Deal with a Broken iPhone Home Button by Enabling Assistive Touch
You can sometimes fix an unresponsive Home button by force quitting apps, but that doesn’t always work. If your iOS devices home button is completely broken then you can use an accessibility feature called Assistive Touch to enable a virtual home button instead, this lets you use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod even if the button is physically incapable of being pressed due to damage or whatever else. Here is how to turn this feature on:
- Open “Settings” and go to “General”, then tap on “Accessibility”
- Under “Physical & Motor” tap on “Assistive Touch” and then flip the switch to ON
- Look for the new assistive touch button to appear in the lower right corner, tap that to access the virtual home button
This is the only way to continue using an iOS device with a broken home button without repairing the home button itself.
If you’re stuck in an app you can’t get to the home screen because the button is broken, just turn the device off and on again and you’ll boot directly to the home screen where you can then launch Settings to configure the virtual button.
Once this screen-based Home Button has been enabled, it will be accessible in all applications as well as the home screen and multitask bar, providing for constant access just by looking at the portion of the screen where it has been configured to appear.
Perhaps the best thing about Assistive Touch’s virtual home button is that it allows a software feature to substitute for a malfunctioning hardware component, which can make the difference between continually being able to use an iOS device or having it become completely useless. Though you’ll almost certainly want to get a broken home button fixed by Apple or a repair shop, this is a more than usable option to pass the time until you can get around to having any hardware problem dealt with.
Do note that if the home button has stopped working because of water or liquid submersion or splashing, the best thing to do is to properly address the liquid contact first, letting the device completely dry out before attempting to use it again. Sometimes a home button will malfunction and stop working simply because there is moisture remaining in the contact points, thus letting it dry out sufficiently can get it working again.
Great tip from Tim in the comments