What Is the iPad Home Button, and What Can It Do?

Every function of the iPad's main button

Woman Using Digital Tablet On Bed
David Prahl / EyeEm / Getty Images

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. Apple's design philosophy revolves around the idea that less is better, which makes it one of the few ways to control the iPad outside of the onscreen controls.

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 of a particular app, you can hit the Home button to exit the app, revealing the Home screen. But there are many other very important features of the iPad 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 a variety of 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 quickest 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 exact 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 make a purchase in the app store.

ipad touch id, seguridad
Apple

Create Your Own 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 the screen, invert the colors, or have the iPad read you the text on the screen.

Here's how to set it up.

  1. 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.