iPhone 7 solid-state home button works on capacitive touch, gloved users beware

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2016
With iPhone 7, Apple updated its iconic home button from a mechanical push-button design to a solid-state sensor stack, meaning it requires direct contact with skin, or a capacitive glove, to operate.




First noted by Myke Hurley on Twitter, the new iPhone's Touch ID home button is inoperable unless it makes contact with a conductive object, for example a user's thumb. It seems Apple has not implemented pressure-sensing hardware as part of the home button component and is instead relying solely on capacitive sensing via the stainless steel electrode ring surrounding Touch ID.

In essence, the home button acts like iPhone's screen, AppleInsider has confirmed.

This could cause problems for device owners once winter rolls around. With a physically depressible home button, gloved hands can wake iPhone, return to home, invoke Siri and perform other OS actions with ease. Not so with iPhone 7.

Users who don't own capacitive gloves will need to invest in a pair or be forced to remove their non-conductive hand muffs for the most menial of tasks. Apple's iOS 10 operating system solves part of the problem in that users can see notifications and the tie by enabling a "raise to wake" function, but therein lies another potential issue: unlocking.

In order to navigate to iPhone's passcode entry pane, the preferred unlock method of begloved iPhone owners everywhere, the new lock screen design eschews the tried and true "swipe to unlock" gesture in favor of a system that requires a home button press. As with previous iOS versions, those with capacitive gloves will be fine -- a screen swipe requires capacitive contact -- but owners of regular gloves will likely run into trouble.

Apple announced iPhone 7 at a special event earlier this month. A major change to the iPhone lineup, the new solid-state home button is powered by Apple's Taptic Engine haptic feedback mechanism, which works to simulate a button press. The system is akin to the Force Touch trackpad introduced with MacBook Pro last year.

Members of the media, AppleInsider's Daniel Dilger among them, were invited to test out the new hardware in a hands-on area, where some commented that the Taptic Engine solution feels nothing like the physical home button iPhone faithful have come to love. It seems a lacking tactile experience is not the button's only shortcoming.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    roakeroake Posts: 621member
    Awesome job at inserting the politics into the story (the photo)
    kpommike1fastasleepanalogjackcanadiandudemobiuswilliamhclexmanstevenozlkrupp
  • Reply 2 of 64
    kpomkpom Posts: 615member
    Capacitive gloves have been around for quite a while now. I just tried the button through my shirt. it worked fine.
    Deelroncali
  • Reply 3 of 64
    Please leave politics out of your posts, from EITHER side. Man that's a bad photo you injected. Bad form!
    sirlance99williamhclexmanlkruppperkedel
  • Reply 4 of 64
    AI  use the same photo in there earlier article today about unboxing. Geez. 

    AI,  pretty please, with sugar on top, just be a tech blog. 

    williamhclexmanlkruppperkedel
  • Reply 5 of 64
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    kpom said:
    Capacitive gloves have been around for quite a while now. I just tried the button through my shirt. it worked fine.
    But it can't read your fingerprint through it.
    khurtwilliamsrepressthisdysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 64
    I am confused. Since the touch screen requires bare fingers or specialized gloves - why would the glove be an issue if the access to 99.9999% of functionality require screen access.   This seems to be achieving more self consistency on phone access. 
    caliDeelronmarkbyrn
  • Reply 7 of 64
    kpom said:
    Capacitive gloves have been around for quite a while now. I just tried the button through my shirt. it worked fine.
    Er ... are capacitive touch glove the norm for EVERYONE?
    dysamoria
  • Reply 8 of 64
    kpomkpom Posts: 615member
    misa said:
    kpom said:
    Capacitive gloves have been around for quite a while now. I just tried the button through my shirt. it worked fine.
    But it can't read your fingerprint through it.
    Never have been. How often do we actually use phones with gloves on? (I live in Chicago, so I know what cold weather is). 
  • Reply 9 of 64
    That's what "Hey Siri" is for...
    canadiandudecintosredgeminipayoyo2222welshdogkudu
  • Reply 10 of 64
  • Reply 11 of 64
    Everyone who wears gloves on a regular basis already has capacitative ones, or the finger tips that flip off. Otherwise how the hell would you do anything with your phone? Take your gloves off every time? Who has time for that. NON ISSUE unless it was already an issue.
    kpomDeelronwilliamlondonredgeminipanolamacguy
  • Reply 12 of 64
    I actually like the new home button.  The haptic feedback is adjustable (I preferred the 2 (default middle selection).  It took just a few minutes to get in the habit of raise to wake, press to unlock - all in one motion.  

