How to "fix" an unresponsive home button on an iPad/iPhone

Barry Collins
3 Dec 2012

Last week, my iPad 2’s home button – the physical button in the bottom bezel – started behaving erratically. It would take two or more presses to return me to the home screen, or occasionally register double-clicks when I only tapped once.

So I did what any member of modern society does: I moaned about it on Twitter. Before you could say “trip to the Apple Store”, my old chum and editor of iOS magazine Tap, Chris Phin, shot back “Google ‘recalibrate home button’”.

I did as I was told, and followed the top result detailing a simple procedure to supposedly recalibrate the home button. In a nutshell, you launch “one of the stock apps” (such as Weather or Calendar), hold down the top power button until the “slide to power off” prompt appears, release it  and then quickly press and hold the home button down until both the power-off prompt and app disappear.

This solution absolutely reeked of snake oil: how on Earth can a fixed, single-purpose button need recalibration? But, lo and behold, it worked. The button began responding to every click, as good as new. Although, I have to admit that this morning, it’s started to get a little intermittent again.

I have no idea what’s going on here. There are plenty of people on the various websites running the “recalibration” technique that are absolutely convinced it has miraculously fixed their iPad/iPhone; there are plenty of others who claim it’s a myth, that it does nothing more than force the closure of the currently running app.

My instinct says the naysayers are right, but similarly I can’t explain how opening and closing the Calendar app would make the home button more responsive (albeit temporarily). And it’s not an available memory issue, because using the five-finger pinch gesture to return to the home screen works every time (thanks to @projiuk for that tip, which doesn't work on an iPhone, by the way).

So, over to you. Let me know if this “fix” has worked for you, and if you can work out what the hell’s going on here.

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