Hardware

Mobile Phone

Long-term Field Test: 21.09.2018 to date


Apple iPhone Xs

Anniversary Model further optimised

The anniversary iPhone X is great. But its successor, the Xs, has a few advantages that make me want to switch. These include doubled memory and a truly single-cell battery, which I hope will provide better performance and last longer. In the anniversary model iPhone X, Apple still has a makeshift L-shaped battery consisting of two cells of different sizes. There was probably not enough time to develop the L-shaped Li-polymer battery, so a two-cell battery was used for the time being.
This is my fifth test of an iPhone. I hope you enjoy reading it!

Original carton top side Apple iPhone Xs 512 GB Gold

Photo 1: Original box Apple iPhone Xs, 512 GB, colour space-grey, upper side

Purchasing

Pre-order online

14.09.2018: Telekom will not take me for a fool a third time and deliver in mid/late December despite the “reservation ticket”! Tongue Smiley
This time I'm buying with pre-order online directly from Apple!

Pick up at the Apple Store

21.09.2018: The pickup at the Apple Store Frankfurt runs smoothly thanks to a proven organization with a time slot.
I am super satisfied with this Apple store and can recommend it to everyone!

Don't fall for dubious marketing tricks with “reservation tickets”, buy with pre-order directly from Apple, if you can!
Anyway, SIM-only deals are mostly cheaper as contract phone packages and you are more independent.

Equipment

  • Apple iPhone Xs with iOS 12
  • Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic
  • USB Power Adapter
  • Tool for opening the SIM card drawer
  • Documentation

Photo: Apple iPhone X Carton opened

Picture 1: opened original box of the Apple iPhone Xs shows the scope of delivery

Photo: Apple iPhone X Carton opened

Picture 2: open cardboard box with Apple iPhone Xs

Photo: Apple iPhone X Carton opened

Picture 3: open cardboard box with Apple iPhone Xs on the box, in front the papers and the Tool for opening the SIM card drawer

Photo: Apple iPhone X Carton opened

Picture 4: Apple iPhone Xs on the cardboard box

Photo: Apple iPhone X Carton opened

Picture 5: Apple iPhone Xs on the box

Tech Specs

Model: A2097 (MT9N2ZD/A)

Colour: Gold (also available in silver and space grey)
Storage capacity: 512 GB (also available with 64 and 128 GB)
Dimensions and weight: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm, 177 g

Display

Super Retina HD-Display with 3D-Touch
5.8-inch (diagonal) all-screen OLED Multi-Touch display
HDR display, 2436x1125-pixel resolution at 458 ppi
1,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
625 cd/m² max brightness (typical)
Wide colour display (P3)
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
True Tone display

Chip

A12 Bionic Chip with 64-bit architecture, neural architecture, integrated M12 motion coprocessor
Working memory (RAM): 4 GB

Cameras

12-megapixel camera with wide-angle and telephoto lens
Wide angle: Aperture f/1.8
Telephoto lens: Aperture f/2.4
optical zoom, up to 10x digital zoom
Portrait mode
Image stabilization for wide angle and telephoto
Panorama recording up to 63 megapixels
Sapphire crystal lens cover
Body and face recognition
automatic HDR for photos
Continuous shooting mode
Self-timer
HEIF and JPEG image formats

7-megapixel camera (front camera)
Aperture: f/2.2
Portrait mode
Animoji
1080p HD video recording
Retinal Flash
automatic HDR
Body and face recognition
automatic image stabilization
Continuous shooting mode
Self-timer

Mobile and Wireless

FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 66)
TD-LTE (Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, 41)
UMTS/HSPA+/DC‑HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC with reader mode

Location

Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS
digital compass, Wi-Fi, Mobile data, iBeacon micro-location

Audio Calling

FaceTime audio
Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
Wi-Fi calling

Video Calling

FaceTime video calling over Wi-Fi or a mobile network

Audio Playback

Audio formats supported: AAC-LC, HE-AAC, HE-AAC v2, Protected AAC, MP3, Linear PCM, Apple Lossless, FLAC, Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3) and Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX and AAX+)
User-configurable maximum volume limit

Video Playback

Video formats supported: HEVC, H.264, MPEG-4 Part 2 and Motion JPEG
Supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 content
AirPlay Mirroring, photos and video out to Apple TV (2nd generation or later)
Video mirroring and video out support: up to 1080p through Lightning Digital AV Adapter and Lightning to VGA Adapter (adapters sold separately)

Assistant Siri

Send messages with your own voice, make calls, set reminders, and more.
Get proactive suggestions, use hands-free, listen and identify songs.

