Daily Tip: How to activate AssistiveTouch to overcome hardware button problems on iPhone, iPad

Curious how to enable iOS 5's Assistive Touch accessibility feature? Whether you have trouble using the physical controls on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, or the controls themselves have simply stopped working properly, Assistive Touch can give you a great, software-based alternative.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Scroll all the way down and tap AssistiveTouch then toggle it on. (You'll know its working, when you see a floating button appear on your screen.)

Turning on AssistiveTouch causes a semi-transparent button to appear. Tapping this button gives you access to the same functions as the hardware buttons, such as volume up or down, as well as several gesture types, like pinch to zoom. You can even set custom gestures.

BONUS: If you don't wish to constantly have AssistiveTouch on your screen, you can set AssistiveTouch to your "Triple Click Home" function and call upon it when required.

Daily Tips range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@imore.com.

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George Lim

Writer for iMore, YouTube Vlogger, and Host for [TEChBrits]

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Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to activate AssistiveTouch to overcome hardware button problems on iPhone, iPad


Am I the only one thinking that assigning the AssistiveTouch (AT) to triple click home button is not the brightest idea?
I mean isn't the home button the same button that's having the issue that we're trying to avoid byh using the AT?
On the other hand, having the AT displayed all the time is really disctracting so this entire tip is a decently epic fail...

For some users, the home button may not be broken at all.
My power button is broken, but my home button is perfectly fine.
I set "Toggle Assistive Touch" as my triple click home, so that I only have it on screen when I need it.

I love AT.. my home button broke months ago and this has worked well for me... until the iPhone 5 comes out atleast..

I've had problems with my home button since my iPhone 4 was a few months old, and have been using AT since then. It's far from ideal, but it is better than the random results of a faulty home button.
By the way, if I clean my home button with compressed air it works fine for a while, which makes me believe it's another design flaw of the iPhone 4. I have a much older iPod Touch and its home button works perfectly.

Can you explain exactly how you clean it? Do you hold the button down and then blow into the gap around the button? Or do you do it through the dock connector? My home button works intermittently at best.

I turn the phone off, press one edge of the home button down with a fingernail, and spray some compressed gas duster like Dust Off on the little gap that appears on the other side, using the red straw to direct the gas flow. I do two quick bursts on each side, that seems to clear the problem for about a week.

I returned my VZW iPhone 4 with a picky home button and Apple replaced it for me no questions asked, may want to check that out.

You're not even ronsendipg to what I'm saying. You don't get the last say troll. I do. I have been saying the whole time there are other options out there that offer different features and anyone can pick what ever they want. I also actually OWN AN IPAD. I WOULD KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE! You're not reading!

You can also activate Assistive Touch, but don't activate Triple-Click Home. On the home screen that little black icon with the white cicle in the middle that represents Assistive Touch will appear. If you move one of the app icons from the home screen you can have the Assistive Touch icon in its own place on the home screen. This way it won't be semi-transparently hovering over the other home screen app icons. And it looks a lot nicer, and you have instant access to full touch funtionality of all that Assistive Touch offers instantly, at all times, and you will not be adding additional use/wear to the home button, which is a concern for some users. I've done this on my iPhone 4.
Best of luck.

I turned it on and now I can't even unlock my phone. I keep pressing the number in my passcode and nothing is happening

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