Without your phone, you’re lost. It’s hard to imagine that 14 years ago not everyone had a mobile in their pocket, with them at all times of the day. While your phone works, it’s great! You can take pictures, navigate with maps and directions, lookup information on Google, or simply stay on top of your emails.
Mastering your iPhone is key to getting the most out of this mini-computer (that most of us cannot live without). If you have just got your hands on one, Chet Davis offers a great course that teaches even novice users how to take full advantage of their new phone, or have a look at the more detailed “Complete guide to iOS7”. If you are frequently travelling overseas, definitely check out the apps that make your iPhone the most valuable item to take on your trip, as well as some simple tricks to taking awesome photo’s with your phone.
But what happens when your phone stops working? For electrical devices, the simplest thing is to give them a quick reset. On older phones you could always remove the battery, forcing the phone to shut down as it loses power. With an iPhone, you can’t just take the battery out. Fortunately, there are a couple of cool tricks you can use to reboot your phone.
One of the biggest problems with iPhones is the responsiveness of the “power” button. It’s one of the only physical buttons you are always pressing, after a long period of use you can find that it either stops working altogether, or is very fussy about when it will let you click it. This is very annoying, you can’t turn off your iphone without it, take screenshots, lock your iPhone or put it to sleep. You don’t want to be the guy in the plane who can’t switch off his device, so what do you do?
If you still have a warranty on your iPhone, Apple may be able to repair the hardware in the power button for you for free. Stop by an Apple store with your receipts and warranty and see if they will cover it. If not, one of their “Geniuses” can tell you how much it will cost to fix. If coughing up the money to fix this button isn’t in your budget, please dont try to fix it yourself. Attempting to repair your iPhone at home can severely damage the product, voiding your warranty and destroying your phone altogether. Plus, its really really fiddly. Luckily, there’s a plan B.
Using a software solution (yes Apple built this into iOS because of the amount of people having trouble with the buttons!), you can turn on a simple little feature that is a massive help when your buttons stop working. It’s called AssistiveTouch.
Navigate into your iPhone’s menu, and click Settings > General > Accessibility. You should see the following screen, slide the toggle button so that it turns on (it should be green).
Once it’s activated, a small white and grey circle will appear on your screen, overlapping every program that you run. This is the Assistive Touch button. It can be positioned wherever you like, you just need to drag the little circle wherever you prefer on the screen.
The downside is that it’s quite disruptive as you are using your iPhone, and it can get in the way when you are playing games or reading your email. I need to use this in my iPhone (same problem as you’re facing), and I’ve found that the bottom right hand corner of my screen is the least annoying place for this button to rest.
If you press the centre of the Assistive Touch button, a menu will appear with four options. It’s going to give you a quick link to either Siri or Voice Control (depending on the model of iPhone you have), Device, Home and Favourites.
Selecting “Device” will take you to an additional menu, from here you can access the Lock Screen icon.
You can take a screenshot by selecting “More” followed by the “Screenshot” icon.
Turning your iPhone off using this new Assistive Touch button is simple, you just tap the white circle, select “Device” and then press and hold the “Lock Screen” icon. After a couple of seconds the normal power off screen will open, you simply need to slide and power off your iPhone.
A note of warning here, if your power button is completely broken you won’t be able to turn it back on again unless you connect your iPhone to your computer or plug it into a mains adapter. A slightly annoying workaround, but after a couple of days it will become second nature to use the Assistive Touch and your USB cable to turn your phone on and off. If you connect to iTunes your phone will switch on right away, but if there is not enough charge in your phone when you connect to the mains it may take a few minutes before you can get into the menu’s. Not a massive problem, especially for a free solution to a broken button.
What’s really great about this workaround is that it’s simple to do, anyone can turn on the Assistive Touch button. It lets you to keep using your iPhone until you can get the button fixed, or you may find that you actually like using the Assistive Touch more! Whatever you decide, it gives you a working phone that can last until it’s time to upgrade to the next model.