If you have an iPhone, you are probably pretty familiar with the fingerprint scanner in the home button. It can make unlocking your phone a breeze. However, if you drop your iPhone and break the screen just right, the home button may be damaged. As a result, you may not be able to get into your device.

*This guide is for iPhone 8 series users and earlier models. The iPhone X series eliminated the home button.

Model Differences

Before we jump into the workaround, we want to clarify a key difference between different models. The iPhone 5S through the iPhone 6S series all have a physical clicky home button. The biometrics are in the home button. Even if the biometrics chip is damaged, the home button will still function (without Touch ID).

Apple changed the design for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 series. Instead of a physical button, the home button is actually a flat sensor. As a result, if any part of the home button is damaged, all functionality will be lost.

iPhone 6 Series Home button
iPhone 7 & 8 Series Home button

Unlocking Without Touch ID

The first step in setting up the workaround is to get into your phone. If you are unable to get to the lock screen (you can use your fingerprint or bring up the pin) try turning your device off. Restarting your phone will bring the pin entry screen. All devices with biometrics will require your pin the first time you unlock your phone.

Assistive Touch Option

Once you are at your home screen, find your Settings app. Follow: General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch. Toggle the button next to AssistiveTouch on (it will turn green). Once selected, a grayscale button will appear on screen in the bottom right corner of the screen. Selecting this button will allow you access to many functions of your phone, but most importantly a home button.



Caveat With Damaged Home Button

Unfortunately, the way that the home button technology is created, third party repair shops cannot restore biometrics. We can replace a home button and restore its practical function (closing apps, etc.). The biometric chip in the home button is tied to a device’s logic board. When those two chips do not match, biometrics will not work. If you must have functioning biometrics, you will need to go to an Apple Service Provider or Apple itself.

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