How to keep using your iPhone if you’ve broken your Home button

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Oh no! You’ve dropped your iPhone! Thankfully the screen is unbroken, but something has gone dreadfully wrong with your phone’s Home button. It no longer responds to button presses, and worst of all, you can no longer use Touch ID.

While this isn’t something that’ll bother owners of the button-less iPhone X and later, it’s a disaster for an owner of an older iPhone like the iPhone 8 or earlier. The Home button is used for so many functions that operating without it can seem almost impossible. Thankfully, there are ways to work around this fault until you’re able to get your iPhone fixed.

Opening your phone without Touch ID

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Before we get to the point where we can enable the workaround, we need to get you into your iPhone. If your Home button is completely broken and you use Touch ID, then you might be wondering how you can unlock your phone. Pressing your power button gets you to your notifications, but you can’t actually unlock your phone without using Touch ID. So what do you do?

You turn to the number one rule of all computer trouble-shooting — you turn it off and on again.

No, seriously. Hold down your power button to switch your phone off, then turn it back on again. When your phone reboots, you’ll be asked to enter your passcode to unlock your phone, bypassing the pesky Touch ID wall. But make sure you’re on the ball; if your phone’s screen turns off, then you’ll have to restart it to get the opportunity again.

This handy tip is also useful for older iPhones without Touch ID, as it bypasses some of the other issues you might face, like being locked into an app you can’t leave because, well, your Home button is broken.

Enabling the software-based Home button

So you’re in, and you’ve never been happier. But the last thing you want to do is restart your phone every time you want to check a notification or send a WhatsApp message. So what can you do now to make sure you don’t have to? Thankfully, there’s an accessibility workaround, and it’s simple to enable:

  • Open your Settings app.
  • Tap General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch.
  • Tap the switch for AssistiveTouch so it shows green.

Once ticked, a floating grayscale button will appear near the bottom right corner. Tap it and it’ll bring up a context menu you can use to emulate the functions of your Home button, including multi-finger touches, opening the app switcher, or even opening your Control Center.

Best of all, this button persists on the unlock screen, so you can tap it and select Home to open your passcode entry.

Turning off Touch ID until your Home button is fixed

Alright, so your Home button is back as a fittingly spooky, ghost-like version of its former self, and you’ve got everything you need to continue using your phone normally. Except for one thing — Touch ID. If you had it turned on, you likely used it for a range of functions, including authorizing downloads on the App Store. Well, not at the moment; you might as well switch it off.

Note: This step is entirely optional, so feel no pressure to turn off Touch ID if you don’t want to. It’s simply a step that might make your life slightly easier until your phone is fixed.

To turn off Touch ID, follow these steps:

  • Head back to your Settings app.
  • Scroll to Touch ID & Passcode and tap it.
  • Enter your passcode.
  • Finally, untick the four boxes to turn off Touch ID.

That’s it, no more Touch ID until your phone is fixed. With your iPhone mostly functional, you can get it fixed at your leisure.

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