Control Center is in the Wrong Place on the iPhone X

I am convinced that Control Center is in the wrong place on the iPhone X. Here’s a mockup of my iPhone. The touch targets are as follows:

  • Green: Cover Sheet
  • Blue: Control Center
  • Pink: Spotlight

I understand conceptually why Control Center is where it is. Pulling down on the cell signal, Wi-Fi and battery indicators open the controls for those things. I actually like that linking of those two bits of UI.

The problem is that Control Center is too far away. I use my iPhone in my right hand, and even as someone who carried a Plus-sized phone for three years, I struggle to activate Control Center. Because Spotlight can be triggered with the same gesture — a downward swipe — from about anywhere on the screen, I often am greeted with a search field when all I wanted was to turn down my screen brightness or enter Airplane mode.

For people who use their iPhones with their left thumbs, it’s all but unreachable.

The inclusion of the flashlight and camera shortcuts on the iPhone X’s lock screen seem to indicate that Apple knew this was an issue. I love those shortcuts, for the record, but they could remain even if Control Center were to be usable again.

The old method of swiping up is clearly not an alternative on its own, as that gesture is now being used for returning to the homescreen from within an app or to launch the multitasking UI.

I think that’s where Control Center belongs. There’s evidence that Apple has experimented with this, as shown by Guilherme Rambo:

Some have complained that this change would mean reaching Control Center would be more work, but it’s the exact same gesture to enter the multitasking UI on the iPad, where Control Center resides on that device. I think this change could bring a welcome continuity between the iPhone X and every other iPhone and iPad on the market.

I admit this leads to trouble on the lockscreen, but I’m not a fancypants California designer. Perhaps a short swipe would unlock the iPhone, but a long one could trigger Control Center.

There are other places Control Center could live, if the multitasking UI isn’t feasible. It could be the right-most card when app switching via horizontal swipes on the home indicator. It could even be revealed if a 3D Touch takes place on the home indicator itself. The latter would work on the lockscreen as well.

Just about anything would be better than where it is today.