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.
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?