Source/more: https://support.apple.com

Power Adapter

As specified by Apple

Picture 1: Apple Lightning-to-USB-Cable

Picture 6: Apple Lightning-to-USB-Cable

Picture 2: Apple 5 watt power supply unit (with socket for Lightning-to-USB cable)

Picture 7: Apple 5-watt power supply unit (with socket for Lightning-to-USB cable)

Battery lasts up to 30 minutes longer than iPhone X
Talk time (wireless): Up to 20 h
Internet usage: Up to 12 h
Video playback (wireless): Up to 13 h
Audio playback (wireless): Up to 60 h
Fast charging: Up to 50% in 30 minutes (with 18W adapter or higher; sold separately)
Integrated rechargeable lithium-ion battery: 2658 mAh
Wireless charging (with Qi chargers)
Charging via USB port on computer or power supply

Tip: If charging with the supplied 5W power adapter takes too long, use Apple's power adapter for iPads or that of the MacBook (Air) instead.
You can also buy the power adapter separately.
However, slower charging will save the battery

Empirical Values from daily Practice

On the next pages I describe my own experience.

Battery Performance

Battery Life (Time from Charging to next Recharge)

Very individual, difficult to compare. Everybody defines few and many users differently, not to mention the term normal user.

Usage Time

Little use: 2 days (assistant Siri, a few e-mails, a few iMessages, calendar, notes, 3 hours listening to music, minimal web).
Frequent use: 1 day (read a book [Kindle app], Siri, some emails, iMessages or SMS, calendar, notes, calls, 5 hours listening to music, 3 hours web).

Battery Saving

To protect the non-self-replaceable battery, I rarely push it to its limits, as this wears it out unnecessarily.
I charge it when there is about 30% charge remaining.

If you always leave the battery almost empty and only then charge it to 100%, you are stressing it and using up a full charging cycle.

The charging electronics of current devices switch to direct power supply from the power adapter after reaching 100% to protect the battery.
I have only just learnt this and therefore no longer disconnect devices from the power adapter at 65–70% if I use them for more hours at home.

Modern lithium-ion batteries can withstand 300–500 charging cycles. In practice, this is achieved within 1–5 years, depending on the treatment.

Profile Settings

Apple customers had to wait seventeen years for this standard function. Apple sells us this well-known basic smartphone function as a new feature named Focus. Profile controls were already available for SymbianOS in 2004. This automatic feature could also be installed as an app for Android OS and BlackBerry 10.
Profile control means: settings for ringtone volume, display brightness, airplane mode etc. adapted to the situation and/or time.
This was already available in 2000 on the Nokia 6310(i).

Examples

Switch off low-power mode and airplane mode in the morning, volume normal. Switch off WLAN when leaving the flat. Set the doorbell to silent in certain places. Activate “Do Not disturb” for dinner or television. From 10 p.m., activate “Do Not disturb” (reachable by phone for favourites) and low-power mode. Activate airplane mode at bedtime if you do not need to be reachable for emergencies.

For some of the functions mentioned above, Shortcuts app is required.

Call Filter

Do Not Disturb is the name of Apple's call filter, which was subordinated to the new profile settings “Focus” with the introduction of iOS 15 (20.09.2021). It now also filters messages and apps.

Allow Messages

Messages from selected people and apps are allowed, all others are muted.

Persons

  • Mute messages from

When Do Not Disturb focus is activated, messages from selected people are muted and sent to the message centre.

  • Allow messages from

With Do Not Disturb focus activated, messages from people you select are allowed. All others are muted and sent to the message centre.

Apps

  • Mute messages from

When “Do Not Disturb” focus is activated, messages from selected apps are muted and sent to the message centre.

  • Allow messages from

With “Do Not Disturb” focus enabled, messages from apps you select are allowed. All others are muted and sent to the message centre.

Allow Calls from

  • All (put callers through unfiltered)
  • Only permitted persons (selection from address book)
  • Favourites (narrow selection from address book)
  • Only for contacts (stored in the address book)

Favourites = Anonymous callers get busy signal or mailbox.
Callers with a suppressed call number immediately receive a busy signal or are sent to the mailbox if “Do Not Disturb” is active.

Time Frame for eternally Outdated and Stubborn, who you like nevertheless

Stubborn acquaintances and relatives who do not want to have the free number transmission switched on by the network operator can still reach you at certain times if you do not leave “Do Not Disturb” active all day, but e.g. 20:00–18:00.
For example, between 6 and 8 p.m., callers with suppressed numbers would also be let through.

You could formulate the announcement text of your mailbox accordingly:
“… landed on my mailbox due to a suppressed call number, … next time better call with activated caller ID!”

Telephone Terror

As soon as diallers of dubious advertising callers start calling you in short intervals and suppress their own phone number or display a fake, constantly changing phone number, “Do Not Disturb” must remain active, otherwise you are no longer reachable for serious callers! For businesses and also for private individuals, it is then worthwhile to buy a real call filter from the App Store. But beware, most of them are crap!
Two notable exceptions: Call Ranger and Number Shield.

enlightenedSince iOS version 16, you can finally create groups in the address book! Apple now calls them “lists” and you don't need iCloud or an extra app to assign your contacts to groups lists.

Blocking individual Phone Numbers

Since iOS 14.7 (?), unwanted phone numbers can be blocked directly from the call list without having to save them in the address book!

