When the iPhone X arrives later this fall, it won’t have a home
button — which means several major features are going along with
No physical home button means no more fingerprint scanner, so
won’t be able to unlock your phone with the touch of a finger or
It also means no more “reachability.”
For those who have never used the feature, reachability was
introduced three years ago with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple’s
first larger-screen devices. The feature lets you navigate the
larger display with one hand by tapping on the home button twice.
It pulls everything halfway down the screen so you can reach
everything using just your thumb.
Apple stayed true to the smaller phone screen for a long time.
Even when Apple’s competitors were already making larger-screen
devices, Apple had barely changed the size of the iPhone.
Apple Insider points
out that Apple even made a commercial in 2012 pointing out
that every corner of the iPhone 5’s screen could be reached by
the average person’s thumb, meaning the phone was still great for
When the bigger screen did eventually come out, however, Apple
needed an easy way to let people continue using the phone
one-handed. Thus, reachability was born.
While it may seem niche, the feature is actually a popular one:
76% of millennial iPhone users take advantage of reachability,
according to comScore’s “2017 US Mobile App Report,” which
gathers data about smartphone app use among US adults.
The feature isn’t as well-used among older iPhone users,
though. The study reports that 39% of those ages 35-54 use
reachability, while 32% of those age 55 and up use it.
On average, though, 55% of those surveyed by
comScore say they use reachability.
The feature may quickly become a thing of the past, but if
you have small hands, not to fear: It may still be possible to
use iPhone X one-handed. The phone’s design differs from previous
iPhones because Apple mostly eliminated the bezels, or edges,
around the screen. Since the phone’s face is almost entirely made
up of the phone’s 5.8-inch screen, the phone itself is smaller
than the Apple’s Plus models and likely easier to use without two
If you’re not sold on the iPhone X, Apple’s other new
phones — the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus — do have home buttons,
which means both phones still have reachability. And if you miss
the smaller design of Apple’s older phones, you can still buy
the iPhone SE, a
$350 phone that looks like an iPhone 5s and runs like an iPhone