Cezary Wojcik
Keyboard Wizard
One Week Later With iPhone 6 Plus

September 26, 2014

As soon as I saw the iPhone 6 Plus in Apple's September 9th keynote, I knew that I wanted that phone. I wanted to know what it's like to have a big large huge enormous phone. I'm farily tall (6'3"), and I have fairly large hands, so the size itself wasn't as big of a concern to me as it probably was/is to shorter folk. One of my many internal rationalizations for getting the Plus (none of which are actually very rational) was that if there are smaller people who are fine with larger phones, I should be even more fine. So I preordered a gold 6 Plus after a tiring battle against Apple's servers and got it delivered on release day. And now here I am, a week later. My old iPhone 5s looks like a tiny toy, and my hands seem to have established somewhat of a rough standard for large phone usage.


I always carry my phone in my front right pocket. Fortunately, the 6 Plus fits right in. I should also mention that I have a thin, clear case on the phone, but it doesn't really make any significant differences in terms of pocketing the phone. I have experienced no pocketing issues. That's all I've got to say about that.

One-Handed Usage

iPhone 6 Plus one handed

The iPhone 6 Plus is not impossible to use one-handed. Granted, my hands are above average in size, but I'm usually able to reach most of the screen (as demonstrated in the GIF above). I definitely have to stretch my fingers sometimes, and I do use two hands probably more often than I did with my 5s, but one-handing the phone isn't as much of an issue as I thought it would be.

I tried using reachability. It seems dumb. It seems faster (and makes more sense to me) to slightly readjust my grip if I can't reach something. I hope that home button taps can be configured to other shortcuts in the future. I would prefer to double tap to switch between apps instead of double pressing, for instance.

One of my main concerns is that some of my one-handed grips with the 6 Plus leave my fingers at the back of my device instead of securing it opposite my palm. This kind of grip definitely feels a tad unsecure. My clear case is more slippery than I would like - I might try some other cases that have a more rubberized back to make the phone feel more secure in my hand.

Things That Are Magical

The screen is very nice. It is a good screen. I don't really know how to talk about screens using terms like contrast and saturation accurately, but this screen does those things well. Aside from looking really nice, the screen also feels closer to my finger than it did with my 5s.

The curved sides of the phone make screen edge gestures (like a back gesture) feel really nice and smooth. Unfortunately, having a case will remove this particular magical element of the phone, but it was nice for the few couple of days before my case came.

I completely expected to be dumbfounded by the power button's being on the side. When I first switched from using an iPod Touch 2nd generation (power button top left) many eons ago to an iPhone 3GS (power button top right), my hands kept trying to press the wrong area of my phone for a good couple of weeks. Perhaps because the 6 Plus has such a different shape and stature, I haven't had any issues at all adapting to having the button on the side.

Things That Are Not Magical

Likely due to technological and battery limitations, the iPhone 6 Plus renders things @3x scale with a resolution of 1242x2208, but the screen itself is 1080x1920, and the content is downscaled. Given my own rudimentary knowledge of downscaling things gained by downscaling things in Photoshop and Paint, I would have expected this to have far more of a negative effect. You can barely tell. But you can tell.

When scrolling a table view that has your typical 1-pixel sized row separators, you can see somewhat of a shimmer. These separators are intended to be 1 unit tall, which translates to 3 pixels in @3x land, but in iPhone 6 Plus land, that is 3 * 1920/2208 = 2.608695.... How do you show a fraction of a pixel? You can't - pixels can't be subdivided. What it looks like Apple is doing instead is showing 2 pixels sometimes and 3 pixels other times. If you scroll slowly through a table view, you will be able to tell. Realistically, however, you have to actually be looking for the effect in order to see it because the pixels themselves are so tiny. The tinyness of the pixels is why Apple is able to get away with the downscaling.


Now that we've talked about downscaling, let's talk about upscaling. Apps that are upscaled on the iPhone 6 Plus are almost comically large. Fortunately, text looks sharp, but many image-based UI elements tend to look fuzzy. Fortunately, as developers update their apps, this issue will eventually go away as did the letterboxed apps when iPhone 5 came out. Currently, however, many apps that I use haven't been updated for the iPhone 6 Plus and using them makes me unhappy.

Another thing that annoys me about the iPhone 6 Plus is that the screen is just as prone to fingerprints and finger smudges as my iPad. The iPhone 5s screen seemed to be far more resistant in this regard.

My biggest legitimate concern, however, is the fact that the iPhone 6 Plus allows for viewing the screen upside down as an iPad would. I put my phone in my pocket upside down so that when I take it out, it is oriented correctly. However, if I do not lock the rotation on the screen, when I take my phone out of my pocket and unlock it with Touch ID as I'm taking it out, I have to wait for an animation to flip the screen from being upside down to being right side up. Because this is very annoying, I turned on the rotation lock. This means that every time I want to actually rotate the screen, I have to disable it and reenable it when I'm done. I also don't like seeing the screen lock icon in my status bar. I'm not sure why, but I don't like it. I wish the phone simply didn't allow for upside down orientations. That worked in the past.


If the previous two sections were "The Good" and "The Bad," then I guess this one is "The Ugly."

Rationally, I know that bending isn't really an issue because I'm not a moron. It takes a lot of force to bend the phone. Now, it is true that because the phone is larger than, for instance, a 5s, the same amount of force will result in more torque on the phone, so it is reasonable to say that the 6 Plus is more susceptible to bending than the 5s. Since the phone is made of metal and not plastic, if it is bent, the metal will keep its bent shape. All that said, it still takes a lot of force to actually bend the phone. I don't plan to sit on my phone, and I don't wear tight hipster pants that would put the phone under pressure any time I want to move my leg.

All that said, even though I know that it shouldn't be an issue, somewhere in the back of my mind, a voice keeps saying, "What if?" The overly dramatic attention that the internet has given the issue has had an understandable effect on me. Every time I run up some stairs with my phone in my pocket, I worry that the phone might defy gravity, slip up my leg, and move far enough to the side to where bending my leg would bend the phone. I know that it isn't physically possible, but my mind keeps worrying about it anyway. Most of the time when I'm sitting down now, I take my phone out of my pocket and put it on my desk just in case.

I hope that these concerns will gradually go away with time, but I guess it doesn't hurt to be cautious.


Having a bigger screen is awesome. I tried using a smaller iPhone after using the 6 Plus, and it looks absurd now. The screen is so tiny. It's also not as crisp as the 6 Plus. I definitely feel as though the phone is more fragile than, say, a 5s, but that is because it is both larger and thinner. I feel the need to be more cautious with my phone, but it is not disruptive.

Currently, the 6 Plus has a lot of untapped potential. The larger screen will likely usher in some new 6 Plus-specific user interfaces. Once apps are actually updated not only to support the larger screen size, but also to take advantage of it, we will see the true power and role of the 6 Plus.