iPhone X Home Button Basics

What Happened to My iPhone X Home Button?

Perhaps the most significant change Apple introduced with its iPhone X was the removal of the Home button. Since the iPhone's debut, the Home button had been the only button on the front of the phone. It was also the most important button because it was used to return to the Home screen, access multitasking, take screenshots, and much more.

You can still do all of those things on the iPhone X, but how you do them is different now. Pressing a button has been replaced by a set of gestures that trigger those familiar functions.

Information in this article applies to the iPhone X series and the iPhone 11 series.

How to Unlock the iPhone X

Waking the iPhone X from sleep, also known as unlocking the phone (not to be confused with unlocking it from a phone company), is still simple. Just pick up the phone and swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

What happens next depends on your security settings. If you don't have a passcode, you go straight to the Home screen. If you do have a passcode, Face ID may recognize your face and take you to the Home screen. If you have a passcode but don't use Face ID, you enter your code. No matter your settings, unlocking just takes a swipe.

How to Return to the Home Screen on iPhone X

With a physical Home button, returning to the Home screen from any app required pushing the Home button. Even without that button, though, returning to the Home screen is pretty simple.

Just swipe up a short distance from the bottom of the screen. A longer swipe does something else, but a quick flick takes you out of any app ​and back to the Home screen. 

How to Open the iPhone X Multitasking View

On earlier iPhones, double-clicking the Home button brought up a multitasking view that let you see all open apps, quickly switch to new apps, and easily quit apps that were running.​

That same view is still available on the iPhone X, but you access it differently. Swipe up from the bottom to about a third of the way up the screen. This motion is a little tricky at first because it's similar to the short swipe that takes you to the Home screen. When you get to the right place on the screen, open apps appear.

Depending on your settings, you may also feel a slight vibration when you've reached the one-third spot that activates the multitasking view.

Switching Apps Without Opening Multitasking on iPhone X

Instead of opening the multitasking view to change apps, switch to a new app with a swipe.

At the bottom of the screen, swipe left or right to jump to the next or previous app from the multitasking view—a much faster way to move. 

Using Reachability on iPhone X

With ever-bigger screens on iPhones, it can be hard to reach things that are far from your thumbs. The Reachability feature, which was first introduced on the iPhone 6 series, solves that quandary. A quick double-tap of the Home button brings the top of the screen down so that it's easier to reach.

On the iPhone X and later models, Reachability is still an option, although it's disabled by default. When it's activated, access the feature by swiping down on the bottom of the screen.

To turn on Reachability in iOS 13:

  1. Open Settings on the iPhone.

  2. Tap Accessibility.

  3. Select Touch.

    Accessibility settings on iPhone
  4. Choose Reachability and move the slider next to it to On/green.

  5. Swipe down at the bottom of the screen to lower the screen elements within reach of your thumbs.

    iPhone Touch settings including Reachability

To turn on Reachability in iOS 12 and earlier, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reachability.

New Ways to Do Old Tasks: Siri, Apple Pay, and More

Tons of other common iPhone features use the Home button. Here's how to perform some of the most common ones on the iPhone X:

  • Take Screenshots: Click the side and volume up buttons at the same time.
  • Turn Off/Restart: Press and hold the side and volume up buttons at the same time until the power off slider appears.​
  • Activate Siri: Press and hold the side button.
  • Confirm Apple Pay and iTunes/App Store Purchases: Use Face ID.

So Where Is Control Center?

Control Center offers a handy set of tools and shortcuts. On earlier iPhone models, it's accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Since swiping around the bottom of the screen does so many other things on the iPhone X, Control Center is located elsewhere on this model. ​

To access it, swipe down from the top right side of the screen to the right of the notch, and Control Center appears. Tap or swipe the screen again to dismiss it when you're done. 

Still Want a Home Button? Add One in Settings

You can't get a hardware button for your iPhone X, but in the phone's settings, you can come close.

The AssistiveTouch feature adds an on-screen Home button for people with physical challenges that prevent them from easily clicking the Home button or for those with broken Home buttons. Anyone can turn it on and use that same software button.

To enable AssistiveTouch:

  1. Tap Settings > Accessibility in iOS 13 or Settings > General > Accessibility in iOS 12 and earlier.

    iPhone Settings app and Accessibility option
  2. On the Accessibility screen in iOS 13, tap Touch and then AssistiveTouch. Turn on AssistiveTouch by moving the slider to the On/green position.

    AssistiveTouch option in iOS 13

    On the Accessibility screen in iOS 12 and earlier, tap AssistiveTouch and turn on AssistiveTouch by moving the slider to the On/green position.

    You can also say, "Hey Siri, turn on AssistiveTouch."

  3. A button that performs some of the Home button's tasks appears in the lower right corner of the screen, although you can click and drag it to any edge of the screen, where it stays until you move it again.

In the AssistiveTouch settings screen, you can change the default options for Single-Tap, Double-Tap, Long Press, and 3D Touch by selecting from a list of available options.