Block dubious Numbers directly from the Caller List

  1. open the caller list
  2. tap the (i) to the far right of the phone number
  3. tap on the red lettering “Block caller” at the very bottom
  4. the safety note appears:
    “You will not receive any calls, messages or FaceTime calls from the blocked person.”
    Block contact | Cancel
  5. tap “Block contact”, if you are sure, otherwise tap “Cancel”

If you make a mistake (e.g. slipped in a line, got the wrong contact), you can tap on “Unblock” immediately afterwards.
If you want to unblock the contact later or check all blocks already stored, you can do this via the settings menu:
Settings/Phone/Blocked contacts/Add contact. Search for names in the address book, select, done. While you're at it, you can also add annoying insurance agents, colleagues etc. When you are done, press Cancel in the top right-hand corner. This will take you directly back to the “black list” without selecting a new candidate and you can also undo blockings by swiping the name to the left. Then “Unblock” appears to the right of the entry, which you tap to confirm.

  • If you do not need to answer every call, you can use the phone app to
    Mute unknown callers” and
  • with Settings/Do Not Disturb/Allow Calls limit to “All Contacts
    – anyone who is not in the address book can then no longer bother you

Assistant Siri

Technically thrilled (and) sci-fi fans would like to use their computer as in the Sci-Fi series Star Trek by language.

History

  • in 2007, the company Siri Inc. started developing a digital assistant
  • in April 2010 Apple bought the company with all rights to the products and the iPhone 4s became the first smartphone with the digital assistant named Siri

Since then you can control the iPhone by voice.

Unfortunately, Steve Jobs had decided to let the very powerful software work very slimmed down online.angry
The original software could run completely without an online connection to the data center on the iPhone and would not be as restricted as we know it.

Use

I see the main purpose of a digital assistant in the operation of the smartphone, without taking it into the hand. Anyone who uses a Bluetooth headset is particularly pleased about this possibility, because this way the iPhone can remain protected in the pocket.

On most headsets, the voice control is started with a long press on the call answering button. If you use a headset on an Apple iPhone from version 4s upwards, the assistant Siri is addressed. Instead of saying “Hey, Siri!” you speak into the microphone right after the confirmation tone.

Siri answers questions about the weather, can send dictated messages, read the messages received, remind them of appointments, wake up in the morning, play their own music, call the performers of a running music track, and the events of sporting events and much more.

Features

A few examples …

Stock Exchange

  • Share price of [name of share]
  • What is the DAX?

Phone and Contacts

  • Call [Name]
  • Call [phone number]
  • Redialling
  • Start FaceTime with [Name]

Find Friends

  • Where is [Name]?
  • Who is near me?

Messages

  • Send a message to [Name]
  • Send an iMessage [Name]

Mail

  • Write an email to [Name] with the content: [content].

Appointments

  • When is my next appointment?
  • Create an appointment tomorrow at [time]
  • Move the current date from [Time] to [Time]

Reminders

  • Remind me on [date] at [time]: [content].
  • Remind me of [content] as soon as I get home.

Notes

  • Note: […] shopping

Time and Alarm

  • What time is it?
  • What date do we have?
  • Set alarm to [Time]

System

  • Switch [Function] on / off.
  • Is WiFi on?

Maps and Navigation

  • Where am I?
  • Start navigation from here
  • When are we there?
  • Finish navigation

Music

  • Play “Blue Monday” by “New Order”
  • Play My Playlist [Name]
  • Play something from “Yello”
  • pause

Weather

  • Do I need an umbrella?
  • How cold is it now?
  • How warm is it now?
  • How will the weather be tonight?
  • How will the weather tomorrow morning? (Up to 24 hours forecast)

Sports

  • Give me the current football results

Hey, Siri!

So you call the assistant and immediately afterwards the question or the desire.
Siri understands freely formulated questions / instructions and answers some questions with a comment …
Example: To the question “How cold is it now?” Siri replied, “It's now 6 degrees, but I do not think that's cold, Michael!”.
By the way, forSiri is bitterly cold 4 degrees down, Siri comments on all of them, “… but I do not find it cold”.

Disadvantage

Since foreign languages do not have the same priority at Apple, Siri is still not as humorous as in her native language.
There is a separate database for each language.

For several months, Siri has been commenting on any temperature from about 20 degrees Celsius as “hot”.

Data Synchronisation

Media Content

Screenshot: Import pictures and videos

Picture 8: Import pictures and videos

After establishing the USB connection with a Windows computer, Windows asks the user whether the pictures and videos found on the iPhone should be displayed in the Explorer window or copied to the hard disk (see illustration above). Without iTunes, this is the only way to at least get pictures and videos from the iPhone onto the Windows computer.

By the way, this rudimentary backup function even works when connected to a Rasperry Pi. The editors of the computer magazine c't once presented such a solution for Linux. Better than nothing, but not a comprehensive backup.

To keep media content (books, photos, music, videos) on the iPhone in sync with a local computer, Apple's desktop software iTunes or a third-party solution is required.

Backup with iTunes, Finder or iMazing

Since macOS version Catalina (approx. May 2020), synchronisation or backup has been integrated into the Finder, i.e. Apple's file manager.
Only customers without a Mac, i.e. with a Windows computer, must continue to struggle with a not so smoothly running iTunes version. There is no comparable solution for Linux users.

