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iPhone Tips: How to fix a broken Home button

If your iPhone still have that clicky home button and it got busted by dirt and grime, here’s some solutions you could try to save it from total breakdown.

A home button is iPhone’s most used interface since the first iPod touch’s debut. It’s served many purpose over the years.

The home button on an iPhone, although functional, is not perfect at all.

It can be susceptible to dirt and dust because it can be pressed in iPhone 5 and older. This leads to contamination with water that leads to the partial or complete failure of the button. 

Many repair shops can easily fix this problem. A home button replacement isn’t that expensive but can be annoying especially if you just don’t have the time to go out and have it repaired.

How to fix your iPhone’s home button

Recalibrate the home button

If you’re lucky, your slow-to-respond home button is due to a software glitch. To find out, you’ll need to calibrate your home button. Here’s how:

  • Open up a stock app, like the Clock.

  • Hold down the sleep button until “Slide to power off” appears.

  • When it does, let go of the sleep button and hold down the home button.

  • After about 5-10 seconds, the app will close.

If this solved your problem, you are one lucky iPhone owner. If it didn’t you may want to try restoring your iPhone before continuing to the second method.

Realign using docking port

There is a chance that through normal wear and tear, your phone’s docking port got misaligned, moving the home button along with it. Although a repair shop might suggest you replace the home button, this one is a different solution.

  • Plug a USB cable into your iPhone.

  • Then, gently push down on the 30-pin connector, so that it pushes up behind the home button.

  • While you apply the pressure, click the home button.

  • Remove the cable, and see if that fixed the problem.

Clean the home button

A splash of soda, sticky hands, dirt in the bottom of your purse or pocket — any of these things can damage your iPhone’s home button.

For this fix, you’ll need 98-99 percent isopropyl alcohol, which can be found at hardware stores. Using a cotton swab, eye dropper, or tissue, apply 2-3 drops of the isopropyl alcohol directly to the home button, avoiding the screen. Then, with a narrow, dull object (like the eraser on the back of a pencil), repeatedly tap the home button so that the alcohol seeps into the frame.

Wipe clean, and wait about 10-15 minutes before checking to see if that did the trick.

Use the on-screen home button

If the previous three methods did not work, it sounds like perhaps you have a completely defunct home button. In this case, your home button’s connectors may have been misaligned and would require professional repair. (Or, if you’re willing to brave it, iFixit shows you how to DIY.)

The good news is, you can still use your phone using its on-screen home button. Normally, this is used as an accessibility option, but it’s also a common solution for those with non-functioning home buttons.

To enable the on-screen home button:

  • Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Assistive Touch.

  • Turn Assistive Touch on, and you’ll see a small circle appear on screen.

Tapping that circle gives you four options: Home, Siri, More (for things like multitasking and playback controls), and Favorites. In your case, ignore Favorites, but tap this on-screen button whenever you need to access your home screen, activate Siri, or get all the options you’d normally see when you double-tap the home button.

If the on-screen home button ever gets in the way, simply tap and hold to drag it anywhere else along the frame of your screen.

It’s hardly an ideal solution, but it’ll hold you over until you’re ready to purchase a new phone or get your current one fixed.


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