If your iPhone 7 home button breaks, Apple has a neat way of keeping the phone operational: an on-screen version.
MacRumors forum member iwayne had some issues with his iPhone last week. When he turned it back on, he was greeted with this message:
The home sensor on his iPhone 7 was no longer working reliably, so iOS 10 displayed a message instructing him to take it in to get serviced. But the cool part is that Apple automatically put a virtual home button on his screen so that he could use the phone in the interim.
The virtual home button itself isn’t new, it’s part of Assistive Touch, one of Apple’s accessibility features. Still, having it enabled automatically when the home sensor fails—remember, the iPhone 7 no longer has a real button, just a sensor that looks like a button—is a new trick.
It’s also interesting in light of the rumors that Apple will be killing the home button with next year’s iPhone. I would still be sad if home button goes away. (Moving parts or not, it’s part of the iPhone experience.) But it’s nice to be reminded that there will be a virtual option, one way or another.