For data protection reasons, German business people must avoid Apple's iCloud. Use iTunes or, even better, iMazing with USB cable or WiFi connection at home. Security-conscious private users should also do the same.

Regular Data Backup with iTunes

Fig.: Optimal backup setting for iTunes

Picture 9: Optimal backup setting for iTunes (Screenshot shows German version)

When recharging the battery in the evening at the USB port of your PC, you can have iTunes create an encrypted backup on the hard disk or SSD (see illustration). It is also possible to synchronise your music collection on the hard disk with the iPhone.

E-Mail, Contacts, Tasks, Notes

An iCloud email account can, but does not have to be created!
PIM data such as email, addresses, tasks and notes can be easily synchronised with your existing email accounts.

For this purpose, the EAS protocol is also supported, which works with Microsoft's Outlook, but also with 1&1 Mail Business, for example.
Advantage of EAS: easy to set up and all data is available at all times while on the move (older mails are only reloaded from the server if required when “entire period” is selected for synchronisation).

Important Safety Tip

Set transport encryption “SSL/TLS” with corresponding port!

Those who have Microsoft Outlook installed locally can keep it synchronised with the iPhone via iTunes (not tested myself).
I created a separate account for Posteo because I'm still using their calendar for a while (with CalenGoo).

I have uninstalled Apple's Mail app because I use Tutanota with their own Mail app.
I have never activated iCloud Drive and will never use it because American authorities can access it at any time for no reason.
I don't support mass surveillance because it's easy to become collateral damage: Backdoor keys are rarely carefully secured – therefore they are very desirable targets for criminals!

Regular Data Backup with iMazing

However, iMazing, a Swiss quality product from the Geneva-based software company DigiDNA, is much better than iTunes. I already preferred it to iTunes on the Windows notebook and it is simply a dream. iTunes felt sometimes as a nightmare on the Windows notebook.

iMazing automatically backs up the data from my iPhones to my MacBook Air via WLAN every day. Without a cloud. Works like a dream.
The feature-rich and user-friendly iMazing is the best manager for iOS devices on Mac and PC.
I have been using iMazing on my Windows notebook for years because Apple's patchwork iTunes is really no fun.

Music Player

31.12.2017: Listen to my favorite album: The Best Of The Art Of Noise (1992), 2. Title: Yebo (Mbaqanga Mix). This is ideal for testing low-frequency playback! Also very good for testing is title 7: Legacy.

This is a synthesizer sound that is not objectively suitable for testing the sound quality of a music player – electronic music sounds good on every device. But I know this album inside and out, and I've heard it quite often on MP3 players (constant-quality coding, dynamic data rate up to 320 kbit / s).
For the objective test of the sound quality I have used musical titles with acoustic instruments and very often heard musicians.
Also the hearing test CD of the audio magazine HiFi was very helpful in the objective test of the acoustics.

Ruler-straight Frequency Response

The Apple iPhone Xs can really show that it has drawn up in the low bass area a frequency response as with the ruler. Otherwise, the bass would not be so abysmal, undistorted and clear (I can not measure it unfortunately). gsmarena.com always tests and publishes the frequency response diagram!

No Headphone Jack

But because the Apple Xs no longer has a headphone jack like its predecessor, gsmarena.com can no longer offer an audio test. They write that a test with the Lightning-on-Headphone adapter would be possible, but the result would not be comparable, because you might use an adapter from another manufacturer. But: the acoustics of the iPhone Xs are just as good as its predecessor. Reference: gsmarena.com.

BTW: The trade magazine connect also tested the predecessor iPhone X in number 1/2018 and printed the frequency response very tiny. The frequency response is consistent with gsmarena.com – from 18 hertz to about 19,000 hertz as drawn by the ruler. My hearing was confirmed.
The signal-to-noise ratio is also excellent. Because the latency is extremely low, iPhones are liked by musicians and DJs.

Bottom line: the best high end music player – but not with the included Apple EarPods!
These have a too weak bass reproduction, but otherwise offer quite linear reproduction (writes the press).
Since I do not think of such gimmicks, I have not even unpacked these EarPods.

My audio test equipment: As headphones I use the Sony MDR-EX90LP.
This in-ear headphones in studio monitor quality provides a fairly unadulterated playback.
But this time it is not plugged into the Bluetooth audio transmitter Samsung Level Link because it can not be paired with the iPhone X.
I had to take out the adapter Lightning-on-jack from the packaging and listen to music by cable.

Messaging

iMessage targeted for Years

Time and again one can read in the IT news that iPhones of journalists and other vulnerable persons have been spied on. Often the spy software got onto the iPhone unnoticed through a security hole in iMessage.

Cryptology professor Matthew Green recommends Apple to completely rewrite the code base of iMessage (Reference).

Apple had always closed security holes relatively quickly, but as long as the code of iMessage is not significantly improved, there will always be successful attacks.
That is why I have deactivated iMessage (and also FaceTime).

Alternative: Threema

Threema can optionally be used without personal data such as telephone number or e-mail address. The Threema ID is sufficient.
Chats are end-to-end encrypted and phone calls are tap-proof.

