How to Use AssistiveTouch on Your iPhone

Get a Home Button on Your Screen

Adding an onscreen Home button to your iPhone can be great. It's your best bet for keeping your iPhone working if it has a broken home button. It's also crucial for people with accessibility challenges. And, it can be a great shortcut to some useful features. To add a Home button use a feature called AssistiveTouch on iPhone. Here's what you need to know about it.

This article applies to iPhones running iOS 12 and up. For earlier versions, the specific steps may be slightly different. These tips apply to all iPhones, not just ones with a Home button. That means they work with the iPhone X and newer, even though those models don't have a Home button.

Closeup photo of a man's hands holding an iPhone
EMS-FORSTER-PRODUCTIONS / DigitalVision / Getty Images 

What is AssistiveTouch?

AssistiveTouch puts a virtual Home button on your iPhone's screen. This virtual Home button allows you to perform the same actions as pressing the Home button, but by tapping an onscreen icon instead. It also contains shortcuts to common tasks that involve the Home button and allows you to customize the shortcuts triggered by tapping it.

AssistiveTouch was originally designed for people with physical conditions that make it hard for them to press the button. Since then, it's also been used as a workaround for broken Home buttons (for instance, it can help fix an iPhone that won't turn off), by people who are worried the Home button will wear out if they click it too much (that's not true, by the way), and by those who like the convenience of the feature.

How to Put a Home Button on Your iPhone Screen With AssistiveTouch

To add a home button to your iPhone screen by enabling AssistiveTouch, follow these steps:

  1. In iOS 13 and up tap Settings > Accessibility.

    If you're using iOS 12, go to Settings > General > Accessibility.

  2. Go to Touch > AssistiveTouch to find the button to turn it on.

    If you're using iOS 12, just tap AssistiveTouch from the Accessibility screen.

    General, Accessibility, and AssistiveTouch buttons in iOS settings app
  3. On the AssistiveTouch screen, move the slider to on/green.

  4. A new, round icon appears on your screen. That's your new virtual onscreen Home button.

How to Use AssistiveTouch on iPhone

With AssistiveTouch touch turned on, here's how to use it.

Tapping the icon brings up a menu with the following options:

  • Notifications: Provides quick access to Notification Center.
  • Custom: Lets you access any custom shortcuts or actions you've created.
  • Device: Offers one-touch access to common features like locking the phone, raising and lowering volume, mute, and more.
  • Siri: Launches Siri (big surprise, right?).
  • Control Center: Reveals Control Center (another surprise).
  • Home: The equivalent of clicking the Home button. Just like the physical Home button, you can also double-tap it. 
Screenshot of the AssistiveTouch pop-up on iphone

When you select any of these options, you can go back by tapping the back arrow at the center of the window.

You drag and drop the AssistiveTouch icon to move around the screen to a position that's most comfortable or useful to you. 

How to Customize AssistiveTouch on iPhone

Want to change the actions that are triggered when you tap or double tap the AssistiveTouch onscreen Home button? You can. Just follow these steps:

  1. In iOS 13 and up, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch.

    In iOS 12, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch.

  2. You can control what happens for a Single-Tap, Double-Tap, or Long Press. Tap the menu for the action you want to customize.

  3. Select the action you want from the available list.

    Screenshots of enabling AssistiveTouch features on iPhone.
  4. For Double-Tap and Long Press, you can also control the amount of time required for the action before it times out. Control this in the Double-Tap Timeout and Long Press Duration menus, respectively.

You can also make the virtual Home button more or less opaque when it's not in use. Tap the Idle Opacity button and move the slider to your desired transparency.

How to Turn Off AssistiveTouch on iPhone

Don't want your onscreen Home button any longer? Turn off AssistiveTouch by following these steps:

  1. In iOS 13 and up, tap Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch.

    If you're using iOS 12, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch.

  2. Move the AssistiveTouch slider to off/white.