipe down from the top right. You'll see this near the top left.

Hint: These are almost invisible if you have a light screen when you swipe down; have a dark screen on your iPhone Xs Max as you swipe down and this will be much more legible.

Read Bluetooth, Syncing & Location Services statuses and exact battery percentage

Swipe down from the top right. You'll see these near the top right.

Hint: These are almost invisible if you have a light screen when you swipe down; have a dark screen on your iPhone Xs Max as you swipe down and this will be much more legible — but swipe down over a light screen to see the dark syncing symbol.

Screen shot

Hold the lock button (on the top right) and tap the volume up button (on the left side).

Turn off completely

Hold the lock button and either volume button for a few moments. Release when you see the sliders, then slide POWER OFF to the right.

Turn back on after a complete power off

Hold the lock button until you see the Apple logo.

Force Restart (Reboot)

Tap Volume Up, then tap Volume Down, then hold the side button and release when you see the Apple logo.

More Information

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New in iOS 12

(from Apple) iOS 12 brings performance improvements and exciting new features to iPhone and iPad. Photos introduces new features to help you rediscover and share the photos in your library, Memoji—a new, more customizable Animoji—make Messages more expressive and fun, Screen Time helps you and your family understand and make the most of the time spent on devices, Siri Shortcuts deliver a faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri, augmented reality becomes even more engaging with the ability for developers to create shared AR experiences, and new privacy features help protect you from being tracked on the web. This update introduces new features and improvements to:


• iOS has been enhanced for a faster and more responsive experience across the system

• All supported devices see improved performance, going back to iPhone 5s and iPad Air

• Camera launches up to 70 percent faster, the keyboard appears up to 50 percent faster and typing is more responsive*

• Apps launch up to twice as fast when your device is under heavy workload*


• New For You tab helps you discover great photos in your library with Featured Photos, Effect Suggestions, and more

• Sharing Suggestions proactively recommend sharing photos taken at events with the people who are in them

• Search enhancements make it easier to find your photos with intelligent suggestions and multiple keyword support

• Search for photos based on the place, business name, or event where you were when you took them

• Improved camera import with faster performance and a new large preview mode

• RAW support for editing images


• Portrait mode improvements preserve fine detail between subject and background when using Stage Light and Stage Light Mono effects

• QR codes are highlighted in the camera frame, making them easier to scan


• Memoji, a new, more customizable Animoji, make Messages more expressive with personalized characters that are diverse and fun

• Animoji now also include T. rex, ghost, koala, and tiger

• Make Memoji and Animoji wink and stick out their tongue

• New camera effects bring Animoji, filters, text effects, iMessage sticker packs, and shapes to the photos and videos you capture in Messages

• Animoji recordings can now capture up to 30 seconds

Screen Time

• Screen Time provides detailed information and tools to help you and your family find the right balance of time spent with apps and websites

• See the time spent in apps, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received, and how often devices are picked up

• App limits help you set the amount of time you or your child can spend in apps and on websites

• Screen Time for kids lets parents manage how their child uses iPhone and iPad right from their own iOS devices

Do Not Disturb

• Turn off Do Not Disturb after a set time, location or calendar event

• Do Not Disturb during Bedtime hides all notifications from your lock screen while you sleep


• Notifications from the same app are automatically grouped together to help you manage your notifications

• Instant Tuning gives you control over your notification settings right from the lock screen

• New Deliver Quietly option silently sends notifications directly to Notification Center without interrupting you


• Siri Shortcuts deliver a faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri

• Add shortcuts using the “Add to Siri” button in supported apps, or in Settings > Siri and Search

• Siri suggests shortcuts on the Lock screen and in Search

• Get motorsports results, schedules, stats and standings for Formula 1, Nascar, Indy 500 and MotoGP

• Search for photos by time, location, people, topic or recent trips to find relevant photos and Memories in Photos

• Translate phrases in more languages, with support for over 40 language pairs

• Check facts about celebrities, such as when they were born, and ask questions about food, including calories and nutrient content

• Turn flashlight on or off

• More natural and expressive voice now available in Irish English, South African English, Danish, Norwegian, Cantonese and Mandarin (Taiwan)

Augmented Reality

• Shared experiences in ARKit 2 let developers create innovative AR apps you can experience together with friends

• Persistence enables developers to save and reload experiences right from where you left off

• Object detection and image tracking gives developers new tools to recognize real world objects and track images while they move through space

• AR Quick Look extends AR throughout iOS, letting you view AR objects with built-in apps like News, Safari, and Files and share them with friends with iMessage and Mail


• New augmented reality app to measure objects and spaces

• Draw lines across surfaces or in free space to measure, and tap on a line’s label to see more information

• Automatically measure rectangular objects

• Capture, share and markup screenshots of your measurements

Privacy and Security

• Enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari prevents embedded content and social media buttons from tracking cross-site browsing without your permission

• Suppresses ad retargeting by reducing advertisers’ ability to identify iOS devices uniquely

• Strong and unique passwords are suggested automatically when creating an account or changing a password in most apps and in Safari

• Reused passwords are flagged in Settings > Passwords & Accounts

• Security code AutoFill presents one-time security codes sent over SMS as suggestions in the QuickType bar

• Sharing passwords with contacts is easier than ever using AirDrop from Passwords & Accounts in Settings

• Siri supports quickly navigating to a password on an authenticated device

Apple Books

• All-new design that makes discovering and enjoying books and audiobooks easy and fun

• Reading Now makes it simple to get back to the book you’re currently reading or find great recommendations for what to read next

• Add books to the new Want to Read collection to keep track of what you’d like to read next

• The Book Store makes it easy to find your next favorite read with new and popular selections from our Apple Books editors and recommendations chosen just for you

• The new Audiobooks store helps you find immersive stories and informative nonfiction books narrated by your favorite authors, actors, and celebrities

Apple Music

• Search now supports lyrics so you can use a few of the words to find a song

• Artist pages have an easier to browse design with a personalized station of any artist's music

• The new Friends Mix is a playlist of songs you’ll love from everything your friends are listening to

• New charts to show you the daily top 100 songs in countries around the world

Apple News

• Apple News is redesigned to make it easier to discover new channels and topics

• The new sidebar on iPad and Channels tab on iPhone make it easy to jump straight to your favorite publications and discover new ones


• All-new design lets you easily view stock quotes, interactive charts, and top news on iPhone and iPad

• Top Stories section includes articles selected by Apple News editors to highlight the latest news driving the market

• Read Apple News stories right in the app, formatted to look great on iPhone and iPad

• Watchlist includes color-coded sparklines that let you see daily performance at a glance

• See an interactive chart for every ticker symbol, plus key details including after-hours price, trading volume, and more

Voice Memos

• All-new design with improved ease of use

• iCloud keeps your recordings and edits in sync across all of your devices

• Available on iPad with support for both portrait and landscape orientation


• Get notified when movies and TV shows are available to watch in Up Next

• Share your favorite movies, TV shows, and sporting events with universal links

Apple Podcasts

• Now supports chapters for shows that include them

• Skip 30 seconds or to the next chapter with forward and back buttons in your car or on your headphones

• Easily manage new episode notifications from the Listen Now screen


• Live Listen now works with AirPods to help you hear more clearly

• RTT phone calling now works with AT&T

• Speak Selection now supports using the Siri voice to speak text that you have selected

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