When iPhone 7 Home button fails, iOS 10 offers a nice software workaround

By , Oct 15, 2016

iOS 10 software Home button teaser

MacRumors forum member “iwayne” has noticed that iOS 10 offers an interesting software workaround for when the iPhone 7’s non-moving Home button fails.

Should that ever happen to you, iOS 10 will instantly create a software-based Home button centered at the bottom of the screen.

Not unlike the AssistiveTouch accessibility feature that many iPhone owners in Asia use regularly over fear of breaking the physical Home button, iOS 10’s new onscreen button could hint at how a bezel-less iPhone 8 might work without a physical Home button.

“So plugged in my iPhone 7 to charge and it turned itself off,” the poster wrote. “When I powered it back up, this appeared on the screen,” he added.

The photo below is precisely what the user saw.

iOS 10 software Home button

He said the handset’s “Taptic Engine kept firing 3-4 times in a row for every ‘press’”.

He restarted the phone, but it was “back to not working”.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what might have caused the Home button on the poster’s device to misbehave. If it doesn’t have something to do with the Taptic Engine, it could very well be a manufacturing defect.

Apple had to change standard shortcuts for entering DFU mode and force-restarting the iPhone 7 to avoid cases when a software bug might prevent Home button “presses” to register. The onscreen Home button ensures you can continue using your iPhone 7 in case the physical one stops functioning.

Conventional wisdom tells us Apple engineered this new iPhone 7 Home button to eliminate a common point of failure. Still, there’s no telling whether the new button is more reliable and less prone to failure than the one it’s replacing.

We’ll know for sure if the new Home button is more failure-prone than its predecessor once iPhone 7 owners have spent a few months using it. I’m guessing it’s going to perform a lot better than the mechanical button on prior iPhone models.

How do you like Apple’s new safeguard for when the Home button fails?

Source: MacRumors

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  • AOGV

    It means that next years iPhone will do away with the home button!!!

    • Shadowelite123

      Possibly, although I don’t really want it to go away. They could still trim the “chin” and still keep the home button there. That would be the one thing to preserve a functional touch id area unless they somehow figure out a way to prevent the screen from cracking or make it still able to accurately read a fingerprint even with a crack. It will be interesting to see what Apple does to minimize the trade offs when implementing a touch id display.

      • zoLa siWisa

        The pattern for the whole screen is in place. 1000% things will change

      • Shadowelite123

        I didn’t understand your reply too well. From what we’ve seen, there no actual public look on how Apple would maintain Touch ID operability with an on screen fingerprint sensor. If they were to improve the sensors accuracy to where it could even accurately read a fingerprint with a cracked display, then that would be very nice. Cracked screens are inevitable for most users and thats where the ring around the home button came in handy. If they cant find a way to have Touch ID still functional and accurate with a cracked display, well then I sure hope they keep the home button, or at least a ring as if for a home button.

      • zoLa siWisa

        The pattern is to use your finger print anywhere on a display.

        To be really honest and to be a butt. There people who are hired to testing abilities of how this patterning could have cons and pros. I think they know what they are doing. There is always a backup plan. For me. Its simple intellect to see common sense. Again I am in my hundred

      • Shadowelite123

        Hmm, I could be wrong, but isn’t fingerprint technology based on light sensors? With this assumption, its possible for cracked glass to interfere with light waves as it refracts differently than undamaged glass.

      • zoLa siWisa

        As I said… Apple geeks are very smart

      • AOGV

        What would be sick and this is just me. Not even about the home button just about the actual color of the device. If Apple goes old school and next years model is the same color as the original iPhone that gray and black. Siri remote already has it. Would be interesting to see

      • Shadowelite123

        The color design would have no effect on the home button implementation in design.

      • rockdude094

        Even with the 7 the raise to wake function kinda feels awkward at times b/c you unconsciously press the home button to wake-up the device anyway. I think this would work pretty well with an onscreen home button that only turns on when the display itself turns on. Somehow apple will have to integrate touch ID on the display for it to work and with the recent patents, thats where they are heading from what it seems

      • Shadowelite123

        Hmm I haven’t had any problems adjusting to the raise to wake feature. My only concern with removing the home button is that there may not be a alternative to the protective ring that the current home button has for touch id. If somehow Apple can get past that with a reasonable and effective countermeasures, I’m all for the no home button future. Probably won’t be a deal breaker but it will be a concern.

