iPhone Home Button Not Working? Try This Fix (requires Jailbreak and Activator app)

Like most owners, I love my iPhone like a favorite child. It’s my portable connection to the web, my newspaper, my camera, my preferred gaming device, my grocery list, my alarm clock, my calculator…and once in a while, my phone.

A couple of months ago I lost my iPhone while on the Manta roller coaster at Seaworld in Orlando, Florida. When I realized it was gone, I was crushed. I felt lonely and confused.

In a still-unbelievable stroke of luck, a fellow park visitor happened to see it fly out of my pocket on the first loop, watched it fall 50 feet into the brush (miraculously missing all of the buildings, rocks, pools, pavement and people it could have hit) and retrieved it.  As we left the ride, my daughter happened to walk by her and notice the decal on the back of my phone, which is how my precious returned to me, with nary a scratch or a scuff.

Anyhow, because I use my iPhone all day long every day, my home button has gradually become more and more unresponsive. For over a year I have had to push a little extra hard or press on certain areas of the button to get it to register. It didn’t really strike my how bad it had become until I started using our new iPad.

I took my phone to the genius bar at my local Apple Store and they cleaned out the button and docking port, did a software recalibration and a full OS restore. It didn’t work.

They showed me the built-in iOS accessibility option which places a software home button on the screen, but it always seemed to be in the way and I didn’t like that it took two steps to register a home click.

The next day I jailbroke my phone and started messing with the “Activator” app to find a better solution. After a few days of tweaking, I have a highly effective solution.

My Activator Configuration

I have setup the following actions in Activator:

  1. Anywhere > Status Bar: Double Tap > Activate Switcher
  2. Anywhere > Status Bar: Swipe Left > Home Button
  3. At Home Screen > Status Bar: Single Tap > Home Button

Now double-tapping on the status bar is the same as double-pressing my balky home button and swiping left in the status bar is equivalent to a home click (swiping right brings up the excellent “SBSettings” app).

I didn’t set an “anywhere” single status bar click because many apps register that as a “scroll to top” event, which I wanted to keep. I did enable the “single tap” action in SpringBoard, though, since there is no need to scroll to top in that icon view.

This new configuration has been a phone saver for me.

Step-By-Step Example

Launch Activator and click “Anywhere”:

Select “Double Tap” in the “Status Bar” section:

Select “Activate Switcher” in the “System Actions” section:

Done. After a day you’ll be so used to your software-based home button clicks that the physical click will feel crude and primitive.