What Was the Last iPhone To Have a Physical Home Button?

The physical home button used to be one of the iPhone’s most famous symbols. If you’ve been buying and using iPhones for a while, you probably still remember that distinctive circle below the screen with a square inside it. Chances are you pressed it to turn the iPhone on, wake your phone from its slumber or close an app quickly. The iPhone home button was once everywhere, but these days it’s very hard to find.

The only current iPhone that features the home button is the iPhone SE (third generation), released in 2022. Even then, it’s not a home button in the old-fashioned physical sense but a solid-state sensor with secure Touch ID. With the iPhone 14 range offering only the onscreen type of home buttons, there’s one real option for those who want the traditional look and feel of older models. That’s a refurbished iPhone with a physical home button.

If you prefer a physical home button, finding a second-hand phone that has one can be a double win. Not only do you get all the familiarity and convenience of this classic-style button, but you also score a more affordable offering. And best of all, refurbished iPhones are not like the regularly used smartphones you’d buy from a stranger.  They are iPhones that a professional has checked, tested and repaired before putting them up for sale, and they come with warranties included.

Buy a refurbished iPhone with a physical home button, and you can take home a classic model iPhone – maybe even the last iPhone to have a physical home button. 


What Could The Physical Home Button Do?


The iconic physical home button was a big part of Apple’s original design for the iPhone from the very beginning. When Steve Jobs himself introduced the world to the very first iPhone in 2007, he was quoted as saying, “It takes you home from wherever you are. And that’s it.” While the physical home button quickly became symbolic of Apple, it was locked in an ongoing battle with software over functionality and continually lost ground. Apple users began to rely on the on-screen home button instead. Eventually, Apple did away with the physical button for good.

The most widely used features of the iPhone’s physical home button included:

Returning home quickly

No matter how deep you were into a website, an app or your settings, the iPhone’s home button could quickly bring you back to your home screen.

Waking up your device

When your iPhone was in sleep mode, pressing the home button would wake it from its slumber and ready it for use.

Force restart

If older iPhones froze or had any other serious system issues, pressing both the home button and the power button at once would force the phone to restart.


In 2008, the iPhone OS 2 made it possible to take screenshots by pressing the home button and the sleep/wake button at the same time.

Voice control

2009’s iPhone OS 3 introduced a new purpose for the home button: voice control, a precursor to Siri.

Switching apps

The iPhone 4 made multi-tasking easier by giving the home button an extra purpose: a tool to switch between apps.

Though it’s now a sensor, the current home button still serves a number of purposes


Why Did Apple Remove The Physical Home Button?

A white iPhone 8 with the calendar open.

Apple had plans to kill off the physical home button as early as 2015. Despite how recognisable it was, the button had its drawbacks. Being a mechanical device, it was always destined to wear down over time. Some Apple customers feared the button was fragile and could be too easily broken, while to others, it represented an ingress point that potentially risked the waterproof status of the phone. Some users began to use Assistive Touch, which functions as a digital home button instead. It’s easy to activate this on-screen home button on a second-hand iPhone as well.


But the main thing that motivated Apple to do away with the home button was usability. Smartphone screens got bigger, and a physical button became an unnecessary feature in the age of touchscreens that stod in the way of Apple making a full-sized, bezel-free screen. While the home button remained on lower-cost iPhones at first, gesture-based navigation became the standard user experience on flagships.


With swipe-based navigation generally easier and faster, the home button began to feel like a relic. Luckily for those who prefer a physical approach, it’s possible to buy a refurbished iPhone with a physical home button.


Will The Physical Home Button Make a Return?


So you can find an on-screen home button on a second-hand iPhone, but what if you want the latest store-bought model? Is there any chance of the home button returning in 2024 or 2025?


The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus phones of 2017 were the last iPhones to feature the physical, clickable home button. If you want a similar experience, your best option these days is to turn on the on-screen home button on a new or second-hand iPhone. You can go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch and turn on AssistiveTouch. A moveable button will then appear on the screen for you to drag wherever you want.


Despite some high-profile support for the physical home button’s return, Apple is unlikely to bring the button back any time soon if current trends are anything to go by. Never say never, but right now, the company has offered no indication that the button’s resurgence is on the cards. If you’re waiting for a brand new phone with a clickable button like old times, you’ll be waiting for a very long time, if not forever. A more reliable option is to buy a refurbished iPhone with a physical home button.


Buy Refurbished iPhones at OzMobiles

A white iPhone 8 with a blue coral scene on the lock screen display.

You can find refurbished iPhones with physical home buttons right here on the OzMobiles website. Pick up an iPhone 8, the last-ever iPhone to have a physical home button or an iPhone 7 32GB. The iPhone SE (first generation) is an already affordable phone that’s now even cheaper when you buy it refurbished.


When you buy an OzMobiles refurbished iPhone with a physical home button, you get a new iPhone that’s been put through a rigorous testing process and is fully functional, with a 12-month warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. We know how important battery life is, so we make sure that’s at least at 80% as well.


If you have any questions or just want to find out more information, contact the OzMobiles team


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