Alternative: Session

Session does not use any personal data, i.e. neither telephone number nor e-mail address! There is also no connection to the device's address book! The Session ID is generated locally on the device and serves as public key.
Chats are end-to-end encrypted and phone calls are tap-proof.
Further advantages: decentralised onion routing network, free of charge.

Telephoning with excellent Acoustics

The Apple iPhone Xs provides excellent sound quality and supports HD Voice (Plus) – even with Voice over LTE (VoLTE).
If your call partner also calls via UMTS or VoLTE with HD Voice (Plus), you will experience a better sound quality than ISDN in the fixed network!
You can recognize callers and their state of mind in the voice and conversations remain more relaxed, because no disturbing noises annoy.

Only mediocre reception with GSM and 3G – good only with 4G

Many smartphones offer comparatively poor reception quality, especially when using UMTS and LTE. At best, the GSM frequencies can be received in satisfactory quality. If you live and work in a large city and rarely spend time in more rural areas, you will hardly notice this. Most smartphone users hardly make any private phone calls anyway and use instant messaging services instead.
Apple's anniversary model is the first that offers only mediocre performance in GSM and UMTS. And LTE is also only “good”.

After all: globetrotters benefit from the greater choice of frequency band compared to many competitor models.

iOS (Apple's Firmware)

Apple iOS, formerly also known as “iPhone OS”

iOS Versions after Launch

  • 21.09.2018: iOS version 12.0 ex works
  • 08.10.2018: iOS version 12.0.1
  • 31.10.2018: iOS version 12.1 finally makes Dual SIM possible!
  • 05.12.2018: iOS version 12.1.1
  • 17.12.2018: iOS version 12.1.2
  • 22.01.2019: iOS version 12.1.3
  • 07.02.2019: iOS version 12.1.4
  • 25.03.2019: iOS version 12.2
  • 13.05.2019: iOS version 12.3
  • 24.05.2019: iOS version 12.3.1
  • 10.06.2019: iOS version 12.3.2
  • 22.07.2023: iOS version 12.4
  • 26.08.2019: iOS version 12.4.1
  • 19.09.2019: iOS version 13.0
  • 24.09.2019: iOS version 13.1
  • 27.09.2019: iOS version 13.1.1
  • 30.09.2019: iOS version 13.1.2
  • 15.10.2019: iOS version 13.1.3
  • 28.10.2019: iOS version 13.2
  • 07.11.2019: iOS version 13.2.2
  • 18.11.2019: iOS version 13.2.3
  • 10.12.2019: iOS version 13.3
  • 28.01.2020: iOS version 13.3.1
  • 24.03.2020: iOS version 13.4
  • 07.04.2020: iOS version 13.4.1
  • 20.05.2020: iOS version 13.5
  • 01.06.2020: iOS version 13.5.1
  • 15.07.2020: iOS version 13.6
  • 12.08.2020: iOS version 13.6.1
  • 01.09.2020: iOS version 13.7
  • 16.09.2020: iOS version 14.0
  • 24.09.2020: iOS version 14.0.1
  • 20.10.2020: iOS version 14.1
  • 05.11.2020: iOS version 14.2
  • 14.12.2020 not successfully updated to iOS version 14.3, cancellation with error
  • 15.12.2020: iOS version 14.3
  • 26.01.2021: iOS version 14.4
  • 08.03.2021: iOS version 14.4.1
  • 26.03.2021: iOS version 14.4.2
  • 26.04.2021: iOS version 14.5
  • 03.05.2021: iOS version 14.5.1
  • 24.05.2021: iOS version 14.6
  • 19.07.2021: iOS version 14.7
  • 26.07.2021: iOS version 14.7.1
  • 13.09.2021: iOS version 14.8
  • 20.09.2021: iOS version 15.0
  • 01.10.2021: iOS version 15.0.1
  • 11.10.2021: iOS version 15.0.2
  • 25.10.2021: iOS version 15.1
  • 17.11.2021: iOS version 15.1.1
  • 13.12.2021: iOS version 15.2
  • 12.01.2022: iOS version 15.2.1
  • 26.01.2022: iOS version 15.3
  • 10.02.2022: iOS version 15.3.1
  • 14.03.2022: iOS version 15.4
  • 31.03.2022: iOS version 15.4.1
  • 16.05.2022: iOS version 15.5
  • 20.07.2022: iOS version 15.6
  • 17.08.2022: iOS version 15.6.1
  • 12.09.2022: iOS version 15.7
  • 12.09.2022: iOS version 16.0
  • 22.09.2022: iOS version 16.0.2
  • 10.10.2022: iOS version 16.0.3
  • 24.10.2022: iOS version 16.1
  • 09.11.2022: iOS version 16.1.1
  • 30.11.2022: iOS version 16.1.2
  • 13.12.2022: iOS version 16.2
  • 23.01.2023: iOS version 16.3
  • 13.02.2023: iOS version 16.3.1
  • 27.03.2023: iOS version 16.4
  • 07.04.2023: iOS version 16.4.1
  • 01.05.2023: iOS version 16.4.1 (a)
  • 18.05.2023: iOS version 16.5
  • 21.06.2023: iOS version 16.5.1
  • 10.07.2023: iOS version 16.5.1 (a)
  • 12.07.2023: iOS version 16.5.1 (c)
  • 24.07.2023: iOS version 16.6
  • 07.09.2023: iOS version 16.6.1
  • 21.09.2023: iOS version 16.7
  • 10.10.2023: iOS version 16.7.1
  • 25.10.2023: iOS version 16.7.2
  • 18.09.2023: iOS version 17.0
  • 21.09.2023: iOS version 17.0.1
  • 26.09.2023: iOS version 17.0.2
  • 04.10.2023: iOS version 17.0.3
  • 25.10.2023: iOS version 17.1
  • 07.11.2023: iOS version 17.1.1
  • 30.11.2023: iOS version 17.1.2
  • 11.12.2023: iOS version 17.2
  • 19.12.2023: iOS version 17.2.1
  • 22.01.2024: iOS version 17.3 (finally anti-theft protection!)
  • 09.02.2024: iOS version 17.3.1
  • 06.03.2024: iOS version 17.4
  • 21.03.2024: iOS version 17.4.1 (21E236)
  • 14.05.2024: iOS version 17.5 (Build 21F79)
  • 25.05.2024: iOS version 17.5.1 (Build 21F90)

