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How to Add a Virtual Home Button to iPhone X

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Revive the home button with a virtual one and enjoy a few benefits over the real thing.

Do you miss the home button on your iPhone X? Apple jettisoned the old, reliable home button on its new phone to make way for an edge-to-edge display.

But all is not lost. You may not be able to bring back a physical home button, but you can create a virtual one. And your virtual home button isn’t stuck in one place. You can move it around the screen to a location of your choosing. And even cooler, you can customize it to trigger your favorite commands, tweaking what happens when you tap the button once, double-tap it, or hold it down.

The trick lies in the AssistiveTouch feature on your iPhone, through which you can conjure up and tweak your onscreen home button. AssistiveTouch has been around since 2011, and you can use it to create a virtual home button on any iPhone or iPad with iOS 5 or higher. But iPhone X users may find it especially handy. Here’s how to add a virtual home button on the newest iPhone.

  • 1Turn on Assistive Touch

    On your iPhone X, open Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch. Turn on the option for AssistiveTouch.
  • 2Move the Virtual Home Button

    A grayscale virtual home button appears on the screen. Lightly press down on the virtual button and move your finger around the screen. Notice that you can move the button around to certain spots. You can place it anywhere at the top or bottom of your screen, or down the center. But then the button automatically jumps to the right or left side so as not to obstruct your view of the main action.
  • 3Custom Actions

    After you’ve settled on a locale for your virtual home button, you can fine-tune its performance. By default, single-tapping the button takes you to your home screen, double-tapping takes you into multitasking mode to display the thumbnails of recently used apps, long-pressing calls upon Siri, and a 3D Touch (hard press) takes you Home.

    But you’re not stuck with those actions. You can change them at the Custom Actions section. Tap on the action for Single-Tap. You can now change what happens when you single-tap on the button, choosing Open Menu (more on that later), Notifications, Siri, or Control Center, among other options. Stick with home for this one. Go back a screen. Tap on the action for Double-Tap. Here you can set the timeout duration for double-tapping and choose an action. Select Siri for this one. Go back to the previous screen and you now see Siri listed for Double-Tap.

  • 4Long Press and 3D Touch

    Tap on the action for Long Press. Change this one to Apple Pay. Go back a screen and tap on the action for 3D Touch. Change this to Control Center. Go back. You now see the new actions for each type of tap or press.
  • 5Test it Out

    Now it’s time to take your virtual home button for a test drive. Tap the home button to go home. Double-tap the home button to activate Siri. Softly long press the button to trigger Apple Pay. And perform a hard press of the button to bring up the Control Center.
  • 6Open Menu Command

    But wait, there’s more you can do with your virtual button. And that brings us to the Open Menu command. Tap on the entry for Single-Tap. Change the action to Open Menu. Go back a screen. Then tap on your virtual home button. Cool, huh? Now instead of taking you home, a single tap of the button conjures up a menu with different options.
  • 7Different Options

    From this menu, you can tap on icons to bring up Notifications, Control Center, and Siri. You can also go home.
  • 8Device, More, Restart

    Tap on the control for Device. You can now access a variety of controls, such as Lock Screen, Rotate Screen, Volume Up, Volume Down, and Mute. Tap on the More icon. You can now access even more controls, such as Multitasking, SOS, Restart, Apple Pay, Screenshot, and Shake. Tap on the Restart icon as one example, and you’re asked if you’re sure to want to restart your iPhone.
  • 9Change Icons

    You can tweak the menu to change icons as well as add or remove them. At the top of the AssistiveTouch settings screen, tap on the entry to Customize Top Level Menu. By default, the menu displays six icons. Tap the minus sign if you want to decrease that number, or tap on the plus sign to increase the number to as many as eight. You can always tap on the Reset button to revert to the default number of icons and actions.
  • 10Customize Blank Icons

    Notice that there’s an icon called Custom. And if you increase the number of icons beyond six, blank icons appear. You can assign any available action to the Custom and blank icons. Tap on the Custom icon. Choose an action from the list, such as Lock Screen. Tap Done. Choose actions for any blank icons you see until each icon has an action. Tap on your virtual home button, and the menu displays all the icons. Go back to the AssistiveTouch settings screen. Your custom actions for Double-Tap, Long Press, and possibly 3D Touch may have been reset as a result of customizing the top level menu. In that case, just redefine those actions.
  • 11Predefined Gestures

    Through your virtual home button’s menu, you can also access predefined gestures and create your own custom gestures. Let’s check out the predefined gestures first. Open Safari. Let’s say you have trouble using the two-finger pinch to zoom in or out of your screen. Tap on your home button and tap on the Custom icon. Tap on the icon for Pinch. A symbol appears on the screen with two circles connected by a line. Position this symbol anywhere on the screen by dragging the line. You can activate a pinch zoom in or zoom out simply by dragging either of the circles to the upper right or upper left corner of the screen. Tap the home button again to exit that mode and display the menu.
  • 123D Touch Customization

    Maybe you sometimes have trouble using 3D Touch to access a menu for your apps. Return to your Home screen. Tap on your home button and tap on the Custom icon. Tap on the icon for 3D Touch. A small dark circle appears on the screen. Move it over one of your app icons. Tap the circle, and a 3D Touch menu pops up without you having to perform a long or hard press.

    You can do the same thing with a double-tap. Return to the menu and tap on the Custom icon. Tap on the icon for Double Tap, place the circle on a spot where you’d normally double-tap and single-tap that circle.

  • 13Custom Gestures

    To create your own custom gestures, return to your home button’s menu and tap on the Custom icon. Then tap on one of the blank icons in the Custom window. Alternatively, swipe down to the bottom of the AssistiveTouch settings screen and tap on the entry to Create New Gesture. At the New Gesture screen, tap or swipe to create a gesture, such as scrolling down the screen. Swipe up from the bottom to the top of the screen to create a scroll gesture and then tap on the Stop link. You can tap on Play to see the recording of your gesture. If you’re happy with the gesture, tap Save and give it a name.
  • 14Safari

    Now open a webpage in Safari. Tap on your home button, tap on Custom, and then tap on the new icon for scroll. Tap on the black circle on the screen, and your screen will now scroll down.
  • 15Change Home Button Opacity

    Finally, you can change the opacity of your home button to make it lighter or darker. Return to the AssistiveTouch settings screen and tap on the entry for Idle Opacity. Drag the slider to the right to make the button darker and to the left to make it lighter. Return to the home screen and enjoy your new customized and fully equipped virtual home button.
  • 16More iPhone X Tutorials

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