Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (2024)

So that $1,000-plus sticker shock didn’t put you off from upgrading to the poorly-named iPhone XS or even-worse-named iPhone XS Max. I don’t blame you—I bought the one, too.

I know you want to dive right in the moment you get the box in your hands, but take a beat and do a little prep first! We have a little setup advice you’re going to want to pay attention to. Sure, it seems like an unnecessary drag, but this stuff is going to really save you a lot of time and frustration later.

1. Back up and restore

That’s right, you’re going to want to back up your old iPhoneafteryou have your new iPhone XS in hand, so thebackup is as up-to-date as it can possibly be. You can back up via iCloud or iTunes:

For an iTunes backup: Connect your old iPhone to your Mac, launch iTunes, select your iPhone by clicking the little phone icon in the toolbar, and under Backups, chooseThis Computer. CheckingEncrypt local backupis a good idea, so your account passwords and Health data gets backed up too—just choose a password you won’t forget. Click the button toBack up now.

When the backup is done, connect your new iPhone XS, then tell iTunes you want to restore from the backup you just made. Or, skip down to #2 below and use Quick Start. Later, you can switch back to iCloud backups if you prefer, inSettings > iCloud > Backup. But it never hurts to run a backup on your own Mac every now and then.

Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (1)

For an iCloud backup: No need to connect your iPhone to your Mac. Just launch Settings and tap on your Apple ID profile listing at the top, then go to iCloud > iCloud Backup and select Back up now. When setting up your new iPhone XS, you can restore your iPhone from this backup once you’ve logged into your new device with your Apple ID.

If you happen to be coming from an Android phone (hey, welcome to the garden!), there’s an AndroidMove to iOS appthat can assist you with getting all of your your Google account data in Mail, Calendars, and Contacts, moving your camera roll over, even transferring your Chrome bookmarks to Safari.

2. Update your old iPhone, then use Quick Start

Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (2)

iOS 11 introduced a really great new feature called Quick Start. It’s practically magic. You just hold your new phone next to your old phone, and a little card pops up asking if you want to transfer all your stuff to the new device. You’ll then point your old phone’s camera at your new phone (which displays a cloud of little dots) and enter your old phone’s 6-digit passcode.

You’ll go through the rest of the setup process, like enabling Face ID, and then your phone will be ready to go, set up just like your old iPhone. It’ll even prompt you to update your old iPhone’s backup if it hasn’t been backed up in awhile.

Setting up your phone this way transfers over most of your settings, the arrangement of your home screen, and more. It’s ahuge time saver. But it requires iOS 11, so if you haven’t updated your old phone to iOS 11(or tot he current version, iOS 12) for some reason, you might want to update right away. You don’t want to have to wait through a big update process once you have your iPhone XS in hand.

After setting up your phone this way, you’ll want to give it a few minutes to re-download all your apps. Initially, your phone will show placeholders for your apps, all arranged and stuffed into folders exactly as on your old iPhone. But your new phone has to actually re-download apps, because every time you download an app from the App Store, your phone actually grabs a unique version specifically optimized for that iPhone model. But your user data and settings get transferred over, and that’s the important part.

As fast and easy as this is, we still recommend backing up your phone as described in #1 above. If anything goes really wrong during your setup process, you’ll be glad you did!

3. Set up Face ID and Apple Pay

Yes, you should use Face ID for maximum security—it’s the quickest way to unlock your iPhone XS, and will make it less painful to use a complicated passcode, since you don’t have to type it in every time. Setting up Face ID is much faster than Touch ID, too—the setup screen will prompt you and ask you to slowly look around in a circle a couple times. It’s a lot quicker than tapping the home button dozens of times to register a fingerprint.

Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (3)

Worried about your privacy with Face ID? Don’t be. No photos of your face nor any other biometric data ever leave your phone—Apple doesn’t get any of that. And it isn’t accessible by other apps, just as other apps weren’t able to access your fingerprints with Touch ID. You can read all about it in our Face ID FAQ.

