iOS 11: Release date, best features, tips and download


In the few brief moments we spent with the new iPhone X, we got a sense of its truly game-changing potential. Since then, we’ve taken a close look at the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and found them to be incremental, high-quality updates to last year’s models. They’re safe and sensible phones that, for now, remain overshadowed by the potential of the forthcoming iPhone X. Our initial assessment: unless you need a new iPhone before the end of 2017, we think it’s worth holding out to see how the iPhone X performs. (Not everyone agrees.)

We have yet to put the iPhone X fully through its paces, but our in-depth analysis will come as soon as we get our hands on a review unit. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know right now about the iPhone X.

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When can I preorder the iPhone X?

Apple will start accepting preorders on Oct. 27. at 3 a.m. PT. Here’s how to preorder the iPhone X.

When will I get my iPhone X?

The official release date is Nov. 3. But it sounds like the iPhone X will be in very short supply until after the new year, as Apple is reportedly making fewer than 10,000 per day. Though we expect some stores to get a limited number of them on day one, preordering may give you the best chance of getting an iPhone X in the near-term.  

How much does the iPhone X cost?

Starting at $999/£999/AU$1,579 for the 64GB model, it’s the most expensive iPhone ever. The 256GB iPhone X costs $1,149/£1,149/AU$1,829. Monthly payment plans from carriers are available, ranging from $49 to $56 for Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program which includes AppleCare+ for the 256GB model. 

What are the iPhone X’s best new features?

Apple pulled out all the stops. The iPhone X’s most compelling new features and technologies include:

  • Face ID: unlock the phone, access Apple Pay and animate “Animojis” with your face (how it works)
  • The OLED Super Retina display: the biggest screen ever on an iPhone 
  • A new chip: Apple’s A11 Bionic processor, which also powers the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
  • Camera upgrade: the iPhone’s most advanced set of cameras features “Portrait Lighting,” which simulates studio lighting for selfies, and “Portrait Mode” with front and back cameras
  • Longer battery life than the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7, according to Apple’s specs

Read: The state of the smartphone, iPhone X edition

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Should I buy an iPhone 8 now or wait for the iPhone X?

Hard to say, given that we haven’t had a chance to live with the iPhone X yet. But if you need a phone right now, for now your only choice is the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus — or one of the older models that Apple still sells: the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, and the now even cheaper iPhone SE

What can the iPhone X do that the iPhone 8 can’t?

Apple packed the iPhone X with all kinds of new features and capabilities that won’t be accessible to iPhone 8 or 8 Plus owners. Here’s a rundown of what only the iPhone X can do:

  • Display HDR images on an edge-to-edge OLED display
  • Deliver the longest battery life that an iPhone has to offer
  • Dual optical image stabilization for both rear cameras
  • Face ID
  • Portrait Mode with the front camera (in addition to rear cameras, which iPhone 8 Plus offers)
  • Portrait Lighting 
  • Animojis!

Read: How the iPhone X stacks up with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus)  

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I’ve got an older iPhone. Should I upgrade?

It depends. Here’s the full rundown of the pros and cons of upgrading to an iPhone 8 from an iPhone 7 or iPhone 6S or iPhone SE or iPhone 5S. We’ll publish a similar list for the iPhone X after we fully put it through its paces.

The iPhone X vs. the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 

The iPhone X has Apple playing catchup to Google’s mobile ecosystem. Android phones have had slim bezels, edge-to-edge OLED displays and wireless charging for years. Though we can’t make a definitive comparison before we fully test the iPhone X, we’ve published some initial impressions of how it stacks up against the best Android phones on the market today. 

Face ID: Everything you need to know

The iPhone X is the first phone with Apple’s TrueDepth sensor, which features a front-facing camera, microphone, speaker, ambient light and proximity sensors, a new infrared camera, dot projector and flood illuminator. 


Apple breaks new ground with Face ID.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Is Face ID secure and safe?

Apple says the chance of fooling Face ID is literally 1 in a million — compared with 1 in 50,000 that a random person could fool the fingerprint unlock on an older iPhone. Still, you may want to consider a simple password to defend yourself against both hackers and the authorities

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How big of a deal are the iPhone X’s new cameras?

In addition to enabling Face ID, the iPhone X’s advanced camera technology features optical image stabilization on the front and back, faster apertures and a host of other features.


The jury is still out on the iPhone X’s notch.

GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET

What’s up with the iPhone X’s notch?

Apple’s iPhone X has an all-screen OLED display — but “all-screen” doesn’t mean it’s exactly bezel-free. The 10th-anniversary iPhone has a narrow bezel framing the screen with rounded edges as well as a notch flanking the earpiece and camera at the top. It’s a huge leap forward in terms of screen-to-bezel ratio, but watching videos with a black bar on the side and curved corners could prove to be less than ideal. 

How big is the iPhone X compared to other iPhones?

It’s got much more screen real estate than any existing iPhone, even the iPhone 8 Plus, but it’s only slightly larger than the iPhone 7. In fact, it’s about as small as a standard, non-Plus iPhone — but with a *bigger* screen than a Plus. Here, check out this size comparison.


We made this size comparison to scale, so you can see just small the iPhone X is, compared to the screen it holds.

Aaron Robinson/CNET

Does the iPhone X support wireless charging?

All of the new 2017 iPhones support wireless charging. (Note: you can jury-rig some older models to work with a charging pad for some magnetic-induction goodness. Here’s how to do it.) 

Does the iPhone X support fast charging?

The iPhone X can charge faster than previous models, sucking in enough power to restore itself to 50 percent battery in about 30 minutes. But taking advantage of this feature will cost you. Apple says that the iPhone X’s fast charging feature supports Apple’s 29W61W and 87W USB-C power adapters — which are not included with the phone — and which cost $49 to $79 (or £49 to £79, or AU$69 to AU$109). And then you must then shell out another $25 (£25/AU$35) for the USB-C to Lightning cable.

What should I do with my old iPhone?

(See also4 tips for buying a used iPhone)

Don’t forget: iOS 11 was designed for the iPhone X

iOS 11 has arrived (here’s how to download it). And it was clearly designed to shine on the iPhone X (and, sure, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus). But it will work on a bunch of older devices, too: if you have an iPhone 5S or later, a fifth-generation iPad or iPad Mini 2 ($234.00 at Amazon Marketplace) or later or a sixth-generation iPod Touch, you, too, can upgrade. 

Some of iOS 11’s new features include:

Once you’ve upgraded, here’s what you need to know:

Read: Apple still pushing the App Store

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