First iPhone with Dual SIM!

With iOS version 12.1, which has been distributed since 31.10.2018, Apple has finally enabled the dual SIM function. Although you need an eSIM profile for the second line, at least it is possible with it. Smiley

On 14.12.2020 I expected the iPhone to be permanently defective after this unsuccessful software update. sad
Apple icon and progress bar remained on the display until next day around 10 p.m. Now the battery is empty and the display is black. End of the road.

With this uncertainty whether the iPhone Xs is really defective, I could not go to sleep on 15.12.2020, so I connected the “dead” iPhone Xs to the MacBook Air again and already the battery symbol with a red bar was visible as a sign of completely empty battery on the display. About two seconds later, the Lightning cable already appeared on the display as a symbol that the iPhone can be restored by connecting it to the computer.

So the firmware had only “stuck”. Since in this state it could not react to the usual commands with which one can restart or restore one's iPhone, the battery first had to be completely drained so that the firmware could start (“boot”) normally and thus all emergency options were available again. laugh

The Finder immediately contacted me to offer a restore. I had to refuse this twice (closing the Finder window) before I could finally assign this task to my favourite iMazing.
Because iMazing had already saved the image file for iOS 14.3 from the previously unsuccessful update attempt and, after confirming the security prompt, began restoring and installing iOS 14.3.
Now everything worked fine. laugh

Afterwards, I used the quick start function to copy all data and apps from my iPhone 11 Pro to the iPhone Xs.
Thus, the iPhone Xs was ready for use again after only one hour and I only had to delete three apps that were not needed on this iPhone. laugh

Software

Built-in Apps (non-erasable)

App Store, Calculator, Calendar, Camera, Clock, Compass, Contacts, FaceTime, Files, Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, Health, Home, Mail, Maps, Messages, Music, News, Notes, Phone, Photos, Podcasts, Reminders, Safari, Settings, Siri, Stocks, TV, Tips, Voice Memos, Wallet, Watch, Weather, iBooks, iTunes Store

Apps by Apple for free

Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, GarageBand and iTunes U are preinstalled.

Highly recommended Apps in Apple's App Store

  • 1Blocker Ad Blocker and Firewall by Salavat Khanov
  • Battery Charge Alarm by Bastiaan Modderkolk
  • Number Shield by Kinnaman Software LLC
  • Cs Cesium Music Player by Mike Clay
  • Date & Time Calculator by Thomas Tsopanakis
  • Shortcuts by Apple
  • Privee – Photo Zensor by Zenlogic LLC
  • Strongbox (Zero) – KeePass & PwSafe by Mark McGuill (Phoebe Code Ltd.)

You can find apps that I have already tested on the Mobile Apps page.
Most of these have proven themselves.
For apps that I have not yet tested myself, I link to developer's website or to Apple's App Store.

Missing Software

  • App for automatic location-dependent volume control
  • real call filter as has been a matter of course on other smartphone platforms such as Symbian OS, Android OS and BlackBerry 10 OS for many years

Addendum 20.06.2021: with iOS 15, Apple will finally deliver in autumn what actually belongs ex works.

Excellent processed Hardware – Details and Photos

Audiophile Characteristics

The audio quality is excellent! The frequency response is from 18 Hz to 19 kHz as pulled with the ruler – and the headphone output hardly any different!

Glass Housing with a Frame and Chassis made of Stainless Steel

Photo 1: Apple iPhone Xs backside

Picture 10: Apple iPhone Xs, Colour Gold, backside

The excellently processed case feels very good and is a hand flatterer.

Photo 2: Apple iPhone Xs, Buttons on the left side

Picture 11: Apple iPhone Xs, Buttons on the left side

Photo 3: Apple iPhone Xs, SIM Tray on the right side

Picture 12: Apple iPhone Xs, SIM tray (opened) and standby button on the right side

The high-resolution 5.8-inch Display presents Photos and Text sharply

The size of the screen is sufficient to even edit my website on the go. It is even good enough for watching television programmes.

