Apple's introduced the latest of it's line up of iPhones with no Home button. The iPhone 12 series joins the iPhone 11 series, and the iPhone XR, XS and X with a full screen front and Face ID.
But some people really miss the Home button and the simplicity with which you can use the Home button to navigate around the iPhone.
For those people who have a new iPhone and are missing the Home button that they were used to, we can let you into a secret. You can get the Home button back. Read on to find out what you need to do.
Add a Home button to iPhone screen
iOS includes an accessibility option that displays a software Home button on the screen. This came in very handy on older phones (particularly those around the iPhone 4/4s/5 vintage) whose Home buttons malfunctioned and stopped working. But it's equally suited to all-screen iPhone handsets which haven't got a Home button at all.
To add a software home button to your iPhone this is what you need to do:
- Open the Settings app and go to Accessibility.
- Scroll down to Touch and tap it.
- At the top of the next page you will see AssistiveTouch. Tap on this.
- Turn on AssistiveTouch by tapping the slider at the top so it turns green.
- Now a grey circle will appear on the right side of your iPhone screen. You can move to to the position that is least distracting for you, or even place it where the Home button used to be.
Note that the button will become slightly transparent when left alone for a while, and you can adjust how much it does this: in the Accessibility > AssistiveTouch menu, tap Idle Opacity and adjust the slider. The lower the number, the more transparent it will become.
Using the Home button
To use the AssistiveTouch button, you just need to tap it. This will make it open out into a larger menu with six options, including the bog-standard Home function at the bottom.
Tap this to be taken back to the Home screen, or double-tap it to open the recently opened apps picker, just like on a hardware Home button.
The other options in the menu are mostly self-explanatory:
- Siri activates Siri.
- Control Centre and Notifications bring up those menus.
- Custom is more involved, however: by default it offers Pinch, hard-press and double-tap gestures, but you can add more in Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Create New Gesture.
- Tap Device to open up other hardware functions, such as volume up and down, mute, rotate orientation and so on.
Customising the Home button
Let's return to the AssistiveTouch menu in Settings. This time tap Customise Top Level Menu.
In this page you can tap one of those six icons and replace it with a different function entirely, such as Speak Screen or SOS. Or you can increase (or decrease) the number of icons in the menu: the maximum is eight.
Tap Reset if you want to undo all your changes and return to the default.