Apple's solid-state iPhone 7 haptic Home button requires a new hard reset trick: Down+Wake

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2016
Apple's new iPhone 7 models introduce a new solid-state (non-mechanical) Home button which no longer physically depresses but instead is a software-driven sensor. That necessitates a new physical button sequence to hard-reset the device if it stops responding; that happens to be holding the Volume Down and Wake buttons for five seconds.


iPhone 7's Home button looks the same, but uses an entirely new, solid-state design


Performing a hard reset should be a last resort when troubleshooting, as it is equivalent to unplugging the device and could potentially result in lost or corrupted data. However, if the entire OS becomes unresponsive, there may be no remaining way to tell the locked up software to gracefully restart itself.

Historically, an unresponsive iOS device could be force-quit by holding down the Wake and Home buttons, but on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the Home button is no longer a physical hardware button. Instead, it's a flat sensor that solely responds to capitative touch while imaging fingerprint patterns, both of which are purely controlled in software by the operating system.

That means the iPhone 7 Home button, just like the 3D Touch display, can only be triggered by a finger and not by physical pressure from a non-capacitative object.

Capacitive gloves and specialized stylus devices that work on an iPhone screen may work (both emulate the characteristics of a finger), but the lack of a physical pressure sensor means that gloved hands or inanimate objects like Homer Simpsons' dialing wand won't trigger a response from either the display or the Home button.

The new iPhones also differ from Apple's recently introduced iPad Pro models in that their displays (like the new Home button) lack a physical pressure-sensitive layer, meaning they will not work Apple Pencil.

Just one word. Are you listening? Haptics!



Behind the iPhone 7 Home button is Apple's Taptic Engine, which is now both greatly enlarged over the previous year's design (as shown below in the iFixit teardown), and enhanced to provide much more accurate and precise patterns of rumbling vibration feedback, referred to haptics.


Source: iFixit.com


"Taptic" is Apple's trademark for the concept of fusing capacitive finger taps and haptic feedback to create a synthetic experience that emulates interaction with a physical device.

The new Taptic Engine on iPhone 7 not only eliminates moving parts of the Home button, but also takes up space formerly devoted to an analog audio jack, meaning that it plays a central role in enabling Apple to achieve a new high water mark in fluid and dust intrusion resistance. iPhone 7 models are now rated as IP67, meaning they are certified to withstand brief immersion and wet environments.

The Taptic Engine is broadly tasked with providing haptic feedback for system controls and interactions, including subtle vibration feedback for the Home button, as well as for 3D Touch events triggered on the display area.

During the setup process, iPhone 7 users are promoted to pick a preferred level of haptic intensity for the Home button from three different levels. This setting (shown below) can be changed at any time in Settings under General / Home Button.




Haptics on iPhone 7 work similarly to their implementation on Apple Watch, where micro vibrations provide a variety of discreet feedback sensations as an alternative to audibly beeping or flashing lights.

The new phones' Home button is also similar to the solid state Force Touch trackpad Apple introduced for the Retina MacBook, which conserves space and eliminates a source of mechanical failures by substituting a physical button with a sensor tied to haptic sensations that express the illusion of clicking.

Apple has also exposed a new haptic API exclusively for developers targeting the new hardware on iPhone 7, enabling them to incorporate haptic feedback into their own apps. Several third party apps have already taken advantage of this to provide rumble feedback in games and other novel examples of non-auditory vibration feedback in their third party apps.

Somewhat surprisingly, Apple hasn't yet actively started promoting App Store titles that make novel use of iPhone 7's Taptic Engine, the way it calls at least some attention to apps that support technologies such as Game Center, Siri, 3D Touch and new iMessage apps and Stickers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    What the heck is DOWN + WAKE? Am I missing something?
  • Reply 2 of 27
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    danuff said:
    What the heck is DOWN + WAKE? Am I missing something?
    Hmmm I don't know there's only 3 buttons on the phone..... what could he mean???
    edited September 2016 P-DogNCfastasleepbonobobjony0
  • Reply 3 of 27
    danuff said:
    What the heck is DOWN + WAKE? Am I missing something?
    It says Volume Down in the first paragraph.  And like cali says, there are only 3 buttons.  Down+Wake is the simple way to remember.
    caliP-DogNCbrian greenfastasleepjony0
  • Reply 4 of 27
    danuff said:
    What the heck is DOWN + WAKE? Am I missing something?
    No need to randomly capitalize things. 
    edited September 2016 jony0
  • Reply 5 of 27
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    You know that single button on the right hand side, that wakes the phone when you press it.

    It might just be that one.

    Android is so much simpler.

