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iPhones 11 and Apple Watch Series 5 Q&A

You asked, I’m answering.

iPhone 11 and 11 Pro

If I’m upgrading to an iPhone 11 this weekend, before iOS 13.1 comes out next week, do I need to upgrade my current iPhone to iOS 13.0 to do the new direct iPhone-to-iPhone data transfer when setting up a new iPhone?

No — iOS 12.4.1 fully supports this new feature, which Apple calls Quick Start. I recommend leaving your old phone on iOS 12.4.1. I tried Quick Start with my review units, and it worked great transferring data from my iPhone XS still running 12.4.1. And it’s a very cool feature.

I’m upgrading to an iPhone 11 from an iPhone 6/7/8 — how long will it take to get used to the lack of a home button and Face ID?

Three days. Trust me.

What’s the difference between Deep Fusion and Night Mode?

It’s pretty simple — Night Mode is for truly dark environments — under 10 lux. Deep Fusion — when it ships “later this year” (I’m guessing iOS 13.2) — is intended to improve photos in mid-level lighting, in the range of around 600-10 lux.

What’s the deal with Night Mode and tripods?

If you mount any iPhone 11 on a tripod, after the phone notices (thanks to the gyroscope), Night Mode will, if needed, offer longer exposure times than it does when handheld. Handheld it seems to max out at 3 seconds. With a tripod I’ve seen it go up to 5 seconds, but apparently it can go up to 30 seconds.

Any improvement with Face ID and sunglasses?

Face ID still doesn’t work with my Ray-Bans with G-15 lenses. (If you have sunglasses that don’t work with Face ID, you can turn off “Require Attention for Face ID” in Settings to allow Face ID to work while you’re wearing them — convenience at the expense of some security.)

Which lens does Panorama Mode use?

Pano mode lets you choose from all three lenses (or two lenses on the regular 11) — very cool.

Is the new SF Camera typeface exclusive to the new iPhone 11 phones?

Yes, the entire new Camera app UI is exclusive to the new phones — including the SF Camera font and the new QuickTake shutter button.

Do the camera lenses protrude when using an Apple case?

No, as always with Apple’s first-party cases, the case is just thick enough that the lenses do not protrude.

I take most photos with the volume button, and also take lots of bursts. Does QuickTake affect holding down the volume button?

Yes, the volume buttons work just like the on-screen shutter button — if you hold them down, you shoot a video, not a burst.

Bummer. Follow-up: Is there a setting to make holding down the shutter shoot a burst instead of video?

No, there is no setting for this. There should be, though.

Can you show the feature where you can edit a photo shot using the wide angle lens and it uses imagery captured outside the frame from the ultra-wide lens to allow you to rotate the photo a few degrees without cropping?

Sure, here’s a screenshot. The frame you see in that screenshot is the full size of the original image from the wide angle lens — everything you see outside that frame is from the ultra-wide. This feature can seem like magic with certain slightly crooked photos.

Second camera lens on iPhone 11: upgrade, downgrade, or push vs. if it had been 2x instead of 0.5x?

Good question. In other words, what would have been better for the regular iPhone 11 — the ultra-wide 0.5x lens that Apple did add, or a telephoto 2x lens like the second lenses on the iPhone X and XS? Obviously it depends what type of photos you shoot more. If you shoot a lot of landscapes, the ultra-wide is more useful. If you shoot a lot of portraits of people — using Portrait Mode or not — the telephoto lens is more useful. I think for typical users, though, the ultra-wide lens is a better choice.

Apple Watch Series 5

Is there any chance the always-on display feature will come to older Apple Watches?

Zero chance. The power efficiency comes from a new (hardware) display driver that supports variable refresh rates down to 1Hz (one update per second). Only Series 5 watches have this hardware.

Does Theater Mode turn the display off completely even with always-on enabled?

Yes, Theater Mode works exactly the same as before — it turns the display completely off.

Do any apps other than Workouts have support for the always-on display?

No, only Workouts. And third-party apps don’t have access to the APIs either.

Does the screen stay on all night in Nightstand Mode?

No, Nightstand Mode seems to work the same — the display turns off for most of the night, and slowly comes back on as it nears the time when the watch thinks you want to wake up.

If you go to sleep wearing your watch, does the screen stay on all night?

Yes — but in a dark room, the always-on display remains just bright enough to be legible, but it’s so dim that it doesn’t glow. It’s great for checking the time when you wake up in the middle of the night.

Can people read my notifications in always-on low-power mode?

I mentioned this in my review but it’s worth emphasizing again: notifications do not appear on screen in low-power mode.

With always-on, does the Apple Watch “smother it with your hand” gesture only ever return the screen to the 1 Hz dimmed view, unless you’re already in theater mode? Also, does turning the crown in either theater mode or low-power mode still slowly ramp up brightness?

Yes and yes. The smother gesture (covering the entire watch display with your other hand) just dims the screen when always-on is enabled. And in both lower-power mode (dim) and theater more (display completely off), you can still rotate the crown slowly to slowly increase the brightness.