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Pro Tip: Never Triple Click the iPhone 4S Home Button

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Sometimes it feels like my phone is an extension of my body. C’mon, I know many of you can relate. When my phone doesn’t work, I feel like part of me is broken. The other day, my phone—an iPhone 4s—became paralyzed. I didn’t drop it on the ground, dunk it in the toilet, Jailbreak it, or do anything untoward. It just seemed to suddenly stop responding to any of my touches and taps. It felt like one of my limbs had died! I couldn’t communicate (via text message or voice calls), though the phone was still on.

Upon closer inspection, the phone seemed merely numbed. If I double or triple-clicked on an icon, the icon would appear with a strange highlighted border and ultimately open. I could scroll, but only when I used three fingers. In the meantime, the phone would speak up and read the name of whichever app or function I was desperately trying to use. Somehow, my phone had descended into VoiceOver Hell Mode.

Because I couldn’t successfully get to Safari or use the keyboard to search for quick fix to this problem, I had to live with a paralyzed phone until I made it to a computer to do my triage. Oh, the agony! Once I did, I found out what had happened. iPhone 4s owners of posterity: here are your solutions.

Unbeknownst to you, you triple clicked your home button. Don’t ever do this! It turns on VoiceOver mode. Why the Apple engineers decided that triple clicking the home button should damn you to paralysis is beyond me. Luckily, if you triple click it again, dreaded VoiceOver mode turns off right away. But if you don’t know this, you’ll suffer.

You can turn it off another way by going into Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Off. But the series of multiple taps and three-fingered scrolls required to get there will take the better part of an hour and drive you to drink.

But the best solution is to turn off the triple click home button VoiceOver activation function completely (once your phone is operational again, that is). Go to Settings>General>Accessibility>Triple-click Home>Off.

Sweet relief. –Rachel Rosmarin