Why has the iPhone so many Buttons?

Here is a quick list of the features controlled by the four buttons of your iPhone.

These are the physical controls available.
  • Sleep/Wake button, on the top right of your iPhone
  • Volume button, on the left side
  • Mute switch, on the left side of the iPhone, just above the volume control
  • Home button, on the front of your iPhone, just beneath the touch screen The Sleep/Wake button lets you lock/unlock the iPhone respectively. Locking does not mean powering off though. It just turns off the touch screen. Any open application will continue to run. To power off the iPhone you need to press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds, then drag the slider to the right side. To turn your iPhone on again just press the Sleep/Wake button for about two seconds.

The volume button controls the volume of the playback audio or the ring tone volume, depending on the context the button is used in.

The mute button mutes the external speaker. When the switch is down you can see a red dot on the switch indicating that the phone is muted. Before the introduction of the Software update 2.2 muting did not work properly. For example it was not possible to mute the sounds which came from the Koi Pond application or other third party apps. But it seems to be fixed in 2.2.

The Home button has several functions:


  • Pressing and holding the Home button while you are on one of the Home screens lets you rearrange your application icons. The icons will start to wiggle. You then can rearrange the icons. You can also delete applications by pressing the x control on the top left corner of an icon. Press the Home button once more when you have finished rearranging and deleting.
  • Pressing the Home button briefly while you are on one of the Home screens will bring you back to the first Home screen.
  • Pressing and holding the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button will reboot your iPhone. When you hold the buttons for a few seconds a slider will appear on the screen. Drag it to the right to reboot your device.
  • Pressing the Home button while an application is open will end that application.
  • Pressing the Home button for about six seconds while an application is open will force quit the application. This is useful when an application is not responding anymore.
  • Pressing the Home button twice quickly will bring you back to your first Home screen, open your favorite contacts list or, start the iPod application. You can choose which of these features you want to activate in Settings > General > Home button.
  • Pressing the Home button twice while the iPhone is locked will launch the iPod widget, with which you can control the audio playback volume, start/stop the playback or, change the track. Apple provides a user guide optimized for mobile Safari. There is a link in the bookmarks folder of mobile Safari, which points to

That's all folks. Have I missed a button feature? Let me know in the comments.

Posted on CuteMachine.

Jo's Profile ImageWritten by Jo who lives and works in Frankfurt building digital doodah. Stalk him on Twitter.

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