How To: All Side Button Tips & Tricks You Should Be Using on Your iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR

All Side Button Tips & Tricks You Should Be Using on Your iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR

With the iPhone X, Apple introduced a brand new way for iOS users to interact with their iPhones. Gestures took the spotlight, as they very apparently replaced functions you would normally execute on the Home button. But swipes aren't everything for the new iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. Don't believe us? Just take a look at the Side button.

The Side button is more than just a replacement for the sleep/wake button every iPhone had for nearly ten years. While it still puts your iPhone to and sleep and wakes it up, there's a laundry list of new features and functions it's responsible for. Check them all out down below:

  • Lock or wake: Press and release the Side button.
  • Snooze an alarm: Press and release the Side button. You can also do the same for the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons.
  • Open Apple Pay / Wallet: Double-click the Side button. You need to have a debit or credit card connected first. Alternatively, you could use an Apple Pay Cash card.
  • Accessibility features: Triple-click the Side button. This is if you have the Magnifier, Guided Access, AssistiveTouch, and/or another Accessibility Shortcut enabled.
  • Start Emergency SOS immediately: Quickly press and release the Side button five times. (You can disable this feature in its settings.)
  • Start the countdown for Emergency SOS: Press and hold the Side and either Volume Up or Down buttons together, or hold all three together. Keep holding them once the "slide to power off" screen appears.
  • Activate Siri: Long-press the Side button.
  • Power off: Press and hold the Side and either the Volume Up or Down buttons, or all three together, then slide "slide to power off" on the screen.
  • Power on: Click the Side button when your iPhone is powered off.
  • Force restart: Quickly press the Volume Up button, then quickly press the Volume Down button, then long-press the Side button.
  • Disable Face ID quickly: While on the lock screen, click the Side button, then click Volume Up or Volume Down.
  • Take screenshots: Quickly press and release the Side and Volume Up buttons together.
  • Enter recovery mode in iTunes: Plug your iPhone into your computer, open iTunes, click the Volume Up button, click Volume Down, then long-press the Side button until you see the iTunes logo on your screen.
  • Enter DFU mode in iTunes: This gets a little complex. Check out our full guide on instructions on DFU.
  • Buy apps with Face ID: After hitting "Get" on a new app in the App Store, double-click the Side button to initiate Face ID scanning.

The Side button is only half the story for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. You'll also want to know how to use all of its unique gestures to get things done, such as activating the app switcher or using reachability. Make sure to dive into our swipe gesture cheat sheet for all the tips you need to know.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new emoji, enhanced security, podcast transcripts, Apple Cash virtual numbers, and other useful features. There are even new additions hidden within Safari. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.4 update.

Cover image by MKBHD/YouTube

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