iPhone XR, 1 year in as it is made obsolete by the iPhone SE2

I bought the phone Marques Brownlee said not to panic about, Nilay Patel said was better than good enough, and that Sara Dietschy said was a solid upgrade. Of course, that was way back in November 2018, and nobody’s said a word about the XR since then. I got my XR in March 2019, just a few months later, and I’ve had it a year.

I’d like it to last at least two more years. Is that possible? It hasn’t been possible yet. I’ve yet to actually keep a phone longer than 20 months. I’d really like to break that streak. And I think the iPhone XR is the one to do it, for reasons I’ll get into below.

Battery Life

It lasts all day. It’s never died. It’s probably got the best battery life in any phone I’ve owned. I’ve never been out with it at less than 10% except for that one time I didn’t charge it for 36 hours and then went out not realizing it was at, like, 25%. It didn’t die that night.

It’s been a year, so I’d assume the battery would have degraded a bit, right? The maximum capacity is at 98%. With my last phone, the iPhone SE, the capacity was at 90% after a year. After 15 months, I bought a fresh battery for it. I don’t think I’m going to need to do that this time.

This has been my advice for people with slow phones: get a new battery. They’re not that expensive, and that $100 (give or take) will almost definitely give your phone another year or so of use.

Speed, Power, and Longterm Support

If you don’t think your phone is fast, you’re just used to it. Fish out an old phone you have in a drawer. Charge it up and try to do anything. You’ll wonder how you lived in 2013. It’s a little annoying how quickly we adapt and think that what we do is just normal”.

The iPhone XR is super fast. 18 months after its debut, it’s only one notch below most powerful phone ever,” and that isn’t by a wide margin.

The best argument for buying iPhones is the long-term support. iOS13, Apple’s 2019 iPhone OS, supports phones going back to 2015 (the 6S). If things stay the same, the 2020 OS will support phones from 2016 (the 7). If we figure that stays the same for the XR (2018), it should continue to get new OS updates until 2022 (or iOS 16).

Screen Quality

The XR, just like the newer 11, has a 720p screen that you won’t notice and is fine. The iPhones Pro are better and they look better and they should, because they’re OLED instead of LCD and they cost a lot more. But the XR is fine and I never think about the screen not being good.

The Camera

It’s fine. It takes good pictures and great video. I’ve never loved the photos I take with my iPhone, and the XR didn’t change that.

Cases

Cases are like helmets. They’re only built to survive so much abuse. If it survives one good drop, be thankful.

My iPhone XR has had 3 cases so far. Two are still with me.

The iPhone 11 cases fit the XR just fine, so when they came out with silicone cases, I picked one up. I got it in white. It died on New Years after a drop. The entire bottom bit of the case was damaged, but the phone was fine. It did its job.

Most recently, I bought Apple’s clear case. Even though they make an XR version, the store only had the 11 model. It’s fine. The phones are the same size.

My favourite case for it is Moment’s walnut case. It was expensive but it’s sturdy as hell. And it doesn’t actually have to be as sturdy as it is, because it’s one of the few cases that has built-in wrist-strap support (the strap they sell is also nice).

I’ve had the clear case on my phone most of this pandemic, because I haven’t been out as much. But on days I go out on the bike, I swap in the Moment case.

Summary

Hey, you. This is a good phone. If you can make it last to 2022, I’ll be pretty proud of you. Take good care of it, and it’ll take good care of you.

RSS…to lower anxiety?

Brent Simmons On Alternate App Icons for NetNewsWire for iOS:

Add options that reduce anxiety. An example of this is the option to not show the unread count in the Dock on Macs. (There’s a similar setting in Notifications settings in iOS.)

Damn do I love that. I had pretty well given up on RSS because of the anxiety of having this mountain of content slowly growing behind me. It’s why I mostly just have a set of bookmarks in Airtable that I check occasionally. But I have been using NetNewsWire since it relaunched, and I’ve noticed a sort of calm about it. I’m happy to see that it’s because of careful design with anxiety in mind.

I do have a feature request though: give us the option of removing the unread number on individual feeds. I’ve never seen an RSS app do this, but I’ve always wanted it. Show me what I’ve missed in the list view, but just don’t put a number on it.

More accurate iPhone names, 2019

As the iPhone gets older and its naming scheme spirals into marketing nonsense, I thought it might be a good time to give people a better way to describe each generation. Updated for 2019, two weeks before the new iPhones are actually announced.

