tutorial: broken home button reach around

I’m going to tell you how to get back to your home screen on your Apple 3G  dinosaur iPhone without shutting the phone down if you, like me, have a fickle or dysfunctional home button.  But first, a little back story.

About a year ago my iPhone 3G went swimming with me when I placed it precariously on the edge of the tub and it took a tumble in.  In my sheer terror that my baby was drowning panic, it took way longer than it should have to fish it out.  A bag of rice and a couple days later, she appeared to have survived unscathed.

Fast forward a few weeks and the home button started to get glitchy; sometimes working, sometimes not.  Sometimes it would only work if I held the phone upside down while I pushed it and other times I had to tap the bottom corner on a hard surface first to get it to work.  The man tried to fix it, but it ended up not really helping and actually making the situation somewhat worse.  My tricks (upside town, tapping, knocking three times and giving the secret handshake) were no longer reliable.  There was a short time period where it would work if I gave it Reiki, but even that stopped working after a while.

The last few months have been torture and often my only option to get back to the home screen is to shut the phone off completely, then turn it back on.  This is awesome when you need to make an urgent call or double check your bank balance at the store.  My upgrade is still a few weeks off which has meant my only choice is to suck up my very first world problem.

Last night my most brilliant 11 year old, Pip, told me about a solution he’d found for my conundrum on YouTube.  And lucky you, I’m going to share this little trick with you here in a snazzy picture tutorial.

Home Button Reach Around for Apple 3G iPhone

You need to have a locked screen passcode set up to lock immediately, so if you don’t already have this, first things first, go to your settings menu.  (Sorry if this means you have to do a hard shut down to get there, I promise, this will be the LAST time).

Once in the settings menu, choose “General”.  If you don’t have a passcode, choose “Turn Passcode On” and create a passcode.

Once you have a passcode, go to “Require Passcode”.  Choose “Immediately”.

Now, press the power key at the top of your phone to put it to sleep. Once the screen is dark, press it again.

This should bring you to your passcode screen, shown here (but yours won’t have that super cute baby in the background, sorry):

Next you want to press “Emergency Call” which will bring you here:

Then you will press that ‘back’ arrow which will bring you back to your passcode screen (previous picture).

Now, enter your passcode and, voila, you will be back on your home screen.

This might seem a little like round and round the mulberry bush, but I can assure you, it’s faster and remarkably less frustrating than shutting the phone down and waiting for it to boot back up.

After a year of abusing my power button several times a day to do a hard shut down every time I wanted to switch between apps, I’m a happy happy camper. I almost don’t care if I get an upgrade in a couple weeks.  Almost.

I hope this brings you as much joy as it has me.  If you run dancing through the streets of Twitter, Facebook or your blog declaring your love, I’d love a link back to my pretty little tute.  I love sharing the love.

Post-apocalyptic irony: ever since figuring this out, the home button on my phone has been most cooperative.  Perhaps it thought “damn, she’s outsmarted me” and is so defeated it hasn’t got any more fight left in it.  No matter because when it stops working again (and it will) I’m totally prepared.

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