As the Home button on iPhone X has gone the way of the cuckoo, its newly renamed Side button (aka Power/Lock button) will be multifunctional and customizable, according to the latest discoveries by developers Steven Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo.

Andrew already told you about three default functions for it:

  • Siri—Click and hold the Side button
  • Wallet/Apple Pay—Double-click the Side button (like on Apple Watch)
  • Emergency SOS—Press the Side button and the Power button at the same time
  • Accessibility Shortcuts—Click the Side button three times in a quick succession

Because customers are going to use the new button a lot more frequently, that’s why Apple has made it longer to make it easier to reach. As it turns out, the button will be customizable.

Via all-new Accessibility settings, you’ll be able to assign it to additional functions:

  • Type to Siri
  • Face ID

Assigning one of the Side button actions to Face ID will let you “check to see if you are looking at your iPhone before dimming the display, unlocking or lowering the volume of alerts,” according to the feature’s description in accessibility settings discovered by 9to5Mac.

There are also options there for adjusting the speed of the double and triple click.

So, five different uses for the Side button.

But wait, how will we power off the phone if pressing and holding the button by default invokes Siri? Well, iOS 11 has conveniently added a Shut Down option in Settings → General.

Getting to the Home screen and switching apps? You’ll swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up a virtual Home button and continue swiping upward to get to the task switcher, where Control Center is also presented as an app.

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Unlocking will be handled by two-times-faster-than-Touch ID facial recognition. And even if you don’t want to use Face ID for whatever reasons, there’s always going to be a good ol’ passcode as a fallback mechanism.

“What I think: Pearl ID will be so good and so fast that in D22 there won’t be a difference between the Lock screen and the cover sheet,” Guilherme tweeted on August 22.

“If you’re looking at your phone, it’s unlocked. Slide up for home screen, slide down for cover sheet. When you look away, it’s locked,” he added in a separate tweet the same day.

He tweeted today that the Side button won’t be clickable nor movable, describing it as a “fake” button akin to the solid-state Home button on iPhone 7. If the Side button is actually static, maybe there is a miniature Taptic Engine inside just for it (my speculation, not his) to provide some form of physical feedback to simulate clicks?

As nice bonus, a non-moving button should help with water resistance because there’s one less hole for water to enter. Folks, we’re definitely getting closer to a buttonless iPhone!

Thoughts or questions?

  • I’m getting a very strong feeling that I’m not going to like this or future iPhones.

    • fastasleep

      Oh no!

      • igorsky

        I know, right?? I’ll miss him!

    • TheAvatarNice

      You’ll get used to it

    • Sam

      I have the same feeling. I didn’t like the iPhone 7, now this iPhone is going to be so completely different from the philosophy that made iPhone big in the first place. This new iPhone seems very, very dissapointing.

      • Rowan09

        Did you like the 6S if so why not the 7?

      • Sam

        The 7 has no real home button, it has no headphone jack. Those are 2 major things that I dislike about it. I don’t particularly like thr 6 either.

      • igorsky

        Perhaps the issue is not the product, but rather your complete lack of imagination.

      • fastasleep

        Right, because the 7 was SOO fundamentally different from previous iPhones’ “philosophy”, whatever that means.

      • Sam

        Apple has lost much of it’s ability to innovate in a way where everyone will say ‘damn, this is amazing’. They lost it when jobs died. Cook is a great businessman, but a bad innovator & distoyed job’s philosophy within a year. iOS 6 and before were just stable, easy to use. No need to go into several sub menu’s just to shut your iPhone down. Apple killed the headphone jack, Magsafe, home button, USB, and so so much more. Apple’s ecosystem is horrible at the moment. If you buy a new iPhone 7 and a new macbook, you cannot charge your iPhone off your macbook. You cannot use your headphones for ANY other device. Under jobs, things worked. And they worked great. If you fail to see this you must’ve not been using Apple products since day 1, which is fine, but if you have, and you think about Apple at the monent, you’ll HAVE to admit it’s a mess now.

      • fastasleep

        Wow, are we playing Apple Hater Bingo™? How’d they kill USB again?

  • eXoguti097

    This is like Zephyr Cydia tweak from back in iOS 6, I would actually really like this.

    • Cones1r

      I hope you’re right! Zephyr was amazing!!!

  • igorsky

    So it’s like a Bixby button, only useful.

  • Jamessmooth

    Gonna take some getting used to, but my guess is after a few days it will feel like second nature

  • Fanboy 

    I don’t understand the side button shortcut that “checks to see if you are looking at your iPhone before dimming the display, unlocking or lowering the volume of alerts”. Anyone have insight to what this means?

    • fastasleep

      The original text on 9to5 says:

      This new side button method is also tied to new Accessibility settings for adjusting the speed of the double and triple click, enabling Type to Siri, and even using Face ID to “check to see if you are looking at your iPhone before dimming the display, unlocking, or lowering the volume of alerts.”

      Which reads like two sentences that got mashed up together. How would an Accessibility setting for the side button have anything to do with using Face ID for those quoted purposes? Those functions make sense for general Face ID use, but not in the context of a side button accessibility setting. Either way I think we’re missing some context here. 🙂

  • askep3

    It’s funny that after a couple years of people clamoring for a massive overhaul and redesign of the iPhone, they now complain that there’s too much change

  • askep3

    Wait is the side button if it’s not the power button? You activate emergency mode by hitting the pier and side buttons simultaneously?

    • cfox

      By power button they mean the volume up button. It’s one of the two remaining physical buttons and so will assume that function.

  • askep3

    Wait what do we know about he iphone 8 and 8 plus?

  • Jay

    Swiping up from the botton brings up the switcher, multitasking and home but what about the CC.

    • multitasking apps view will be smaller covering the upper half screen only while CC are spread in the lower half horizontally instead of vertically where the important icons are already visible while some that are less important are not visible and you need to scroll horizontally to access them

  • Daniel Huang

    I’m going to use the palm of my right hand as one of my faceID ‘saves’ as I could not be bother raising my phone to my face every time. Actually, forget that, I will wait and hope that the iPhone 9 brings back touchID.

  • James Coulee

    I think I’m missing something: isn’t the side button a renamed lock/power button? If so, how can we press the side and power button at the same time, considering they are both the same single button?

    • cfox

      By power button they mean the volume up button which, as one of the two remaining physical buttons, will assume that function.