Skip to main content

After 10 Years, iPhone 8 to Replace Key Feature with This

Apple is apparently throwing out the iPhone's iconic clickable home button for a touch-sensitive one, and the company is getting ready to unveil a whole new virtual button for the iPhone 8.

Credit: BGR

(Image credit: BGR)

This change appears to be the result of a taller screen and smaller bezels, which pave over the button's current territory. In fact, Apple may be ditchiing a Touch ID sensor altogether on the iPhone 8 in favor of 3D face scanning.

To replace the physical button, according to a new report, there will be a new virtual home button area, which can morph into different sizes and hide when it's not needed.

MORE: iPhone 8 Rumors: What to Expect from the 10th Anniversary iPhone

This news comes to us from Steve Troughton-Smith, the iOS developer who leaked the news of iOS 11's new Files app, and who is still digging up tons of information out of the Apple HomePod firmware leaked by the company in late July. In a tweet, Troughton-Smith noted these tidbits learned from the leak:

What does this mean for iPhone users? Well, the most likely outcome is more screen space for games and web browsing other apps, creating a more immersive experience.

Troughton-Smith notes "fullscreen video does hide" the virtual home button, and that the button exists as part of a "a system periphery area that expands/minimizes and shows/hides the home button indicator as needed." This sounds like users perform a swipe gesture to summon the home button whilst in an app.

Hopefully, the home button isn't hidden by default when you're outside of apps. Such a change would be a rather drastic decision, as hitting the button is a key part of how users multitask on the smartphone.

So while we think we know the home button will resize and hide itself, there's still a lot to learn. We expect to find out soon, though, as Apple typically launches its new iPhones in September. Stay tuned to Tom's Guide for more updates and news.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is an editor writer at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and Apple. Prior to joining Tom's Guide — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and looking for the headphone adapter that he unplugged from his iPhone.