iPhone 7 Virtual Home Button Already Exists, Here’s How to Turn it On

virtual home button on iPhone 7 and earlier models

Before the iPhone 7 launch last month, there were several rumors suggesting that Apple would do away with the physical Home button and put in a virtual one instead. But the thing is, there’s been a virtual Home button available on iOS for years – since iOS 5, in fact. It’s just that nobody told the majority of users that such a feature actually existed. It does, and here’s how you access it.

The Virtual Home Button on iPhone 7 and Earlier Models

On iPhone 7, the virtual Home button is set to turn on automatically if the physical Home button breaks down or requires servicing, but the feature has been there for a long time even on older devices. Any device running on iOS 5 or higher will have this feature built in.

Head over to Settings > General > Accessibility > Physical & Motor > AssistiveTouch On/Off

By toggling that button you can turn the virtual Home button on and off.

virtual home button on iPhone 7 and earlier models

Once you turn it on, you should be able to see a floating black box with a white circle, as shown in the right part of the image above. Of course, with a small screen it’ll probably cover some content when you browse through websites or apps, but you can hold it and move it around.

To be clear, this is not the exact same functionality that we will be seeing in future iterations of the iPhone or iPad because it’s merely an accessibility feature. However, it shows that Apple has had this technology for a long time, but could be working on enhancements to the functionality of the virtual Home button before it is ready to remove the physical button.

Starting with next year’s iPhone 8, this could become a standard feature because the iPhone 8 is expected to have a single glass panel in front, and currently external features are expected to be embedded ‘under the glass’ in the 2017 iPhone.

What Will the iPhone 8 Be Like? Here’s What We Know

There’s been a lot of discussion around possible designs for iPhone 8, but reliable sources are confident that the single-glass solution will, indeed, make its appearance on the new iPhone next year. If that’s true, then a virtual Home button would be the only practical option for Apple. In addition, anything that is currently on the front of the iPhone is likely to be put under the glass, which would allow for a one-glass solution.

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