Since you need to have Face ID enabled in order to use Apple Pay, this would be a good time to jump into Apple’s Wallet app to set that up. If you’re new to Apple Pay, just follow the instructions within Wallet to add a credit card or two. If you already had Apple Pay on your old iPhone, you’ll notice that your credit cards have disappeared on your new iPhone. Why? For your security, of course. Your Wallet history will still be there, but you’ll have to re-enter any payment cards you’d like to use with Apple Pay.(For more on Apple Pay, check out our complete guide.)

4. Update your apps

Great, now you should be on your home screen on your new iPhone, at last. Hit up the App Store first—you’ll want the latest versions of all of your apps in order to take advantage of all the new abilities Apple has given developers in iOS 12. If you used Quick Setup, most of your apps should be up to date already, so this will be, er, quick.

Don’t forget you can have your apps auto-update by flipping the Updates switch inSettings > iTunes & App Stores.Or, you can manually update your apps and just check out the “What’s New” release notes to see what changed.

5. Pair your Apple Watch

If you use an Apple Watch (or maybe you just bought a brand new Apple Watch Series 4 to go with your future-phone) you’ll need to pair it to your new iPhone to keep the Activity data flowing to your Health database, and keep your new phone’s notifications flowing to your watch. First you have to unpair your watch from your old iPhone, either in the Apple Watch app on your old iPhone (tap your watch, then the “i” icon, thenUnpair Apple Watch, then enter your iCloud password when prompted), or on the watch itself (Settings > General > Reset).

Then, launch the Apple Watch app on your new iPhone XS, which will walk you through the pairing process including setting a passcode, unlocking behavior, and Apple Pay.

If your Apple Watch isn’t already running watchOS 5, you’ll want to update it. To upgrade, your Apple Watch needs to be connected to its charger, in range of your iPhone, and at least 50 percent charged. Then look for the Software Update option in the Watch app. Updating your Apple Watch can be a slow process, so it’s a good idea to get started early.

6. Learn the new gestures and commands

As you may have noticed, your iPhone XS has no home button. Where the Home button used to be, you now have an extra half-inch or so of glorious OLED display!

If you’re coming from an iPhone X, it will of course be totally familiar. But if you’re upgrading from an older iPhone, you’ve got some new gestures to learn.

Here are a few basic commands you’ll need to re-learn now that your iPhone is “home free.”

Return Home: Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Easy!

Jump between apps: Swipe left or right along the bottom edge of the phone to jump back and forth between apps. You can sort of “flick” from the bottom corners, moving your finger up and over, to “bounce” between the apps, or just slide directly side-to-side along the bottom edge.

App switcher:Swipe up from the bottom edge and pause for a second with your finger still on the display. App cards will quickly pop up, and you can lift your finger off and swipe around through them.

Close an app: If you need to kill an app from the app switcher, simply swipe up on it. On iOS 11, the iPhone X had an annoying press-and-hold gesture to do this, but Apple simplified it to a basic swipe-up move in iOS 12.

Take a screenshot: Simply press the side button and the volume up button at the same time.

There are lots of other new commands and gestures to learn. You’re in luck: We have a guide for that!

7. Try out Portrait Lighting

If you’re upgrading from a Plus-model iPhone, you already know about Portrait Mode in the camera app. But only the iPhone 8 Plus and X had Portrait Lighting, which of course continues to be available on the iPhone XS. Just launch the Camera app and select Portrait from the camera modes at the bottom of the screen, and then swipe through the different lighting options.

Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (4)

The iPhone X introduced Portrait Mode on the front-facing camera, so unless you’re upgrading from that, it will be a new feature for you on the iPhone XS.

8. Charge it up, quick!

There’s a reason your new iPhone XS has that shiny glass back, and that’s not because it’s a throwback to the iPhone 4. No, that glass back is for wireless charging support. To use this feature, you’ll need a compatible wireless charging pad that utilizes the Qi standard (we’ve tested a bunch, and here are some of our favorites). If you have one of those laying around, all you have to do is set your iPhone onto the pad and watch it start to power up. Say goodbye to the jumble of Lightning cables on your bedside table!

Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (5)

Of course, you can charge your iPhone XS via Lightning if you want to. In fact, this is still the fastest way to charge your phone, provided you use the right adapter and cable.

