Creative solutions from developers working with the iPhone X notch

Earlier today, Ben Lovejoy noted the difficulty in finding positive reactions to the iPhone X’s “notch”. Many 9to5Mac readers have shared the same sentiment over the past few days. While the notch can introduce some annoyances in viewing video or photo content for consumers, it also presents challenges to iOS app developers.

Apple has released a new page to help developers prepare for the iPhone X. The portion of the guide that many developers will gravitate towards immediately is the Human Interface Guidelines.

Apple’s HIG includes sets of guidelines (not requirements) for designing software that best fits specific environments. With the iPhone X’s notch, referred to as sensor housing in the HIG, many developers may have to rethink some of their full screen applications.

From Apple’s Designing for iPhone X video, developers are told to take care of spacing constraints in both landscape and portrait orientations within their apps. The iPhone X’s sensor housing and home indicator area can interfere with some current app designs. In Apple’s HIG, the company clearly states:

Don’t mask or call special attention to key display features. Don’t attempt to hide the device’s rounded corners, sensor housing, or indicator for accessing the Home screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Don’t use visual adornments like brackets, bezels, shapes, or instructional text to call special attention to these areas either.

Regardless of what Apple’s HIG indicates, many developers have gone on to create successful applications that don’t follow Apple’s suggestions. The visual limitations that the notch brings are where some developers have begun sharing creative “solutions” around the web.

Vojta Stavik jokingly shared one of the more interesting, if not visually distracting, examples of not embracing the notch.

Zev Eisenberg took it one step further by showing what the scroll indicator might look like

Alex Devarty shared a video of a solution that some developers may use. His example showed two different ways of handling the notch in landscape mode on the iPhone X. One where it shows the table view full width, thus calling attention to the notch. The other, adding a black fill in the space where the notch would normally be visible.

Not all developers are finding ways to go around the notch completely. Some have already begun to adjust their apps to match the new phone’s design, and even embracing some of its more prominent features.

A post by Edward Marks from 2011 showed that many developers were finding their own creative solutions within the status bar and iOS 4. Marks described that in using a black status bar and rounded corners, developers could “increase the usability of your iPhone application by bounding content and thus separating it from the viewport.”