    0_o

    LOL
    analogjacktycho24watto_cobrafastasleepjony0
  • Reply 6 of 27
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    danuff said:
    What the heck is DOWN + WAKE? Am I missing something?
    It's the Down volume and the Power button.
    when did it become the "Wake" button?
  • Reply 7 of 27
    What happens when Ive decides he needs to excise the volume buttons?
  • Reply 8 of 27
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,076member
    dysamoria said:
    What happens when Ive decides he needs to excise the volume buttons?
    Then he'll excise them, replace them with another solution, it will ultimately be a better product,  users will adapt, and hundreds of millions of more iPhones will be sold. I don't doubt for the second that physical volume buttons will eventually be discarded for some kind of touch sensitive solution. 
    redgeminipafastasleepmagman1979
  • Reply 9 of 27
    This makes perfect sense...  Ever since they moved the Wake button from the top to the side, it seems like I now hit the Down + Wake buttons at the same time at LEAST five times a day!
    anantksundaramdysamoriajony0
  • Reply 10 of 27
    This makes perfect sense...  Ever since they moved the Wake button from the top to the side, it seems like I now hit the Down + Wake buttons at the same time at LEAST five times a day!
    Your iPhone 7 will be hard-reset a lot, I am guessing....   :D
    dysamorialkruppaylkwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 27
    danuff said:
    What the heck is DOWN + WAKE? Am I missing something?
    No need to randomly capitalize things. 
    I don't ThinK you knOw What thE woRd 'randomly' meANs.
    edited September 2016 calitycho24aaron sorensonfastasleep
  • Reply 12 of 27
    slurpy said:
    dysamoria said:
    What happens when Ive decides he needs to excise the volume buttons?
    Then he'll excise them, replace them with another solution, it will ultimately be a better product,  users will adapt, and hundreds of millions of more iPhones will be sold. I don't doubt for the second that physical volume buttons will eventually be discarded for some kind of touch sensitive solution. 
    There are no volume buttons on the Airpods which have plenty of room on both the pods or the cable as before. You now need to access phone directly or use Siri to change volume. I wouldn't be surprised if volume is a Siri only function on the iPhone by next year.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    slurpy said:
    dysamoria said:
    What happens when Ive decides he needs to excise the volume buttons?
    Then he'll excise them, replace them with another solution, it will ultimately be a better product,  users will adapt, and hundreds of millions of more iPhones will be sold. I don't doubt for the second that physical volume buttons will eventually be discarded for some kind of touch sensitive solution. 
    If all the mechanical controls are gone, there is no way to reach the firmware for a hard reset when the software driving the controls has crashed. At some point, this will result in a need for a pinhole reset button again. That doesn't seem to be a user-friendly solution to me. Are there other ways around this?
    tycho24
  • Reply 14 of 27
    Meanwhile at Samsung... BOOM!!!
    caliP-DogNCwatto_cobraSpamSandwich
  • Reply 15 of 27
    hill60 said:
    You know that single button on the right hand side, that wakes the phone when you press it.

    It might just be that one.

    Android is so much simpler.

    0_o

    LOL
    android sucks your an idiot
  • Reply 16 of 27
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    hill60 said:
    You know that single button on the right hand side, that wakes the phone when you press it.

    It might just be that one.

    Android is so much simpler.

    0_o

    LOL
    android sucks your an idiot
    Did you click the link he posted?
    tycho24watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 17 of 27
    Hmm...I seem to recall lots of people complaining about iPhone bezels and how there are Android phones out there with the same or bigger screen size but in an overall smaller device. And of course the complaints that the Plus model is too big. Well the only way to make the screen to device ratio larger and the overall phone smaller is to get rid of the physical home button. Or change it from a circle to something else.

    It's just like the Jet Black phone. Everyone loves it and thinks it's so hot yet we already have people calling it a design flaw and trying to start #fingerprintgate and #scratchgate. Good grief.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    chris_ca said:
    danuff said:
    What the heck is DOWN + WAKE? Am I missing something?
    It's the Down volume and the Power button.
    when did it become the "Wake" button?
    It's never been known as the Power button. In Apple's own user guides it's referred to as the Sleep/Wake button. Hence the Down & Wake naming convention. 
    fastasleep
  • Reply 19 of 27
    hill60 said:
    You know that single button on the right hand side, that wakes the phone when you press it.

    It might just be that one.

    Android is so much simpler.

    0_o

    LOL
    android sucks your an idiot
    Ouch!!!!
    Embarassing post.... did you realize that YOU are the idiot when you clicked his link & saw he was poking fun at Android for a typical 10 step hard reset process?
    watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 20 of 27
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,587member
    One day perhaps, a hard reset will require giving the iPhone a hard shake, just like in the old days of electronics, I remember those days!
    watto_cobra
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