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5 ways to take charge of the iOS Home button

Ben Patterson | July 6, 2016
Slow down the double-click speed on your iPhone or iPad's Home button, keep the Home key from accessing Siri from the lock screen, turn on triple-click shortcuts, and more.

The Home button on your iPhone and iPad will get a new job with arrival of iOS 10: It'll unlock your handset, replacing the old "Slide to Unlock" gesture. But you don't have to wait until fall to change the Home key's behavior.

Beyond its standard chores of taking you back to the home screen and letting you quickly switch between apps, the Home key can also act as a shortcut to some of iOS's handiest features, such as zooming the display and reversing screen colors. You can also change the speed at which you need to double-click the Home key, or decide whether the Home button can access Siri and Apple Pay from the lock screen. Last but not least, you can choose whether double-touching the Home key engages iOS's (potentially annoying) "Reachability" feature.

Triple-click for accessibility shortcuts

iOS has long had a series of interesting accessibility features up its sleeves. VoiceOver, for example, will read aloud aloud anything on the screen, while Zoom lets you zoom in or out on the display by pinching the screen. Grayscale renders all the colors on the display in shades of gray, while Invert Colors reverses all the colors on the screen, making for a de facto "dark mode" while browsing in Safari. There's also Assistive Touch and Switch Control, a pair of features for those who need help tapping and swiping a touchscreen.

Triple-click the Home key for
Ben Patterson

There's a handy iOS setting that'll let you access a slew of accessibility features with a triple-click of the Home button.

All those accessibility options are (somewhat inaccessibly) hidden behind a few layers of menus, but there's a handy setting that'll let you get there with a triple-click of the Home button.

Tap Settings > General > Accessibility, then scroll all the way down and tapAccessibility Shortcut. Next go ahead and tap the accessibility features you use the most-you can tap one, all, or just a few of them.

Now, go back to the home screen and triple-click the Home button. If you selected more than one accessibility shortcut, a pop-up listing all your selected shortcuts will appear; just tap the one you want. If you only selected one shortcut, that accessibility feature will immediately switch on. Triple-click the Home button again to turn off the accessibility option or to return to the shortcut menu.

Change the double-click speed

Double-clicking your iPhone or iPad's Home key can be trickier than it sounds. If you aren't fast enough with your Home key double-clicks (or triple-clicks), you'll simply wind up back at the home screen rather than, say, switching apps or jumping to your accessibility shortcuts.

 

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