3 Hidden iPhone SE Home Button Features You Didn't Know About

Apple's most affordable phone comes with a physical home button that's got a few tricks up its sleeve.

Nelson Aguilar
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
Nelson Aguilar
3 min read

The iPhone SE 2022 is the only current iPhone model with a home button.

The 2022 iPhone SE is a modern phone featuring the latest A15 chipset and 5G connectivity, but an older design: It has a relatively small screen, thick bezels, a single-camera system -- and a physical home button that allows you to quickly unlock your screen or go to your home screen. However, you might be surprised to learn that there's much more you can do with your thumb.

The home button on your iPhone can also be used to dim the screen brightness and make the iPhone easier to use with one hand. So whether you're looking to upgrade to the new iPhone SE or have an older iPhone with Touch ID, here are a few tricks and tips you should know to master the home button.

And if you're interested in getting the 2022 iPhone SE, check out if the 2020 iPhone SE is still a good buy in 2022, as well as our iPhone SE 2022 vs. iPhone SE 2020 comparison.

Watch this: Long Live Touch ID: Why Apple Sticks With Older Tech

Turn your iPhone into a magnifying glass

Any smartphone can work as a magnifying glass: Launch the camera, point it at what you want to take a closer look at and then pinch out to zoom in. However, if you have an iPhone, there's an easier way to magnify text or objects in the real world -- and it involves your home button.

Using the Magnify accessibility feature, you can use your iPhone as a magnifying glass with a triple-click of your home button. But first you need to set it up. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and then tap Magnifier. Now when you triple-click the home button, you'll be redirected to the Magnifier feature, which not only lets you zoom in closely, but also increase saturation brightness, add filters, turn on the flashlight and take pictures (not saved) that you can also zoom in on. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to exit the accessibility feature.


Use the Magnifier feature to turn your iPhone into a magnifying glass.

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Dim your screen more than usual 

Another accessibility feature that can be attached to your home button is Zoom, which not only lets you zoom in on your screen but also use settings that can make the screen easier to scan through. One of those filters is Low Light, which allows you to dim your screen more than if you simply lowered the regular brightness setting in the Control Center.

Again, go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut, but this time choose Zoom. Now, triple-click your home button and you should see a small button appear on your screen. Tap the button and then tap Zoom Out, since your screen will be zoomed in. Tap the button again, but this time tap Choose Filter > Low Light. This will lower your brightness, which can drop even lower when your regular brightness is also lowered. To disable the feature, triple-click the home button once again.


The Low Light filter in the Zoom feature can take your screen brightness down more than usual.

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Make your screen easier to use with one hand

Although the iPhone SE is currently Apple's smallest model, you might have some trouble using it with one hand if your fingers are rather short. Using two hands obviously fixes this issue, but if that's not an option in your situation, you can always use the home button to trigger the Reachability feature and bring the top of the screen down into reach.

To enable this accessibility feature, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch and toggle on Reachability.Once the feature is enabled, all you need to do is lightly double-tap the home button (don't click it down). The top half of the screen will drop down to the bottom half, making it easier to navigate with one hand. To go back to full view, either tap on the top half or double-tap the home button once again.


Once Reachability is turned on, you can double-tap the home button to make the iPhone easier to use with one hand.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET