There's a bit of a brouhaha happening right now over iPhone 7's Home button. Specifically, that it requires skin contact to activate, thus hampering it's ability to work in winter, maybe even if you're wearing capacitive gloves. Here's the deal:
- Yes, the new Home button is capacitive. We've known that since the September 7 event. It uses the same ring as Touch ID to detect finger (or any capacitive) contact and turn on. That's to save power.
- This has led some people to worry it won't be useful in winter, when they're wearing gloves. More to the point, there have been some claims that capacitive gloves, the kinds people have been wearing for years to use the iPhone screen in winter, somehow don't work with the new Home button.
- It's always possible to miss the ring when you jab it with a capacitive glove, especially the dinky ones with capacitive blobs on them, or that the capacitive coating has worn away in the spot you're jabbing with, but otherwise it should work exactly the same for the Home button as it does for the screen.
I don't typically wear gloves when I use my iPhone in winter, and I've lived through nine -30c winters as an iPhone user. I do have a bunch of capacitive gloves — thanks, family gifts! — and they all worked fine in my tests. My colleague, Serenity Caldwell, tested hers and they worked fine too (see the video, above.)
As for non-capacitive gloves, you can't and never have been able to use those on the iPhone's screen, which means no apps, no taps, no swipes anyway. It's why capacitive gloves exist.
Of course, there's still a physical power button on the side you can use to turn your iPhone 7 on or off, if you just want to check out lock screen info, or better still, iOS 10 Raise to Wake.
Touch ID won't work with capacitive gloves, because they cover your fingerprint, but you can still press to bring up Passcode, then tap it in.
To recap: iPhone 7 Home button may be virtual, but as long as you use a finger or some other capacitive touch, it works pretty much the same as the physical Home buttons of past iPhones.
Enjoy your weekend!
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.