An increasing number of Android devices these days ship without physical home buttons, but Samsung’s devices still do, and as the best-selling Android manufacturer, that means millions of such buttons are still getting into the hands of users. Whether physical or virtual buttons are better is a debate I’m not going to dive into, but what do you do if your home button happens to break somewhere down the line?
Fortunately, you’re not out of luck. Here are several Android apps that you can use to replace your broken home button.
Each of the apps on this list takes a different approach, but they all make it possible to return to the home screen without needing to press a physical button. Home Button takes the most rote approach of all. It places a button on your screen that floats on top of all other apps. Whenever you’re ready to return home, just give it a tap. It’s unfortunately stylized after the iPhone home button, but functionality-wise, it gets the job done.
My Home Button
My Home Button places a permanent bar in your notification drawer that can bump you out to your homescreen whenever you like. It’s slightly more tucked out of the way than a floating home button, but it also doesn’t block any of your on-screen content either. It’s also expandable, so you can create buttons for opening recent apps or expanding notifications as well. On the downside, this can add extra clutter to your notification drawer that you may not want to have to deal with.
Multi-action Home Button
Multi-action Home Button is designed specifically for phones that don’t have virtual home buttons. It was originally created for the HTC One, but it works with Samsung phones just as well. All users have to do is tap the bottom center of the screen to activate the home button or perform other actions. Unfortunately the app inserts an item in the notification drawer that does nothing other than serve as a reminder that it’s running, so users still have to put up with a little extra visual clutter.
Like Home Button, Easy Touch adds an icon that floats on top of your other apps. Unlike said app, it comes with far more functionality. Whenever you tap the floating icon, you not only have the option to return to the home screen, you can lock the phone, toggle settings, or access favorite apps. Another app, Floating Touch, performs many of these same tasks and looks better doing it, but it requires root for certain functions, including returning home.
Button Savior offers possibly the most comprehensive solution to the whole ordeal, but it does come with a major caveat – some of the functionality requires root. Fortunately, returning to the homescreen is not one of those features, and it works out of the box just fine.
Button Savior works by sticking a little dock on the side of the screen that disappears behind a small transparent toggle when not in use. Tapping that arrow pulls the dock back out, displaying icons for performing various tasks. The app is very customizable, so you can change the icons on the dock, which side of the screen everything resides on, and the order everything appears in.
There you have it. These apps can help you continue to use a phone with a broken physical home button. Even if your device is in complete working order, this can help you give that button a rest or make up for the lack of a virtual button that you may wish you had. Alternatively, these apps can prevent you from having to reach all the way to the bottom of a large phone just to return home.
If you know of other apps that help to squeeze extra life out of a dead or dying home button, feel free to share it with others in the comments below.