How To Give A Modern iPhone That Classic Home Button Experience

iPhone 13 doesn't have a physical Home button, but it's possible to recreate that classic experience by using Apple's Accessibility features.

The iPhone 13 is missing a feature that's exclusive to the iPhone SE, the physical Home button, but that classic Apple experience can be added back with the software included in newer models. The same technique works on an iPad as well, expanding the Home button ease beyond the entry-level model.

Despite ongoing complaints that Apple devices can't be customized, iOS and iPadOS are loaded with options to change the look and operation of these modern mobile computers.

A huge number of choices are hidden within the multi-layered options of the Settings app, requiring some time spent on different tabs, scrolling, and tapping to find out what's possible. Some of the most interesting functional changes that can be made are found in the Accessibility tab and that is the key to creating a virtual Home button.

The original iPhone had the iconic Home button, a super-easy way to get back to the Home Screen with a press, and a convenient way to see all open apps with a double-press. Having more screen space is nice, but some might miss that ever-present control that escapes the current app and takes the user somewhere else.

Thankfully, Apple makes it possible to simulate this experience in a couple of different ways by using the iPhone's Accessibility features. It's possible to place a virtual Home button on the screen using Assistive Touch. A less obtrusive option, however, is to set up Back Tap to perform the two main tasks of the Home button.


A Virtual iPhone Home Button

In the Settings app, under the Accessibility tab, the user can tap Touch, then Assistive Touch to set up a virtual Home button. By choosing 'Home' for Single-Tap, 'App Switcher' for Double-Tap, and 'Siri' for Long Press, as well as enabling Assistive Touch, an iPhone that has Face ID technology will be able to recreate the Home button experience with a virtual version that appears on the screen. It can be repositioned by dragging to the bottom center or anywhere else. For reference, Idle Opacity controls how transparent the button becomes when not in use, allowing the screen to be seen through the button.

Alternatively, in the Accessibility tab under Touch, there's a Back Tap option at the bottom of the page that allows setting up something similar. There are only two options, Double-Tap and Triple-Tap, allowing two of the three Home button functions. All of these controls reveal several more options, including running Shortcuts, so it is quite adjustable. While Apple is accused of limiting the iPhone's customization options, a virtual Home button can easily and quickly be added if wanted.