Platform: iOS 7

So you have probably discovered that the iPhone has had one Achilles heal type of problem with it that has plagued it since the iPhone 4. Every time a new model comes out, you think they have fixed it but alas about a year later you discover that the problem still persists. The Apple iPhones lock screen button dies, or to put it more correctly, it stops working.

When you press it, nothing happens and if you are the lucky, you might your phone has a special angle you can hit the button where it will work sometimes. This obviously becomes more and more annoying in real life situations when you just need the button work so you can throw it into your pocket and get on your way. So you decide to the Apple Store to get it fixed and you realise your iPhone is out of warranty and you didn’t purchase the extended Apple Care warranty that would get them to fix it for free after a year.

Sooner or later you are hit with a decision point, to pay out the amount it will cost to fix it out of pocket or hold on a couple of months when the new model is out and use that cash to contribute to the purchase price of a new device. Before you make the decision, I just wanted to show this software feature that Apple has built into the iPhone so you can make an informed decision.

What is Assistive touch?

Assistive touch is one of the many accessibility features that come on the Apple iPhone to help users with a disabilities. It gives you the ability to complete actions you normally would with using the physical buttons on the iPhone, e.g. locking screen, using the touch screen instead. It takes this concept even further and allows you to achieve actions usually completed by pressing multiple physical buttons at once by assigning them to one software button instead.

Enough explaining, let’s enable the Assistive Touch feature so you can see how it works.


  1. With your iPhone unlocked click on the settings icon
  2. Select the “General” option
  3. Select the “Accessibility” option
  4. Scroll down and look for the “Assistive Touch” option. Select it once found.
  5. You will notice that it is set to “Off,” click on the slider button to set it to on indicated by the colour changing to green
  6. You will now notice an overlaid, square with rounded corners. You can exit the Settings option now.
  7. For the purposes of this tutorial, click on the icon and select the “Device” option, followed by the “Lock Screen” option. You Apple iPhone should lock as if you have pressed the hardware button.
  8. You can now click on it and it’s options to explore more of what the feature does.

Assistive touch is only used when a hardware button dies or for people with disabilities. I use it when I attach a third party case and keyboard to my iPad that makes it hard for me to guess where the physical button are easily, upside down or right side up, without feeling around. In some moments I just want to execute that particular action with speed so I find having assistive touch on does exactly that. In improves the ergonomics when the iPad has changed mode due to this keyboard case, hence making it more accessible.

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