Mobile

Halo Back screen protector adds a Back button to your iPhone

The world's first "smart" screen shield gives iPhone users a feature Android users have enjoyed for years.

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Baby got Back (button). Haloband

Navigating an iPhone can be a pain. There, I said it. Sure, the Home button is right where your thumb can get at it, but the Back button? It's way up in the left-hand corner, and pretty much out of reach on an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

That sound you hear is Android users chuckling: Their Back button resides right next to the Home button, and always has. Why can't the iPhone work like that?

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Haloband

It can, thanks to Kickstarter project Halo Back. Billing itself as the world's first "smart" screen protector, this seemingly normal adhesive shield puts an invisible -- but functional -- Back button to the left of the Home button.

How does it work? Thankfully, the Halo Back requires no batteries, no Bluetooth, no jailbreaking and no special apps. Instead, it employs a "smart layer" that merely conducts your own capacitive energy, routing it from the lower-left section of the glass to the area near the top where the Back button typically appears.

In other words, a tap near the bottom of the screen is reproduced as a tap at the top, and, lo, now you've got an extra, conveniently located Back button. Note that I said "extra": you can still tap the regular Back button same as always.

This is kind of jaw-droppingly ingenious, because a screen protector is kind of essential equipment for any iPhone owner, and this one adds a small but meaningful convenience.

So meaningful, in fact, that backers have already smashed past developer Haloband's $20,000 fundraising goal: At press time, the campaign had amassed around $145,000, with nearly two weeks left to go. And although most of the early-bird options are sold out, you can still get a Halo Back for as little as $17 -- or $34 for two. That converts to about £11 or AU$20 for one, £22 or AU$44 for two (Haloband says it will ship anywhere in the world). The product is due to ship in August, with versions available for both iPhone 6 models.

If there's a sour note here, it's that the expected retail price is $49 -- steep for a screen protector, even a smart one. Your thoughts?