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iPhone: Fix Rest Finger on Home Button to Open

iOS 10 introduces a feature which requires pressing the Home button to show the Home screen. Prior to this release, after authenticating with Touch ID, resting one’s finger on the Home button displayed the Home screen. This article explains how to restore this behavior.

iOS 10 is a leap forward for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Apple devices are getting much smarter. Siri predicts what you want to do and displays this when you unlock your iOS device. It can predict almost everything except when you want to see the Home screen.

Why Do I Have to Press the Home Button to See the Home Screen?

When I first used iOS 10, I was annoyed that I had to press the Home button after unlocking my device with Touch ID. It seemed like they added an unnecessary step. Actually, this behavior is by design and was implemented for practical reasons. Apple now shows you notifications and suggested apps when you unlock your device with Touch ID. You can interact with notifications and launch predictively suggested apps, all without viewing the Home screen. At first glance, this seems to make sense, but it’s not ideal for everyone. What if you just aren’t that predictable?

How to Restore Rest Finger to Open Home Screen

If you use the Home screen to launch apps, iOS 10’s default behavior is annoying. It’s one more step to get to the Home screen. Over time, this is just more wear and tear on the Home button. I have to admit, all of my Apple devices have lasted quite well. My old iPhone 4 still has a working Home button, although it is less responsive than when it was new. My iPhone 6’s Home button is still perfect after almost three years. That said, your device will last longer if you press the Home button less often. There’s only so many presses any button can take, no matter how well-built the device is. (I also recommend using gestures on your iPad to view the Home screen and launch the App Switcher.)

The setting to restore “rest finger to open Home screen” functionality is buried in the Accessibility section. I accidentally stumbled on it while browsing Accessibility features. Simply go to Settings > Accessibility > Home Button and turn on Rest Finger to Open. Your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch should now display the Home screen immediately after unlocking the device.

Unfortunately, as it stands now, changing this behavior is permanent. I tried changing it back to the default behavior on my iPad, but it still shows the Home screen when unlocked. This behavior persists after restarts and even a soft reset. If you want to restore the default behavior, you will need to reset your device to factory settings. It’s a pretty serious bug and yet another sign of Apple’s decline in quality. I still think they make the best devices and operating systems. It’s just that their quality has slipped as they have been cramming (often useless) features into every release.

Most of the Tech Media Misunderstood This Feature

Contrary to what you may read on the web, you still have to press the Home button to unlock your device. When you make this change, resting your finger on the Home button after you unlock your device (by pressing the Home button) will show the Home screen. The tech media has generally misunderstood this functionality. You always had to press the Home button to initiate Touch ID. With iOS 10, by default, you have to press it one more time to view the Home screen. Simply resting your finger on the Home button of a locked device never did anything. Think about it. Your iPhone would have to constantly poll for a fingerprint when you put it in your pocket, as there would be pressure on the Touch ID scanner. The fingerprint scan only occurs when you press the Home button.

Such misunderstandings are common in the tech media, as they churn out voluminous (yet vague and incomplete) content without checking the facts. I felt compelled to write this article, because it was handled so poorly by the “professional” tech media. They don’t understand the feature, and much like Apple’s QA testers, they didn’t bother to see what happens when you restore the setting back to the default behavior.

iOS Should Predict When You Want to See the Home Screen

Predictive computing is the future. Apple has actually done a pretty good job with iOS 10. The app suggestions are spot on. That said, if the feature was truly smart, it would figure out when a user mostly goes to the Home screen, and bypass the initial screen. It could even do this based on the time of day or location. As it stands, its implementation in iOS 10 is annoying for many users. I changed it back to show the Home screen as soon as I found the setting. Let’s hope that iOS 11 will offer a smarter implementation that can predict which screen to display when you unlock your iPhone.


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