Alternate Uses For Home/Lock Button On The iPhone

When you have something as small as an iPhone that does so much, buttons often have multiple uses. One of the most utilitarian buttons is the Home Button. All iPhone users know that the button is used to go back to your home screen and to unlock your phone, but it can also be used in a few more handy ways.

Recently Used Apps – If you click the Home button twice, it will bring up your recently used apps in order. This can be a great feature when you’re multitasking and going back and forth from one app to the next. You can scroll through the apps in order with a swipe to the left. If you swipe to the right, it brings up the iPod functions. From here you can hit forward and reverse as well as play and pause. If you swipe to the right again, it brings up the volume controls.


iPod Controls from Lock Screen – Speaking of the iPod controls, you can also reach it from the Lock screen via the Home button. When your phone is on Lock, and you hit the Unlock button, instead of hitting the slider to unlock the phone, click the Home button twice and it brings up the iPod controls, with forward and reverse, play/pause, and volume.


Voice Control – When your focus is on doing tasks that don’t involve your iPhone, the Voice Control option can be a handy feature. You can use it to call someone in your contacts list or play something on your iPod. If you hold the Home button down, it brings up the Voice Control screen. Speaking clearly, you can tell it to “Call John Mobile” and it will call the mobile phone of your contact named John. If you tell it to “Play Aerosmith“, it will play all the songs you have by the band.


Screen Caps – Another hidden function of the Home button is to take screen caps of your screen. It’s the source of the screen caps used in this article, as well as the other iPhone articles I’ve written. If you press the Home botton and Lock button at the top simultaneously, you’ll hear a “camera click,” as it takes a picture of your current screen and stores it in your Photo Album.

Search iPhone – If you’re inside an app or on page two or later of your apps listing, clicking the Home button once will indeed take you to the Home screen. However, if you’re already on the Home screen and you press the button, it will take you to a search screen. You can enter in criteria for searching your apps, contacts, email, and iPod.


Forced Shutdown – If your iPhone becomes unresponsive and freezes, you can force it to shut down if you hold down the Home and Lock buttons at the same time. You can also do this if the screen isn’t frozen, but you want to shut down your phone completely instead of just locking it.

What other uses of the Home button have I missed out?

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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