The A12 Bionic Processor is one of the fastest Smartphone Processors on the World Market

Before the purchase of the iPhone I had already read of it, but now I notice this every day that it is true.
Normal “daily business” leaves it completely cold, everything runs smoothly and the housing is never warm.
Too bad that Apple does not provide an interface to evaluate the temperature of processor or battery.
I would be interested in how the situation is here – compared to the BlackBerry.

Face ID replaces Touch ID – Unlocking becomes comfortable

To protect your personal information on the iPhone Xs is now your face. The fingerprint scanner of older iPhones does not recognize its user as reliable as the infrared camera in the new iPhone Xs. Depending on the condition of the skin, my iPhone 6s Plus / 7 Plus / 8 sometimes did not recognize me and I often had to type in my very long password. My iPhone Xs just does not recognize me if I accidentally hold it too close to my face. Children and twins should refrain from Face ID because they could otherwise unlock their devices. Hand on heart: do children need such a sensitive iPhone Xs with glass case? (No!)

Photo 4: Apple iPhone Xs main camera

Picture 13: Apple iPhone Xs, main camera on backside

In the truest Sense of the Word: Outstanding Camera

Apple's designers ignore any criticism and let the lenses of the main camera on the back of the device continue to protrude a bit out of the case. There is a reason for this: a good camera lens consists of several lenses and that takes up space!

A remedy, for example, a leather case from Apple, there named “Leather Case”. But I had only used it on the predecessor iPhone X, hence the link to the previous test.

This has an exactly matching opening for the lens bulge and thus the back is completely evenly smooth. This camera really makes outstanding good photos. In low light, these are a bit noisy, but in sufficient light, the quality of the compact cameras.

Localization by GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and QZSS

Thanks to the use of four satellite systems, the location is safer and possibly even more accurate. Documents / reports about it I could not find yet.

Lightning Jack and Cable

Photo 5: Apple Lightning to USB Cable 0.5m and USB Power supply

Picture 14: Lightning-on-USB cable (0.5 m) for 25.00 EUR (no joke, that´s Apple pricing)

Micro USB plugs are too fiddly and depending on the processing quality, which even varies with the original manufacturer, it is easy to connect or is difficult. So at least my experience.
Depending on the system, a lightning plug can be easily and precisely inserted into the lightning socket. Finished.
If you do not pay attention to details and processing quality, you will miss the detail, I think it is important.

Photo 6: Apple iPhone Xs on the box, frontside

Picture 15: Apple iPhone Xs on the box, frontside

Glass and Stainless Steel need Protection

Stainless steel and glass are susceptible to scratches. That's why I protect my iPhone with a black nappa leather case from fitBAG.

No new Smartphone without Leather Sleeve by fitBAG

When I buy a new smartphone, I also buy a leather case from fitBAG (made in Germany) for it …

Photo: fitBAG Nappa leather bag

Picture 16: Black nappa leather bag from fitBAG (one side)

Photo: fitBAG nappa leather sleeve

Picture 17: Black nappa leather bag from fitBAG (other side)

An expensive iPhone would like to protect against damage. Some use leather covers, other films. Foldable leather flip cases are also a popular solution. Disadvantage of these products is that one hardly feels or sees the beautiful housing directly with his hands. Another solution are sleeves, from which one removes the smartphone for operation. I like these sleeves from fitBAG the best, so I've been a regular here for years.

Who prefers bare Glass with Stainless Steel Frame in Hand

Despite custom-made bags and sleeves from fitBAG are not expensive! If you prefer bare glass with a stainless steel frame in your hand, you can save the money for an Apple leather shell (59 EUR!). Instead, buy a fitBAG leather sleeve for one third of the cost. Give the iPhone model and its housing dimensions +3 mm, so it is not too tight and the iPhone can be easily removed. After a few weeks of use, the sleeve widened slightly, but until then, the outer buttons would be loaded, which is too risky for me (I am very meticulous). From many years of experience, I can assure you that fitBAGs nappa leather sleeves are made exactly to customer specifications.

Optimal Protection through Combination

Apple's Leather Case makes a nice leather back without protruding camera lens. You can also have fitBAG's leather sleeve made for dimensions as Apple's Leather Case and thus combine both for optimum protection.

