Apple’s “Reachability” feature debuted with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, to compensate for larger screen sizes, allowing users to reach top screen items with one hand. It has since become a staple on all iPhones (except the original iPhone SE), but how you activate it depends on whether it’s a model with Face ID or Touch ID.
Reachability has been available since iOS 8 and it works the same way on newer iOS versions such as iOS 13. Supported models include:
- iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on iOS 12.4.9 and below
- iPhone 6S., 6S. Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XS., XS. Max, XR., 1
- iPhone 12 and 12 Pro on iOS 14.1 and above
- iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max on iOS 14.2 and higher
The Reachability feature only works in portrait orientation, and when invoked, the entire contents of the screen are scrolled down so that the top of the screen is in the center of the screen. This allows you to interact with the top half of the screen content with one hand with your thumb. Reachability may already be enabled on your iPhone and you can skip step 1 below to check. If it doesn’t work then use step 1 to unlock it.
Step 1: enable reachability
How you unlock Reachability depends on the iOS version you are using. On iOS 12 and below, open the Settings app, choose General, then Accessibility. In the Interaction Turn on the “Reachability” switch.
For iOS 13 and above: Open Settings, tap “Accessibility” and then “Touch” in it Physical and motor section. Turn on the “Reachability” switch if it is off.
Step 2: activate availability
To actually use Reachability, do one of two things, depending on your iPhone model. If you have an iPhone with Face ID, swipe down on the bottom of your screen. To return to full screen mode, swipe up on the bottom edge or wait for it to automatically return after about eight seconds without interacting with the screen.
On an iPhone with Touch ID, double-tap the Home button. Don’t double-click the home button – tap it lightly, ie don’t press it all the way. To return to full screen mode, double tap the home button again or wait for it to automatically return after about eight seconds without interacting with the screen.
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