Developing for the iPhone X – Everything You Need To Know

Apple has always been able to cause a great deal of hype without much effort, and the world went suitably nuts when the iPhone X was recently announced.

But what do the new announcements mean to developers? How will the device and the new operating system affect layouts, performance and revenue when developing for the iPhone x?

Here, we’re going to go through the things we already know about how the iPhone X will affect developers.

developing for the iphone x

‘The Notch’ in portrait

It didn’t take long for people to lose their rag over the so-called ‘notch’ – the casing edge which protrudes into the iPhone X’s lush, larger screen.

By the look of most early designs, the notch will interfere with the central part of the status bar. As such, any developers that use the status bar within their app (the middle part anyway) will likely have to go back and alter their previous apps if they want them to display effectively.

Fortunately, it shouldn’t be a HUGE change – it’s just a matter of removing any text showing on the central part of the bar.

This, of course, only applies to the portrait mode!

‘The Notch’ in landscape

The immediate instinct might be to alter your apps by adding borders, brackets, bezels or any other features that compensate for the notch and the rounded edges.

Apple have already come out and specifically asked developers NOT to do that, as part of their HIG.  Now many developers have already ignored the recommendations and started coming up with some creative ideas for getting round the notch.

(It’s also worth noting that within Apple’s own presentation, the Apple Music App used a black status bar to hide the notch!)

‘The Notch’ on the web

Another interesting observation – from Stephen Radford – found that without additional code, a lot of the web’s pages will naturally display white bars either side of the page content.

It will be possible to add specific code in order to use the full size of the X’s screen – and that would seem to be Apple’s preference – but unfortunately, with this approach it’s almost certain the notch will sometimes get in the way!

The home button’s gone

The other main feature that’s got people in a spin is the removal of the home button, which has been a standard on iPhones since the beginning.

The best way of telling whether this will present an issue for your apps is simply whether or not they use iOS native components within the development. If they do, then the app will tailor itself to the new operating system and position correctly.

If your app DOESN’T use iOS native components, you’ll likely have to do some re-configuring to get it working properly.


With the home screen gone, gestures will become even more important to users.

Now, Apple have already recommended not removing the home indicator at the base of the screen as part of any design.

On top of that it’s likely wise for any developers to avoid putting any in-app buttons close to the home indicator area: until you’re able to get feedback, there’s simply no way of telling how this will interfere with users that are simply trying to return to the home screen!

Doubtless, there will come a point when developers are comfortable enough with the iPhone X to start making gestures more interactive. However, this is again something that’s worth holding off on for the meantime.

Until the X is in widespread use, there’s no way of telling how easy it will be to implement more complex gestures, and how doing so will affect usability.

developing for the iphone x

With every new launch, Apple always highlight the key features that they think offer the most potential to developers.

It’s no secret that if you can take full advantage of the features in your app, you might have a better shot at ranking well in the app store: after all, Apple wants to show off the phone’s new capabilities!

Here, then, are the main ‘show-off’ points they’re currently highlighting to developers:

The super retina display

Now, to many people, Samsung have always had the edge when it comes to pure beauty in their displays.

Apple are going all out to compete, with the new 5.8 inch super retina display capable of supporting a High Dynamic Range (HDR) with a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio and high color support.

If you want to create an app with the real glam factor, your luck might well be in with the iPhone X.

Face ID

The new Face ID feature is designed to make use of the phone’s TrueDepth Camera, which is supposedly capable of analyzing more than 30,000 invisible dot points in order to create a highly accurate facial map.

If you can use the Face ID feature in your app – whether it’s for security or other reasons – you might get more attention from Apple.

(Interestingly, some sporting video games – the WWE series, for instance – have used the app to help users put their genuine face into ‘create a player’ features. It will be interesting to see what Apple’s view on this will be.)

It comes under the ARKit feature of the phone.

Metal 2 and Core ML

For game developers, Metal 2 and Core ML combined with the A11 Bionic Chip included in the X could well be invaluable.

Clearly, the priority is to offer developers an increased level of both performance and capability, with the potential for a number of new API features, including;

  • Imageblocks
  • Tile Shading
  • Threagroup Sharing

As well as a number of others.

The A11 GPU, meanwhile, claims to offer a number of new opportunities when it comes to rendering and machine learning.

developing for the iphone x

Unsure how the iPhone X will affect your current apps, or how you need to go about planning your apps in future? Pick up the phone and call us today: we’re specialists in app development, and we can help you navigate the future of development for Ios.

Stay Informed!

Sign up to be notified of new blog post and be the first to receive helpful tips from Iconic Solutions