Pros

  • brilliant acoustics (at telephone calls and music playback – even via Bluetooth)
  • HD Voice Plus (EVS-codec) ready (if your provider offers it and your dialogue partner uses same capabilities, then your voice calls have high fidelity)
  • after software: iOS 12.1, Dual SIM is supported via eSIM
  • very high-resolution display
  • excellent build quality
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 512 GB internal memory
  • very efficient set
  • reliable hardware
  • no bloatware installed

Cons

  • Apple's calendar app only allows appointments in 5-minute increments (useless, I recommend CalenGoo) (1)
  • Apple's music app has been broken optimised (useless, many therefore use the Cs Music Player)
  • mechanical switch does not switch off all sounds – YT videos etc. still blare away!
  • only iOS 15 now brings – ten years too late – automatically switching ringtone volume depending on location or time (has been available for Android for 10 years)
  • No exchangeable battery – battery not easily exchangeable by the customer
  • Memory not expandable via memory card slot
  • not available with 1 TB storage
  • Storage size suitable for everyday use and future-proof far too expensive (at least 256 GB are a must due to lack of expandability!)
  • Release of the API “Core NFC” grants only minimal access to the near-field chip (2)

Notes

(1): Impractical workaround for this gross error: tap the dial, then it switches from 5-minute intervals to 1-minute intervals

(2): Just one of many practical NFC applications that are unfortunately not usable with the iPhone:
read out eTicket (local public transport time ticket) via the RMV app to check the expiry date of the ticket subscription.
Until Apple sees sense, this function will remain reserved for Android users. Even consumer protection in Canada could not prevail against Apple.

Conclusion

Some Apple peculiarities make a blanket recommendation impossible.
If you are willing to compromise and accept the disadvantages (maybe even because of the advantages), you will get a very nice and solid smartphone!

Alternatives

Similar Models and Successors

  • Apple iPhone Xs Max – Glass casing, stainless steel frame, 4 GB RAM, max. 512 GB storage, 6.5-inch OLED display, dual camera (tele/WW)
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max – Glass casing, stainless steel frame, 4 GB RAM, max. 512 GB storage, 6.46-inch OLED display, triple camera (Tele/WW/SWW)
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro – Glass casing, stainless steel frame, 4 GB RAM, max. 512 GB storage, 5.8-inch OLED display, triple camera (Tele/WW/SWW)
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max – Glass body, angular stainless steel frame, 6 GB RAM, max. 1 TB storage, 6.7-inch OLED display, triple camera (48 MP) + Lidar, 5G, Dual eSIM
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro – Glass body, angular stainless steel frame, 6 GB RAM, max. 1 TB storage, 6.1-inch OLED display, triple camera (48 MP) + Lidar, 5G, Dual eSIM
  • Fairphone 4 – Aluminium body, plastic back, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage, max. 2 TB (microSDXC card), 6.3-inch LCD display, dual camera (48 MP WA/SWA), 5G, Dual SIM
  • Google Pixel 8 Pro – Glass housing, aluminium frame, 12 GB RAM, max. 512 GB storage, 6,7-inch full-screen OLED display, triple camera (50 MP WW, 48 MP UWW, 48 MP TP), 5G, Dual eSIM
  • Google Pixel 8 – Glass housing, aluminium frame, 8 GB RAM, max. 256 GB storage, 6,2-inch full-screen OLED display, dual camera (50 MP WW, 12 MP UWW), 5G, Dual eSIM
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro – Glass housing, aluminium frame, 12 GB RAM, max. 256 GB storage, 6,7-inch full-screen OLED display, triple camera (50 MP WW, 12 MP UWW, 48 MP TP), 5G, Dual eSIM
  • Google Pixel 7 – Glass housing, aluminium frame, 8 GB RAM, max. 256 GB storage, 6.3-inch full-screen OLED display, dual camera (50 MP WA, 12 MP UWA), 5G, Dual eSIM
  • Google Pixel 7a – Plastic housing, aluminium frame, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, 6.1-inch full-screen OLED display, dual camera (64 MP WA, 13 MP UWA), 5G, Dual eSIM

Memory Expansion impossible – don't save at the wrong End

Expanding the internal memory is impossible – a slot for a memory card is missing! 64 GB is a joke these days, because:

  • the smartphone camera takes excellent photos in high resolution
  • the MP3 music collection grows and grows
  • eBooks and audio books also need space

If you underestimate the amount of memory you need, you will not be able to use your iPhone as intended for long, then it will limit you and become practically unusable.

Only if you want to use an iPhone as a luxury phone without collecting pictures or music will 64 GB be enough in the long run.
If your interests change later and you do want to store music collections or photo albums, you're screwed …

But there is the iCloud, isn't it there?

Storage outsourcing to a cloud requires a reliably available data connection so that required data can be downloaded quickly at any time. Without a Wi-Fi connection, this will be more expensive in the long run than the additional price for an iPhone with enough memory, as real mobile flat rates are expensive in Germany. Talking about additional price: 5 GB are free you have paid for with the price of the device – they are neither enough for backups nor for further data collections. 0.99 EUR/month (50 GB) or 2.99 EUR/month (200 GB) are not expensive, but that is to encourage the population to upload personal data (the NSA can hardly wait)!

You should care that the NSA has access to your iCloud at all times – for business use (EU-DSGVO) and to protect the privacy of your fellow human beings, the use of the iCloud is therefore taboo!

Also remember that iMessage conversations are only secure if no backup is made to the iCloud! As soon as the iCloud is used even for one backup, these iMessage conversations including the key are available to American authorities!

Reference

Tech Specs iPhone Xs by Apple's Support Page

iMessage: Code better be completely rewritten
heise online news 07/2021 (German-language)

Matthew Green: A case against security nihilism

Famous IT security researchers warn (German-language)

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