How to Deal with a Broken iPhone Home Button

assistive touch helps fix broken iphone home button

iPhone image: Apple 

Given that it's the only button on the front most iPhones, it's no surprise that the Home button is pretty important. It's so important that most of us probably don't realize how often we press it. Between returning to the home screen, quitting apps, quickly switching between apps and other tasks, we use it all the time.

But what happens if your Home button is breaking or already broken? How do you perform these common tasks?

The iPhone X and newer models don't have a home button at all. Learn how to perform common tasks on those models in iPhone X Home Button Basics.

The ideal solution, of course, is to repair the button and return your iPhone to perfect working order, but there's also a workaround that lets you replace hardware with software.

While this article refers to the iPhone, these tips apply to any iOS device, including the iPod touch and iPad.

AssistiveTouch on the iPhone

If your Home button is broken or breaking, there's a feature built into the iOS that can help: AssistiveTouch. Apple didn't put that feature there as a workaround to broken buttons, though. It's actually designed to make the iPhone accessible to people who may have trouble pressing the physical Home button due to disabilities. 

AssistiveTouch works by adding a virtual Home button to your iPhone's screen that is overlaid on every app and screen throughout your phone. With AssistiveTouch enabled, you don't have to click the Home button — everything that requires the Home button to do can be done by tapping the button onscreen.

How to Enable AssistiveTouch on iPhone

If your Home button still works a bit, follow these steps to enable AssistiveTouch:

  1. Tap the Settings app on your home screen.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Tap Accessibility.

  4. Tap AssistiveTouch.

  5. Move the slider to On/green.

When you do that, a small icon with a white circle in it will appear on your screen. That's your new Home button. 

If Your Home Button Is Completely Non-Functional

If your Home button is already totally broken, you may not be able to get to your Settings app (you could be stuck in another app, for instance). If that's the case, you're out of luck, unfortunately. There are a number of accessibility features that can be enabled using a computer when your iPhone is synced to iTunes, but AssistiveTouch is not one of them. So, if your Home button is already completely non-functional, you should skip to the repair section of this article.

How to Use AssistiveTouch on iPhone

Once you've enabled AssistiveTouch, here's what you need to know to use it:

Tapping the icon brings up a menu of four options: Notifications, Custom, Siri, Device, Control Center, and Home. 

  • Notifications provides quick access to Notification Center.
  • Custom lets you access any custom shortcuts or actions you've created. Find out how to set these up by reading How to Create and Use iPhone X Shortcuts
  • Device offers one-touch access to common features like locking the phone, raising and lower volume, mute, and more.
  • Siri launches Siri (big surprise, right?).
  • Control Center reveals Control Center (another surprise, I know).
  • Home is the equivalent of clicking the Home button. Just like the physical Home button, you can also double-tap it. 
  • When you select any of these options, you can go back by tapping the back arrow at the center of the window.
  • You can move the AssistiveTouch icon by dragging and dropping it. 

iPhone Home Button Repair: AppleCare

If your Home button is breaking or broken, AssistiveTouch is a good temporary fix, but you probably don't want to be stuck with a non-functional Home button for good. You need to get the button fixed.

Before deciding where to get it fixed, check to see if your iPhone is still under warranty. If it is, either due to the original warranty or because you bought an AppleCare extended warranty, take your phone to an Apple Store. There, you'll get an expert repair that maintains your warranty coverage. If your phone is under warranty and you get it repaired somewhere else, you may forfeit your warranty.

iPhone Home Button Repair: Third Parties

If your phone is out of warranty, and especially if you're planning to upgrade to a new model soon, then getting your Home button fixed at the Apple Store isn't crucial. In that case, you can consider getting it fixed by an independent repair shop. There are lots of companies that offer iPhone repair, and not all of them are skilled or reliable, so make sure to do some research before picking one.