iOS: Hands-on with Assistive Touch

Apple has tucked away a super cool feature that is often overlooked and little talked about. It's called Assistive Touch and can be quite useful, especially for those whose Home buttons are having issues.

To enable the feature, navigate on your iOS device to Settings > General > Accessibility and then scroll down towards the bottom. You'll find Assistive Touch listed under the Physical & Motor category. Tap on it to turn the feature on. Back out a screen, scroll down a little further, and you'll see the Triple-click category. Tap on that entry and you can assign the Assistive Touch feature to activate or deactivate when you triple-click on the Home button. If you use Guided Access, your iOS device can ask you which feature you'd like to activate when you triple-click on the Home button.

Accessibility settings menu showing options to activate Assistive TouchActivate Assistive Touch in the the Accessibility settings menu

Notice that new little white dot in the corner of the screen? That the Assistive Touch icon. Touch it to open the feature. You can also drag it to any part of any screen edge. It'll even move to follow the keyboard when it opens up.

Once you have the feature active, there's a metric ton of stuff that you can do with it. The whole point of the feature is for those that have difficulties with fine motor control and need a little assistance with the touch screen or the Home button. Take a look at some of the screenshots below to see what kinds of features are offered.

iPhone home screen with Assistive Touch icon and then activatedHere's my iPhone with Assitive Touch activated

Additional features behind the Device buttonTap on Device and there are more features available

Even more features are available when you dive in furtherAnd yet, even MORE features

One really cool feature of Assistive Touch is the ability to create custom gestures. For example, I've created one called 'Rotate Left' and when I activate the getsture, it simulates my two fingers rotating the touch screen in a counter-clockwise direction.

Creating a custom gesture with Assistive TouchYou can create custom gestures tthat can be activated with Assistive Touch

Another great feature is the ability to take screenshots of your iOS device without having to use any hardware buttons. I used this feature to capture some screenshots for the Guided Access article I wrote awhile back. And sorry Snapchat users, it still doesn't work to capture those images.