Apple has kept the design of the iPhone pretty consistent since 2007.  There are two aspects of the iPhone that have made it iconic and instantly recognizable.  The first is, of course, the simple Apple logo on the back of the device.  The second, and arguably most important, is the iPhone home button.  This little button is in need of an update that could make a few android enthusiasts switch to Apple.  I would be one of them.

So what makes the iPhone home button so important to Android users like myself?

It defines the user’s entire interaction with the device.

A single click brings you back to the home screen.  Two quick clicks brings up the app switcher to multitask among apps.  Two quick taps activates “Reachability” which allows the user to access apps that are on the top of the screen with one hand.  Long press and you are greeted with the familiar beep of Siri telling you she’s ready to listen.

These have been the core uses of the iPhone home button over the last few years.

With the iPhone 5S came a fingerprint scanner and when Apple finally added an NFC chip to the iPhone 6, the fingerprint scanner on the home button helped with added security for mobile payments.

What extra features could Apple possibly add to the iPhone home button?  Surely it has met its limit?

Apple should add a “Back” functionality to the iPhone home button.

Android on screen buttonsIt may sound odd, but this is one of the main reasons I had a hard time adjusting to the iPhone 6 when I test drove it for two weeks.  Coming from Android, I was used to the three core buttons at the bottom of the screen that helped me navigate around the system.

Back, Home, and Menu.

Apple’s iPhone home button already accomplishes two of these three tasks and should really add the third.

The iPhone home button already recognizes two taps and several areas of the button being touched.  When you setup the fingerprint scanner you must place your finger on the button in different positions so that it can quickly read it without having to align it perfectly.

If it can do all of this, the Back feature could easily be added through a software update and would make the transition from Android to iPhone a lot easier.

A swipe to the left across the iPhone home button would take you back to the previous screen or app just like in the Android operating system.  If there were no previous apps it would automatically take you back to the home screen.

Browsing the internet would be quicker.  Heck, you could swipe to the right and add a Forward option.

otterbox homeThere is currently a “Smart screen protector” that promises to add the Back functionality, but I feel like it should just be built-in to the OS itself.  I do like the added benefit of getting a tempered glass screen protector thought, so maybe it will be a huge success.

The only downside of this screen protector is that there are several cases that would curb the use of the protector.  A perfect example is the OtterBox Defender series.  Any sort of “tough” case would cover up the artificial Back button that HALO BACK is currently working on.  If the Back feature was applied to the iPhone home button as a swipe, rugged cases like these would not prohibit that functionality.

Wrapping up, I think it would be an incredibly easy update that Apple could push out to all iPhone 5S’s and above.  It would make iOS a lot more user-friendly and help former Android users make the transition to Apple.

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So do you think Apple should implement the Back feature to its home button?  Would you try switching to iPhone from Android if they did add it?  Let me know in the comments below.

Recent Penn State grad who loves all things mobile. Has a knack for teaching and enjoys a bit of alliteration.

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