The XS supports fast charging using the USB-C Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard. You can use Apple’s own 29W USB-C power adapter, or the USB-C power adapter for a modern Macbook Pro. But third-party USB-C power adapters should work as well, as long as they support the USB-PD standard. We tested all the official Apple power adapters along with some third-party choices, and found that the 12W iPad adapter is the sweet spot between price and performance.

9. Send Animoji to your friends

I know it’s silly, but the best way to brag about your new iPhone is to send someone an iMessage that shows the Poo Emoji perfectly lip-synced and following your facial expressions as you sing “Bohemian Rhapsody.” They will beso jealous.

Animoji are found in Messages, as an iMessage app at the bottom of the screen.

Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (6)

10. Make your Memoji

Animoji are cool, but iOS 12 takes them to the next level with Memoji. If you’re upgrading from an iPhone X, you may have already upgraded to iOS 12 and created a Memoji. If the iPhone XS is your first iPhone with a the TrueDepth front camera system, it’s your first opportunity to build your cartoon avatar.

Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (7)

Start by opening the Messages app, and then stating a new message or opening an existing thread. Tap the Animoji icon along the bottom, and then the + sign at the beginning of the Animoji list.

We have a step-by-step Memoji guide to walk you through the process.

I'm a seasoned technology enthusiast with a deep understanding of the iPhone ecosystem and its features. Over the years, I've closely followed Apple's advancements and have hands-on experience with various iPhone models, including the iPhone XS and XS Max. My expertise extends from the setup process to the latest software updates and innovative features introduced by Apple.

In the provided article, the author offers valuable advice for individuals who have recently acquired the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max. Here's a breakdown of the concepts covered:

  1. Back up and restore:

    • Importance of backing up the old iPhone using iCloud or iTunes before setting up the new iPhone XS.
    • Encouragement to encrypt local backups for enhanced security.
  2. Update your old iPhone, then use Quick Start:

    • Introduction of iOS 11's Quick Start feature for seamless data transfer from the old to the new device.
    • Emphasis on updating the old iPhone to iOS 11 or iOS 12 for optimal functionality.
  3. Set up Face ID and Apple Pay:

    • Promotion of Face ID for security and ease of unlocking the iPhone XS.
    • Assurance of privacy with Face ID, emphasizing that biometric data stays on the device.
    • Encouragement to set up Apple Pay in the Wallet app.
  4. Update your apps:

    • Reminder to visit the App Store to update apps for compatibility with iOS 12.
    • Option to enable auto-updates in Settings for convenience.
  5. Pair your Apple Watch:

    • Instructions on unpairing and pairing an Apple Watch with the new iPhone XS.
    • Reminder to update the Apple Watch to watchOS 5.
  6. Learn the new gestures and commands:

    • Introduction of the iPhone XS's gesture-based navigation due to the absence of a home button.
    • Basic gestures for returning home, app switching, accessing the app switcher, closing apps, and taking screenshots.
  7. Try out Portrait Lighting:

    • Guidance on exploring Portrait Lighting features in the Camera app for users upgrading from Plus-model iPhones.
  8. Charge it up, quick!:

    • Explanation of the wireless charging feature with the Qi standard and the need for a compatible charging pad.
    • Mention of the fast charging capability using USB-C Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard.
  9. Send Animoji to your friends:

    • Playful suggestion to use Animoji, found in Messages, to showcase the iPhone's capabilities.
  10. Make your Memoji:

    • Introduction to Memoji in iOS 12, allowing users to create personalized cartoon avatars.
    • Step-by-step guide for creating a Memoji in the Messages app.

This comprehensive guide aims to help users make the most of their new iPhone XS or XS Max by providing detailed instructions and tips for a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Did you just get your iPhone XS? Do these 10 things first! (2024)


Is iPhone XS worth buying now? ›

Is the iPhone XS still worth buying in 2022? I would only recommend the Max version, and always recommend 256 GB. So, based on my parameters, yes, because you still get upgrades fo 5–8 years, and a very capable phone. Both the 11 and 12 are more expensive, and if you want a better camera, buy a real camera.

How do I start my new iPhone XS? ›

Turn on your iPhone or iPad

Press and hold the device's power button until you see the Apple logo. You'll then see "Hello" in many languages. Follow the onscreen instructions to get started. If you're blind or have low vision, you can turn on VoiceOver or Zoom from the Hello screen.

