Moving from an iPhone 7 Plus to an iPhone 12 Pro

Some observations. The iPhone 7 Plus has a home button, Touch ID, and Force Touch. The iPhone 12 Pro has Face ID, no home button, and no Force Touch.

  • Force Touch: I don’t miss it except in one instance: On my iPhone 7, I could do a force Touch anywhere on the keyboard, and use the keyboard as a cursor pad. In the iPhone 12, it’s only the spacebar. Not only do I have to retrain my muscle memory, but it makes it difficult to move the cursor down.

  • Face ID freaks me out. It’s going to take some getting use to. With Touch ID, I had to take an action to use it. I open 1Password, and without warning, I’m in. Open my bank app, and I’m shocked it wasn’t locked. It’s way more dependable than Touch ID. If my fingers or the Home button was damp, Touch ID would fail.

  • Off switch ID no longer an off switch. Pressing it long is Siri. I have to hold the volume down while pressing off. Holding volume up and pressing off snaps a picture of the screen.

  • Switching between apps takes some getting use to to get it right. It’s an up sweep and then a sweep left or right without removing your finger. No Home button to double click.

  • Control Panel is now a sweep down from the upper right corner and not a sweep up from the bottom. I feel that the gestures for the Home Screen and the control panel are backwards.

  • The Camera app has gotten more complex. Holding down the shutter isn’t burst mode. It’s short video mode. Burst mode is a feature I use quite a bit for birds. Now, it’s harder to invoke. I’ve got to relearn the controls. I also have to play with raw mode.

  • The Screen is much brighter. It looks as if it’s on the surface of the glass. It’s much sharper. The letters are crisper. I can’t believe how much better it looks. I also like the squarer shape. It feels more secure in my hand. Still out on MagSafe charging.


There’s a reason Apple calls it the “side button” and not the “off switch.” :slight_smile:

You can swipe back and forth on the bar at the bottom of the screen to switch apps. That’s fast and convenient, and after you’ve gotten used to it, the full App Switcher feels horribly clunky.

This changed with iOS 13 and the introduction of the QuickTake feature on the iPhone 11 models. With iOS 14, Apple added QuickTake to the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max as well, and of course it continues to be true for the iPhone 12 models.

I was sad to lose the quick access to burst mode as well, but in iOS 14, Apple has given us a new shortcut: the Volume Up button. Just press and hold that button while in the Camera app to invoke burst mode. Volume Down invokes QuickTake and records a 1080p video as long as you hold the button down.

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Placement of the “side button” is horrible. I inevitably hit the volume buttons when I need to double press it for Apple Pay. OTOH, when I want to change the volume, I often end up turning off my iPhone. I can’t believe Apple’s usability people never flagged this flaw. :exploding_head:

Anyway, for Apple Pay I’d much prefer an area to tap on the screen than the kludgy double press of the “side button”. For switching it on I already tap the screen. I don’t use Siri. The only other reason I’d need the side button is to turn the phone off. Placement at the top as on the original SE was so much better.

I agree completely! It’s nearly impossible not to press the volume button at the same time. I far preferred the top button in earlier iPhone designs. I wonder if Apple moved away from it because they knew they’d be making much larger iPhones.

Sure, but the 12 mini was never a “much larger phone”. Keeping the button in the same location as on its cutting board size siblings wasn’t a very sensible thing to do from a usability POV.

Using my iPhone 12 Pro, I discovered that I need to learn to hold the phone differently. My finger keeps covering the telephoto lens.

Now, how did I miss this trick before now?! I’m going to have to remember it.

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I understand the need to double tap the side button. With Touch ID, I placed my phone near the payment terminal and then press the button. I’m in control. With Face ID, things happen when I just look at the phone. Without a physical gesture of some sort, I could end up using the wrong credit card or make a wrong payment.

Maybe a virtual slider on the bottom of the screen (like how you unlocked your phone before Touch ID and Face ID) might be better. I could do a payment with one hand that way.

There definitely needs to be an alternative gesture. Literally just a few minutes ago I was helping my 80yo mother try to use Apple Pay in an app on her iPhone 12. A dozen times she tried to do the double-touch of the side button and with her elderly, arthritic hands she could not do it. Either she wouldn’t press the button at all, or she got it pressed but the double-tap was so slow that the second one would just turn the phone off.

We finally gave up and I hit the button for her.

I was going to look in Settings or online to see if there isn’t an alternative gesture buried in accessibility, but I haven’t had a chance to do that yet. It seems Apple should be thinking of those with disabilities who still want to use Apple Pay.

You can turn off the double-click to open wallet control in Settings and then, when she wants to use Apple Pay, just unlock the phone, open the wallet app (and select the card if she doesn’t want to use the default), and tap the phone to the terminal.

It’s actually not necessary to double-click the button to use Apple Pay. That just allows you a shortcut to open the wallet app and unlock the phone with Face ID. You can just do that manually the normal way. I believe also that you can just tap an unlocked phone and it will prompt you to unlock (with Face ID or passcode), but that may require a second tap of the terminal (with COVID-19 and mask wearing, it’s been a while since I have used Apple Pay with my iPhone; I’ve been using the watch exclusively, as it doesn’t require a passphrase to unlock.)

There is a setting in Settings / Accessibility / Side Button to change the timing of a double-press or triple-press from the default to slow or slower, if you still want to try to have your mom use the side button.

In person or from a Mac, I use my Apple watch to approve Apple Pay payments.

I upgraded from an iPhone 11 Pro to a 12 Pro and an Apple Clear Case. I find that the action on the 12 is much stiffer than on the 11, making it harder to double-click for payments from iPhone apps.

Yes, I had to return the Apple MagSafe case because my mom couldn’t press the side button at all with it. We got a cheap Amazon case and she can push the button better with that.

I did just discover in Settings under Assistive Touch at the very bottom is an option to turn off the side button confirmation for payments. I’ll try that on my mom’s phone next time I see her.

That’s a shortcut to open Apple Pay, but when Apple Pay is open, and you use Apple Pay, you must double click the side button to actually make the payment.

As I said before, Apple needs a way for you to say “I want to pay” besides looking at your phone. I might want to select another credit card, or verify the amount on the terminal. With Touch ID, you had to put your finger on the Home Button to signal your intention. You need something similar with Face ID.

However changing the clock speed on that side button through Settings->Accessibility->Side Button is a good idea.

Nobody is arguing there should be no more confirmation. What I did say is that there should be an on-screen option (double tap, slider, etc.) in lieu of the clunky side button double-click.

A few weeks in from my trade in off my iPhone 7 to an iPhone 12:

  • One thing about the home button: it told me which is the top of the phone and which is the bottom. Many times I take my iPhone out of my pocket, and it takes me a few seconds to realize I am holding it upside down.
  • Several times, I click on the-button-formally-known-as-off to turn off my screen, and I here the click of a screen shot.
  • Burst mode in photos is hard to do. You hold the shutter button just a tiny bit long, and you’re talking videos even if you’re dragging it to the left.
  • I’m still getting the swipe up for Home Screen and the swipe the left top down for control panel confused. On the iPhone 7, swipe up from the bottom was the control panel, and it seems if you “close” an app, it makes more sense swiping from the top.

My iPhone X still allows me to long-press the shutter control to burst. But you can use a volume button to do the same I believe on a XS and later; there is a setting in Settings / Camera for that.

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The volume up button does the trick. When you’re taking bust photos, and holding the on screen off to the side, it’s hard to hold the camera steady.

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