Original Name More Accurate Name
iPhone (2007) iPhone No Keyboard. $500?!?
iPhone 3G (2008) iPhone apps
iPhone 3GS (2009) iPhone Angry Birds
iPhone 4 (2010) iPhone You’re Holding it Wrong
iPhone 4S (2011) iPhone Siri Not Available
iPhone 5 (2012) iPhone Absolute Jewel
iPhone 5C (2013) iPhone Plastic
iPhone 5S (2013) iPhone The Good One
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus (2014) iPhone Wide Boi
iPhone 6S & 6S Plus (2015) iPhone Wide Bois
iPhone SE (2016) iPhone The Good One Again
iPhone 7 & 7 Plus (2016) iPhone Darth Vader
iPhone 8 & 8 Plus (2017) iPhone 7S
iPhone X (2017) iPhone Rich Boi
iPhone XS & XS Max (2018) iPhone Rich Bois
iPhone XR (2018) iPhone Touch
iPhone 11 (2019) What’s in my backpack unboxing video
iPhone 11 Pro & Pro Max (2019) Apple Card

When Timer Ends - Stop Playing

I’ve been working with the Pomodoro technique while at my day job for a few weeks now. The way I’ve kept it up is by creating two Siri Shortcuts: a 25 minute timer for working, and a 5 minute timer for a break. Both shortcuts use just the basic timer, while also creating a new Toggl (though the break” shortcut just creates the same Toggl entry over and over).

It took me a while to figure out the best timer to work with, and I settled on Stop Playing.” It doesn’t make any noise, vibrate, or anything. All it does is stop what your phone is currently doing and lock it. Since I’m usually listening to music, simply pausing is the least annoying way for a timer to go off.

You can see how the timer just straight up locks the phone with the video below.

More accurate iPhone names

As the iPhone gets older and its naming scheme spirals into marketing nonsense, I thought it might be a good time to give people a better way to describe each generation.

Original Name More Accurate Name
iPhone (2007) iPhone No Keyboard. $500?!?
iPhone 3G (2008) iPhone apps
iPhone 3GS (2009) iPhone Angry Birds
iPhone 4 (2010) iPhone You’re Holding it Wrong
iPhone 4S (2011) iPhone Siri Not Available
iPhone 5 (2012) iPhone Absolute Jewel
iPhone 5C (2013) iPhone Plastic
iPhone 5S (2013) iPhone The Good One
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus (2014) iPhone Wide Boi
iPhone 6S & 6S Plus (2015) iPhone Wide Bois
iPhone SE (2016) iPhone The Good One Again
iPhone 7 & 7 Plus (2016) iPhone Darth Vader
iPhone 8 & 8 Plus (2017) iPhone 7S
iPhone X (2017) iPhone Rich Boi
iPhone XS & XS Max (2018) iPhone Rich Bois
iPhone XR (2018) iPhone Touch

All the great task apps

Okay, so I use multiple task apps. My last two blog posts mentioned Productive and Streaks. I also use Wunderlist, and sometimes I use the iOS Reminders app and Cortana reminders on Windows for spur-of-the-moment stuff. It isn’t just that any one task dingus isn’t good enough to cover everything I like (though that’s true), but if I put everything in one basket, the basket seems daunting and I drop all of it. I don’t love any house enough to just live in one of them.

The basic system is that Productive is for daily habit tasks, like filling up the humidifier. If I don’t touch Productive all day because I didn’t need it, that’s fine. There’s nothing actually important in there. Streaks are aspirational goals, like writing in this blog. Wunderlist is for chores and things I share with my partner. Reminders are for when I need to pick something up when I’m near a drug store.

1Password is the best

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saved by this one app.  

Because of 1Password, I can have crazy long passwords that are nigh impossible to crack. I can have different passwords for every single account.

Quick, what’s the password to your college email? You know, the annoying one they make you sign up for that doesn’t have forwarding to your real email?

Quick, what’s the password for that one job site you needed to make an account for because of one application?

Quick, what’s the serial number for that app you bought three years ago and you need to reinstall to a new computer?

1Password does all this flawlessly. I was confident to move from an iPhone to Windows Phone because they’d made an app for it (and continue to update it!) On the desktop, 1Password is convenient and necessary. On mobile, it’s a godsend. And recently, I was confident to move from Mac to Windows 8 because of them. I used the trial app for a while, but that obviously ran out and I needed to purchase it.

The Windows desktop app for 1Password costs $50, which is expensive but worth it. But, I thought, since I was moving platforms, perhaps they’d give me a discount for moving. I contacted support, and they said they could if I provided some type of proof that I’d purchased the Mac app. I did (I’d purchased it from the Mac App Store), and they sent me a very nice discount.

1Password is a Canadian company too, operating right from the centre of the universe, just like me. I’m incredibly confident that my information is safe, and I think you should use them too.