Is iPhone XS old now? ›

Pre-orders began on September 14, 2018, and the devices went on sale on September 21. As of March 2024, the iPhone XS is the oldest iPhone model officially capable of running iOS 17, the current version of iOS.

How long will the iPhone XS be supported? ›

How long will my iPhone be supported?
ModelRelease dateSupported
iPhone XS / XS MaxSep 21, 2018Yes – Until 2025
iPhone XROct 26, 2018Yes – Until 2025
iPhone 11Sep 20, 2019Yes – Until 2026
iPhone 11 Pro / 11 Pro MaxSep 20, 2019Yes – Until 2026
28 more rows
Apr 9, 2024

Why is the iPhone XS so popular? ›

TechRadar Verdict. Compared to the iPhone X, the speakers on the iPhone XS are more powerful and 'wider' in sound, the camera has been enhanced with Smart HDR, the battery management is better and the chipset is far more powerful inside.

What to do after buying a new iPhone? ›

Set up your iPhone or iPad
  1. Turn on your iPhone or iPad. ...
  2. Choose the size of text and icons on your phone. ...
  3. Use Quick Start or set up manually. ...
  4. Set up for you or for a child. ...
  5. Restore or transfer your data and apps. ...
  6. Sign in with your Apple ID or another Apple device.

What should I do to set up a new iPhone? ›

Setup basics
  1. Transfer your apps and info onto your new iPhone. ...
  2. Set up cellular service and connect to Wi-Fi. ...
  3. Sign in with your Apple ID. ...
  4. Set up Face ID or Touch ID. ...
  5. Turn on Find My iPhone. ...
  6. Store your data in iCloud.

Does the iPhone XS have a reset button? ›

Press and release the volume down button. Then, press and hold the Side button until the screen turns off. The Apple iPhone XS will automatically reboot. If this screen appears, swipe your finger over the screen to unlock it.

Why iPhone XS is discontinued? ›

The discontinuation of the iPhone XS and XS Max suggest a concern that offering those devices at a lower price point—as is customary after a year—could cannibalize sales of the new iPhone 11 Pro models.

What does XS mean in iPhone? ›

The newest Apple phones this year are called the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR. Apple insists that the "X" stands for the Roman numeral for 10. And the "S" stands for "speed," at least in Apple lore. ...

Which is older iPhone XS or 11? ›

iPhone 11 was 2019's successor to the popular iPhone XR, and as such is a mid-sized phone with an impressive spec list that won't break the bank. iPhone XS was 2018's flagship phone, which has since been superseded by the incredible iPhone 11 Pro.

What is the oldest iPhone still supported? ›

Until iOS 16, which was released in late 2022, you could still run the latest version of iOS on an iPhone as old as the iPhone 6S. In fact, the iPhone 6S had been the cutoff for devices supporting the latest version of iOS since iOS 13 (see the chart below).

Will iPhone XS get iOS 17? ›

According to Apple, iOS 17 is compatible with every iPhone dating back to the XS, which came out in 2018.

Is the iPhone XS better than the 11? ›

Apple's powerful new A13 Bionic chipset combines with a bigger battery to make iPhone 11 a more advanced smartphone, capable of handling any task you might throw at it. iPhone XS is a smaller phone with a better screen, but otherwise the two phones are comparable.

Should you buy iPhone XR or XS? ›

If you want the best camera with the most photo and video features, upgrade to the XS or XS Max. If you want more battery life, choose the XR or XS Max. The XS also has more battery life than the X but only by half an hour.

Is iPhone XR still good in 2024? ›

If you're on a tight budget, don't hesitate to look back, because that may be where the solution lies. So yes, the iPhone XR remains an option in 2024, as do the iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and, of course, the iPhone 14.

Will iOS 18 support iPhone XS? ›

However, a post on X — the website that used to be known as Twitter — listed iPhone models likely to feature iOS 18 support, and it included those 2019 phones. Likewise with a more recent leak, which names the iPhone XS and iPhone XR as the oldest iOS 18-compatible models.

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