Here's what happens when the iPhone 7's home button dies

The iPhone 7's home button appears to be smarter than the old, physical one.
The iPhone 7’s home button appears to be smarter than the old, physical one.

Image: Dustin Drankoski/Mashable

The new home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has divided opinion. Apple has replaced the traditional, clicky button with one that doesn’t actually move. Instead, a haptic engine, which Apple calls the Taptic Engine, responds to touches with subtle vibrations, giving the experience of movement. 

Some social media users are complaining about the new Home button’s weirdness. 

But there are some advantages to the new feature which aren’t immediately obvious, as one MacRumors forum user found out. When the home button on his iPhone 7 stopped working, the device displayed an error message and a virtual home button to use instead of the actual one. 

“The Home Button May Need Service. In the meantime, you can use the onscreen Home button below,” the message said

This doesn’t change the fact that the original home button no longer works and the phone needs to be replaced. But at least you’re offered a temporary alternative. 

On the other hand, since it has no moving parts, the new home button is supposed to be sturdier and less prone to failure than the old one. Obviously it’s not 100% fool-proof. 

Rumors have it that next year’s iPhone will be a radical departure from the current design and that it will have no physical buttons at all. This home button feature is another (tiny) indication that Apple might be looking in that direction. 

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