    Touch ID has always been capacitive touch - nothing new here, except that just the metal ring is now conductive.  As for cold weather, I wrapped up a multi-year project in northern Canada last year where the temps can stay -40 C for weeks without problem.  BUT, I obviously pull out my iPhone, unlock and dial quickly and then put it back in my pocket (I took my gloves off).  iPhones don't respond well to really cold weather, especially the screens.
    caliDeelron
  • Reply 13 of 64
    Word onthestreet, capacitive gloves don't always work. you gotta check this one out, dude!!
  • Reply 14 of 64
    I tried the iPhone 7 home button and Apple did a piss poor job at it. What a regression. It feels wrong.
    And without tactical feedback you are indeed screwed in a colder environment. Like  anyone's going to buy separate gloves for their iPhone. Or is that another 'accessory' they'll ship with the iPhone to transition to a propriety set of gloves for $159?

    Apple is obsessed with the wrong things.
    sirlance99singularitydysamoria
  • Reply 15 of 64
    I love the new home button. I actually didn't like the give that the old button has. I think it's an improvement 
    caliredgeminipa
  • Reply 16 of 64
    This is a non-issue. 1) If you need to "use" your phone you need to solve the cap touch issue (remove gloves, cap touch gloves, whatever). 2) If you only want to passively view the lock screen info (time, notifications you allow, etc) then press the lock button which does the same thing with no cap touch issues. If you then decide you want to interact with what you see, then go back to step 1. Sorry, no cap-touch gate issues here....
    Deelronwilliamlondonredraider11perkedelnolamacguy
  • Reply 17 of 64
    dacloo said:
    I tried the iPhone 7 home button and Apple did a piss poor job at it. What a regression. It feels wrong.
    And without tactical feedback you are indeed screwed in a colder environment. Like  anyone's going to buy separate gloves for their iPhone. Or is that another 'accessory' they'll ship with the iPhone to transition to a propriety set of gloves for $159?

    Apple is obsessed with the wrong things.
    No, you are not screwed. You just press the lock button. If you need to do more than that you needed to solve the issue before iPhone 7 anyway.
    Deelronwilliamlondonredgeminiparedraider11waverboynolamacguy
  • Reply 18 of 64
    Everyone who wears gloves on a regular basis already has capacitative ones, or the finger tips that flip off. Otherwise how the hell would you do anything with your phone? Take your gloves off every time? Who has time for that. NON ISSUE unless it was already an issue.
    The only thing that has changed is to just wake the screen to see the lock screen info. However, you can just use the lock button for that. Total non-issue as there is a hard button that does the one thing that you can no longer do on the home button with the new design.
    Deelron
  • Reply 19 of 64
    gprovida said:
    I am confused. Since the touch screen requires bare fingers or specialized gloves - why would the glove be an issue if the access to 99.9999% of functionality require screen access.   This seems to be achieving more self consistency on phone access. 
    1. Siri
    2. Checking the home screen

    It's not just cold weather. Gloves are used in many professions, e.g farmers, construction workers all wear gloves. If you're working you want to keep fast access to your phone. Not everyone using iPhones are tech hipsters.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 20 of 64
    dacloo said:
    gprovida said:
    I am confused. Since the touch screen requires bare fingers or specialized gloves - why would the glove be an issue if the access to 99.9999% of functionality require screen access.   This seems to be achieving more self consistency on phone access. 
    1. Siri
    2. Checking the home screen

    It's not just cold weather. Gloves are used in many professions, e.g farmers, construction workers all wear gloves. If you're working you want to keep fast access to your phone. Not everyone using iPhones are tech hipsters.
    1. Hey Siri - You have an iPhone 7 after all... 2. Use the lock button, does the same thing :)
    Deelronwilliamlondonredraider11waverboy
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