If Apple is removing the home button in its iPhone 8, some software features that have traditionally relied on the component won't work. But a new discovery suggests Apple is developing some workarounds.
Developer Guilherme Rambo this week published videos to his Twitter account showing a new app-switching regimen in iOS 11. The feature, which he uncovered in the operating system's beta, suggests Apple has replaced the double-tap on the iPhone's home button to quickly switch between apps with a swipe-up gesture.
That swipe-up gesture appears to be the same that currently opens Control Center in iOS 10. According to Rambo, that gesture has been replaced by a right-to-left swipe on the lock screen.
The finding in a vacuum might not mean much. However, because the iPhone 8 will likely feature an edge-to-edge display, Apple would have to remove the physical home button on the phone, rendering the actions that relied on the button unavailable. The company has seemingly responded with software-based replacements that will still make those features available.
For instance, if you're using an iPhone now, to quickly switch between apps, you need only to double click on the home button and a carousel of apps will appear, allowing you to choose which app to open. Since there wouldn't be a home button in the iPhone 8, there's no way to tap on it and open that view. Apple's solution appears to be the one Rambo discovered.
Then again, it should be noted that it is possible that Apple is reworking certain gestures and it might have nothing to do with the iPhone 8. However, the other scenario is more likely. And the software finding likely provides even more evidence to suggest Apple is indeed working on delivering a third iPhone this year that would deliver a new design and ditch the physical home button.
So far, neither Rambo, whose findings were earlier reported on by 9to5Mac, nor other developers have discovered other ways Apple is replacing gestures that have traditionally relied upon the home button. But look for more of those alternatives to be uncovered between now and when iOS 11 makes its debut this fall.
Apple is expected to unveil its iPhone 8 in September.