What Does the iPad Home Button Do?

Every function of the iPad's main button

The iPad's Home button is the small, circular button at the bottom of the iPad. It's also the only button on the face of the tablet.

The most important use of the Home button is to take you to the Home screen, which houses all of your app icons. If you're inside a particular app, you can hit the Home button to exit the app, revealing the Home screen. But there are many other iPad features that you activate using the Home button.

This article applies to iPad models up to the 3rd-generation iPad Pro, which does not have a Home button.

The Home Button Is Your Gateway to Siri

Siri is Apple's voice-activated personal assistant. It can perform many tasks, including finding nearby restaurants, setting alarms, and opening apps.

Activate Siri by pressing the Home button for several seconds until you hear two beeps. A display of multicolored lines will flash on the bottom of the screen, indicating that Siri is ready to listen to your command.

iPad Siri listening pattern

Quickly Switch Between Apps or Close Apps

The iPad has ways to open apps that are much quicker than hunting through page after page of icons searching for the right one. The fastest way to get back to an app you recently used is to launch the multitasking screen by double-clicking the Home button.

This screen shows you windows of all of your most recently opened apps. You can slide your finger back and forth to move between the apps and tap an app to open it. If it's one of the most recently used apps, it may still be in memory and will pick up where you left off. You can also close apps from this screen by using your finger to swipe them up toward the top of the screen.

As with any screen on the iPad, you can get back to the Home screen by clicking the Home button again.

Multitasking in iOS 12

Take a Screenshot of Your iPad

You can take a screenshot of your iPad by pressing down on the Sleep/Wake button and the Home Button at the same time. The screen will flash, and a camera sound will play when your iPad takes the picture.

iPad with screen facing, highlighting the Sleep/Wake button in the upper right corner fo the device and the Home button in the lower center

Activate Touch ID

If you have a recent iPad (that is: iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 4, or later), your Home Button also has a fingerprint sensor on it. Once you have Touch ID set up on your iPad, you can use a finger to do many things, such as opening the iPad from the lock screen without typing in your passcode and verifying that you want to buy something in the app store.

ipad touch id, seguridad
Apple Inc.

Create a Shortcut Using the Home Button

One trick you can do with the iPad is creating an accessibility shortcut using the Home button. You can use this triple-click shortcut to zoom in on the screen, invert the colors, or have the iPad read you the onscreen text.

Here's how to set it up.

  1. Launch the Settings app.

    The iPad Settings app
  2. Tap General in the left-side menu.

    General heading in Settings on iPad
  3. Select Accessibility.

    Accessibility setting on iPad
  4. Tap Accessibility Shortcut.

    Accessibility Shortcut setting on iPad
  5. Tap the options you want the shortcut to activate. Checkmarks mean they're on.

    Turn off Accessibility Shortcut on iPad
  6. After you have chosen the shortcuts you want, activate it by rapidly clicking the Home Button three times in a row.

  • Where is the Home button on my iPad?

    Apple phased out the Home button on iPad Pros beginning in 2018, followed soon by the iPad Air and iPad mini. Only the entry-level iPad has a physical Home button as of 2021. You can still do all the things you used to do with the Home button; only you do them differently now.

  • How to take a screenshot on an iPad without a Home button?

    You can take a screenshot on your iPad even if it doesn't have a Home button. Press the Power and Volume Up buttons simultaneously until you hear a camera shutter click.

  • How do I deal with an iPad Home button not working?

    If you've already tried restarting your iPad, and it didn't help, it's time to take it to an Apple Store or Apple-authorized repair service. In the meantime, use Assistive Touch to set up a work-around so you can use the iPad until it gets a repair.

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