In 2017, Apple removed the home button from their flagship iPhone 10, but you may have noticed a virtual home button that still exists today. I’ll explain why Apple created it and why it’s been widely used. So in 2011 Apple introduced iOS five, which featured something called Assistive Touch.
It was essentially a virtual shortcut button that could be customized with up to 8 actions, like returning to the home screen, locking the display, changing the volume, or opening the camera. But the feature was never heavily promoted since Apple intended it to simply be an accessibility feature for a small group of people with limited dexterity or hand strain.
That way, actions like taking a screenshot could be performed with a simple tap instead of pressing physical buttons, but assistive touch was so convenient that all kinds of people began using it. In fact, it was especially prevalent throughout Asia, and using this software home button instead of the physical one actually made sense. For the iPhone 7, every model had a home button that physically clicked when pressed, and if you press the home button enough times throughout the life of the phone it would eventually stop working or become less reliable.
That’s why Apple introduced a solid state home button with the iPhone 7 that didn’t move at all. But before that users were looking for ways to prevent their home buttons from wearing out. So the virtual assistive touch Home button was the perfect solution, but the feature is still relevant today, even though the physical home. Has been removed since it allows users to perform tasks faster than before. Siri can be activated with just a tap rather than holding down the side button. You can enter Control Center without stretching your thumb to the top of the display. And if you frequently use the iPhones camera, you no longer have to navigate to the home screen and swipe between pages to find the app. This improvement to speed, convenience and ease of use has kept the feature popular despite hardly ever being mentioned by Apple themselves.