      • rockdude094

        Are you talking about he metal ring around the home button? I don’t think it protects anything actually, it activates the touch ID sensor when a finger is detected on the ring. Try clicking the home button without touching the ring on the iPhone 7, it won’t work.

      • Shadowelite123

        I’ve tried it, it works fine. The ring is a protective layer for the home button so if a crack forms on the display itself, it won’t reach the portion of glass used for the Touch ID sensor on the home button.

      • rockdude094

        yup maybe it behaves differently on the iPhone 7. Plus I don’t think the screen and the home button are made from the same type of glass. The Home button is made from sapphire according to apple. I think your point about the cracks is valid

      • Shadowelite123

        So I just received my iPhone 7 Plus today, the home button seems to be working even when I don’t touch the ring and just the actual button.

      • Impreza

        Like an expansion joint used in concrete driveways and footpaths (the black tar strip or scored mark) to prevent a continuous break off or collapse.

      • Raymond Beavers

        That’s crazy!! I just tried it on my iPhone 7 Plus. You are correct, if you touch just the home button and not the ring there’s nothing. No haptic feedback or anything!! #themoreyouknow

      • siddique

        raise to wake up feature eats battery too much ..!!

      • Shadowelite123

        Its doesn’t take a significant toll. My battery life has shown no drop in my iPhone 6S Plus since upgrading to iOS 10.

  • :D

    “that many iPhone owners in Asia use regularly over fear of breaking the physical Home button”

    • leart

      who wants a iphone with broken home button ?
      in my country i basically purchase my idevices without any real warranty since no oficial apple store here.. if one of my devices breaks, I have to pay … even if its still on the one year initial warranty .. it would cost me to much to leafy my country just for that

      • hkgsulphate

        the point is, their fear is irrational

      • leart

        true, but even the usage of home button is irrational lol..
        I’m not asian, and I have a lot of idevides, usually I have 3 with me around, and most of the time I use assistive touch lol..
        had trouble on my first iphone , a used iphone 4 back in march 2012 and had trouble to fix it, since no original parts here where I live…since then I’m a little obsessed of not using the physical button when I can lol

        since then I using just new devices but still it’s a habit for me now

        sorry for the photo quality, it’s taken from my pad 2 I’m using it mostly like a big iPod 😀


    • rockdude094

      Lol whats the point of having a working home button if you’re never going to use it ?

      • askep3

        Ikr, might as well switch to assistivetouch when it breaks

    • I’m Asian, and every single time one of my friends sends me a screenshot there will always be that Assistive Touch icon blocking something on the image. Previously I used VirtualHome on a jailbroken device, here’s hoping the new Home Button on my iPhone 7 eliminates the need for the jailbreak tweak.

      I’ve had to replace Home Button ribbon cables for friends before and while it’s pretty straightforward on newer devices, replacing the cable for an iPhone 4 is a pain in the neck.

      • Don Walker II

        The 4 and 4s repairs sucked so much…

  • Arqam Sultan

    you know what i got whole new level of issue with my IPhone 7, I was working perfectly at first then it lost signal, i did the airplane mode trick, no signal, it was continuously searching, then i took the sim out and it was still searching, i was astonished, contacted apple support they asked me to restore then while restoring it gave me errors. now its bricked and i am going to see the apple store tomorrow, absolutely furious!!!!

    • Shadowelite123

      What was the iOS version it was on? Thats a somewhat uncommon occurrence.

      • Arqam Sultan

        its was on 10.0.2

  • Jose Rivera

    The fact that you mentioned that Touch Assistant is used widely in Asia finally explains why those fake iPhones that run around automatically have it enabled even though the home button is present. Hahaha

  • n0ahcruz3

    I love the home button on the 7/7+ just saying lol

  • tariq

    Its just a bad year for Note and IPhone line up. Hopefully these issues don’t occur in 2017.

    • 5723alex .

      You are right. Apple just announced a recall for all iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 devices.

      • Pi Xo


  • How thoughtful! Hope we see the home button on the 7s.

  • siddique

    what do you mean by ” any iPhone owners in Asia use regularly over fear of breaking the physical Home button ” this isn’t quite right by the way ..!!

  • They are getting better and better with every year