How to Use an iPhone Without the Home Button Using Gestures

Key takeaways:

  • iPhones without a home button rely on gestures for navigation
  • Essential gestures include swiping up to go home, swiping down for notifications, and swiping left/right to switch apps
  • Additional gestures control features like Siri, Apple Pay, screenshots, and accessibility options

The introduction of the iPhone X marked a significant shift in Apple’s design philosophy, as it was the first iPhone to ditch the iconic home button in favor of a nearly all-screen design. This change meant that users had to learn a new set of gestures to navigate their devices. If you’ve recently upgraded to a newer iPhone model without a home button, such as the iPhone 11, 12, 13, or 14 series, here’s a guide on how to use gestures to control your device.

Essential Gestures

Go to the Home Screen

To return to the home screen from any app, simply swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen. This gesture replaces the functionality of the home button.

Access Notifications

Swipe down from the top-left corner of the screen to view your notifications. This gesture is similar to how you would access notifications on older iPhone models.

Open Control Center

To open the Control Center, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen. Here, you can access various settings and toggles, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and screen brightness.

Switch Between Apps

To quickly switch between open apps, swipe left or right along the bottom edge of the screen. This gesture allows you to navigate your recently used apps without having to go to the home screen first.

Additional Gestures

Activate Siri

Press and hold the side button to activate Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. You can then use your voice to ask questions, set reminders, or control your device.

Use Apple Pay

To use Apple Pay, double-click the side button. This will bring up your default payment card, which you can then use to make contactless payments.

Take a Screenshot

To take a screenshot, simultaneously press the side button and the volume up button. The screenshot will be saved to your Photos app.

Access Accessibility Shortcuts

If you have any accessibility features enabled, you can quickly access them by triple-clicking the side button. This gesture will bring up a menu with your enabled accessibility options.


If you find it difficult to reach the top of your iPhone’s screen with one hand, you can use the Reachability feature to temporarily lower the top half of the screen. To enable Reachability:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch
  2. Toggle on the Reachability option

Once enabled, you can activate Reachability by swiping down on the bottom edge of the screen.

Customizing Gestures

While the default gestures work well for most users, you can customize them to better suit your needs. To do this:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap
  2. Choose whether you want to use Double Tap or Triple Tap
  3. Select the action you want to perform when you double or triple tap the back of your iPhone

This feature allows you to quickly access certain functions, such as opening the Control Center or taking a screenshot, by simply tapping the back of your device.


Q: Can I add a virtual home button to my iPhone?

A: Yes, you can enable the AssistiveTouch feature, which adds a virtual home button to your screen. To do this, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch and toggle it on.

Q: How do I force restart my iPhone without a home button?

A: To force restart an iPhone without a home button, quickly press and release the volume up button, then the volume down button, and finally, press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.

Q: Can I use gestures with a screen protector or case?

A: In most cases, yes. However, if you’re using a particularly thick screen protector or case, it may interfere with the sensitivity of the screen and make gestures more difficult to use. If you experience issues, try removing the screen protector or case to see if it resolves the problem.

By mastering these gestures, you’ll be able to navigate your iPhone without a home button just as easily as you would with one. While it may take some time to get used to the new gestures, they quickly become second nature, and you’ll appreciate the extra screen real estate that the buttonless design affords.