5.8″ iPhone X designed for two-handed use as Apple apparently drops support for Reachability

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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 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.

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.

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.

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